Monday, September 29, 2008

Made In China

This is one sign that parents do not want to see at this time following the deaths of four babies and hospitalization of thousands more with kidney complications after consuming contaminated formula milk from China. Following the reports, The Kenyan government, and indeed many governments around the world swung into action and immediately banned milk imports from China. A leading food company in Japan even recalled buns on suspicion that they had been made with contaminated milk imported from China. The culprit has since been found to be Melamine.

But what on earth was Melamine doing in baby formula? According to WiseGeek, Melamine is an organic compound that is often combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a synthetic polymer which is fire resistant and heat tolerant. Melamine resin is a very versatile material with a highly stable structure. Uses for melamine include whiteboards, floor tiles, kitchenware, fire retardant fabrics, and commercial filters. Melamine can be easily molded while warm, but will set into a fixed form. This property makes it ideally suited to certain industrial applications’.

Melamine is therefore the last thing you’d expect to find in baby formula really. But unethical manufacturers apparently add it to milk to boost protein content. Or rather to cheat the testing systems into getting a higher protein reading in the tests. Last year there was a similar scandal after pet food made in China killed and sickened thousands of pets in the U.S. That too contained melamine. So in the end it’s all about business and money. Profits before health.

Still last year, U.S safety officials recalled 4.2 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots bead toys that contain a chemical that caused some children to vomit and become comatose after swallowing them. (CNN). Scientists found that the beads contained a chemical that turned into the ‘date rape’ drug upon metabolism in the body.

Not too long ago China was in the news again after Slim 10 slimming pills caused liver complications and even death. That was back in 2002. What next? What other dangerous stuff might we be unknowingly consuming?

See Also: Microwave Ovens – Are We Putting Our Health In Danger Every Day?

Dagoretti Houses Of Filth


Rafiki said...

Shiko, thanks for the interesting reading. I was just wondering where all these bad things end up? Are they really all being destroyed? Or may some of them end up in let's say Africa? We usually end up with the leftovers, while the "more developed" part of this world takes the best pieces of the resources on this planet. A pretty shocking and controversial movie/documentary about this is Darwin's Nightmare, dealing with the environmental and social effects of the fishing industry around Lake Victoria. A must-watch if you can get it.

Shiko-Msa said...

Rafiki it may very well be that some of this stuff ends up here although the pet food and the toxic toys ended up in the US mostly. But stuff gets dumped here alright.

What worries me is that people are still willingly buying them. I know for a fact that Chinese sliming pills are on sale here and people are buying them – not the killer brand but still one would be afraid surely. Their effect is to induce diarrhea every time the user eats. So you can imagine taking them for months.

I wish I could get that documentary. I love documentaries.

Kirima said...

Thanks for the write up when I heard about melamine Laced milk I could only think of the cheap melamine plates we had in school!
Its disgusting what people do for profit Today its China but Tomorrow it could be somewhere nearer home.

Shiko-Msa said...

haha Kirima. My melamine plate in school was dotted white and red but was stained brown in the center. And it had my admission number (3904)written in black at the back. But modern melamine utensils are very beautiful.

Kirima you know maybe things are happening even here except not on such a huge scale. Maybe shrewed businessmen are doing stuff that may not necessarily affect our health now but later. I once heard of adding antibiotics to milk to make it last longer. We've seen our guys go blind and die coz of methanol laced alcohol. Who knows what else is being done that is not on a scale as huge as China but that could affect consumers anyway?

So your tomorrow is not actually tomorrow but it's happening.

Anonymous said...

China with fake goods, bad phones, now foods, wasup with them? So all that raucous they came with to get Sudan's oil was to power industries that give us bad products?

Shiko-Msa said...

Greamhouze you and I and someone else should commit not to buy counterfeit stuff. That will be a small step but is still something. I don't think we've felt china thoroughly yet so this is the time to keep an eye open.

Taabu said...

Stop being MALICIOUS. China is only doing what anybody else would in a crowded house. It is survival for the fittest and when you remian communist but embrace selfish capitalism that is what you get. You cannot bake, have your cake and eat it, or can you?

The flat faces are only taking the Kenyan brand of enterpreneurship a notch higher. Remember our METHANOL laced potentkumi kumi? That is Kenyan version of Melamine. China is desperately trying to do what US/UK did decades ago. And we have them for comfort on new corruption-GOING EAST.

And that admission number of yours again 3904??????? You better explain before I make conclusions.

Shiko-Msa said...

Taabu I remember Kumi kumi only too well. we're in agreement there might be things local manufacturers do that we have no idea about but which are potentially harmful to us. It's the magnitude and frequency of the Chinese scandals that makes them really stand out. And there's something disturbing about dying babies. Not that pets and grown up people deserve to fall sick and die lakini babies.......aaaii.

What's with my primary school admission number?

Rafiki said...

Shiko, I bought my copy of Darwin's Nightmare from here

Nairobian said...

with China you can get good stuff, good imitations and horrible fakes! but i dont think that milk stuff is any different to the British mad Cow meat saga!.....the world is such a brutish and selfish Laden place to live in thanks to capitalism, not that communism is any better!

Shiko-Msa said...

True Nairobian. I hear you. I'd almost forgotten about the mad cos saga.

joyunspeakable said...

all over the world you have guys just selling fake things...that is wat is affecting the financial markets in US and Europe...fake mortgages etal.

i tell you we are yet to see be careful

Ssembonge said...

China is fast becoming a victim of its own success. For every genuine Chinese business there are several fake ones.