Two months after vast quantities of milk from China were found to contain melamine, sickening 53,000 children and sending 13,000 to hospital, the FDA announced all Chinese milk imports will be stopped at the border until they’re proven melamin-free.. While it’s taken them a while to do this, banning entire categories of products from specific countries is a rare move, and it will have long-lasting impact. “It’s impossible to get off the alert list,” said Benjamin England, a former FDA lawyer. Unscrupulous food makers adulterate products with melamine because they fool testing equipment to make the product look high in protein. In spring ’07, about two dozen pets died after eating pet food tainted with melamine.
FDA warns consumers not to drink instant coffee made in China because it may be tainted with melamine. They specifically mention one brand, the hilariously-unappetizing-souding Mr. Brown. [MSNBC]
Um, don’t eat those “White Rabbit” candies, they’ve got the melamine. [Gothamist]
China’s chief quality supervisor was replaced today as the total number of children sickened from dairy products tainted with melamine (the same substance that was found in contaminated pet food last year) grew to 53,000. Nearly 13,000 children have been hospitalized and 4 have died. Products manufactured by 22 companies were found to contain melamine, says Bloomberg.
Remember melamine, last year’s pet-killing poison? It’s back with a vengeance, and this year it wants Chinese babies. As many as 10,000 may have consumed melamine-laced milk powder, according to authorities. Even worse, a New Zealand company detected the poison weeks ago but couldn’t convince local officials to issue a recall. Only after New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark demanded action did the Chinese recall the death milk.
While shopping at Safeway today I noticed something odd about the “O” Organics Milk. After I listened to a mom tell her daughter she buys “whatever is on sale” I went to purchase my own milk and realized that’s not such a good plan. A half gallon was on sale for 2 for $7. Or if your a savvy shopper you could buy a gallon for $6.59. The Safeway website confirms it.
An interesting sidebar in our “Is Your Milk Spoiling Faster?” discussion is why does most organic milk stay fresher longer? It’s not because the cows are free of bovine-growth-hormone and the commune-members sing them lullabies every night.
I hosted a shrinking product chat over at WashingtonPost.com this morning and an interesting comment from someone in New Orleans came up about milk going bad:
Pretend you’re a manager at Ralph’s and you notice two-inches of milk missing from one of your half-gallon milk containers. What do you do?
Wal-Mart and Costco have something new they’d like you to try— a square milk jug. The NYT says the new square jugs “are cheaper to ship and better for the environment, the milk is fresher when it arrives in stores, and it costs less.” So what’s the catch? Apparently, while the new jugs are helping cut costs, they kind of suck at pouring milk.
Sorry New Yorkers, but according to the City Council, you’re overpaying for both rent and milk. Anyone charging more than $3.93 for a gallon—86% of the city’s milk sellers, from bodegas to Whole Foods—is violating the state’s milk price-gouging law.
With gas prices topping $4.00 a gallon in Chicago, Chicagoist started wondering how much gallons of other liquids cost. Turns out gas is still cheaper than the Champagne of Beers…
Monsanto failed to get the FDA to ban “rBGH-free” labeling nationally, and it’s had mixed success at the state level. Now the company and its gang of ethics-free dairy farmers (those are the ones who use rBGH to increase profits, but want that truth kept out of the marketplace because it’s unpopular with consumers) have scored a significant win in Ohio this week. Yesterday the state passed a law that forces extra, rBGH-friendly fine print on every milk label that promotes itself as “rBGH-free.” The goal of the ruling: to require expensive label redesigns on competitors, and to crowd the label with unnecessary fine print in order to dilute the marketing power of the “rBGH-free” label.
An astroturfing group started by chemical supergiant Monsanto is trying to stop the spread of milk that’s free of bovine synthetic growth hormone. They say they’re trying to defend farmer’s rights but they can’t fool us, we know they really just want to make the future safe for large breasts. [NYT]
Monsanto continues its attempts to hide the basic facts of food production from consumers, this time in Kansas. The Kansas Dairy Association, along with a suspicious “grassroots” dairy group that has the same public relations firm as Monsanto, has helped introduce a bill to the state Senate that would ban “growth hormone-free” milk labels. The bill’s supporters argue that growth hormone can’t be found in lab tests, and if a lab can’t verify it, consumers don’t need to be told about it.
Other countries cut down on the amount of plastic used to package milk by buying it in big plastic bags and storing it in a reusable milk pitcher in the fridge.
Starbucks made the switch to recombinant bovine growth hormone-free milk and are taking organic milk off the menu in all of their stores, effective Feb. 26.
State health authorities tonight urged consumers not to drink milk produced by Whittier Farms in Shrewsbury after an investigation showed it is the likely source of a bacterial illness that killed two elderly men and made two other people sick.