Breastfeeding benefits both mothers and children
Australian-Chinese Primary Industry Council, agreed with Ling’s comments and backed her idea of independent inspections.
“Pollution and a lack of arable land in China mean it is reasonable for local brands to build factories overseas and they should be encouraged to do so. However, because more products will be made overseas it will be necessary to have a third-party, global qualitytracking platform,” he said.
He added that it is essential to regulate manufacturers, and the industry urgently needs to reassure consumers because that will be key to rebuilding confidence.
“It’s strange that even a decade after the scandal, Chinese parents still don’t use local formula because both domestic and foreign-made products used to have quality problems. However, a recent case involving Lactalis Group, an international dairy company based in France, may offer some clues on how to handle adversity,” he said.
On Jan 12, the Lactalis website said the company had recalled all infant formula products manufactured and conditioned in its facility in Craon, France, following suspicions that some were contaminated with salmonella agona.
Two days later, 37 infants were reported to have been taken ill after drinking the formula, according to The Guardian, a British newspaper.
“The company reacted swiftly by quickly identifying the factory involved, followed by an instant recall of products and offers of compensation,” Tong said.
To restore consumer confidence, he suggested that instead of investing billions into advertising their charitable donations to the poor, Chinese formula manufacturers should establish a joint insurance fund to deal with breaches of safety in the industry nationwide.
“It is important to rebuild the image of Chinese companies as professional and responsible. We can’t place the entire responsibility on the government, whose main role is that of a watchdog,” he said.
“Finding a solution to the problem is an experiment in reshaping the ‘Made in China’ brand. If we can make this breakthrough, I think problems in other industries could be solved quickly in the future.”
Wang Xiaodong contributed to this story.
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Recent research has added to evidence that breastfeeding is beneficial to both mothers and babies.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published monthly by the American Medical Association, on Jan 16 showed that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of diabetes among young mothers.
The 30-year-long communitybased study carried out by Kaiser Permanente, a managed care organization in the United States, suggested that women who breastfed for six months or more across all births had a 47 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared with those who did not breastfeed at all.
“We found a very strong association between breastfeeding duration and a lower risk of developing diabetes, even after accounting for all possible confounding risk factors,” wrote lead author Erica Gunderson, a senior research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente research division, in a statement.
In addition, other research suggests that breast milk is beneficial to infants in more than just a nutritional sense.
A study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2013 showed that early and late exposure to solid foods may promote the development of Type 1 diabetes in children, but breastfeeding combined with the gradual introduction of wheat or barley can enhance protection.
Quoted by China Radio International, Wang Danhua, professor of pediatrics at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, said: “Breast milk contains some hormones which help to promote a baby’s growth and appetite. What’s more, the mother’s milk plays an active protective role in the immune systems of premature babies.”
A fact sheet on the website of the World Health Organization recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life, followed by the introduction of solid foods along with breastfeeding for another two years or more.
However, only 20 percent of women in China breastfeed their child exclusively in the first six months of life. The figure, based on the latest available research conducted in 2013 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is lower than the global average of 38 percent.
When considering how to increase the number of breastfeeding mothers, an editorial in The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal in the United Kingdom, suggested protected nursing breaks and insurance cover for breast pumps.
“More important, genuine and urgent commitment is needed from governments and health authorities to establish a new normal: where every woman can expect to breastfeed and to receive all the support she needs to do so,” it added.