The Chinese government is again being accused of not acting swiftly enough to shutdown another company producing tainted food. The most recent scandal follows the 2008 case where the government allowed melamine-tainted infant formula to sicken 300,000 babies (and causing death for six babies). The same chemical is involved in the shutting down of the Shanghai Panda company, which produces condensed milk and milk powder.
It now appears that the government was aware of allegations against the Shanghai Panda company as early as February last year. The company was one of those implicated in the earlier food scandal.
What is curious is that authorities said that the findings were not made public due to the criminal investigation. That is an odd approach to such a crisis. You allow the company to continue to operate while you criminally investigate their giving tainted milk products to families.
Government sources insist that tainted product was destroyed during the investigation.
In one of my visits to China, I presented a paper calling for the use of “private attorneys general” to deter environmental and other abuses by both the government and industry. This is an example of how the Chinese regulatory system is either unable or unwilling to supply an effective deterrent against such problems.
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