China's Tainted Milk Scandal Grows
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.
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.
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
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