Number of malnourished babies may have doubled to 354: study

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 12:00am

A total of 354 children have been left malnourished by substandard milk powder during the past year in a city in Anhui , a State Council investigation has found.

It had previously been reported that the scandal in Fuyang had affected 171 children, leaving 15 dead. Fuyang's government rejected the claim - which was published on the People's Daily website - and maintained that only 171 children had been affected.

A third set of figures was also provided yesterday by Xinhua, which said the State Council investigation team had uncovered 189 malnourished babies since May 1 last year. Although none were 'seriously' malnourished, their conditions had 'some' relation to the use of substandard formula.

'The team examined facilities where the substandard milk powder was manufactured and the contents of the milk powder,' Xinhua reported. '[It ] has basically concluded that the fact the milk powder has such low nutritious and protein content was the main reason why the babies fell ill.'

Of the 354 babies mentioned in the People's Daily report, 267 had been treated and discharged and 27 were still in hospital. The parents of 32 babies had taken their children out of treatment, the report said. It was not said what happened to the rest of the infants.

Nine paediatric and nutrition specialists from Beijing have arrived in Fuyang and ordered city and county health centres to give free checkups to children under one year of age until tomorrow, and to take samples of the milk powder they were given.

Two experts from the Ministry of Health on Monday took about 80 samples of substandard formula they had collected in Fuyang to the Centre for Disease Control in Beijing for further tests. So far 39 people have been detained.

Teams were sent to Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Henan and Shandong on Monday to trace the origins of the substandard formula.

Since the scandal broke in Fuyang and Cao county in Shandong, malnourished babies have also been found in Guangdong's Shantou and Heilongjiang's Mudanjiang city.



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