Jun 22

Flashback:

In China, What You Eat Tells Who You Are … And Organic Food Is Only For The Power Elite

I ate Hu Jintao’s dinner; China’s president, and the rest of the politburo eat only organic food


From Milk to Peas, a Chinese Food-Safety Mess (New York Times/IHT, June 21, 2012):

HONG KONG — There’s mercury in the baby formula. Cabbages are sprayed with formaldehyde. Gelatin capsules for pills, tens of millions of them, are laced with chromium. Used cooking oil is scooped out of gutters for recycling, right along with the sewage.

Accounts of dubious or unsafe food in China are as mesmerizing as they are disturbing — “artificial green peas,” grilled kebabs made from cat meat, contaminated chives, chlorine showing up in soft drinks.

There have been stories of imitation soy sauce made from hair clippings, ink and paraffin being used to dress up cheap noodles, and pork buns so loaded with bacteria that they glow in the dark.

A new investigation by the Chinese magazine Caixin has found that these publicized food safety scandals represent only a fraction of unsafe food production practices. Hundreds of chemical food additives are pumped into products that Chinese people consume every day.”

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday that Chinese authorities have discovered 15,000 cases of substandard food so far this year while shutting down 5,700 unlicensed food businesses.

Things are so bad that a new iPhone app was recently launched to track food scandals nationwide. The app, which sends out daily updates on the latest outrages, was reportedly downloaded more than 200,000 times in the first week.

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Nov 12


Zhao Lianhai told The Daily Telegraph that he was determined to spread information about melamine-poisoning

A man whose five-year-old son was poisoned during China’s toxic milk crisis has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after he set up a website to warn other parents about the disease.

Zhao Lianhai, a 38-year-old former employee of China’s Food Quality and Safety authority, created the site in 2009 after more than 300,000 Chinese toddlers were poisoned, and at least six killed, by milk that was laced with melamine, an industrial chemical that made the milk appear more wholesome.

The website quickly became a focal point for thousands of parents who were outraged at the crisis, and that the issue had initially been covered up.

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Jan 22


A Chinese infant drinks powdered milk in Chengdu

BEIJING (AFP) – A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced two men to death and gave stiff jail terms to 19 others over a milk scandal that led to widespread poisoning of babies in China and dairy recalls around the world.

The former head of the dairy firm at the heart of the scandal, Tian Wenhua, a 66-year-old woman accused of initially covering it up, was among three people jailed for life.

One other person was given a suspended death penalty, a sentence that routinely gets commuted to life in jail, while the rest were imprisoned for terms ranging from two to 15 years, state-run CCTV news reported.

The 21 people went on trial in recent weeks for their involvement in making or selling the contaminated milk that last year killed at least six babies and left 296,000 others ill with kidney and urinary tract problems.

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Dec 09

France discovers 300 tonnes of contaminated Chinese soymeal


Deliveries from China have been subjected to rigorous tests since the EU issued an alert last October recommending countries tighten controls on produce from China. (AFP)

RENNES – ALMOST 300 tonnes of soymeal from China, used to feed organic poultry in western France, were taken off the market on Friday after testing positive for a toxic chemical, an import company said.

The soymeal contained melanine – the chemical at the heart of a scandal in China over contaminated milk – 50 times over the recommended limit.

‘One of the three imported batches, was carrying 116mg/kg of melamine, while the average should be 2,5 grammes. All foodstuffs made from the same materials were taken off the market at the beginning of November,’ Mr Christophe Carousse from the French farm cooperative told AFP.

Other untested batches where delivered to some 127 organic farms in the Loire region in western France.

‘Tests on meat, pork and egg-laying chickens show there is no danger to public health. Unlike dioxin, melamine does not build up in the body. There is no way of catching it through the food chain,’ veterinary expert Frederic Andre told AFP. (Hmmh.)

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Dec 02

Nearly 300,000 children were made sick and six may have been killed by milk tainted with the toxic plastic melamine, Beijing has said in a major revision of numbers of those affected by China’s worst recent health scare.

Related articles:
FDA sets safe levels for melamine in baby formula
90 Percent of U.S. Infant Formula May Be Contaminated with Melamine

A statement posted on online government media overnight said that 294,000 babies and young children had suffered “urinary system abnormalities” after drinking formula milk from Sanlu, the company most seriously affected, and other brand names.

Previously the government said that just over 50,000 babies had received hospital treatment for kidney stones.

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Dec 01

FDA Abruptly Declares Chemical Safe for Babies

(NaturalNews) Up to 90 percent of the infant formula sold in the United States may be contaminated with trace amounts of melamine, the toxic chemical linked to kidney damage, according to recent tests. The FDA’s test results, which the agency hid from the public and only released after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that Nestle, Mead Johnson and Enfamil infant formula products were all contaminated with melamine.

The AP is also reporting that Abbott Laboratories conducted its own in-house tests that detected trace levels of melamine in its formula products. Together, these infant formula manufacturers make about 90 percent of the infant formula sold in the United States.

Prior to these test results being made public, the FDA had published a document on its website that explained there was no safe level of melamine contamination in infant formula.

Specifically, the FDA stated, “FDA is currently unable to establish any level of melamine and melamine-related compounds in infant formula that does not raise public health concerns.”

Related article: FDA sets safe levels for melamine in baby formula (CNN)

Once tests found melamine in U.S.-made formula products, however, the FDA changed its story. As of today, the FDA has now officially declared melamine to be safe in infant formula as long as the contamination level is less than one part per million (1 ppm).

Astonishingly: The FDA has no new science to justify its abrupt decision declaring melamine to be safe!

Protecting Big Business instead of American babies

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Nov 29

First the FDA says that they “could not determine a threshold for the safe amount of certain toxic chemicals in infant formula.”

