China Developing Fake Breast Milk

Existing formula may not be right for Chinese babies: researchers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2014 12:23 PM CDT
China Developing Fake Breast Milk
A woman carries a child past powdered milk products including cans of Dumex infant formula already inspected and deemed to be from a safe batch at a supermarket in Beijing, China, Aug. 5, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

China's government is spending $1.6 million to make its own breast milk. The goal is an artificial version of the milk of Chinese moms—a project that involves studying the real stuff to develop what China Daily calls a "breast milk database." Existing baby formula in the country adheres to World Health Organization ingredient standards, but it might not be quite right for China's infant population, Chinese researchers have said.

China is the world's biggest baby formula market, with parents spending $15 billion on it last year, Quartz notes. As of last year, only 28% of infants in the country were breastfed, compared to 40% globally, per a Wall Street Journal report. The new effort follows a formula crisis in 2008 that saw thousands of babies poisoned. "Consumers' awareness of the quality of baby formula has increased a lot" since then, says an expert. A project head admits that "the nutrition in baby formula can never reach the level of breast milk," noting that "we can only try our best to make it similar." (More breast milk stories.)

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