Friday, September 26, 2008

Got (melamine free) milk?

I cannot even begin to fathom who would think adding melamine -- an industiral chemical -- to baby formula wouldn't get babies sick or kill them.

Melamine commonly is used in coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. This is the same chemical from China last year that sickened and killed thousands of pets in the U.S. The chemical can make milk seem like it has a higher protein level.

Now we have over 50,000 sick babies and four that have died from the contamination. The company then tried to cover up complaints as early as Dec. 2007, the New York Times reported. This scheme has bankrupted the company. Plus, China's entire dairy industry will suffer. For what? So a company could make a little extra profit.

In Shanghai, there is hardly any milk left in aisles once full of numerious brands. I checked three grocery stores this week. The tainted milk has been pulled and then everyone rushed out to buy the imported milk. (It's not recommended to buy fresh milk here because they add too many hormones.) I only have one spare half gallon of my imported milk from New Zealand. Hopefully, they'll restock the shelves with 'good' milk soon. In the meantime, I bought some Australian soy milk.

The milk scandal in China has ramafications throughout the world with products being pulled from the shelves containing potentially tainted milk powder: cookies, pastries, and chocolate. One of the largest Chinese product recalls is White Rabbit, a popular milky tootsie roll-like candy. I've had the candy before and now wonder if it had melamine in it. These products aren't as dangerous as the powdered milk formula because of the lower content of milk in them. The babies in China relied on the milk as their main source of nourishment.

Let's just hope the government understands that it needs to step up its inspections. It's a problem all over the world, people don't care about others when they start getting too greedy. This time, the consequences are devastating for babies and their families in China.

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