Health & Medicine

China's escalating milk scandal

This town was an ancient trading center on the old silk road, but these days it's an aspiring city. This shopowner says she's removed a lot of milk products from the shelves in recent days and shows an itemized list provided by the government of contaminated milk products. Dairies in China have been using a toxic chemical and watering down their milk and putting in melanin to make the milk appear to have a higher protein content than it does. The affected products vary widely, but the biggest product has been baby formula. Chinese state TV has reported that 1 of the 22 companies selling contaminated milk products started receiving complaints about its formula in December but waited eight months before reporting the problem. Local authorities kept it quiet because the Olympics were coming up. Finally the story broke this month and the Chinese government has scrambled to regain the trust of the public. He even issued a public apology. He also promised parents of infected kids would get free medical care, but back in the town from earlier, this farmer says his two year old daughter was refused from the local clinic. He says all this makes him wonder how much officials care about poor people, and I got the same feeling after meeting with a group of province officials. That level of confidence is not shared by China's Premier of Agriculture, who said their inspection system needs an entire overhaul. But it's still a question of whether any of that will be delivered.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.