Dairy facing punishment over cheese for babies

September 21, 2012

SHANGHAI’S quality watchdog said yesterday it has ordered Bright Dairy to suspend production of a cheese product for babies with a banned additive.

Authorities also will conduct stricter testing of its products.

Bright Dairy will be punished severely over its loopholes in production and dishonest practices, said Shen Weimin, deputy director of the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau. The dairy giant was found to blur the product target age in its reports to authorities and change ingredients without getting permission.

It was found to start using a new formula with milk mineral, the banned additive, in the cheese product since December 2011. But it said in a report submitted to the bureau that the mineral was not used until February of this year after it came to light in the media, Shen said.

The bureau has also ordered Bright Dairy to give a reasonable explanation to the public and to rectify its irregularities, he said.

“Our quality checks over Bright Dairy are still not enough, and we are researching how to step up tests and expand the coverage of products being checked,” according to Shen.

He said the cheese product was tested by the bureau last year, but packages were not included in that check, known as risk monitoring, which mainly targets highly dangerous items like melamine and aflatoxin.

Bright Dairy 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.

Milk mineral is believed to have an effect like calcium supplements. But babies are more vulnerable and sensitive to additives like colostrum, which add to the burden of their stomach and intestines. Therefore, some additives are banned from dairy products for babies in China.

Milk mineral will add to the burden of a baby’s tender stomach, intestines and liver, said Zhu Yi, a professor with the China Agricultural University.

The additive was 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.

The ingredient was printed on the package of Bright Dairy’s cheese product designed for children aged one to three.

Source: Shanghai Daily

Category: Community

Comments are closed.