“The fear is so deep-rooted that it goes beyond milk powder—food rumors about things such as plastic seaweed and seedless grapes cultivated with birth control medicines frequently send consumers into a tailspin.
There are at least three reasons for the failure to restore people’s confidence in domestic food, notes Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global health at the Council for Foreign Relations in New York.
“It’s very hard to have a strong sense of optimism.”
One is the excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers in the 1980s (pdf, p.3), which has contaminated farmland, and could be transferred to cows that eat that grass. The government has only just started to tackle the problem, Huang said in an interview with Quartz. China also has a top-down regulatory method, which makes it hard for the public to engage with the process, particularly given the lack of press freedom, he says. There is also a general perception of a “moral decline” in China, where people try to make money by whatever means it takes, Huang adds, noting that sometimes even farmers themselves don’t eat what they grow (link in Chinese) for the market….”
Get the full story on Quartz (qz.com).
Are we all Chinese now that China holds America's trillion dollar debt? Photo of dairy aisle in Chinese supermarket from China News.
Here are some telling excerpts from a recent post on the Haphazard Gourment blog. The Mr. Marler quoted below is a lawyer who specializes in food poisoning litigation.
“….So what is the massive disconnect with FDA’s position on China? Mr. Marler’s response is haunting:
“Why did the FDA not recall any Chinese product suspected with melamine? One reason, China owns one trillion dollars of our debt. China is our banker and you do not mess with your banker. Think about how quickly the FDA threw the spinach and tomato industries under the bus when contamination was suspected.”….”
Earlier in the same post they say: Continue reading
This story comes to us from the "Chinaworker" news site
Even eggs are contaminated with melamine in China. Photo from Mercola.
Here’s an Asian perspective on the contaminated milk crisis — in which it seems much more than milk is contaminated, and the contaminants are not limited to melamine. Here’s an excerpt from the Chinaworker site, from a story dated November 3rd, 2008:
“Fish, pork, and chicken contaminated with the industrial chemical melamine along with milk and eggs
Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info
China’s food contamination crisis deepens by the day. More rigorous food testing in the wake of September’s toxic milk scandal has unearthed widespread use of melamine – a chemical used to make plastics and glue – in a range of animal products including eggs and fish. Melamine is banned from food production as it causes kidney and liver disorders. This was tragically shown when four infants died and more than 13,000 were hospitalised after being weaned on tainted infant formula. Melamine had been deliberately added to thinned-out milk to raise its protein content – and profits. Chinese people are used to food scares. But the plight of small children, given the government’s one child policy, meant this scandal would inevitably have massive repercussions. Sales of milk and milk products have plunged since mid-September. The government has faced a storm of pressure effectively ending its Olympic ‘honeymoon period’. Continue reading
Nido and Lactogen, two Nestle products affected by the recall in South Africa
Unlike in the United States where public health officials are pretending it’s “business as usual” (see post below), South African health officials have ordered Nestle to withdraw products from store shelves.
Here are excerpts from two news stories covering this latest development in the melamine saga. The first, from The Times, titled “Nestle Baby Formula Recall”, is by Nivashni Nair:
“Tests reveal high melamine levels in two batches of local infant formula
BATCHES of Nestlé baby formula have been pulled off shelves in South Africa after tests showed they contained unacceptably high levels of melamine.
Blog: Contaminated baby formula: From the mouths of cows
The department of health said yesterday that mothers should stop using the products Nido and Lactogen and return them to the shops at which they were bought. Continue reading
FDA Chemist testing for melamine. FDA photo.
Thanks no doubt to the far-reaching results of globalization, companies that supply 90% of the American baby formula market are finding melamine in their products. Here’s an excerpt from the Associated Press story (via The Huffington Post):
“Traces of the industrial chemical melamine have been detected in samples of top-selling U.S. infant formula, but federal regulators insist the products are safe. The Food and Drug Administration said last month it was unable to identify any melamine exposure level as safe for infants, but a top official said it would be a “dangerous overreaction” for parents to stop feeding infant formula to babies who depend on it.
“The levels that we are detecting are extremely low,” said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “They should not be changing the diet. If they’ve been feeding a particular product, they should continue to feed that product. That’s in the best interest of the baby.” Continue reading
In today’s post we feature a picture parade that tells the story of melamine contamination in milk products, what it is, what it’s for, how it works and some hints on how to recognize and avoid contaminated foods.
Chinese mothers feed their babies -- Telegraph photo
Adulteration of milk has historically not been limited to China. In North America, in the early decades of the last century, substances such as chalk were added to milk from large dairy farms that tried to cut their costs by feeding their cows distillery swill (leftovers from the distillation process) instead of hay and pasture. With it’s fairly recent shift to industrialization, China may well be going through a similar sort of birthing pains as were once felt here in Canada and the United States. But while we used chalk, they’re using melamine. But the purpose was the same — to make the milk seem more nutritious than it really is.
Ultimately, the lesson of the melamine scandal is: Know where your food is coming from. Cultivate personal relationships with local growers, because the corporate food chain just can’t be counted on to look out for the health of consumers. Beyond melamine there’s the whole issue of GMOs just lurking under the level of public awareness. How long will it take before GMO contamination becomes the next “melamine scare”?
Thanks to farmer Michael Schmidt for passing the following information and pictures along to the Bovine, which he received in the form of an email. We’ve edited some of it for style and content. Continue reading
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt speaks at the opening for the new U.S. Food and Drug Administration office in Beijing , China, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration opened a new office Wednesday in China's capital, its first outside the United States, as part of a new global strategy to ensure the safety of trillions of dollars of imports.(AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel) -- Caption & photo from Associated Press.
In case anyone is in any doubt about intentions to offshore North-America’s food and dairy production, here’s a chilling story from Associated Press about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration setting up a branch in Bejing.
And of course they’re cleaning up China’s dairy operations to meet world standards, or so they say.
Here’s an excerpt from the recent Associated Press story by Tina Tran:
“…Milk and milk products tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical, have been blamed in the deaths of at least three infants and have sickened more than 50,000 others. The government has detained dozens of people in the scandal, but there have been no court cases so far. Continue reading