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China: Infant-killer milk powder sickens the country

Is food in China edible? Chinese people started to ask.

Since last year, alerted by a series of products safety accidents, the world has questioned China of its food, toys and even animal feed safety, while the answers, both official and folk, were that Made in China is trustable. But now as the toxic infant formula showed up again in China, killing 2 babies, sickening hundreds more, our trust has painfully drained away, taken place by panic.

It started from 9 Sep, in Gansu province, where press revealed that 14 infants were afflicted by kidney stones, suspected of having had contaminated infant formula.

In the next day, scores more cases were reported, and the victim babies were all found to have milk powder manufactured by one company, the Sanlu Group, a leading Chinese dairy producer.

The situation kept worsening. In 10 Sep, an infant died of the disease. In ten other provinces, kidney-stone babies were reported. In interviews, doctors in different places agreed that they found cases of baby kidney stones abnormally surged in the past a few months.

Fengfeng, 7-month-year-old from Jiangxi province, had milk powder made by Sanlu Group since his birth, and had already suffered from two kidney surgeries due to the stones. Now, his parents found more people sharing the same experience.

However, Sanlu refused to claim its responsibility by stating at 10am, 11 Sep that “the formula is produced strictly at national standard”. It moreover alleged that according to the Gansu province quality check department its products were of good quality, reassuring “their milk power has no problem”.

But the Ministry of Health gave Sanlu the late while fatal strike, just a few hours after the company’s self-explanation, officially warning people to stop taking tainted infant formula by Sanlu. One hour later, turning 180 degree in attitude, Sanlu announced a recall of its products. By estimation, the tainted formula amount to 700 tons. Not until this moment were millions of babies protected from the deadly dairy products.

Too late

Up till now, 16 Sep, 1253 sickened babies were reported, 2 of them died. Panic is spreading. There are over 30 thousand potential victims, predicted from Sanlu’s influence in domestic market.

In a formal statement by Sanlu, it claimed that a chemical called melamine, usually used in plastic production, had been added to the formula by dairy farmers and milk dealers. The purpose of doing so, accordingly, is that the nitrogen-rich chemical could help the milk meet the nitrogen standard which is to test the protein content, after they added water to dilute the milk and gain more profit.

But such a statement came too late, much later than the fact was actually discovered.

猪猡纪 in his blog posted a screen shot, which shows as early as in July, 31, an urology pediatrician has complained on the website of Administration of Quality Supervision, that he doubted infant formula was the cause of kidney stones in babies he had treated. However, his suggestion only got the response ——“Go to find the health department.”

Netizen “zcfonline” further more pointed in BBS that:

三鹿发布召回2008年8月6日以前的产品,为什么现在到了9月12日才发布,并且只是8月6日以前产品。事实这样,三鹿已经获悉毒奶粉造成的危害了,8月6日以后的产品中取消了该三聚氰胺的添加,又是一种不负责任的行为,让祖国的花朵又忍受了一个多月的毒害!
  三鹿企业理应破产!

Only the products made before 6, Aug were recalled and such a recall is not published until 12, Sep. The fact is, Sanlu has actually discovered the problem long ago and stop using melamine in formula made after 6, Aug. Its late recall poisoned our babies one more month.
It should bankrupt!

What might be devastated is not only one company; made-in-China is undergoing a severe test as well.

Early in March, 2007, U.S FDA has found pet feed killed dogs and cats due to the melamine added to the raw material imported from China. The use of the chemical is exactly the same as this time, but it is not enough to alert Chinese government, though it claimed in 2007 after this event

中国政府打击三聚氰胺取得可喜成果

Administration achieved greatly in rooting out melamine (2007)

The trust on Made-in-China endangered, even in Chinese hearts

In 2007, when Chinese products got attacks due to the lead in toys, and in 2008, Carrefour got boycotted because of the unfriendly treat of torch relay in France, people called on a firm support of domestic products. But today, as 尤大之吻 said

我爱国,但是民族企业自己不争气,让我们无从爱起。

I love my country, but my country’s enterprises were so disappointing that I find nothing to love.

aswlw888 complained

恳求国家质检总局将中国人类食品标准提高到美国狗粮标准

I entreat the Administration of Quality Supervision to enhance the standard of food safety for human in China to that of the pet in U.S.A.

莫之许 in bullog.cn posted a text record of CCTV’s probe into how melamine was added to the milk.

只见他拿着一口大碗,从一个纸箱里舀出白色粉末倒入桶内,水桶里已经有了一些奶白色的液体,还用手仔细将碗里的残留物抹干净,随后这名工人拿着一根钢管用 力搅拌,搅拌的同时还把沾在水桶、钢管和手上的东西一一抹干净,和到水桶里,搅拌均匀后,再将这调好的一桶桶白色液体倒入奶罐中。

….. the journalist saw the worker bowled white powder from a paper box into the barrels, in which some milky liquid was already there. He then wiped out the residue in the bowl, and stirred the barrel with an steel club….. he then poured the barrels of white mixture into the milk tanks.

The white powder is exactly the chemical used to increase the nitrogen content to cheat that there was more protein than it actually had.

The journalist found:

而500多元买来的掺假原料就能勾兑出价值2000多元的牛奶

The adulteration material bought in 500 RMB could make mike sold in over 2000 RMB.

The adulteration, according to the news source, is prevalent among local milk farmers.

