Cancer-causing chemicals found in China milk

Cancer-causing chemicals found in China milkBeijing, Dec 27 - A random check on 200 dairy products in 21 provinces in China revealed that at least two samples contained a cancer-causing chemical -- aflatoxin.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine published the report this weekend, the China Daily reported Tuesday.

The entire tainted batch produced by the Mengniu Group was destroyed at its plant in Meishan, Sichuan province, before it could reach the market, officials said Monday.

China's national standard allows a maximum of 0.5 micrograms of carcinogenic content in one kg of milk. The official test, however, found 1.2 micrograms of the toxic substance in the Mengniu group sample.

Aflatoxin is classified as a first-class carcinogen by the World Health Organisation.

"Experiments on animals have demonstrated a strong carcinogenic effect of the substance, and studies about epidemic diseases indicate that the content of the substance in food is relevant to the incidence of liver cancer," said Fan Zhihong, associate professor with China Agricultural University's college of food science and nutrition engineering.

She said the carcinogen can accumulate in the human body, and was resistant to heat.

"High temperature disinfection or pasteurizing cannot kill it at all," Fan said.

Dairy experts say the source of the toxin could be traced to cattle feed like corn, rice and soybean which produce the poison after having been stored for a long time, said Wang Dingmian, chairman of the Guangzhou Dairy Association. (IANS)