Synutra's Chinese Unit Denies Newspaper Report Its Milk Powder Is Unsafe

Synutra International Inc., a Chinese maker of baby formula, denied a newspaper report that its products may cause premature development in infants.

Medical examinations of three girls in the city of Wuhan between the ages of four months and 15 months found the level of the hormone estradiol in their bodies was as much as some adult women, the Health Times newspaper reported on Aug. 5. All three girls had consumed the same baby formula, the newspaper reported, without identifying the producer. The Oriental Morning Post reported Aug. 7 that all three of the infants had been fed baby formula produced by Synutra.

The company in an Aug. 7 statement on its website said its products are safe and that it may use “legal means” to protect itself. Synutra didn’t identify the report it denied.

Food safety has become a top concern in China after baby formula tainted with the chemical melamine killed at least six infants in 2008 and sickened about 300,000 others. The Chinese government executed three people involved in the poisoning and in February 2010 created its most senior commission on food safety, headed by Vice Premier Li Keqiang.

Synutra’s stock has gained more than 28 percent this year on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The company had a net loss of $24.6 million for the year ended March 31, compared with a loss of $100.5 million a year ago. Sales declined 6.6 percent to $291.9 million, according to a statement on its website.

Calls today to the company’s offices in China and e-mails seeking comment weren’t immediately answered.

--Penny Peng in Beijing. Editors: John Liu, Eugene Tang.

To contact Bloomberg News staff on this story: Penny Peng in Beijing at +86-10-6649-7504 or Ppeng14@bloomberg.net

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