Who is to blame?

Now with no doubt Sanlu is the target of fury, even though it tried to exculpate itself, claiming it was also the victim of unlawful milk farmers. But in another GVO post by I-fan, you can see how people argue against it, saying Sanlu deliberately added the chemical.

Blogger Beifeng(北风)also posted a collection of questionable points, pointing Sanlu is likely to be the real murderer.

2.有问题的是700吨奶粉,要数千吨鲜奶原料啊……几家奶农加三聚氰胺能达到这效果?

….. 2. the 700 tons of milk powder need thousands of tons of raw material, and melamine by a few milk farmers could make such a consequence?

3.三聚氰胺是微溶于水!加鲜奶里暂时成为混悬液,放置后应该会有大量沉淀的……

(Milk powder is dried from liquid milk). Melamine is only slightly soluble in water! Adding it to liquid milk would create lot of sediment.(It should be tested out by Sanlu)

10. 假如真的奶农掺了三聚氰胺,那么三鹿的所有奶粉都出问题才是,事实上,只有三鹿最便宜的婴儿奶粉出了问题……

If farmers added melamine then all the products by Sanlu should have problems. But in fact, only the cheapest type, the infant formula were found tainted.

Besides Sanlu Group, the government is also undergoing people’s inquiries. In March, when sickened babies’ parents first appealed the administration to check Sanlu formula, all they got is a guarantee of no problem. And in 2, Sep, the state media CCTV even recommended Sanlu as a shining star of made-in-china, a trustworthy symbol.

Many babies started to take Sanlu formula since their birth due to the brand’s reputation, which means the problematic formula has existed for years. But the shame is that during the course, the authority stood by.

Famous columnist, blogger Lianyue 连岳 said in his post “If Snalu keep standing, the Chinese government would fall”:

3、所有相关职能部门的破产。三鹿不仅牵扯到质检、卫生、工商、食品药品监督等等部门,还有强大的国家宣传机器背书——比如CCTV,三鹿从现在新闻来看,早在07年底就涉毒,从高强的讲话来看,三鹿三月就知道自己产品有毒,这反证了所有职能部门形同虚设,在这么长的时间里,它们没有作为,甚至几天前,还有甘肃的质检部门证明其合格,人们因此得出政府信用破产的结论,是必然的.

It might bring to the bankruptcy of all the related national departments. Sanlu scandal concerns Quality Check, Health, Commercial, and Food Supervision departments, and the national propaganda machine CCTV. Judged from the news, Sanlu has produced tainted formula since last year, and it itself understood this, according to Gaoqiang, the minister of health department.
This shows all the departments were useless craps. It did nothing at all in such a long time. Even a few days ago the provincial department admits Sanlu’s good quality. People could certainly judge from this that the credit of government is no more.

But a netizen 月落鸟不啼 commented ironically:

三鹿不会倒,中国政府也不会倒,光看看汶川地震后的报告吧,学校都处在地震带上这种谎言都编的出口,他们还有什么不敢说的

S

anlu would stand, so will Chinese government. Look at the report published after the Si-chuan earthquake, which says all the collapsed schools were standing on seismic belt, such a ridiculous lie. What else dare they not say?

Or everything would just be like what 空心狂人 said:

这是中国,习惯就好!

This is China. Get used to it, and all will be fine!

  • http://karinajones.wordpress.com/ Karina Jones

    this is terrible, i guess the most troubling fact in all of this is that innocent babies are the ones at the receiving end of it.

  • Renata Avila

    I am really sorry and surprised. It might be an example for all countries that ethical authorities and strict, careful and skilled professionals are fundamental not only to improve our wealth, sometimes the lack of it can cause some inocent baby´s death.

  • ali baba

    http://club.cat898.com/newbbs/dispbbs.asp?boardid=1&id=2445246

    石家庄三鹿集团总部昨日有上万计消费者上门退货,部分人神情激愤,险酿冲突;而石家庄市各大医院儿科和泌尿科亦有人满之患,大批心情忐忑的家长带子女到医院化验就诊。

    Yesterday up to 10,000 consumers went to Shi Jia Juan Sanlu headquarter to return its products, some of them were emotionally upset, and on the verge of confrontation; most of the city’s hospitals were full, large group of worrying parents bringing their children to have tests or treatments.

    来自石家庄及周边城镇的市民昨日源源不绝地涌来退货。下午4时许,三鹿集团人员因暂时无现金支付,许多退货人士只收到一张欠条,退货时又因奶粉重量及退款等事发生纠纷,引致现场人士鼓噪谩骂,险些发生推撞。

    Yesterday waves upon waves of people from Shi Jia Juan and surrounding towns were demanding refunds. At 4 pm, Sanlu had run out of cash, many people demanding refund were given an IOU slip, and many arguments regarding the weight and the amount of cash,resulting in agitations and cursing, nearly causing push and shovel.

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  • Xiao Xuan

    It’s about time to eliminate the corrupt system or there is no such thing as justice in the world.If a government does not care about human life, I doubt what evil things it can not do.

  • Nena

    All this corruption in the Chinese government and companies really upsets me. It makes me worry so much for my friends in China.

  • Caro

    Different to other occasions (miners losing lives, political disidents) this is a problem that affects a very broad part of the soiety in China: poor, peasants, workers, rich couples with babies, foreigners with babies. Much to be done, we can’t ignore this problem!

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