June 11, 2009


China investigates milk formula with melamine 130 times above standard


Scient, a China brand milk formula, was reported to be highly contaminated with melamine even as China's dairy industry struggled to recover from the 2008 Sanlu tainted milk scandal.


The General Administration of Quality Supervision, inspection and Quarantine has reportedly set up a committee to investigate the matter.


Despite the company's claim that its milk ingredients are imported from New Zealand and Australia sources, the melamine content in the brand's stage 3 milk formula for infants was as high as 132.9mg/kg, more than 130 times above the permitted standard of 1mg/kg.


A Beijing consumer sent samples to the National Centre for Food Quality and Safety Supervision for testing and found that the melamine content of the milk dated March 17, 2008 was 132.9mg/kg. However, Guangzhou Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision said that its inspection tests of Scient's products produced after September 2008 did not detect any excess melamine.


Guo Li said that he had sent the milk formula for inspection after his child was diagnosed to have kidney stones.


Meanwhile, Scient issued a notice dated 9 June on its website stressing that the products sent for testing were produced before the tainted milk scandal last September, and that the company has recalled and disposed products produced before this date. It also said that the company has tried negotiating with Guo, who demanded RMB500,000 compensation, but was unsuccessful.


Although Scient milk formula cans printed that its milk ingredients were imported, its Beijing office admitted that when supplies of imported milk were tight, the company did use local milk for production. However, it refused to reveal which were the local milk sources used.


Currently, Wumei Supermarket in Beijing has removed Scient milk formula from its shelves. However, several supermarkets in Hangzhou did not do likewise, insisting that the products on shelves were produced after September 2008 and came with inspection approvals.


Scient (Guangdong) Infant Nurture Co., Ltd. was set up in 2002 and co-owned by Guangdong Yashili Group Co., Ltd, Scient (US) and Scient (Singapore). 


Last year, together with Sanlu products, Yashili's milk formula failed inspection tests, with its melamine content at 56mg/kg.

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