China: Infant-killer milk powder sickens the country

Is food in China edible? Chinese people started to ask.

Since last year, alerted by a series of products safety accidents, the world has questioned China of its food, toys and even animal feed safety, while the answers, both official and folk, were that Made in China is trustable. But now as the toxic infant formula showed up again in China, killing 2 babies, sickening hundreds more, our trust has painfully drained away, taken place by panic.

It started from 9 Sep, in Gansu province, where press revealed that 14 infants were afflicted by kidney stones, suspected of having had contaminated infant formula.

In the next day, scores more cases were reported, and the victim babies were all found to have milk powder manufactured by one company, the Sanlu Group, a leading Chinese dairy producer.

The situation kept worsening. In 10 Sep, an infant died of the disease. In ten other provinces, kidney-stone babies were reported. In interviews, doctors in different places agreed that they found cases of baby kidney stones abnormally surged in the past a few months.

Fengfeng, 7-month-year-old from Jiangxi province, had milk powder made by Sanlu Group since his birth, and had already suffered from two kidney surgeries due to the stones. Now, his parents found more people sharing the same experience.

However, Sanlu refused to claim its responsibility by stating at 10am, 11 Sep that “the formula is produced strictly at national standard”. It moreover alleged that according to the Gansu province quality check department its products were of good quality, reassuring “their milk power has no problem”.

But the Ministry of Health gave Sanlu the late while fatal strike, just a few hours after the company’s self-explanation, officially warning people to stop taking tainted infant formula by Sanlu. One hour later, turning 180 degree in attitude, Sanlu announced a recall of its products. By estimation, the tainted formula amount to 700 tons. Not until this moment were millions of babies protected from the deadly dairy products.

Too late

Up till now, 16 Sep, 1253 sickened babies were reported, 2 of them died. Panic is spreading. There are over 30 thousand potential victims, predicted from Sanlu’s influence in domestic market.

In a formal statement by Sanlu, it claimed that a chemical called melamine, usually used in plastic production, had been added to the formula by dairy farmers and milk dealers. The purpose of doing so, accordingly, is that the nitrogen-rich chemical could help the milk meet the nitrogen standard which is to test the protein content, after they added water to dilute the milk and gain more profit.

But such a statement came too late, much later than the fact was actually discovered.

猪猡纪 in his blog posted a screen shot, which shows as early as in July, 31, an urology pediatrician has complained on the website of Administration of Quality Supervision, that he doubted infant formula was the cause of kidney stones in babies he had treated. However, his suggestion only got the response ——“Go to find the health department.”

Netizen “zcfonline” further more pointed in BBS that:


Only the products made before 6, Aug were recalled and such a recall is not published until 12, Sep. The fact is, Sanlu has actually discovered the problem long ago and stop using melamine in formula made after 6, Aug. Its late recall poisoned our babies one more month.
It should bankrupt!

What might be devastated is not only one company; made-in-China is undergoing a severe test as well.

Early in March, 2007, U.S FDA has found pet feed killed dogs and cats due to the melamine added to the raw material imported from China. The use of the chemical is exactly the same as this time, but it is not enough to alert Chinese government, though it claimed in 2007 after this event


Administration achieved greatly in rooting out melamine (2007)

The trust on Made-in-China endangered, even in Chinese hearts

In 2007, when Chinese products got attacks due to the lead in toys, and in 2008, Carrefour got boycotted because of the unfriendly treat of torch relay in France, people called on a firm support of domestic products. But today, as 尤大之吻 said


I love my country, but my country’s enterprises were so disappointing that I find nothing to love.

aswlw888 complained


I entreat the Administration of Quality Supervision to enhance the standard of food safety for human in China to that of the pet in U.S.A.

莫之许 in posted a text record of CCTV’s probe into how melamine was added to the milk.

只见他拿着一口大碗,从一个纸箱里舀出白色粉末倒入桶内,水桶里已经有了一些奶白色的液体,还用手仔细将碗里的残留物抹干净,随后这名工人拿着一根钢管用 力搅拌,搅拌的同时还把沾在水桶、钢管和手上的东西一一抹干净,和到水桶里,搅拌均匀后,再将这调好的一桶桶白色液体倒入奶罐中。

….. the journalist saw the worker bowled white powder from a paper box into the barrels, in which some milky liquid was already there. He then wiped out the residue in the bowl, and stirred the barrel with an steel club….. he then poured the barrels of white mixture into the milk tanks.

The white powder is exactly the chemical used to increase the nitrogen content to cheat that there was more protein than it actually had.

The journalist found:


The adulteration material bought in 500 RMB could make mike sold in over 2000 RMB.

The adulteration, according to the news source, is prevalent among local milk farmers.

Who is to blame?

Now with no doubt Sanlu is the target of fury, even though it tried to exculpate itself, claiming it was also the victim of unlawful milk farmers. But in another GVO post by I-fan, you can see how people argue against it, saying Sanlu deliberately added the chemical.

Blogger Beifeng(北风)also posted a collection of questionable points, pointing Sanlu is likely to be the real murderer.


….. 2. the 700 tons of milk powder need thousands of tons of raw material, and melamine by a few milk farmers could make such a consequence?


(Milk powder is dried from liquid milk). Melamine is only slightly soluble in water! Adding it to liquid milk would create lot of sediment.(It should be tested out by Sanlu)

10. 假如真的奶农掺了三聚氰胺,那么三鹿的所有奶粉都出问题才是,事实上,只有三鹿最便宜的婴儿奶粉出了问题……

If farmers added melamine then all the products by Sanlu should have problems. But in fact, only the cheapest type, the infant formula were found tainted.

Besides Sanlu Group, the government is also undergoing people’s inquiries. In March, when sickened babies’ parents first appealed the administration to check Sanlu formula, all they got is a guarantee of no problem. And in 2, Sep, the state media CCTV even recommended Sanlu as a shining star of made-in-china, a trustworthy symbol.

Many babies started to take Sanlu formula since their birth due to the brand’s reputation, which means the problematic formula has existed for years. But the shame is that during the course, the authority stood by.

Famous columnist, blogger Lianyue 连岳 said in his post “If Snalu keep standing, the Chinese government would fall”:


It might bring to the bankruptcy of all the related national departments. Sanlu scandal concerns Quality Check, Health, Commercial, and Food Supervision departments, and the national propaganda machine CCTV. Judged from the news, Sanlu has produced tainted formula since last year, and it itself understood this, according to Gaoqiang, the minister of health department.
This shows all the departments were useless craps. It did nothing at all in such a long time. Even a few days ago the provincial department admits Sanlu’s good quality. People could certainly judge from this that the credit of government is no more.

But a netizen 月落鸟不啼 commented ironically:



anlu would stand, so will Chinese government. Look at the report published after the Si-chuan earthquake, which says all the collapsed schools were standing on seismic belt, such a ridiculous lie. What else dare they not say?

Or everything would just be like what 空心狂人 said:


This is China. Get used to it, and all will be fine!


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