10/06/2008

Fall From Grace: China & The Baby Milk Scandal

So China had been rolling pretty well: they hosted the Beijing Olympics amidst boycott threats etc; they sent their taikonauts to space with pride & joy: who'd knew that the fall from grace would come in the form of formulated baby milk?

Now we know.

So what is the scandal about, really? Here's a simple rundown of the issue at hand.

I quote from the BBC

"First they dilute the raw milk with water to increase its volume, often up to about 30%," said one of several experts who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity. The problem is that the dilution also lowers the nutrient content of the milk, especially its protein, and that lowers the price paid for the milk. That is when the melamine comes in. A nitrogen compound, it makes the milk appear to have more protein. Until now, no dairy was testing its milk for melamine, not just in China but across Australasia, with consequences that are now known to be fatal.

So now what we have is toxic milk being used to manufacture dairy products within the region. So far more than 6000 babies have fallen ill & 3 infants had died as a result of consuming this toxic milk. Humans aren't the only ones affected; animals in zoos are falling ill as they were fed the contaminated milk. 

The outrage is simple: how could the manufacturer allow addition of such a dangerous chemical into a product that will reach many consumers? How could the authorities allow such a thing to happen?

As parents panic over their children's safety, as the government carries out crackdowns on dairy companies (as well as on people reporting the scandal), one can only see that the shine & hope from the recent Beijing Olympics & the Taikonauts' success has been eclipsed by such unethical & dangerous practices. 

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