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Probe into formula milk after death of baby

By Wang Qingchu (Shanghai Daily)

08:58, January 13, 2012

AN official investigation has been launched after a five-month-old boy died and his twin sister was left seriously ill after drinking formula milk.

The commerce authorities' probe comes after the twins' parents took the desperate step of protesting outside a supermarket with their son's body and the milk he had been fed.

The child, named Jiang Jian, from Miaoxia Village in east China's Jiangxi Province, developed diarrhea and uncontrollable shaking two days after drinking milk manufactured by Chinese company Synutra International. He died on January 7.

The day after he died, his twin sister Jiang Yunxin showed similar symptoms.

Her mother told Xinhua news agency that the baby girl was discharged from a pediatric hospital on Wednesday.

"Her legs turned purple and she had diarrhea," the twins' aunt told the Jiujiang Morning Post earlier.

The cause of the girl's convulsions is unknown as a brain scan showed nothing abnormal, doctor Liu Guozhen told the newspaper.

Authorities have sealed the batch of Synutra products in the county of Duchang, where the case was reported, and sent samples for testing, Xinhua said, quoting officials with the county's bureau of industry and commerce.

Synutra International, which is based in Qingdao in Shandong Province, extended its condolences to the family and reported the case to police.

Synutra said on Wednesday that it did not know what caused the baby's death and that milk powder does not usually cause convulsions or diarrhea.

It also published a quality report for the batch of milk under investigation, which showed it met standards.

Synutra is among the biggest infant milk producers in China.

It was listed in Nasdaq in 2005, the first Chinese nutrient manufacturer publicly traded in the United States.

Synutra shares dropped 8.9 percent on Wednesday.

In 2010 it was claimed that Synutra products led to premature puberty in infants.

These claims were later revealed to be unfounded and part of a smear campaign by another company.

China's dairy industry has been hit by a string of tainted products scandals that have eroded consumer confidence.

In 2008, at least six children died and 300,000 fell ill after being fed formula milk laced with melamine, an industrial chemical added to give higher protein readings.


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