• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 4:05am
CommentInsight & Opinion

SCMP defends report on trans-fat levels in baby milk formula

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 10:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 11:19am

Xinhuanet, a news portal affiliated with Xinhua, claimed in an article on Tuesday that the South China Morning Post was spreading fear among mainland parents by saying that mainland brands of infant milk formula contain trans-fat.

In one of the articles, it said that a Hong Kong newspaper "used the mainland public's high concern and sensitivity towards baby formula, as well as their lack of familiarity with trans-fat, to create irrational fear".

On Monday, the Post published a front-page article headlined “Trans-fat found in baby milk formula”. It reported that laboratory tests commissioned by the newspaper found three popular mainland baby formula brands contained trans-fat, which experts said could lead to heart disease.

Xinhuanet noted the newspaper article came soon after the National Development and Reform Commission launched investigations into alleged anti-competitive practices by five foreign baby formula brands.

“The SCMP is an independent and credible media organisation in Hong Kong,” said Wang Xiangwei, editor-in-chief of the Post. “In the interests of our readers, we ran a factual and fair story that accurately reflected the findings of experts in the field.”

In the interests of our readers, we ran a factual and fair story that accurately reflected the findings of experts in the field
Wang Xiangwei, editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post

Wang said the decision to test the infant formulas was made months ago and was not in response to the mainland’s current campaign against alleged monopolistic pricing tactics by certain foreign companies.

He noted that in February, Hong Kong suffered a shortage of some brands of baby formula because of parallel trading driven by mainland demand. Due to scandals on the mainland over adulterated milk, some people thought brands available in Hong Kong were of higher quality.

So, in April, the newspaper commissioned a recognised independent laboratory, Castco Testing Centre Limited, to test the quality of seven popular products.

“We made efforts to seek comment from all the brands mentioned. But only one mainland brand, Beingmate, replied to us before the report was published,” Wang said.

The Post report stated that the levels of trans-fat in the three formulas – Beingmate’s Baby Club, Synutra’s Super infant formula, and Yili’s Gold infant formula – fell within mainland and international safety standards.

Two popular overseas brands, made by Mead Johnson and Wyeth, were not found to contain trans-fat.

In another Post report the same day, mainland mothers told reporters they would still prefer to buy infant milk formula in Hong Kong.

The tests showed there were no significant differences in the nutrient content of the foreign brands on sale in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Mead Johnson and Wyeth products sold in the city are imported from overseas, while those on the mainland may be manufactured there.



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This article is now closed to comments

SCMP deserves a big thank-you from all milk consumers.
They are essentially doing an important public duty to ensure that our milk is safe.
To me, it is extremely alaming that any trans-fat should find its way into the milk powder.
Everybody knows that trans-fat is a totally artificial product and not natural fat and so it certainly could not have originated from the cows.
It follows that the trans-fat must have been secretly added into the milk at some stage of the manufacturing process. What we need to know now is why does the manufacturer add this non-natural foreign substance into the milk. They must come clean to tell us which foreign artificial ingredient was added into their milk that contributed to the presence of the trans-fat, otherwise we consumers will never have confidence in their products.
I think one under appreciated aspect of this issue/story is that trans-fats are NOT natural. Therefore, just like melamine, they must have been intentionally added to the milk powders that were tested. Why this was done? I have no idea.
rthk, would you rather have a newspaper report 90% local news and 10% international news? then you would be getting taiwanese style reporting , where "news" such as comparisons of different kinds of foods in the city, and entertainment news about local stars are reported frequently. As someone who has lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and US, I came to appreciate SCMP's reporting on local and international events. Back to the article, SCMP really has nothing to defend itself to. Xinhuanet is not a credible news agency but rather a mouthpiece of the government's propaganda department. Watching the news in China is like watching an hour long advertisement whereas top leaders are great, people are happy, and the US is arrogant.
Respected Editor WANG Xiangwei SCMP is really 100% independent?
90% of your reports and news related to other countries
Very rare you will bring up some really serious and worrying issue of Hong Kong
Am I wrong?
Wish you always all the best of Luck
SCMP, keep up the good work. We do not have "doubts" about your reports. Some try to discredit it, well, too bad for them. Obviously mainland officials are not too happy another questionable finding is coming out on milk products. On the other hand, the mainland is making progress in checking the food chain.
“In the interests of our readers, we ran a factual and fair story that accurately reflected the findings of experts in the field.”
Well, really?
Studies published to date suggest that there is a difference between naturally-occurring trans fat and the industrial form. Naturally-occurring trans fat comes from ruminant animals (cow, sheep, goat). These fats have not been associated with risks of heart disease.
Dairy products do contain a very small amount of naturally-occurring trans fat (2 to 6 % the total fat),
The SCMP writer is ignorant !
Coffee-Mate contains no milk but only trans fats but most Hong Kong middle class drink it everyday and love it.
So, what is the big deal about trans fats ?
Brahardjia Thank you for your great idea .really appreciate it


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