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Company claims its products have been qualified
Quality watchdogs in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, have launched a probe into the products of Kingkeys after a TV program highlighted parents' concerns over the impact of its nutrition supplements on their children's health.
In complaints made to a consumer program of Zhejiang TV, more than 160 consumers nationwide claimed that their children had suffered from calcium and vitamin D deficiencies after taking nutrition supplements made by Kingkeys, a Guangzhou-based company that claims to offer cod liver oil and calcium capsule's imported from Norway.
The TV station first reported the parents' concerns on March 6. The reported symptoms include delayed dental development, rib deformities and rickets.
A total of 166 consumers from provinces including Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Sichuan and Gansu have contacted the program to report similar problems, a reporter answering the channel's hotline said on Tuesday.
"I feel as if I was deceived into buying the expensive products," said a 30-year-old woman surnamed Yu from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
"The products were put on the shelves for health products and medicines in pharmacies. And the salesperson told me that the nutritional supplements were so effective that I could stop feeding our baby son the medicine I got from the hospital."
Yu fed her 30-month-old son Kingkeys' cod liver oil and calcium capsules since he was 1 year old. She spent more than 200 yuan ($32) a month on the products.
The boy was healthy when he had a check-up at the age of 13 months, but an examination last week showed that he was diagnosed as suffering from rib deformities, an early symptom of rickets.
"The brand exaggerated its products' effects and, as a result, I failed to supply my son with sufficient calcium and vitamin D," said Yu.
However, parents cannot rely on medicines or nutritional supplements to prevent their babies from contracting rickets, whose common cause is a lack of vitamin D, according to Su Yixiang, a nutriology professor at Sun Yat-sen University and expert of Chinese Nutrition Society.
"A baby may lack vitamin D if he doesn't get enough breast milk and powdered formula or doesn't get enough outdoor exercise," said Su.
Su added that taking excessive vitamin D causes vitamin D poisoning.
Su also dealt with the misunderstanding that babies need to take calcium supplements.
"Breast milk and powdered formulas are able to provide a baby with enough calcium. Too much calcium will harm a baby's kidneys," said Su.
In a statement released on Kingkeys' website, the company said that its products are enriched foods instead of health products or medicines that can satisfy "special needs".
Chief executives from Kingkeys and representatives of consumers in Hangzhou sent samples to a local food safety inspection organization on Monday to check the nutritional content of Kingkeys' products. The result is expected to be revealed on Friday.
The company told Southern Metropolis Daily on Monday that its products are qualified imported ones and it is willing to cooperate with quality watchdogs in the investigation.
Guangzhou Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision confirmed that Kingkeys' cod liver oil and milk calcium capsules are imported from Norway.
"The products don't claim to be health products or medicines on their packages," said an official from the publicity section of the bureau.
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