Archive for the ‘poison’ 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

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

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

Shame On The BBC: Poison in Chinese Food System Known For Years

October 31, 2008

Today the BBC reported that the poison melamine was widely used in many food products in China and that “the melamine scandal began early in September.”  Sorry BBC, but the New York Times reported a year ago last April (2007) that melamine was widely used in food products in China. 

They must not have the Internet in London because I found the New York Times report on melamine in China’s food supply on the Internet from April 2007 in just seconds.

My Vietnamese-born wife, who has been a guest of the communist prison and torture system said, “When you want to do business with communist China’s news media, you publish what they tell you or else.”

The BBC should be ashamed. 

China treats free and open media about the way the Obama campaign treats conservative reporters….
See:
Obama’s Staff Expells Conservative Newpaper Reporters

I lived and worked in China and farmers eagerly showed Westerners like myself how much pesticide and fertilizer they used (overused) which has now contaminated about 90% of China’s underground water supply.  We were also aware of the use of “thinners” like melamine 10 years ago.  The farmers in China didn’t know it was bad so they were not afraid to discuss its use…..

Here’s the report on melamine in China’s food supply from The New York Times from April 2007:
.
ZHANGQIU, China, April 28, 2007 — As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.
.
For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Melamine is at the center of a recall of 60 million packages of pet food, after the chemical was found in wheat gluten linked this month to the deaths of at least 16 pets in the United States.

No one knows exactly how melamine (which is not believed to be particularly toxic) became so fatal in pet food, but its presence in any form of American food is illegal.

The link to China has set off concerns among critics of the Food and Drug Administration that ingredients in pet food as well as human food, which are increasingly coming from abroad, are not being adequately screened.

Above: Ariana Lindquist for The New York Times

“They have fewer people inspecting product at the ports than ever before,” says Caroline Smith DeWaal, the director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington. “Until China gets programs in place to verify the safety of their products, they need to be inspected by U.S. inspectors. This open-door policy on food ingredients is an open invitation for an attack on the food supply, either intentional or unintentional.”

Now, with evidence mounting that the tainted wheat gluten came from China, American regulators have been granted permission to visit the region to conduct inspections of food treatment facilities.

The Food and Drug Administration has already banned imports of wheat gluten from China after it received more than 14,000 reports of pets believed to have been sickened by packaged food. And last week, the agency opened a criminal investigation in the case and searched the offices of at least one pet food supplier.

The Department of Agriculture has also stepped in. On Thursday, the agency ordered more than 6,000 hogs to be quarantined or slaughtered after some of the pet food ingredients laced with melamine were accidentally sent to hog farms in eight states, including California.

Read the rest
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/business/worldbusiness/30
food.html?ex=1335672000&en=b143bd4a5d0684b6&ei=5124&p
artner=permalink&exprod=permalink

China’s Food: Poison Melamine May Be In Nearly Everything

October 31, 2008

The toxic chemical melamine is probably being routinely added to Chinese animal feed, state media has reported.

Correspondents say the unusually frank reports in several news outlets are an admission that contamination could be widespread throughout the food chain.

BBC

The melamine scandal began early in September, when at least four Chinese babies were killed by contaminated milk, and thousands more became ill.

A worker labors behind a stack of eggs before they are packaged ... 
A worker labors behind a stack of eggs before they are packaged at a major chicken eggs production factory in suburban Beijing, China, Friday, Oct. 31, 2008. Three more Chinese brands of eggs containing melamine have been identified and a local government has acknowledged that officials knew about the contamination for a month before it was publicly disclosed.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The news led firms across Asia to recall products made from Chinese milk.

The problem widened last weekend when the authorities in Hong Kong reported that melamine had also been detected in Chinese eggs.

Four brands of eggs have since been found to be contaminated, and agriculture officials speculate that the cause was probably melamine-laced feed given to hens.

Melamine is high in nitrogen, and the chemical is added to food products to make them appear to have a higher protein content.

‘Open secret’

Several state newspapers carried reports on Thursday suggesting that the addition of melamine to animal feed was widespread.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7701477.stm

Realted:
China Says It Will Tighten Control of Feed Industry; After Years of Evidence of Poisoned Animal Feed

Premier: China’s government shares responsibility for tainted food

October 18, 2008

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao says the government was partly responsible for the tainted milk scandal that has sickened tens of thousands of children and shaken consumer confidence in the country’s food exports.

In an interview published in this week’s Science Magazine, Wen said the government feels “great sorrow” about the crisis, which erupted last month and has been blamed on the deaths of four babies.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao (pictured) has admitted his government ...
Above: China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has admitted his government is partly to blame for the tainted milk scandal that has killed four infants and sickened 53,000 throughout the country.(AFP/File/Frederic J. Brown)

“We feel that although problems occurred at the company, the government also has a responsibility,” Wen said in the Sept. 20 interview posted Friday on the Web site of the weekly science journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

A Chinese version of the interview in the People’s Daily newspaper, the ruling Communist Party‘s mouthpiece, also quoted Wen as saying that the government had especially been lax in “supervision and management.”

From the Associated press by writer Audra Ang in Beijing

It is a rare admission by a member of China’s leadership, which still needs to cultivate popular support and strengthen bonds with ordinary citizens. Wen, who has made a reputation as a man of the people, is widely popular and has won admiration for his visits to the country’s poor rural areas and his work to rally victims of the devastating May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province.

