Archive for the ‘milk’ Category

China: Death, Sickness from Poisoned Milk Double What First Reported

December 2, 2008

China’s Health Ministry said six babies may have died after consuming tainted milk powder, up from a previous official toll of three, and announced a six-fold increase in its tally of infants sickened in the scandal to nearly 300,000.

It was the first time since Sept. 21 that health authorities have revised the total number of babies sickened by milk powder adulterated with the industrial chemical melamine. The previous total was about 50,000.

The crisis has been met with public dismay and anger, particularly among parents who feel the government breached their trust after their children were sickened or died from drinking infant formula authorities had certified as safe.

The latest statistics show that China’s communist leaders are slowly acknowledging the breadth of China’s worst food safety scare in years. During such crises, the government often deliberately releases information piecemeal in part to keep from feeding public anger.

The ministry said in a statement late Monday that 294,000 babies across the country had suffered from urinary problems after consuming milk powder laced with melamine.

“Most of the sickened children received outpatient treatment only for small amounts of sand-like kidney stones found in their urinary systems, while some patients had to be hospitalized for the illness,” the statement said.

Thousands of parents have been clamoring for compensation for their sickened and dead children. The release of the figures raises the question of whether the Health Ministry is getting closer to finalizing a compensation scheme.

In this Oct. 19, 2008 file photo, Li Xiaoquan, right, holds ...
In this Oct. 19, 2008 file photo, Li Xiaoquan, right, holds up a photo of his twin daughters Li Xiaokai and Li Xiaoyan near his wife Li Aiqing and Li Xiaoyan at their home in Liti village, near Runan, central China’s Henan province. Nine month old Li Xiaokai who has been drinking a brand of milk formula linked to the melamine scandal died from kidney failure. China’s Health Ministry said six babies may have died after consuming tainted milk powder, up from a previous official toll of three, and announced a six-fold increase in its tally of infants sickened in the scandal to nearly 300,000.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

Read the rest from the Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081202/ap_on_bi_ge/
as_china_tainted_milk_4

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Melamine Found in US Baby Formula

November 26, 2008

Traces of melamine are found in American baby formula. The industrial chemical used to make plastics boosts the appearance of protein in food, but if ingested, can cause kidney stones — which are especially dangerous to infants. The FDA says that the amount found in the U.S. formula is too small to pose a health hazard.

“The levels that we are detecting are extremely low,” said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “They should not be changing the diet. If they’ve been feeding a particular product, they should continue to feed that product. That’s in the best interest of the baby.”

Melamine is the chemical found in Chinese infant formula — in far larger concentrations — that has been blamed for killing at least three babies and making at least 50,000 others ill.
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Previously undisclosed tests, obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the FDA has detected melamine in a sample of one popular formula and the presence of cyanuric acid, a chemical relative of melamine, in the formula of a second manufacturer.

Associated Press

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/health/article/melamine-f
ound-in-us-baby-formula/260650

China Announces Food Safety Rules

November 20, 2008

The Chinese government, struggling to contain the fallout from a scandal over contaminated milk and eggs, announced a wide range of food safety measures on Thursday aimed at reining in abuses in the dairy industry.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, issued several new rules it says will govern all aspects of the industry, from cow breeding and animal feed to the packaging and sales of milk.

By Andrew Jacobs
The New York Times

 
An official prepared to destroy confiscated milk powder in Shanghai last week. Photo: Reuters

Since September, when Chinese-made milk powder was found to be adulterated with the industrial chemical melamine, at least four infants who drank the formula have died and more than 50,000 children have fallen ill. On Thursday, China’s Health Ministry said that more than 1,000 infants were still hospitalized with kidney damage, Reuters reported. The scandal has led to recalls of milk products across the world, embarrassed the Chinese government and devastated domestic dairy farmers and milk producers.

“The crisis has put China’s diary industry in peril and exposed major problems existing in the quality control and supervision of the industry,” said an official with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, according to a posting on the agency’s Web site.

In announcing the new measures, the government said it would issue new laws and standards by next October, and that by 2011, “the goal is to have well-bred cows and a mass-producing dairy industry,” according to Xinhua, the official news agency. The government said it would also provide loans and grants to dairy farmers and milk producers struggling to survive the crisis.

This is not the first time regulators have pledged to clean up the nation’s fast-growing agriculture industry. A similar cry erupted early last year when it was discovered that melamine-tainted pet food ingredients from China had sickened thousands of cats and dogs in the United States. At that time, the government promptly banned melamine as an animal feed additive and declared the problem under control.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/21/world/
asia/21milk.html?_r=1&hp

China to overhaul battered dairy industry

November 20, 2008

China announced a complete overhaul of its dairy industry Thursday to improve safety at every step — from cow breeding to milk sales — saying its worst food quality scandal in years had revealed “major problems” in quality control.

