Possible Carcinogen Found in China’s Mengniu Milk Products

February 13, 2009 7:08 pm Last Updated: February 13, 2009 7:16 pm

As Chinese melamine powdered milk scandal is reverberating, as another of China’s dairy giant, Mengniu Dairy Group Co., has been found to use possible carcinogens in its milk products.

China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) notified Mengniu Dairy Group Co. on Feb. 2, to stop adding OMP to its Telunsu line milk product.

Mengniu’s Telunsu line has been pulled off the shelves in China’s major supermarkets, including the Carrefour supermarket chain. Mengniu’s stock suffered a 12.48 percent drop in Hong Kong on Feb. 11.

OMP, or Osteoblast Milk protein is the so-called bone building milk protein. Mengniu started marketing its Telunsu line as a “bone building milk protein” product in 2006, claiming that OMP aids the absorption of calcium and increases bone density.

However, experts have exposed that Mengniu had been adding IGF-1, an insulin-like growth factor, to its Telunsu line, and overconsumption of IGF-1 can increase the risk of developing cancer in human.

The GAQSIQ notified Mengniu to stop adding OMP to its Telunsu line, citing that IGF-1 is not a traditional food ingredient, nor does it meet the standard of food additives.

Mengniu Dairy Group Co. denied that there is IGF-1 in the Telunsu line’s OMP. The company claimed that their OMP, which is made from milk, is an ingredient called MBP (Milk Basic Protein) which they imported from Tatua Co-Operative Dairy Company, a dairy company in New Zealand.

Mengniu also claim that MBP is commonly used in the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, and other countries, and is GRAS-certified by the FDA in the U.S. and is also considered a safe food ingredient by the New Zealand Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry

However, Mengniu’s claim is contradictory to a document the company submitted for applying a patent in 2006. On February 13, 2006, Mengniu applied for a patent for a “liquid milk” product to the State Intellectual Property Office. The application letter specifically stated that “This patent involves the addition of IGF-1 in milk, which can aid the absorption of calcium in human body.” The letter also stressed the effect of IGF-1 by saying that “IGF-1 can enhance the female hormone to adjust bone metabolism, and therefore has an effect in the development of osteoporosis.”

The GAQSIQ is still researching if Mengniu has been using MBP or IGF-1. Chinese people, however, are not optimistic after seeing how the previous melamine milk incident was handled by the authorities.

Read the original here in Chinese