Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cry Foul Over Spoiled Milk

As predicted in our previous entry, the melamine-in-Chines-milk scandal continues to grow - and it's too early to say the problem is behind us. The initial reaction of "don't worry, Chinese dairy products can't be sold in the US" has now been replaced with "non dairy creamer recalled in US". It also appears that Chinese dairy ingredients, blended into other food components, can be a pathway for contaminated products to get into cookies, sauces, and packets of dried pizza cheese around the world.

There are still a lot of questions unresolved.

1. The Chinese government ordered a crackdown on food adulteration after the pet food poisonings, and created a new agency to oversee testing. In a classic case of bureaucratic incompetence, however, Sanlu and 21 other companies considered in good standing were exempt from inspections by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
2. How many dairy farmers adulterated their products this way? How did they discover the adding melamine method, and did they know of the consequences of adding melamine?
3. How can consumers know whether their products contain potentially contaminated products?
4. What is China going to do to rebuild trust in its products - trust that is currently battered and shredded? Adding regulation and reactive testing are unlikely to be sufficient.

Expect more revelations before the week is out.