President Obama this week declared war on the Chinese Poison Train, announcing that the FDA will receive $1 billion in new funds for modern testing labs and additional food safety inspectors. Inspecting less than 5% of our food processing plants is apparently a “hazard to public health, and “it is unacceptable.” So what’s really behind the new policy shift? No, it’s not those melamine murders or salmonella outbreaks. It’s seven-year-old first daughter Sasha Obama!
Two men have been sentenced to death and a third given life in prison for their involvement in the tainted milk scandal that killed at least six children and made at least 300,000 more sick.
Twenty-two dairy companies sent out a text message to millions of Chinese consumers last week to apologize for selling tainted milk products. According to the BBC, it read, “We are deeply sorry for the harm caused to the children and the society. We sincerely apologise for that and we beg your forgiveness.”
Chairwoman of Chinese dairy company pleads guilty in melamine case, may face death penalty. [Reuters]
Mommy, I’m hungry, can I have more melamine? Sure thing, sweetie, because the FDA established that 1 part per million of melamine in baby formula is cool, as long as an additional chemical isn’t present.
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.
Happy Halloween! Have fun and safe trick-or-treating out there. Don’t eat any Pirate’s Gold foil-wrapped coins, they’ve been recalled for melamine!
The person in charge of the Ben & Jerry’s gift shop in their Vermont factory might want to talk to someone about redesigning the packaging of this ice cream bowl and spoon set—”melamine” probably isn’t the kind of word you want to position so prominently these days.
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]
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.
Investigators from the House Energy and Commerce Committee spent two weeks snooping around China and probably haven’t eaten since. Their investigation revealed a tattered regulatory framework, unable to protect Chinese citizens, let alone foreigners. Among the disturbing facts uncovered:
Remember the dog treats that Walmart quietly pulled from its shelves instead of recalling? Walmart’s own tests have shown they were tainted with melamine, the same chemical that killed all those pets back in March. Fun.
China executes former food and drug regulator for taking bribes in return for giving the thumbs up to unsafe medicine, a punishment akin to getting pulled over and shot in the head for breaking the speed limit while keeping up with everyone else on the highway. [NYT]
A company in Ohio has voluntarily recalled a binding agent used to make “pellet” type feed for fish, goats, cows, and whathaveyou, because it contained melamine.