Friday, September 19, 2008

Made In China, Imported from Hell

Tainted milk in China claimed the 4th victim yesterday. As the government finally cracks down on the baby milk production companies, they have found nearly 70 milk products tainted from 20 companies. Out of 175 companies, at least 66 have been reported to have stop production. What is even more alarming is that their largest production company, Mengniu has also been tested positive while another large company found positive is Yili. Although most claimed that the tainted milk powder were marketed and distributed domestically, these companies are known to export their product to several other countries such as Taiwan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Chad, Burundi and even Hong Kong. I'm not sure whether any of the products were exported to Malaysia although I remembered reading it in the papers that one of the companies do. Our ministry has assured us that none of the tainted products were imported but then again, who do we trust anymore. In fact, what product and whose product should we trust now? The world is in a crisis. In fact, it was reported that Hong Kong has ordered for a recall when melamine was found in ice cream bar made by Shanghai Yili AB Foods. So, we are talking of a much wider impact as the test and search has expanded to include and indicate contamination of food other than milk powder.

If any of the exports did include the tainted milk powder, the impact and damage is going to be much more widespread and what we are seeing in China is probably the tip of an iceberg.

China has been outrageous and not new to all these scandals. This is the second reported scandal involving baby milk powder. It was reported in 2004 that 13 infants in eastern China's Anhui province died of nutritional deficiencies after being fed sub-standard milk powder and over 170 infants fell sick in what the Chinese press said involved pirated Sanlu products.

Melamine was also reported to have tainted pet food in US (again reportedly imported from China) in 2007 resulting in a high number of death among cats and dogs. The investigation conducted raise the alarm of the possibility of melamine contamination not only in pet feed but also all animal feed as well as the human food supply.

So, what do we buy from China? Or rather, what do we dare to buy from China anymore? If you pick up a can of luncheon meat with the Made from China label despite being 50% cheaper as compared to other imported brands, do you buy? If we don't buy, and opt for the imported brands, they are so much more expensive and burn an even bigger hole in our home budget deficit. So, what can we do?

For me, we will stick with home manufactured good old breast milk as much as we possibly can for Ryan. And we will try cooking more vegetables and rely less on canned and preserved food for now.

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