Toxic Milk Powder Scandal Spreads

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Good news, folks. “Most companies’ baby milk powder is safe,” China’s State Council says. I think that’s meant to be reassuring. But “most?” That’s the always-look-on-the-bright-side way to say the tainted milk powder scandal (here’s our story from yesterday) that started with one producer, Sanlu, has now expanded to 22. More than 6,000 infants have fallen ill, and now a third child has died from consuming milk tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical that can cause kidney stones and renal failure. Tian Wenhua, the president of Sanlu, was sacked along with two local officials in Shijiazhuang, where the company is headquartered.

This threatens to be a repeat of last year, when problems were found in a huge range of foods and consumer goods made in China. But perhaps rather than call this a repeat, it’s better to say that it’s an old problem that never got fixed. A Hong Kong supermarket chain announced yesterday that it was recalling tainted frozen yogurt bars. How many more products are yet to come?