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Milk powder worries increase

ANOTHER five infants were reported to be suffering from kidney stones after drinking milk formula made by Shanghai-based Dumex Baby Food Co Ltd, bringing the total count to 53, a newspaper said yesterday.

The figure includes 15 infants from Zhejiang Province, the Today Morning Express reported.

No similar cases have been revealed recently by Shanghai hospitals.

The newspaper, based in the provincial capital of Hangzhou, said it interviewed parents whose babies developed kidney stones and had a history of drinking Dumex, the milk-powder unit of France's Danone Group.

A Guizhou Province infant who was born in Zhejiang's Jinhua City suffered stones in both kidneys after drinking Dumex milk power, the newspaper said. The child's mother told reporters she collected information on 53 babies who experienced similar health problems and passed her findings to health authorities. Neither the Hangzhou Health Bureau nor the Hangzhou Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision has received complaints related to Dumex baby powder, however.

The Hangzhou No. 1 People's Hospital screened 6,472 infants for kidney stones from September 18 to October 31 last year after the industrial chemical melamine was found in infant formula produced by Sanlu Group and other Chinese dairy makers and was linked to the deaths of at least six children and illnesses affecting nearly 300,000.

Melamine screen

Thirteen cases of kidney stones or crystals in Hangzhou were linked to Dumex powder, but nine of those infants also drank other milk products. As such, hospital officials said they couldn't confirm any connection between kidney stones and Dumex products.

Doctors from some of Shanghai's key children's hospitals said yesterday they haven't detected any new cases of kidney stones due to the consumption of infant formula and haven't received any order from health authorities to signal heightened surveillance.

"Our current patients are only those who were diagnosed with kidney stones during the Sanlu scandal and who come to the hospital for regular checkups," said Dr Zhou Wei of the Shanghai Children's Medical Center.

Shanghai's quality watchdog launched an investigation at the local Dumex plant this week, but the results of that check have not been released.

A Dumex representative said there has been no clear evidence linking the company's products to the reports of infant kidney stones. The company said its products, made from raw materials from Australia and New Zealand, were sampled throughout the milk scandal period and no contamination was found.


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