[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/24/art.chinababyformula.jpg caption = "A baby suffering from kidney stones receives treatment at a hospital in Lanzhou, northwestern China's Gansu province."]
John Vause | BIO
Food security is a bit like Homeland security – you can only protect against what you know, and what you think the bad guys might do.
So, now we know they put the toxic chemical melamine in the milk – what’s next? It’s a pretty safe bet that people who poison baby’s milk for a few extra bucks, aren’t going to stop there.
Last year, melamine was found in the pet food which killed and sickened thousands of dogs and cats across the United States. Back then it was done for exactly the same reasons – melamine is normally used to make stuff like plastic, but when added to substandard pet food ingredients and water-downed milk, it can fake high readings of protein which means you can sell it for a higher price. A colleague of mine suggested maybe this time it was an innocent mix up . . . putting the plastic in the milk, not the milk into the plastic.
So, now melamine has been unveiled as serial offended, it begs the question – what other toxic chemicals are being added to what food to marginally boost profits?
That’s the really big issue here in China – bigger than the really big implications of contaminated dairy products swirling around the world – at least now officials know what they’re looking for.
But the long suffering consumers in this country have endured soy sauce made from human hair, lard from sewage, napkins from recycled hospital waste, hair elastics from used condoms . . they’ve had cancer causing antibiotics in seafood, and the government admits 60% of the booze on sale is fake, which may explain some of my more painful mornings.
But the big job for China’s government, bigger than staging the best Olympics ever, is to now convince the people who buy their products – both here and overseas – that it’s safe.
There will always be problems, food recalls and contamination occur everywhere, and it will happen here again. But next time, companies and government officials have to do everything they can, as quickly as they can to warn the public. So far, the folks here are yet to learn, it’s usually the cover up that’s worse than the crime.
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