China's health ministry says infant girls' breast growth not linked to milk formula

China's health ministry on Sunday said investigations conducted by it have found no evidence that powered milk made by a Chinese company caused four infant girls in that country to grow breasts.

Chinese doctors suspected that infant girls, ranging in age from four to fifteen months, three from the central city of Wuhan and a fourth in Beijing have shown signs of premature development, including growth of breasts after consuming infant milk formula made by Synutra International.

Medical tests conducted on three of the four infants showed that all of them had abnormal levels of the hormones estradiol and prolactin, which induces the production of breast milk, the China Daily reported last week.

However, China's health ministry said it conducted tests on 42 samples of Synutra milk as well as 31 samples from 14 Chinese and foreign brands across the country to check the level of estrogen but found no signs of inappropriate hormones in any of the samples.

According to some Chinese media reports, three of the infant girls had never consumed infant milk formula made by Synutra, while the fourth did take Synutra milk powder, but had switched brands.

Qingdao-based Synutra had strongly refuted the claims made by doctors and even threatened to take legal action against those making false allegations.