During the same week that China is prosecuting dairymen for wrongdoing in the melamine deaths and illnesses of children, the banned additive which is generally used (outside China) to make plastics, has reappeared in cookies and biscuits in Hong Kong and Singapore.
On Christmas eve, it was melamine laced seafood from China that grabbed headlines.
Melamine has been added to countless products in China in an effort to boost apparent levels of protein by raising the nitrogen count. But melamine, when concentratated, is toxic and poisonous to humans — especially children.
Melamine killed at least six children in China who drank toxic milk this year and it sickened thousands. Melamine has also been found in scores of China’s exports including toothpaste, cough syrup, yogurt, dog and cat food, eggs, ice cream, chicken, chocolate, breads and cakes and other products…..
I first saw the improper mixing and use of human food products and animal feed in China years ago. Chinese farmers were just trying to lessen the cost of feeding chickens and cattle. And agricultural suppliers of all kinds in China work feverishly to sell “cheeper, better” feeds, insecticides and fertilizers. Usually, melamine was added to animal feed.
Beijing’s government has little or no control over the millions of small manufacturers and farmers in the vast countryside of this rural nation of 1.3 billion people. Until this last summer’s Olympics, Beijing had never even had food sanitation and safety standards written much less enforced for restaurants — a very basic of health taken for granted in the West.
On October 31, 2008, the BBC reported that the poison melamine was widely used in many food products in China and that “the melamine scandal began early in September.”
Apparently the BBC took no note of the New York Times report a year ago last April (2007) that melamine was widely used in food products in China — and probably had been for years. The Times called the use a melamine an “open secret” in China.
By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
An officer prepares to destroy unqualified milk powder which was confiscated, in Shanghai November 14, 2008.REUTERS/Stringer
More than 1,500 boxes of Chinese biscuits exported to Hong Kong and Singapore have tested positive for melamine as suspects in the protracted tainted-food scandal go on trial in China, local media reported on Tuesday.
The scandal has battered faith in Chinese-made products after a series of food- and product-safety scares and led to recalls of Chinese-made dairy products around the world. At least six babies died after drinking contaminated formula in China and hundreds of thousands fell ill.
Melamine is an industrial compound used in making plastic chairs, among other things, and is added to food to cheat nutrition tests.
Quality inspectors in Dongguan in the southern province of Guangdong found the latest contaminated biscuits after examining 13 batches of 4,800 boxes for export after neighboring Hong Kong, a “special administrative region” of China, and Singapore reported tainted samples, the China News Service said.
The tainted products had been destroyed while others were sent back to the manufacturer, it said. Investigations showed the melamine in the biscuits came from milk powder, it added.
Tian Wenhua, former chairwoman of Sanlu Group, goes on trial on Wednesday along with other three senior executives of the company that was at the heart of the scandal and since gone bankrupt, the Beijing News said.
By Monday, 17 suspects involved in producing, selling, buying and adding melamine into raw milk had gone on trial, the China News Service said.
(Reporting by Liu Zhen; Editing by Nick Macfie from Reuters)
Two more suspects in China‘s tainted milk scandal went on trial Tuesday, bringing to 17 the number who have faced court in high-profile proceedings over the nation’s worst food safety case in years.
Brothers Geng Jinping and Geng Jinzhu are accused of making and selling milk tainted with melamine, state-run television CCTV said, broadcasting images of the two standing in court with their heads bowed in front of the judges.
At least six babies in China died this year and 294,000 fell ill after drinking milk laced with melamine, which is normally used to make plastic.
The chemical was mixed into watered-down milk to make it appear richer in protein but it caused severe kidney and urinary tract problems in babies who drank contaminated milk powder.
The Gengs are accused of being “middlemen” who added melamine to milk, which was then sold to Sanlu, the largest Chinese dairy producer to have become embroiled in the scandal, and other dairy firms, CCTV said.
Read the rest:
A Chinese nurse attends to a baby who became ill after drinking contaminated milk powder in September 2008. The former head of the Chinese firm at the centre of the tainted milk scandal could face the death penalty if convicted. Tian Wenhua will stand trial next week.(AFP/File/Str)
2008: China Hoped Only For Olympic Glory; Wound Up with Chaos in Tibet, Earthquake, Troubles