Changes will be made within the next year in production, purchasing, processing and sales, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

Li Xiaoyan near her mother Li Aiqing at their home in Liti village, ... 
Li Xiaoyan near her mother Li Aiqing at their home in Liti village, near Runan, central China’s Henan province, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008. Li Xiaoyan’s nine month old twin sister, Li Xiaokai who has been drinking a brand of milk formula linked to the melamine scandal died from kidney failure.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

“The crisis has put China’s dairy industry in peril and exposed major problems existing in the quality control and supervision of the industry,” it quoted an official at China’s top economic planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, as saying.

Milk and milk products tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical, have been blamed in the deaths of at least three infants and have sickened more than 50,000 others. The government has detained dozens of people in the scandal, but there have been no court cases so far.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, said the Health Ministry will issue new quality and safety standards for dairy products, while the Agriculture Ministry will draft inspection standards for melamine and other toxins in animal feed. The flow and delivery of dairy products will also be tracked, it said in a statement.

The breadth and speed of the proposed changes echo actions taken last year, when a slew of Chinese exports — from toothpaste to toys — were found to contain high levels of potentially deadly chemicals.

After an initial unwillingness to acknowledge problems, authorities threw themselves into a campaign to protect export industries and bolster the country’s reputation as the world’s manufacturing base.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081120/ap_on_re_as/as_china_tainted_
milk;_ylt=AhZrN5Td5pCQTHOhcIrKoRWs0NUE

U.S. says food, drug inspection access in China improving

November 19, 2008

U.S. officials opened the first overseas Food and Drug Administration office in Beijing on Wednesday as they gear up for a long battle to ensure the quality of food, drug and feed imports from China.

The eight FDA workers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will set up a process for pre-certifying and inspecting imports from China, which has hundreds of thousands of food processors and drug manufacturers.

A series of food safety scandals in China, where thousands of babies fell ill after melamine was introduced into milk formula to cheat protein tests, has triggered alarm in the United States, which imports about 15 percent of the food it consumes.

By Lucy Hornby, Reuters

A laboratory researcher works at the food safety inspection ...
A laboratory researcher works at the food safety inspection center in Beijing July 18, 2007.(China Daily/Reuters)

Problems with melamine-tainted dairy products from China were so pervasive that the United States issued an import alert, which force importers to certify that the food was problem-free before entering U.S. markets. A similar alert has been in effect on Chinese seafood since last year.

U.S. inspectors have complained in the past of limited access and information when investigating safety disputes with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers, but U.S. Secretary of Health Mike Leavitt said cooperation was improving.

Access was “clearly spelled out” in agreements between U.S. and Chinese authorities, Leavitt told reporters.

“Heparin, for example, was not one of the drugs under the agreement but those protocols were used and there were U.S. inspectors and Chinese inspectors together visiting the points of production,” he said. “Progress is being made.”

Chinese-made heparin, a blood thinner, was blamed for fatalities and adverse reactions in U.S. and German patients, prompting a recall by Baxter International Inc. early this year.

The FDA offices would try to identify and train laboratories that can certify shipments for faster clearance into the United States, with the goal of ultimately accepting inspections by Chinese quarantine and inspection agency AQSIQ.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081119/us_n
m/us_china_usa_food_2

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will open three offices in China this week

November 17, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will open three offices in China this week in an unprecedented effort to improve the safety of exports headed to America amid recurring product safety scares.

The new FDA offices, which are the first outside of the United States, will increase effectiveness in protecting for American and Chinese consumers, according to the office of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Leavitt and the agency’s Food and Drug Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach will open the first office in Beijing on Wednesday, followed by one in Guangzhou and another in Shanghai.

Associated Press

“Establishing a permanent FDA presence in China will greatly enhance the speed and effectiveness of our regulatory cooperation and our efforts to protect consumers in both countries,” Leavitt’s office said in a statement last week.

Safety issues involving the blood thinner heparin, food and other products imported from China has put pressure on the FDA to boost its international presence. In the heparin case, a Chinese-made component contained a contaminant linked to as many as 81 deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions.

In October, cribs made in China were included in a recall of 1.6 million cribs issued by New York-based Delta Enterprises.

Last year, U.S.-based Mattel Inc. recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys worldwide. Products including Barbie doll accessories and toy cars were pulled off shelves because of concerns about lead paint or tiny, detachable magnets that might be swallowed.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081117/ap_on_
bi_ge/as_china_us_tainted_products_8

China’s Poisoned Milk Scandal: Deaths Went Uncounted, Unreported

November 15, 2008

Li Xiaokai died of kidney failure on the old wooden bed in the family farmhouse, just before dawn on a drizzly Sept. 10.

