China Goes In Search Of The Formula For Breast Milk

over 1 year ago

What's the Latest Development?

After placing restrictions on imports of baby formula last week, the Chinese government has announced that it's planning to spend US$1.6 million researching a formula that would more closely mimic Chinese women's own breast milk. Current domestically-produced offerings are manufactured using guidelines supplied by the World Health Organization; the new version will be made with an ingredient database developed from the research. 

What's the Big Idea?

China is the world's largest market for baby formula, with parents buying $15 billion worth last year alone. However, much of that comes from overseas, due in some part to a 2008 incident in which six infants died after ingesting melamine-laced domestic formula. Due largely to aggressive marketing by formula companies, governmental efforts to encourage breastfeeding haven't been successful: Only 28 percent of Chinese mothers go that route, compared to 40 percent of mothers worldwide. So if, as predicted, formula will continue to be a permanent part of infants' diets, it makes sense for the government to revive and encourage the use of "recipes" that are close to homegrown.

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Read it at Quartz

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