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August 20, 2011

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Buffalo milk ads roam too free

EXAGGERATED claims in ads about buffalo milk from the Huangshi Dairy are the target of an investigation by local industrial and commercial authorities.

The ads, frequently seen in elevators of residential buildings, say the buffalo milk contains 253 times more Vitamin A than does common milk, and 122 times more iron.

Experts noted that if that were true, the milk would be toxic.

"A glass of common milk contains about 68 milligrams of Vitamin A. Then a glass of Huangshi buffalo milk would contain about 17 grams of the vitamin, according to its ads," said Fang Zhouzi, an anti-fraud activist. "A mouthful of such milk would poison people."

Fan Zhihong, a professor with the College of Food of China Agricultural University, said the Vitamin A content of buffalo milk is 40 to 50 milligrams per 100 grams - almost the same as common cow's milk.

The milk, which the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region-based company boasts is the most perfect in the world, costs at least twice as much as the common milk in the market.

Some consumers said it's "not the most perfect milk but the most expensive one."

"I doubt very much its difference with common milk," said Iris Hu, who once received a box of the buffalo milk as a gift. "I tasted it and didn't find it better than common milk."

The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said it will look into the ads to see whether they should be removed. Consumers' reports on the ads' location and content are welcomed at the bureau's hotline 12315, officials said.

The dairy apologized yesterday and said it made mistakes with the data. A statement issued by the company said the data in the ads came from three books about dairy products.

"The data was very different from what is said in a document on buffalo milk issued by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and we didn't double check," said the statement.

The company said it will trust authorities to test the nutritional value of its buffalo milk.


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