Her grandmother wrapped the 9-month-old in a wool blanket. Her father handed the body to village men for burial by a muddy creek. The doctors and family never knew why she got sick. A day later, state media reported that the type of infant formula she drank had been adulterated with an industrial chemical.

By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer

Li Xiaoyan sits on the lap of her mother Li Aiqing at their ...
Li Xiaoyan sits on the lap of her mother Li Aiqing at their home in Liti village, near Runan, in China’s Henan province, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008. Li Xiaoyan’s nine-month-old twin sister, Li Xiaokai who had been drinking a brand of milk formula linked to the melamine scandal died from kidney failure.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Yet the deaths of Xiaokai and at least four other babies are not included in China‘s official death toll from its worst food safety scare in years. The Health Ministry’s count stands at only three deaths.

The stories of these uncounted babies suggest that China’s tainted milk scandal has exacted a higher human toll than the government has so far acknowledged. Without an official verdict on the deaths, families worry they will be unable to bring lawsuits and refused compensation.

So far, nobody is suggesting large numbers of deaths are being concealed. But so many months passed before the scandal was exposed that it’s likely more babies fell sick or died than official figures reflect.

Beijing‘s apparent reluctance to admit a higher toll is reinforcing perceptions that the authoritarian government cares more about tamping down criticism than helping families. Lawyers, doctors and reporters have said privately that authorities pressured them to not play up the human cost or efforts to get compensation from the government or Sanlu, the formula maker.

“It’s hard to say how the government will handle this matter,” said Zhang Xinkui, a Beijing-based lawyer amassing evidence of the contamination for a possible lawsuit. “There may be many children who perhaps died from drinking Sanlu powdered milk or perhaps from a different cause. But there’s no system in place to find out.”

In the weeks since Xiaokai’s death, her father and his older brother have talked to lawyers and beseeched health officials, with no result.

“My heart is in pain,” said her father, Li Xiaoquan, a short, taciturn farmer with hooded eyes. From a corner of his farmhouse courtyard in central China’s wheat and corn flatlands, he pulls a worn green box that once held apples and is now stuffed with empty pink wrappers of the Sanlu Infant Formula Milk Powder that Xiaokai nursed on. “We think someone, the company, should compensate us.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081115/ap_on_re_as/as_
china_tainted_milk_toll;_ylt=AhcKMuAvsxWggSPLvIOf.cqs0NUE

Thailand to burn thousands of melamine-tainted products

November 9, 2008

Thailand’s health ministry plans to burn tens of thousands of food products tainted with the toxic chemical melamine, the English-language Nation newspaper reported Sunday.

More than 13,000 boxes of powdered milk and 19,824 unspecified snacks containing high levels of melamine would be torched on Monday in Ayutthaya province, it said, quoting the Food and Drug Administration secretary-general.

Melamine, an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of plastics, has been blamed for killing four babies in China and leaving more than 53,000 others sick after making its way into the food chain.

Thai authorities have so far pulled biscuits, cheese crackers, chocolate and condensed milk from Malaysia and China off the shelves after detecting high levels of the chemical.

–AFP

Graphic fact file on the melamine poisoning scandal in China. ...

Retracing the Path Toxic Powder Took To Food in China

November 8, 2008

Xue Jianzhong never posted a sign on his ground-floor shop, but somehow everyone knew what he was selling. Customers from all over this dairy farming region in the northeastern province of Hebei flocked to Xue’s dusty street to buy special concoctions that he said would make milk more nutritious — and more marketable.

Advertised as a “protein powder,” the substance was sold in 44-pound bags and was tasteless, odorless and white, like talc. It wasn’t cheap, about $1 a pound, but it could be mixed into inferior milk or even with specially treated water and the result would be a milklike liquid that would pass government quality tests.

It wasn’t until September, when Xue was arrested in connection with the investigation into the poisoning of tens of thousands of babies across China, that it became clear his secret ingredient was a toxic industrial chemical called melamine. 

By Maureen Fan and Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 8, 2008; Page A01

Melamine can mimic protein in nutrition tests for milk and in products such as wheat gluten and chicken feed. But when ingested in large amounts, it can cause kidney stones or death in children and animals.

A child suffering from kidney stones receives medical treatment ... 
A child suffering from kidney stones receives medical treatment at a hospital in Hefei, Anhui province in this September 19, 2008 file photo. The discovery of melamine in eggs as well as in baby formula, milk products, biscuits, chocolates and other foodstuffs containing milk derivatives confirms what experts have long suspected; that the chemical is deeply embedded in the human food chain. China is a major transgressor as carcinogenic chemicals are regularly used as food colouring agents or as preservatives, experts say.  Reuters

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/07/AR2008110703562.html

China: Your Worst Environmental Nighmare

November 7, 2008

I admit I have a deep distrust for anything the communist leadership and the state controlled media of China proclaims.  But when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated before a United Nations conference on the environment Friday China’s position that, as a developing country, it had no real role in the world’s environment and global warming issues, I was again dismayed and angry.

