The China infant milk scandal, even though it has so far not damaged any American babies, has exposed a major defect in the concept of free trade. It's dangerous to buy products from a nation whose economy is not based on Judeo-Christian morality.
The American private enterprise system depends on honesty as normal and accepted behavior. We don't have or want a policeman on every corner, or an army of government officials to inspect every bottle of baby formula or tube of toothpaste.
We do have regulations and random checks, but the majority of producers and sellers are restrained from criminality by adherence to the Judeo-Christian ethic. In communist China, there is no such restraint, and it is utterly impossible to regulate and inspect the thousands of small producers.
China's milk formula poisoned with melamine is now known to have killed at least four infants, sickened 50,000, and hospitalized 12,892 mostly newborns, with 158 suffering from acute kidney failure. Kidney stones cause extremely painful blockages, a problem that is relatively uncommon in babies.
Melamine, which is derived from coal, is an industrial chemical used in plastics, fertilizers, flame-retardant clothing, dyes, glue and tanning leather. It is supposedly banned from food production.
The widespread addition of melamine into infant formula was obviously deliberate and could not have been accidental. Melamine didn't fly out of the air into the milk or evolve from another substance.
The purpose of this deadly contamination was to produce a cheaper product by adding water to increase the volume of milk, and then adding melamine to inflate the protein readings on a common industrial test.
Melamine is the same dangerous chemical the Chinese added to pet food that sickened and killed thousands of American dogs and cats in 2007. That, too, was intentional -- the purpose was to trick Americans into thinking they were buying animal feed with higher protein content.
Don't forget the toothpaste and cough syrup into which the Chinese substituted the less expensive diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze, for the more expensive glycerin, a solvent safely used in drugs. Remember also the anti-clotting drug heparin from China that killed at least 80 Americans.
The biggest offender among the 22 melamine-using dairy companies, Sanlu Group, knew about the infant injuries for months before warning the public. Infant formula is widely used in China because mothers return to big cities to work in factories shortly after birth, leaving their babies to be raised by grandparents.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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