Arrived in Beijing Sunday night in a heavy rain storm.  Did, however, have time to drag a few friends to a Houtong-located night spot – Cafe Sambal.  I had the curry – and beers.  The food was superb, but we were forced to huddle inside as the plastic roof did not hold up to the rain.  For those who know me, and the friends I took, let me say the place was a bit "rustic."

It is big news this morning (its actually the 22nd) – not that I am in China – but that melamine-tainted food for children is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for children around the world and the Chinese Government.  Now, Singapore has found traces of the toxic chemical (best know for poisoning US pets last year) in Chinese-made dairy product as a scandal over tainted milk spreads across Asia and Africa.  Samples of White Rabbit-brand Creamy Candy imported from China are also contaminated with melamine.

Authorities in Hong Kong and at least three African countries on Friday suspended the sale and import of all Chinese milk and dairy products.  The ban includes milk, ice cream, yogurt, chocolate, biscuits and candy, as well as any other products containing milk from China as an ingredient.

So far four babies in China have died and 6,300 sickened with 1,500 hospitalized and nearly 200 with acute kidney failure.

I may need to change my PowerPoint a bit for my upcoming speech (I have been warned by the Government to play nice already).  With the recall spreading throughout Asia and Africa, what will the US do?  That’s right, the FDA only inspects less that 1% of our imports.  Even though I have not yet been able to export lawsuits to China – yet (although, its product liability laws have potential), I bet I will have plenty of work upon my return to the US.  I’m off to the Forbidden City.

  • Taiwan has reported finding melamine in products from mainland China that contain NON-DAIRY creamer. Wonder just how far this scandal will spread.

  • Go get ’em Bill. Love the whole ‘play nice’ thing…maybe you can make a joke about fake fireworks, or something… Have a safe trip…

  • Nicole

    So now will people realize what we “animal lovers” meant when we said the thousands of dead animals were the canaries in the coal mine … all but ignored and now babies are dead. Shame.
    And a big part of the problem, I believe, is Chinese censorship. They forbade storiesof the thousands of animals that died here due to melamine and the logical assumption that I am making is that the farmers had no clue how deadly this could be. The US press reports 14 dead when it was THOUSANDS of animals dead and the Chinese report nothing to their people. I cannot believe that the farmers would deliberately put this ingredient in babies milk if they were aware of the true consequences of death. If they did, death is not good enough of a punishment.
    Isn’t this reason enough that we need to know where the ingredients in our food come from. Isn’t this the poster child for labeling reform. I don’t want to eat food that comes from China. I just don’t want to. And I think I have a right to know where my food and the ingredients in my food comes from. And if you won’t tell me, I just won’t eat your food, period, the end.

  • Bix

    One more comment ….
    I don’t mean to be cynical, but is it possible that the US keeps FDA inspection rates low, so that fewer imports get refused, imports from nations such as China that loan us lots of money (for, say, war, or bailing out failing investment and insurance companies), so that those nations will continue lending us money, at acceptable interest rates? Does this kind of political handshaking go on?

  • Irmgard Conley

    Absolutely shocking that this was done AFTER so many pets were killed and hurt not long ago.
    Where has common decency gone? All is fair as long as it makes some people rich???
    I hope we can hit the Chinese Government hard enough to get them to finally institute strict controls on everything they hope to sell overseas, even if they do not seem to care about what happens to their own population..