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Additive in another kids' cheese raises questions

By Hu Min (Shanghai Daily)

09:49, September 28, 2012

QUESTIONS have been raised about a cheese product for children made by Mengniu that contains milk mineral, an additive banned for babies.

The questions arose yesterday after Shanghai's dairy giant Bright Dairy had recently had a cheese product for babies with the additive pulled off the shelves.

The ingredient was printed on the package of Mengniu's "Weilaixing" cheese product designed for children. The product did not say which age group the product was for, according to yesterday's Huaxi Metropolis Daily based in Sichuan Province. Neither did it say the product should not be given to babies.

No government action had been taken against the company as of late yesterday, and the company had not removed the product from shelves.

The Inner-Mongolia-based dairy giant denied any wrongdoing. "All of Mengniu's products that contain milk mineral are not for babies and in line with the national standard," it said.

Mengniu said, however, that it started changing the package on its product on Friday as it came off the production line, without specifying the change. It can be purchased at about 1 million sales outlets nationwide.

Shanghai Daily visited some local supermarkets and did not find the products available. But it is still sold online.

The additive, milk mineral, is not allowed for babies according to regulations issued by the Ministry of Health in 2009 as it is a newly extracted compound with unproven effects on babies.

Mengniu did not explain why it included the additive in its products, while experts said it may cut costs by using the mineral, which is difficult for babies to digest, to replace milk calcium suitable for babies.

"Newly born babies have an immature digestion system and kidneys, thus China has strict requirements on the content of dairy products for babies," said Wang Dingmian, director of the Guangdong Provincial Dairy Association.
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