In another shocking episode of adulteration, Chinese public health officials have announced the recall of infant formula contaminated with melamine. The Chinese obviously have a problem; last year Chinese manufacturers contaminated pet foods with melamine in a fraudulent effort to boost the protein level to make more money. The draw of this additive is apparently irresistible to Chinese food manufacturers. Even after the public execution of officials and others involved in food safety scandals, the Chinese are unable to restrain themselves and have poisoned thousands of their own babies, and may have tried to hide it. Of course, this brings to our attention that unbridled greed is at work in China, with the complicity’s of their international trading partners. The Chinese manufacturers of the contaminated baby formula that has killed a number of children and sickened thousands has ties to international food suppliers, one of whom knew of the contamination for weeks. Accountability and liability should extend to all who have had business dealings with this firm; the final revelation of the deadly threat was delayed according to the story below by official Chinese inaction. If this is true, and history would support that conclusion, Chinese food safety, regulation and public health protection must be questioned for every product produced in China and firms doing business in China need to keep their Chinese partners under close surveillance.

Here is a link to recent infamous Chinese product safety scandals

Original Article: Chinese hospitals are fighting to save the lives of some of the 1,253 babies who have fallen sick after they were fed milk powder contaminated with an industrial chemical used to make plastic cups and saucers.

Two babies have already died from drinking the formula laced with melamine in a ploy by farmers to boost the apparent protein content of the milk that they sold to one of the best-known milk powder manufacturers in the country. Police have arrested nineteen people, including two brothers who ran a milk collection station.

The brothers are alleged to have added melamine to milk that they sold on from farmers. State media said that their milk had been rejected several times previously by the manufacturer Sanlu Group.

The scandal came to light only because of the intervention of Helen Clark, the New Zealand Prime Minister, who was informed by the New Zealand joint venture partner of the Chinese company of its failure to persuade it to recall the product. Ms Clark said that the food giant Fonterra had been trying for weeks to make Sanlu Group recall the product but “the local authorities in China would not do it”. Fonterra has a 43 per cent stake in Sanlu, but had to follow Chinese rules in handling the incident.

Sanlu halted production last week after investigators found that the melamine in its milk powder caused kidney stones and other complications in infants. It recalled all its products made before August 6.

The children are victims of two of China’s greatest evils: greed and secrecy. Greed has contributed to poor safety: only a few years ago 13 babies died after they were fed a sub-stand-ard fake formula marketed under the Sanlu brand. The determination to stage a perfect Olympic Games may also have delayed revelation of the adulterated milk powder. Twenty-one topics were banned from Chinese media during the Olympics – eighth on the list was food safety scandals.

Li Changjiang, the Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said: “It’s shocking. It’s a crime against the people.”

The eleven-month-old son of a lawyer, who identified himself only as Mr Sun, is in hospital after being fed the milk powder since he was two days old. The child’s nanny had told Mr Sun that he had difficulty urinating. Mr Sun told The Times: “We told her to give him more water. Who would ever think of the milk powder?

“We both regret not paying more attention to our son or we might have identified the problem earlier.”

By yesterday morning illnesses linked to the powder had been diagnosed in 1,253 children, with 340 still in hospital and 53 in serious condition.

Toxic history

— Half of all dangerous goods seized in Europe in 2007 came from China

— Last year China found two companies guilty of intentionally exporting contaminated pet food

— US authorities last year gave warning that monkfish imported from China may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin

— In 2005 Sudan 1, a carcinogenic food colouring, was found in Chinese branches of KFC

— In January a survey found almost two thirds of Chinese people were worried about food safety

Sources: European Commission, Times archives