Archive for the ‘formula’ Category

China Poisoned Food Problem Step Ahead: Restrict Melamine

January 22, 2009

China plans to impose production controls on melamine, the cheap industrial ingredient at the center of a milk-contamination scandal that shocked China and the rest of the world last year, a newspaper said on Friday.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has circulated for comment draft production permit rules aiming to stem a melamine production glut and stop it from tainting food, the China Chemical Industry News reported.

Melamine is used to maker fertilizers, plastics and other industrial goods but gained notoriety as a cheap additive for milk and other foods. Rich in nitrogen, melamine can be used to fool tests for protein.

At least six young Chinese children died from kidney stones and more than 290,000 were made ill from melamine-contaminated milk formula, battering already dented faith in China-made goods and prompting massive recalls of dairy and other food products around the world.

Tian Wenhua, the former general manager of the now bankrupt Sanlu Group, the company at the heart of the poisoning scandal, has pleaded guilty to charges of “producing and selling fake or substandard products”. She is expected to be sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Industry Ministry hoped the new rules would end such scandals, the newspaper said.

Until recently, melamine has been widely sold, including over the Internet, for around 10,000 yuan ($1,500) a metric ton. It has also been detected in eggs, chocolates and other foods.

The ministry also aims to shrink the number of melamine producers by setting minimum production levels and strengthening controls on ingredients and waste.

A two-month-old boy died on Sunday after being fed with milk formula made by a Guangdong milk company in eastern Zhejiang province, the Oriental Morning Post reported on Friday.

The report made no mention of melamine, but authorities were investigating, it said.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Nick Macfie for Reuters)

Death, Life in Prison Sentences in China Poisoned Milk Trial

January 22, 2009

The Associated Press reported that a court in China gave a sentence of life in prison to the former boss of the dairy at the center of China‘s contaminated milk scandal.

Tian Wenhua, former board chairwoman and general manager of the Chinese dairy company Sanlu Group, will go to life in prison for her role in a tainted milk scandal that killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 others.

CNN reported that three other people were sentenced to death and two others to life in prison for their roles, while three others received prison terms of five to 15 years each. Many of those sentenced were middlemen who sold melamine to milking stations that added the chemical to the milk.

Tian Wenhua 
Above: Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, enters a courthouse in China. Photo: Ding Lixin / Associated Press




China: Farmers That Survived Poisoned Milk Scandal

January 8, 2009

The drive to Shijiazhuang from Beijing is long and gray. It is the city at the heart of China’s tainted milk scandal, where Sanlu headquarters is based. Small dairy farms that once supplied milk to Sanlu, and thrived on its business, lie on the outskirts.

When we arrived at one farm, I saw the first signs of life, vibrant signs. Twenty or so cows bristled at our arrival. I didn’t realize how curious, even social, cows can be. A few ran to the edge of the fence staring at us intently. Maybe they were just hungry. A 2-month-old calf tied to a post at the entrance quietly observed us.

By Emily Chang

The farmer, Feng Xianying, acknowledged us with a quiet handshake, then went on to mix up the day’s lunch – basic feed with some extra nutrients from what I could tell – and serve it in twenty or so individual bins for the cows to munch. He was methodical, silent, but I would say, good-natured. There was a rhythm in his step. He did it all with care.

When he opened the pen, the cows filed out obediently, each taking its place to feed. Feng served a small portion to the calf. “He’s too small to stay in the pen with others,” he said.

There was a time when Feng Xianying thought he might have to kill his cows to survive.

News that Sanlu had been selling tainted milk had broken. Apparently, middlemen had bought milk from the farmers then mixed it with a toxic chemical called melamine to artificially boost protein levels.

Hundreds of thousands of children got sick and China’s dairy industry was on the verge of collapse. Sanlu stopped operations, and stopped buying milk from Feng and other farmers.

Many farmers gave up, but Feng pushed through the roughest times, kept his business afloat and his cows alive.

He survived thanks in part to government support.

“The government provided loans to support the dairy industry, so I was able to buy some new cows,” he told me. “In the past, the government was ignorant and competition between the dairies was fierce, so they didn’t care about the quality of the milk.”

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China’s dairy industry took deadly shortcuts to growth

January 8, 2009
Milk was an unpopular product only a generation ago, and then business executives and the government pushed its consumption. Some couldn’t compete and cheated.
By Barbara Demick
January 8, 2009
Reporting from Xingtang, China — Like many Chinese peasants of his generation, 53-year-old Wang Zhengnian had never seen a cow until he reached adulthood. He certainly never drank a glass of milk.

The fact that Wang now spends his days tending 400 cows on a farm near Beijing says a lot about the way China created a dairy industry out of thin air. But in their haste, the Chinese made mistakes that left six babies dead and hundreds of thousands ill from tainted milk.

Milk is not part of the traditional Chinese diet. Most Chinese adults are lactose-intolerant and many are repelled by the smell of dairy products.

But in the 1990s, economic planners decided that dairy cows were a quick way to improve rural incomes, particularly in northern provinces such as Hebei, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang with cool climate, flat terrain and lack of other economic prospects. To encourage consumption, the propaganda machine spread the word that children needed to drink milk to grow as strong and tall as Westerners.

China farm 

Above: A cattle farm in the eastern Chinese city of Jimo. Milk and other dairy products weren’t popular before the 1990s. Photo: Wu Hong / European Pressphoto Agency

In a landscape that looks more Rust Belt than Dairy Belt, people opened farms in patches of land between derelict factories and villages.

“Cows have been good for us,” Wang said as he whistled for his herd to come in for milking last week in Xingtang County, 170 miles southwest of Beijing. “The business is bad right now because of the scandal, but it was great before.”

The now-bankrupt dairy producer Sanlu Group, headquartered in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei, was a big reason for the success. Company Chairwoman Tian Wenhua was a Communist Party official, but also a reformer. She now faces life imprisonment for covering up the scandal over Sanlu’s tainted milk.

China Serves Hard to Swallow Poison Food Trial for Western “Consumption”

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