In China, toddlers are left with deformed heads and other disabilities after they are fed with "Protein Milk Powder" (product named Bei An Min) sold as baby formula.
It has been more than 10 years since the melamine(toxic chemical used to make plastic) milk powder wave, another milk powder scandal that took six lives and sickened nearly 300,000 babies. Yet again, another baby powder scandal is making Chinese residents furious.
According to Chinese media Hunan Economy TV, the latest health scandal took place in the city of Chenzhou in southern China's Hunan province and authority immediately launched an investigation.
Recently, in Yongxing County, some infants who ate "special formula" for children with milk allergies suffered side effects such as eczema on the body, weight loss, and even unusual swellings of the head.
Also, other boys and girls who consumed the milk powder with this particular formula reported to display significantly lower height, intelligence, and cognitive disability compared to healthy infants, and in severe cases, organ damages.
The product in question turned out to be just a regular solid drink without necessary ingredients and nutritional values.
Some infants were diagnosed with rickets. A rickets disease is a bone disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. When vitamin D is insufficient, calcium is difficult to attach to bones, resulting in bone deformation and growth disorder.
The Mother of a child who suffers from side effects of fake milk powder said in an interview with Hunan TV that "Others all say that your child looks like a 'big-headed baby' and ask if she is a deformed child."
The Mother said she was recommended this product by a salesperson saying it was the best formula in the store, "The salesperson said that all babies with allergies eat it." And when she asked why this product is marked "solid drink of protein", the salesperson answered that it is another name for baby milk formula.
"When I heard the news [that it was just a drink], I was devastated. We had always believed that it was a formula. The sales assistants had been telling us that it was formula too," said the Mother. "It wasn't until later that we found out it was a type of drink. It means my daughter had fed on a drink for more than two years."
The Mother said her monthly salary was around 2,000 yuan ($280), but she had to spend 3,000 yuan ($420) on the product every month for her daughter.
There was also a child who started to behave abnormally. One of the parents said his daughter had repeatedly been slapping herself on the head several times a day after being left with intellectual disability due to the regular consumption of the special formula.
The Father of the infant said that the child had stopped growing in height and weight from 12 to 18 months of age.
Chinese authorities immediately formed an investigation team through an overnight meeting and started a full investigation of child food safety as well as health checks for infants and young children.
Authorities decided to cover the full cost of treatment to infants who were severely impacted by this misleading product.
Milk powder containing melamine was widely distributed in 2008, killing at least six infants and 300,000 people. Companies have been found to have added melamine to milk powder to deceive protein content. Even at that time, infants who ate this powdered milk had abnormally enlarged heads.
Since then, it has been fashionable for Chinese tourists to purchase large quantities of powdered milk in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea.
Also, in 2003, the heads of children who ate low-quality powdered milk in Anhui Province showed signs of enlargement, and 13 infants and children died in this incident.