Everyone who drinks milk watches the price carefully, but what most consumers don’t realize is that the price actually paid to dairy farmers for raw milk is currently the lowest it’s been in 40 years. That’s because only a few large companies control the country’s milk supply, and now the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the situation and deciding whether to take anti-trust action against them.
It’s so expensive to produce milk right now — due to low demand and high feed costs — that farmers are being paid to slaughter dairy cows in order to “shift the pain to consumers,” says Bloomberg.
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.
Reader Anthony wanted to purchase milk, so he went to Walmart. When he got there, he stood in front of the milk refrigerator for 5 minutes trying to understand Walmart’s milk pricing scheme. Attempt this at your own peril.
Chairwoman of Chinese dairy company pleads guilty in melamine case, may face death penalty. [Reuters]
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…