Dec 29 (Reuters) - The website of China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd was hacked on Wednesday night after the country’s biggest dairy operator admitted that some of its milk products contained a cancer-causing substance, Chinese media reported.
A one-page message left by a hacker named “Angry Ms.SIT” appeared on Mengniu’s website calling the company “a disgrace to our nation”, according to screenshots displayed on several Chinese news sites including Sina News and the website of the official People’s Daily.
The message appeared on Mengniu’s website on Wednesday before midnight, the People’s Daily reported. The message has since been removed but the Mengniu website www.mengniu.com.cn could not be accessed on Thursday morning.
Mengniu officials could not be immediately reached for comment, despite repeated calls.
Last weekend, Mengniu said in a statement that its Sichuan plant had destroyed products found by the government quality watchdog to contain aflatoxin, a substance that can cause severe liver damage, including liver cancer. The incident is the latest of several safety scandals to hit China’s dairy industry in recent years.
In 2008, at least six children died and nearly 300,000 became ill in China from drinking powdered milk laced with melamine, an industrial chemical added to low quality or diluted milk to give misleadingly high protein readings.
The latest Mengniu scandal triggered a consumer backlash on Wednesday on microblogging site Sina Weibo, where Mengniu’s name became the most searched item and calls for a boycott of Mengniu products were shared by tens of thousands of Weibo users.
Shares of Mengniu Dairy were down 2.3 percent in early trade on Thursday, extending the previous session’s 24 percent tumble. (Reporting By Sisi Tang in HONG KONG; Editing by Charlie Zhu)