If You’re Surpsied, You’re Not Paying Attention

The Journal reports the obvious under the headlines “Tainting of Milk Is Open Secret in China” and “Milk Routinely Spiked in China:”

Before melamine-laced milk killed and sickened Chinese babies and led to recalls around the world, the routine spiking of milk with illicit substances was an open secret in China’s dairy regions, according to the accounts of farmers and others with knowledge of the industry.

Farmers here in Hebei province say in interviews that “protein powder” of often-uncertain origin has been employed for years as a cheap way to help the milk of undernourished cows fool dairy companies’ quality checks. When the big companies caught on, some additive makers switched to toxic melamine — which mimics protein in lab tests and can cause severe kidney damage — to evade detection.


China’s biggest local seller of liquid milk, Mengniu Dairy Co., and multinational food company Nestlé SA both say they were aware that Chinese farmers and traders added unauthorized substances to raw milk, but that they didn’t know melamine was among them. “We knew there was adulteration” going on for many years, says Zhao Yuanhua, Mengniu’s spokeswoman. Among other common milk additives: a viscous yellow liquid containing fat and a combination of preservatives and antibiotics, known as “fresh-keeping liquid.”

If you’re buying pet food made in China or anything else for that matter, it’s time to pay more for a product manufactured in a country like America, where we have had oversight and controls on food production for over a century.


  1. minimalist

    I’m sure this was posted here before, but it bears repeating:

    Swill Milk

    The concluding statement, “China’s present is America’s past”, sums it up. That’s the magical free market at work, babes. Every time some dingbat conservative/libertarian starts waxing Randian about how wonderful it would be to roll back government regulation, I think of that.

  2. Note this isn’t the first time that Nestle has had problems with their products in countries outside North America/Western Europe hurting/killing children. Their demand for constantly lowering production costs pressures the suppliers to cut costs any way they can. I’m not excusing the suppliers, just pointing out that they aren’t the only guilty parties.

  3. If the title of this post is deliberate: Genius.
    If not: Hilariously ironic.

  4. D. C. Sessions

    So after a show trial, a few families [1] will be sent bills for the bullets used. All will be superficially squeaky until the heat is off, and then it’s back to business as usual. In the meantime, milk isn’t the only business and the currently fashionable word in business is “agile.”

    [1] Any correlation between the scapegoats and the beneficiaries of the practices in question will be accidents.

  5. Rose Colored Glasses

    They add melamine to chicken feed so that not only is the chicken flesh adulterated, so are the eggs.

  6. So what do we know that can make a worker proud enough and secure enough to tell off a manager and go public when someone tells them to turn out defective bolts, adulterated milk, or crap securities?

    Bring back the unions. Not the bosses, not the machines, the crafts unions.

    Remember hearing about people who were proud enough to sign their work.

    Bottom up. It’s how things grow.

  7. Just about every day in the Washington Post there is an announcement of a recall of some product or other and guess what, invariably the product was made in China.

  8. “Remember hearing about people who were proud enough to sign their work.”

    In I.T., it’s still a little like that. Go visit sourceforge.org .

    I agree that the world needs white-collar labour unions, as well as bringing back the blue-collar ones. The problem is that their management layers fill up with politicians and – well – managers, just like any other organisation. Maybe the ‘net can help fix that, and make it possible to do away with some of the layers.

  9. Didn’t you post the other day that Bush is spending his last couple of months getting rid of all that un-American regulation?

  10. Anonymous

    t’s time to pay more for a product manufactured in a country like America

    And pray that they still control their own supply chain…

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