China’s sprawling and largely unregulated coal-fired industries are spreading a brown pall over the globe.  Every household in China cooks and heats with coal.  Coal soot blackens Chinese buildings and homes, inside and out, like never before seen on earth, even in Scotland 100 years ago.  And scientific study after scientific study has said that Chinese people die premature deaths in the millions due to pollution.

Above: Tiananmen Square in Beijing, just before this summer’s Olympics.  Photo: Odid Bality, Associated Press.
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Wen Jiabao, a scientist, a geologist in fact, knows all this to be true.  But to continue making inexpensive goodies for your local Wall Mart which keeps the Chinese people employed and earns China a tidy profit, Mr. Wen will continue to foster the myth, in fact the lie, that it took decades for the “developed nations” to learn to be environmentally smart so therefore China has decades to do the same.

The immensity of China’s destruction of the earth is almost unfathonable.  Seventy percent of China’s rivers and inland waters are polluted and some 90% of its ground water has pesticide and toxic levels of fertiliter and animal dung in it.  The air in China pegs all measurement instruments with pollution like an earthquake registering a “ten” on the Richter scale.  The Chinese government has almost no control over its far-flung industries, as the poisoned milk and other food product scandals proved.  So now China, even when equipped with thousands of ways learned in the West to cut down on pollution, is urging the world to look the other way.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard in Beijing on Friday.

Above: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard in Beijing on Friday.

The world should say “No way” to China on pollution and the environment.

But as the decision is to be made at the United Nations, where other “developing nations” dominate and the United States is the Great Satan, expect the U.S. and other Western nations to work their butts off on the environment on a fool’s errand for years to come: because the destruction of our planet earth by China will continue unabated as long as the West remains “tolerant” and accepts such lies as those spewed by Mr. Wen.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 7, 2008

Related:
China: Dodges All Responsibility, Says Rich Nations Must Take Climate Lead

China: 70% of waterways and 90% of underground water polluted

China is the World’s E-Waste Dumping Ground

Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, ... 
Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, 2006. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a top UN official urged industrialised nations Friday to alter their lifestyles and not let the global financial crisis hamper climate change efforts.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)
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The New York Times’ produced a nine article series on pollution in China before this summer’s Olympics.  Here is an exerpt:

In its rush to re-create the industrial revolution that made the West rich, China has absorbed most of the major industries that once made the West dirty. Spurred by strong state support, Chinese companies have become the dominant makers of steel, coke, aluminum, cement, chemicals, leather, paper and other goods that faced high costs, including tougher environmental rules, in other parts of the world. China has become the world’s factory, but also its smokestack.

This mass shift of polluting industries has blighted China’s economic rise. Double-digit growth rates have done less to improve people’s lives when the damages to the air, land, water and human health are considered, some economists say. Outmoded production equipment will have to be replaced or retrofitted at high cost if the country intends to reduce pollution.

China’s worsening environment has also upended the geopolitics of global warming. It produces and exports so many goods once made in the West that many wealthy countries can boast of declining carbon emissions, even while the world’s overall emissions are rising quickly.

Read more and link to other articles:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/world/asia/21transfer.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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China, Air Pollution and the Olympics

In China, airborne pollution causes more than 650,000 premature deaths a year, according to medical professionals.

·”International experts said that hundreds of millions of Chinese are exposed every day to the potentially lethal mix of soot particles and smog.” New York Times, Dec. 9, 2007.

• A UN Environment Report indicated that high levels of air pollution were a “legitimate concern” for anyone taking part in the Beijing Olympics.

• Beijing is so choked with smog that athletes are concerned about competing. In fact on 9 April Olympic chief Jacques Rogge conceded that air pollution was an issue for athletes’ health in Beijing during the Games. He earlier denied fears over pollution, but then suggested that certain events of more than one hour could be exacerbated by the weather. The marathon, road cycling, triathlon, open water swimming and race walking are the events. Most at risk are the marathon, road cycling, triathlon, open water swimming and race walking.

• Marathon record-holder Haile Gebrselassie withdrew from the Olympic event because of the pollution.

• New Zealand and American athletes wore face masks frequently while in Beijing.

• Some countries such as Britain, Australian and Canada delayed their teams’ arrivals in Beijing until the last possible moment to protect their athletes from air pollution.

• The Daily Telegraph reported that Britain’s swimming team trained in Osaka, Japan instead of in China nbecause of the air pollution. The Canadian team provided athletes with asthma inhalers.

• In an interview with the BBC, the World Health Organization’s Dr. Michal Krzyzanowski warned visitors to Beijing that “high pollution levels may be a trigger to serious problems if they already have, for instance, cardio-vascular disease. Those who come with asthma may suffer attacks.”