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Chinese hospitals are fighting to save the lives of some of the 1,253 babies who were sickened after being fed milk powder contaminated with an industrial chemical used to make cups and saucers.
Two infants have already died from drinking the formula laced with melamine in a ploy by farmers to boost the protein content of the milk they sold to one of the country’s biggest and best-known milk powder manufacturers. Police have arrested 19 people, including two brothers who ran a milk collection station.
But the scandal only came to light due to the intervention of Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who had been informed by the New Zealand joint venture partner of the Chinese company of its failure to persuade the Chinese side to implement a full recall of the tainted product.
Ms Clark told TVNZ that food giant Fonterra had been trying for weeks to get its partner, Sanlu Group, to recall the milk powder. “The local authorities in China would not do it. I think the first inclination was to try and put a towel over it and deal with it without an official recall.” Fonterra holds a 43 per cent stake in Sanlu and could only follow Chinese rules in handling the incident.
I feel it is more likely representative of a lack of ethics and leadership valuing profit over social responsibility.