China is again ordering a rash of arrests and resignations after the latest product scandal. In this case, diary producers sold milk containing the industrial chemical melamine, which killed four child and sickened nearly 53,000 others. This is not just another case of rampant Chinese pollution entering the food system. Melamine is sometimes put into milk to mimic high-protein additives.
Melamine can cause kidney stones and kidney failure. It was put into formula milk and given to babies. It has been found in milk from China’s two largest dairy producers, Mengniu Dairy Group and Yili Industrial Group, as well as Shanghai-based Bright Dairy.
Even the popular “White Rabbit Creamy Candy” showed that such contamination.
Melamine is commonly used in coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. However, it can also be used to make milk register as having high-protein additives. Chen Lianfang of Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant told Time Magazine that “[b]efore the melamine incident, I know they could have been adding organic stuff, say animal urine or skin. Basically, anything that can boost the protein reading.”
I recently spoke in China and presented a paper on how these problems reflect a lack of deterrent. Even with the death sentences routinely handed out by the government, detection in such cases remains low. The solution is the one thing that the Communist regime cannot stomach: empowering citizens suit actions or so-called “private attorney generals.” The other great contributor is the absence of a viable tort system to allow families to sue these companies and even the government itself.
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