And then suddenly they know “that trace amounts are safe.”

So how does the FDA determine what is ‘safe’ for your children?

The FDA has probably contacted their local preacher because they “believe that at very low levels there should not be any health concerns.”

So the FDA “believes” which translates to “the FDA does not know whether trace amounts are safe or not.”


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(CNN)After first saying that they could not determine a threshold for the safe amount of certain toxic chemicals in infant formula, Food and Drug Administration officials said Friday that trace amounts are safe.

Worries over melamine in infant formula started in China and have spread to the United States.
Worries over melamine in infant formula started in China and have spread to the United States.


“Amounts of the industrial chemical melamine or the melamine-like compound called cyanuric acid that are below 1.0 ppm [1,000 parts per billion] do not raise public health concerns,” said Stephen Sundlof, the FDA’s director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

When it became known in September that thousands of babies in China had been sickened by tainted infant formula, the FDA ordered the testing of U.S.-manufactured infant-formula products.

Sundlof said Friday that results from 74 of 87 samples of infant formula and other products babies and young children had been completed. The results of the other 13 are pending.

That total differed slightly from the one the FDA offered Thursday, when its acting commissioner of public affairs, Judy Leon, told CNN that 77 sample results had been completed and just 10 were outstanding.

Among the 74 final test results discussed Friday, the FDA said, two samples of Nestle’s Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron tested positive for melamine at levels of 137 and 140 parts per billion, well below the level of concern cited by Sundlof.

In addition, three samples of Mead Johnson’s infant powder, Enfamil LIPIL with Iron, tested positive for cyanuric acid at an average of 247 parts per billion, also well below the FDA trace level.

The FDA’s October 3 risk assessment of melamine and its analogues concluded that “levels of melamine and its analogues below 2.5 ppm in foods other than infant formula do not raise public health concerns.”

But the agency said then that it did not have enough data to determine a safe level of melamine and its analogues in infant formula.

On Friday, an FDA official said it was still not possible to determine a safe level for infant formula containing both melamine and cyanuric acid compounds, but officials “believe that at very low levels there should not be any health concerns.

Sundlof said the trace levels of melamine or related compounds detected in the samples are 10,000-fold less than the amount associated with Chinese infant-formula contamination.

According to the World Health Organization, contaminated infant formula in China has killed four babies and caused more than 47,000 infants and children to be hospitalized with possible kidney stones.

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Nov 26

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it had discovered the toxic chemical melamine in infant formula made by an American manufacturer, raising the possibility that the problem was more extensive in the United States than previously thought.

While few details were available late Tuesday, agency officials said they had discovered melamine at trace levels in a single sample of infant formula. It was also discovered in several samples of dietary supplements that are made by some of the same manufacturers who make formula.

F.D.A. officials insisted that the levels of melamine were so low that they did not pose a health threat.

“There’s no cause for concern or no risk from these levels,” said Judy Leon, an agency spokeswoman. Ms. Leon said the contamination was most likely the result of food contact with something like a can liner, or from some other manufacturing problems, but not from deliberate adulteration.

She declined to name the company that made the tainted infant formula.

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Nov 14


More than 1200 Chinese children have been hospitalised after drinking tainted milk formula (AFP)

Products from the dairy company whose tainted formula killed at least four babies are back on the shelves in China just as the United States issued a ban on Chinese food imports in case of similar contamination.

Such a broad ban by the Food and Drug administration on goods from an entire country rather than from a new rogue manufacturer is unusual and reflects the level of concern over how widespread the problem is in China.

Importers to the United States must now certify that food products are free of dairy or of the industrial chemical melamine that has been found in a vast array of Chinese products – from baby powder to milk powder to creamy confectionery. Failing that, the goods will be stopped at the border.

The FDA order said: “The problem of melamine contamination is not limited to infant formula products. Chinese government sources indicate contamination of milk components, especially dried milk powder, which are used in a variety of finished foods.” These are believed to spread throughout the food chain in China.

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Nov 01

BEIJING, China (CNN) — Consumers in Beijing’s malls and shops are shunning the milk and poultry sections — for good reasons.

Poultry products, including eggs, may be contaminated with melamine through animal food.
Poultry products, including eggs, may be contaminated with melamine through animal food.

They are shocked and scared by the news headlines: some food produced in China is tainted with melamine.

“Of course I’m worried,” says a woman shopping in Nanxiaojie Market. Stop eating eggs? “That’s not possible,” she tells CNN. “If there’s a problem with eggs, it should be solved fundamentally.”

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao says China will take steps to win back consumers.

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Oct 31
There are fears contamination could be widespread throughout the food chain

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.

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

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. Continue reading »

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Oct 29


Eggs from mainland China are seen at a wholesale market in Hong Kong Monday. Wal-Mart pulled all the eggs from its store shelves Tuesday across the country over melamine fears.
Bobby Yip/Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – Authorities in a northeastern Chinese city on Wednesday vowed severe punishment for those responsible for melamine-tainted eggs turning up in Hong Kong, as the health scare spread to another city in eastern China.

At least four children have died and tens of thousands were made ill amid the melamine scandal, the latest in a series of health scares to sully the “made in China” label.

Chinese products ranging from chocolate to milk powder have been recalled throughout the world due to contamination fears. Melamine, used in making plastic chairs among other things, is often added to cheat nutrition tests.

Chinese eggs have now come under the spotlight, after Hong Kong food safety authorities over the weekend found melamine-tainted eggs produced by Hanwei Group in the northeastern port city of Dalian on local shelves.

Problem eggs have now been found in Hangzhou, capital of the eastern province of Zhejiang, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, citing quality authorities there who had ordered a city-wide recall of all “Ciyunxiang”-brand eggs.

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