The New York Times gives a background to the melamine milk poisoning in China which confirms it shouldn’t have been unexpected.
The three page article which is worth reading in full lays the blame on the Communist administraion, the desire to look good for the Olympics and constraints on media which thwarted attemtps to publicise concerns.
It also says contamination wasn’t unusual:
Some dairy farmers interviewed this week in Hebei Province said it was an open secret that milk was adulterated, although many claimed they did not know that melamine was being used. Some dairies routinely watered down milk to increase profits, then added other cheap ingredients so the milk could pass a protein test.
“Before melamine, the dealers added rice porridge or starch into the milk to artificially boost the protein count, but that method was easily tested as fake, so they switched to melamine,” said Zhao Huibin, a dairy farmer near Shijiazhuang.
Mr. Zhao said quality testers at Sanlu took bribes from farmers and milk dealers in exchange for looking the other way on milk adulterated with melamine. “In this business, bribery keeps everyone silent,” he said.
This is why strict quality controls all along the production chain which we have in New Zealand are so important.
But quality controls can’t be trusted if there isn’t openness and a lack of corruption.
Hat Tip: The Hive