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China's Tainted Milk Scandal Grows

POSTED: 01:36 PM ET, 09/23/2008 by Derek Kravitz

At least 10 African and Asian countries have ceased importing Chinese dairy products or are testing their safety amid a scandal over tainted milk that has killed four infants and sickened nearly 53,000 people in China.


A woman tests milk products at a laboratory south of Manila on Sept. 23, 2008. The Philippines has banned all Chinese milk imports. (AP)

China's chief quality supervisor, Li Changjiang, resigned yesterday and the nation's leaders again promised food-safety reforms. The Post's Maureen Fan reports that his office allowed the dairy company behind the tainted powdered milk, Sanlu Group, to be exempt from safety inspections. Last year, Changjiang was tasked to upgrade food standards, boost safety checks and make sure that inspected food was properly labeled.

Investigators in China say the dairy company added melamine to its products to boost profits. That toxin was linked to the deaths and illnesses of thousands of pets in the United States last year. (The two Chinese producers of the food were quickly shut down. Fish that were given potentially contaminated feed were found safe for human consumption.)

The public anger over the tainted milk scandal forced government officials to offer financial aid and allow for public debate, a major departure on the part of the regime.

Food-safety scares in China aren't new and U.S. authorities have found many problems in the past with Chinese food imports.

And the trouble has not been limited to food. Last year, the New York Times reported on the links between hundreds of deaths in Panama from cold medicine and a deliberately mislabeled chemical exported from China.

The head of China's food and drug agency, Zheng Xiaoyu, was executed last year after he was accused of taking $800,000 in bribes in exchange for approving fake medicines.

By Derek Kravitz |  September 23, 2008; 1:36 PM ET
Previous: N.C. Reporting Legend Stith Retires After 37 Years | Next: Stevens Corruption Trial Underway

Comments

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Is EVERYTHING about china fake? The communists are obviously ruining the country and doing a great disservice to it's OWN people...When will it's citizens realize their government is ruining their lives? Obviously a revolution is the ONLY way the Chinese people can rid themselves of the sick commies. What's really sad is the choice of two losers we have who are vying to be the leader of the free world. Both are obviously incapable and doesn't seem like they will do much to avert China from their tired Old World ways of classic Chinese deception which is well known throughout Asia. Now we Americans are finding out first hand...it's nothing new people, the Chinese have always been known as swindlers...they've been doing it for so long that it's practically part of who they are.

Posted by: Billy | September 23, 2008 3:42 PM

Hey, this works for American too.

Is EVERYTHING about america fake? The republicans are obviously ruining the country and doing a great disservice to it's OWN people...When will it's citizens realize their government is ruining their lives? Obviously a revolution is the ONLY way the American can rid themselves of the sick Republicans. What's really sad is the choice of two losers we have who are vying to be the leader of the free world. Both are obviously incapable and doesn't seem like they will do much to avert America from their tired Old World ways of classic American deception which is well known throughout the World. Now we Chinese are finding out first hand...it's nothing new people, the American have always been known as swindlers...they've been doing it for so long that it's practically part of who they are.

Posted by: Wendy | September 23, 2008 3:54 PM

Whats the world coming to?!

Its getting to where we can't even get safe food or toys for our babies from slave labor in a communist nation!

Im outraged!

They need to execute somebody again, like last time.

I say give me every-day-low-prices, and give me death!

Posted by: theantibush | September 23, 2008 7:07 PM

spot on, bill

Posted by: theantibush | September 23, 2008 7:12 PM

wendy, your comments are too real. please report for re-programming.

-bushie

Posted by: theantibush | September 23, 2008 7:15 PM

hey wendy - this works for democrats, too -- try barny frank and his rabid insistance that fannie mae make politically correct loans for unqualified borrowers that now places us in the very real possibility of an entire economic collapse...


Is EVERYTHING about the democratic party fake? The democrats are obviously ruining the country and doing a great disservice to our OWN people...When will it's citizens realize the democrats are ruining their lives? Obviously a revolution is the ONLY way the American can rid themselves of the sick democrats. What's really sad is the choice of two democrat losers we have who are vying to be the leader and vp of the free world. Both are obviously incapable and doesn't seem like they will do much to avert America from their tired Old World ways of classic democrat deception which is well known throughout the World. Now we americans are finding out first hand...it's nothing new people, the democrats have always been known as swindlers...they've been doing it for so long that it's practically part of who they are. started with fdr and hasn't let up since...

Posted by: deantay mtumba jones | September 23, 2008 9:18 PM

Instead of worrying about the political parties, everyone should be concerned that the milk scare is not limited to Asia. It is already on the North American shores and yet American press is hiding it. Canada is already testing and removing food products because of melamine contamination. If it is in Canada you can be sure it has reached the US and yet nothing is been done about it, and moreover reported about the matter. See http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=95457781-1516-4843-adb8-f51c6b02f49a

Posted by: brux | September 23, 2008 10:49 PM

We only talk about reality. The reality is no nation in the world is perfect.

I would say most people are willing to live under better environment. They work hard, pay bills, obey rules and care about society.

But something bad always happen, no matter which country. I don't agree revolution, but I do suggest heavy punishment to those who disdain laws and threaten the health of the masses and our society no matter what background it is.

Though a long way to go, I still wish all the best of our country - China.

Posted by: Frank | September 23, 2008 10:55 PM

if the chinese product happen to poison foreigner to dead, china will simply just say that our media try to flame their country, their industry!!

we have seen they did that for many time.

now it happen to their own people. that why they talk about it and try try find the bad guys for real.

this type of bubble standard communist way of taking responsibility is suck.

we all should just ban this chiness toxic food industry together.

Posted by: passingBy | September 23, 2008 11:27 PM

As an American in China I have a unique perspective on this issue. The Chinese safety standards are similar to those in the US in the early 1900s (think The Jungle), but they are getting better. In the way of this progress is mass corruption. Corruption is a way of life for local government officials, NOTHING gets done unless you are willing to pay for it. However, the Communist national leaders take these issues very seriously and are working to solve each crisis as it hits. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned lower level corruption, the national level often doesn't act until it is already a budding scandal. The problem is the corruption at the bottom keeps as many "shameful" secrets as it can until the top blows off. The Communist party and national government's biggest weakness is its own fear of the power of the people. They don't realize that if they worked with the protesters to make positive change, including fighting local corruption, they could stay in power forever!

Posted by: AminChina | September 23, 2008 11:46 PM

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