Authorities have blamed dairy suppliers, saying they added the industrial chemical melamine to watered-down milk to dupe quality control tests and make the product appear rich in protein.

Melamine is used in the manufacturing of plastics, fertilizer, paint and adhesives. Health experts say ingesting a small amount poses no danger, but in larger doses, the chemical can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure. Infants are particularly vulnerable.

Wen said the process of making milk products — from the collection of raw milk to the production and transportation — “all need to have clear standards and testing requirements and corresponding responsibilities.”

“I once again solemnly emphasize that it is absolutely impermissible to sacrifice people’s lives and health in exchange for temporary economic development,” Wen said. “Food, all food, must meet international standards.”

In its efforts to deal with health and public relations issues stemming from the situation, the government has issued strict standards…

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081018/ap_on_
re_as/as_asia_tainted_milk

Panama Has “The Gift That Keeps On Giving”: Poisoned Candy From China

October 17, 2008

PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama says Chinese cookies and candy pulled from stores have tested positive for melamine, the industrial chemical blamed for the deaths of four infants and the sickening of 54,000 children in China.

Food Safety director Gilberto Real says traces of the chemical were found in milk-based White Rabbit caramels, orange and strawberry sandwich cookies and milk bars.

Melamine is used to make plastics and fertilizers. It can cause kidney stones and in extreme cases can lead to death.

Panama pulled 56 Chinese products from stores last month. Real said Friday that 28 tested negative and 24 are still being examined.

Dozens of Panamanians died last year after taking tainted, Chinese-made medicine. [cough syrup]

–From Yahoo news and wire services
**************************************

China’s White Rabbit Candy: Poison Inc.

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Flanked by smiling bunny statues and waving official safety reports, White Rabbit‘s boss declared China‘s most famous candy was back on sale after a brief recall for containing tainted milk.

Weng Mao, president of candy maker Guan Sheng Yuan, officially began the fight to rehabilitate the White Rabbit brand in front of reporters and shoppers in a big department store on Shanghai‘s main pedestrian shopping street.

“A healthy White Rabbit is jumping back into a big market,” read a banner over Weng’s head as he announced Thursday the sweets were returning to mainland shelves three weeks after sales in China and 50 other countries were halted.

A White Rabbit candy promotion in Shanghai. Flanked by smiling ... 
A White Rabbit candy promotion in Shanghai. Flanked by smiling bunny statues and waving official safety reports, White Rabbit’s boss declared China’s most famous candy was back on sale after a brief recall for containing tainted milk(AFP/Str)

The creamy milk-flavoured candy was first produced in Shanghai in 1943 and, with its edible rice paper wrapper, has become one of the nation’s most recognisable and enduring global brands.

But sales of White Rabbit stopped on September 26 after they were found to contain melamine — an industrial chemical that was illegally added to Chinese milk to make its protein content seem higher.

Four Chinese babies died of kidney failure and more than 53,000 fell ill this year after consuming tainted dairy products.

After the scandal emerged in early September, it quickly went global with countries around the world detecting melamine in a wide range of Chinese-made dairy products and subsequently banning them.

Singapore’s health authorities first raised the alarm over White Rabbit last month, warning that the sweets contained the highest melamine levels out of a range of Chinese products tested.

Stores in the United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand also soon pulled White Rabbit off their shelves, and the Chinese company was forced to halt exports to 50 overseas markets, as well as to suspend domestic sales.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081017/wl_asia_afp/
chinafoodsafetychildwhiterabbit_081017071649

China’s Poisoned Milk Hits Vietnam Especially Hard

October 17, 2008

After China itself, perhaps Vietnam suffered most from the melamine tainted milk, formula and other dairy products from China.  That’s because Vietnam produces only about 20% of its own milk and the price of dairy products in Vietnam is the highest in nthe world…..

Below from Vietnam NetBridge
.
Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Dang Vang, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly’s Science and Technology  in Vietnam had this to say: 

Every nation in the world has a demand for dairy products, including sterilised fresh milk. The quality of dairy products has to be high, but the prices of products have to be low enough to ensure that people, including children and poor students, can have milk.

In many countries in the world, like Japan and countries in Europe, children always drink sterilised fresh milk, as the countries apply a policy on developing herds of milk cows, which allows them to satisfy domestic demand with 100% of domestic sourced milk.

Cows wait to be milked at a dairy farm near Hohhot, northwestern ... 
Cows wait to be milked at a dairy farm near Hohhot, northwestern China’s Inner Mongolia province, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008. Alarmed by the growing public dismay and international recalls over its tainted dairy products, China’s government pledged this week to overhaul the troubled industry by monitoring every link in the process that brings raw milk from the farm to the family kitchen.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In the region, Taiwan only has a population of 23mil, but its fresh milk output is 885,000 tonnes a year, which means that every person has over 38kg of milk every year.

What about Vietnam? With 120,000 cows and 250,000 tonnes of fresh milk a year, Vietnamese people only have 2.9kg of fresh milk a year.

It is clear that the fresh milk output is too low. Vietnam now has to import milk powder to make liquid milk. 1kg of milk powder can make 8.3 litres of liquid milk. The 250,000 tonnes of material milk can meet only 21.5% of the demand for materials for production, while the other 80% needs to be fed by imports.

 
Read the rest:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/biz/2008/10/808977/