Photo by Guille Padilla and used under a Creative Commons license
In what might seem small inconsequential news, the Dominican Republic is going through a milk scandal and it is being blogged that sugar water is being given to school children in place of whole or regular milk. The Daily Dominican [en] writes:
The Dominican Pediatrics Society (SDP) is calling for the Ministry of Education to discontinue the purchase of a breakfast drink that a TV investigative journalist Nuria Piera determined fails to meet its own established minimum standards of nutrition. Dr. Tharsis Hernandez, president of the SDP said that what the Ministry is serving is “whey” or “water with sugar.
The ministry of education has a contract with a number of different milk providers, one of which is the Dominican Dairy Producers (Ladom), according to Blog Santo Domingo [es]. The official who is presiding over the quality of the milk given to school children is Minister Alejandrina German, whose daughter works in an administrative position with Ladom. German stated that this liquid is not toxic:
Pero esa no es la inquietud en relación al líquido que Lacteos Dominicanos (LADOM) introduce en nuestras escuelas públicas y pretende hacer pasar por leche. El problema está en que este líquido no tiene los nutrientes suficientes para llamarse leche y es comparable a un suero de agua con colorante. Frente a estas acusaciones Alejandrina Germán se hizo la loca y declaró que el líquido no intoxica. ¿Y cuando ha visto ella que el agua con colorante intoxica?
However, that is not the issue in relation to the liquid that LADOM provides to our public schools and attempts to pass as milk. The problem is that this liquid does not have the sufficient nutrients to be called milk and it is comparable to an IV for colored water. Facing these accusations, Alejandrina Germán played dumb and declared that the liquid is not toxic. When has she seen colored water be toxic?
Piera, the journalist with Color Vision, first broke the news around the first of June. Clave Digital [es] blogged that he received a letter from a concerned parent about the apparent poor quality of the milk her child receives and said parent’s inability to give her child another milk option. Piera, along with fellow journalist Odalis Castillo, had independent tests administered on the milk to discover that the Ladom brand does not meet the minimum qualifications for protein.
German has denied these statements, according to Clave Digital [es], saying that there wasn’t any milk in the school system that did not meet the protein requirements. However, when pressed by reporters, she declined to mention the milk provider that was temporarily suspended.
Blogger Leoncio Bautista of El Informador [es] wrote that the chairman of the Federation of Dominican Merchants, Ivan Garcia, said that every year the Dominican Dairy Companies (Ladom) comes under attack because of other producers’ inability to reach Ladom’s level of excellence; and the competitiveness of this type of business leads to these false claims.
Explicó que ahora se han inventado que la leche que sirve esta industria al Desayuno Escolar “es pura agua”, una denuncia falaz, sin fundamentos, que no resiste al más mínimo razonamiento de una población inteligente, como la dominicana, que sabe distinguir entre lo bueno y lo malo, lo que tiene calidad en el mercado.
(Garcia) explains that the claim that the milk served in this industry to the School Breakfast is “purely water,” is false and without proof, and that it is not backed by the most minimal reasoning of an intelligent populace, such as the Dominicans, that knows how to distinguish between the good and the bad quality that can be found on the market.