Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It Must be all That Terrific Infrastructure Barack was Talking About

... that leads to industrial solvents in baby food.
Chinese authorities have found the industrial chemical melamine in baby formula made by 22 different producers, indicating that China's problems with tainted baby formula extend far beyond that made by Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co.

The additional cases turned up in extensive tests of baby formula conducted by regulators in the wake of the widening scandal, which has so far claimed two deaths and caused over 1,200 babies to fall ill in China.

Investigators found 69 batches made by some of China's best known formula makers were contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical normally used in non-food products...
Non-food products? I'll say. The stuff is made into countertops for your kitchen!

Only 40% of the countertops tested were found to be contaminated with baby food.

I'm sure that as soon as the press finishes it's investigation of Sarah Palin's shoe store receipts from 1987, they'll be right on this one, complete with questions for Barack Obama about his claim that the Chinese infrastructure is better than ours.



Anonymous said...

I'm a little startled by your implication that this isn't being covered by the media, but maybe it's because I don't read the "right" newspapers - the Christian Science Monitor has been reporting on this right along.

And, it evidently isn't exactly an "infrastructure" problem, except to the extend that the inspection and criminal justice systems count as "infrastructure". It's outright fraud - when food gets analyzed for "protein content", they are really analyzing for organically bound nitrogen. Melamine has a ridiculously high organic nitrogen content, so putting it in food boosts your "crude protein" numbers. The people doing this aren't careless or sloppy, they are outright criminals and need to be arrested. Or, seeing as how this is China we are talking about, shot.

K T Cat said...

Thanks for the comment, Tim! I love it when you stop by.

I haven't seen this get much play at all outside of the WSJ.

I would argue that the ability to properly dispose of waste products from industrial processes is indeed an infrastructure problem. In some cases, the Chinese pollutants-in-food cases come from contanimated water sources.

Anonymous said...

The Wikipedia article on Melamine has a good bit about what the Chinese are doing with this stuff. We basically have two groups of criminals involved: (1)Food producers who are trying to boost their "protein" numbers with melamine, mainly so they won't get caught doing things like watering down the milk or cutting the grain with sawdust; and (2) Melamine producers, who have got themselves into a serious overcapacity situation, and so they are more than happy to sell off their surplus without bothering their little heads too much about what their customers are planning on doing with it.

Personally, I think the ones actually buying the melamine and putting it in the food are the ones that the Chinese government is going to end up shooting. The ones selling it to them might get off scot-free, but I'd much rather see them at least lose their jobs, and preferably spend some time in prison to contemplate the error of their ways.

Incidentally, for people who want to get a reasonable idea of what is going on in the world, I'd recommend reading the Christian Science Monitor and listening to the BBC World Service. They are much less, well, I guess "sheeplike" is the word I want, than most other news sources.