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Experts warn of substandard milk

Update: March, 06/2013 - 00:00

A customer buys milk at the Dong Thanh Plaza in Ninh Binh City. Nutritionists have claimed that substandard milk "can stunt the growth of children". — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

HCM CITY ( VNS) — Milk without sufficient protein content, which is being made by a number of companies in HCM City, can stunt the growth of babies, according to Do Thi Ngoc Diep, head of the HCM City Centre for Nutrition.

Diep was quoted as saying in Lao Dong newspaper that milk was the primary food for babies under two years old, providing children their major source of protein.

Depending on how much they weight, babies under six months old need 1.5 to 2.5 grammes of protein a day.

Babies between the age of one and three years old need 35–44 grammes of protein each day. Children between four and six years old require 44 to 55 grammes per day. For those between seven and 10 years old, 55-64 grammes are needed.

Dr Tran Dang, former head of the city's Food Administration, said that milk powder for babies should ensure 34 per cent of protein and 26-42 per cent of fat.

However, according to Codex-International Food Standards, the rate of protein in milk produced in Viet Nam for babies under 12 months is 11-18 per cent and for babies 12-36 months is 18-34 per cent.

A recent inspection by the city's Health Department at formula-milk production facilities of four companies found that many milk samples had a lower amount of protein than what was stated on the label of their products.

The companies are Nhu Trang in Tan Binh District, Hoang Khang in Binh Chanh, Tuan Cuong Phat in Binh Tan and Dai Hoa in District 6.

Maylac powder milk produced by Nhu Trang Company had just 14.97 per cent of powder but the figure on its labels say 34 per cent.

Four samples from the Tuan Cuong Phat Company showed that the milk powder had 7.37 per cent of protein, while 10 per cent was written on the label.

In addition, Holland Gold's label says the product contains 20 per cent protein, but inspectors found that samples contained only 6.96 per cent.

Samples from New Zealand milk had 6.96 per cent compared to 10 per cent on the label, and Ha Lan had 6.9 per cent compared to 10 per cent on its label.

The Mikamax milk powder of Dai Hoa Company contained 7.48 per cent but its label showed 8-13 per cent.

Recently, the Health Department's inspection of Tien Giang Province discovered that more than 1,000 Dinamlik containers had only 8 per cent of protein, but the products listed the amount as 26.99 per cent.

The company's production facility located in Tan Phu District also violated food safety and hygiene standards. The city has ordered that the facility suspend operations. —VNS

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