Sanlu began hearing reports of illnesses from its tainted formula as early as March, and the first death was reported on May 1. Nevertheless, Sanlu donated large quantities of formula to victims of the big earthquake in May.
Sanlu reported news of tainted formula to its board of directors six days before the Olympic Games opened in Beijing. Chinese reporters were told not to report negative news that might disrupt the games, and it was not until Sept. 11 that the public was warned and a recall ordered.
At least nine of the 22 dairy companies selling melamine-contaminated milk, including Sanlu Group, enjoyed inspection-exempt status called "mianjian." This controversial status is based on the assumption that companies that passed quality tests for three years could then be trusted to regulate themselves.
Others claim that China's two-tiered product-regulatory system is really designed to protect and nurture a handful of privileged, mostly state-owned companies. The Chinese economic system, which some mistakenly tout as emerging capitalism, is based on special advantages for government favorites.
China's poorly regulated and unreported supply chain starts with a farmer owning several cows, each milked three times a day, selling his milk to local dealers, who in turn sell to companies like Sanlu, which combine the milk before reselling it. There is no way to trace problems if they occur.
China finally announced a recall, arrested several suspects, and fired a mayor and some other local officials. Maybe some fall guy will be executed, like last year's head of China's Food and Drug Administration and several of his deputies.
But that doesn't begin to make up for the damage to infants or remedy the underlying problem that communist Chinese companies will poison their products to sell them cheaper.
The globalists tell us: Don't worry, none of Sanlu's formula made it to the United States. But the poisoned pet food did; and Sanlu's products reached Hong Kong, where supermarkets had to pull ice cream and frozen yogurt off their shelves.
Some of the media are telling us that the solution is to appropriate more money to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If the FDA had a budget a hundred times larger it could never inspect, regulate and assure the safety of Chinese products.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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