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More on China’s awful milk scandal

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 25, 2008

Alarmed by the news from China, more countries are banning the import of products containing Chinese milk. The latest: South Korea. The French are taking matters even further: They’re banning the import of products just on the possibility that they might contain Chinese milk. France “does not import Chinese dairy products but has halted imports of Chinese biscuits, candy or other foods that could contain Chinese dairy derivatives,” the AP reports. “The French government described the measure as a precaution.”

I’m certainly not an expert, but I suspect there’s really no scientific reason to be worried about eating a cookie or a piece of candy with a trace amount of Chinese milk. According to the news reports, the children who have developed kidney stones in China (as well as Hong Kong and Macao) were drinking the contaminated milk itself and drinking lots of it.

Which isn’t to minimize the extent of the tragedy that so many Chinese people are now enduring. As we look at the reaction of government officials and talk about what companies are losers and what companies are winners from the scandal, it’s important not to lose track of the truth at the center of this case. People decided it would be a good idea to take an industrial chemical used in production of plastics and leather and put it in milk. It’s shocking. Shocking, unless last year’s Made-in-China scandals made you suspicious of Chinese quality standards; in that case, maybe the latest scandal is sadly predictable.

Either way, thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of babies have gotten kidney stones from drinking this poison. Kidney stones. As someone who has had several kidney-stone attacks (my latest was a few months ago), I know how agonizingly painful they can be. Lie-down-on-the-floor-and-scream-for-morphine painful. Thousands of babies are now enduring that sort of pain. Some - the official number is currently four - have died. Meanwhile, parents are in a different sort of agony, knowing that they unwittingly gave their children poison. All because dairy producers decided to take some short cuts – and government officials didn’t have their act together enough to notice.

Reader Comments


September 26, 2008 12:24 AM

The FDA and the World Health Organization should mandate a [[ hazardous materials ]] labeling on all products from China. And consumers should just start suing all the major western companies who use materials from China for knowingly committing fraud and attempted murder.

Zhenyang Lu

September 26, 2008 2:27 AM

What are you shocking for?
The diet of yours are really poison. Fried food, fat, beer...These food have killed millions, and why don't you talk about fried food scandal, fat scandal and beer scandal.


September 26, 2008 4:03 AM

Dear Zhenyang Lu

At least that diet you mentioned is restricted to an individual. "Poisonous" as it may be , the person still has a choice not to eat it.

The shocker here is that the miscreants who tainted the milk gave the intended audience NO choice at all.

Worse it meant that defenseless babies and their worried parents have no alternative to their primary food.

Might I remind you that the majority of those affected are CHINESE.

Please reign in your nationalistic pride and have the humanity to be shocked rather than scold someone else.


September 26, 2008 4:41 AM

I am Chinese and I also feel shocked greatly!
I hate the attitude of government. There is no institution to supervise the quality of foods.

XU Jing

September 26, 2008 5:18 AM

The Chinese government should be the very one to be blamed. But now they just attributed the responsibility of the shocking scandal to several individuals (one city mayor and one President). They are scapegoats. Chinese official puts more efforts in blocking news. And bringing people into the space is more important than bringing people with security.


September 26, 2008 5:49 AM

To Zhenyang Lu:

That was prety stupid comments. Your comments enough to show how heartless or brainless you are. There is no need to be so nationalistic pride. We were worng on the Milk Scandal, be brave to admit it.


September 26, 2008 6:51 AM

The high ranking Chinese Government officials are having a separated food supply chain. Only the organic foods from specific clean water reagions and organic teas from the high mountainous Tibet area are qualified as the daily diets for the Communist China high ranking government officials and the retired high ranking officials. They do not care about what poisonous foods the common people are taking everyday!


September 26, 2008 7:05 AM

Zhenyang Lu's comment is representative of China's "face" culture. Defiance, anger, and personal attacks is the customary response of Chinese who are questioned for indiscretions. Though they may be 100% to blame, a chinese will never admit it.


September 26, 2008 8:41 AM

Have they kept feeding trash to their babies??? I don't know what to say. As far as I know in China, most of things they produce are counterfeit. Be careful Chinese. Don't Believe chinese company. For yall


September 26, 2008 8:46 AM

so scary, why do they keep producing fake, poisonous things to chinese even rest of country all over the world. I don't know what to say. what I can firstly do is not going to chinese restauran.

Mike Mou

September 26, 2008 8:49 AM

I am shocked that Melamine (toxic) is even tolerated as acceptable "within limits" in the food industry. It shouldn't be in food in the first place! When greed becomes acceptable and companies disowning responsibility in the aftermath, there is something clearly very immoral about their business ethics.

Unscrupulous companies making fat profits at the expense of young Chinese lives — beware, Chinese consumers are smart and unforgiving, they will surely repay with their brand disloyalty.


September 26, 2008 10:29 AM

How do I go about censoring articles by specific BW authors from appearing on my screen? It's only fair since you mealy mouthed "journalists" practices censorship, I should be allowed to do the same to you. Stop showing up your one sided journalistic "excellence" on my advertised screens.


September 26, 2008 5:44 PM

As Chinese, this is really horrible news. It does show how greedy some of these business people can be. I hope that the business community will reflect on this and avoid anything similar happening in the future.

This is also an important lesson to teach the next generation of busines people.

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