Synutra's milk formula passes initial test

Xinhua, January 14, 2012

Results of an initial test, released Friday, showed that a leading Chinese dairy's milk formula was safe after claims surfaced on the Internet that a baby died from drinking it last week.

Infant twins fell ill day after being fed newly bought product; boy died. [Photo/China Daily]

The center of quality inspection of dairy products in Jiangxi province found that all five samples of a milk formula from the Nasdaq-listed Synutra International Inc. passed bacteria tests, a local commerce official said.

A four-month twin in rural Jiangxi's Duchang county reportedly suffered from diarrhea and uncontrollable shaking after drinking Synutra's Youbo milk formula last Saturday, the family claimed.

The baby boy died hours later in a pediatric hospital while the girl was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, the family said.

Authorities have sealed the same batch of Synutra products in Duchang while sending samples to provincial quality inspection authorities for testing, said Cheng Zhouhua, deputy head of Duchang's industry and commerce bureau.

The victim's parents told Xinhua that they had not learned the test results until the reporter called and they had not decided what to do next.

Synutra posted the test results on its website and said in another statement that the company has also done its own internal quality checks after the incident and found no evidence linking its milk formula to the baby's death.

The county government on Friday also reported that the baby boy was diagnosed to have died of complications triggered by suffocating high temperature typically caused by improper warming.

The government said it had not received any reports of other infants dying from drinking the same kind of milk formula.

China's dairy industry suffered a heavy blow after a scandal in 2008 in which the baby formulas of many major dairy companies, including Synutra, were found to be tainted with melamine, an industrial compound used to create plastic and resin. The tainted formula led to the deaths of six infants and sickened 300,000 children across the country.

In 2010, Synutra's formula was accused of triggering sexual precocity among baby girls. But the allegations were found to be groundless after a probe by the Ministry of Health.