Posted by: Frederik Balfour on October 30, 2008
The bad news for China’s food industry just won’t stop, and you have to wonder what tainted product will be uncovered next. First we had melamine added to mainland produced milk, which has been responsible for four deaths and thousands of infants striken with kidney problems in China. That soon led to revelations of contaminated chocolate, yogurt and other processed foods which use milk powder or whole milk an ingredient. Then last weekend, Hong Kong supermarkets yanked Chinese eggs from the shelves after testing revealed high levels of melamine in a brand originating from Dalian-based Hanwei Group. Contaminated eggs have also shown up in Hangzhou and now, Wal-Mart has pulled the brand from all its stores across China, and Hong Kong authorities have found contaminated eggs orignating from Hubei province.
Meanwhile, the repercussions for food producers outside China continue to spread in the face of melamine scare. In Indonesia, confectionary company Mars learned that the government destroyed 2,000 boxes of Snickers and M&M chocolates made with Chinese dairy products.
What all of this underscores, is that in the absense of adequate government monitoring of food safety in China [and restrictions on the press from reporting on problems until they get the government’s approval to do so], the responsibility to prevent corrupt and unscrupulous individuals from putting the public at risk must lie with the manufacturers and food processors to monitor every step of the food supply chain.