Whenever there is a big food safety scandal, two things happen. Companies start calling us asking if we can protect them from such problems (we can improve their odds but nothing is guaranteed) and the press starts calling us with questions as to what went wrong.
First with the press. Bloomberg news is out with a story, entitled, “China Says 432 Infants Have Kidney Stones From Sanlu Formula,” quoting CLB’s own Steve Dickinson on this latest China food scandal:
The problem may stem from cost pressures combined with government price-caps, according to Steve Dickinson, a partner at law firm Harris Moure Plc who has studied China’s food safety system. The Chinese government has limited price increases of staple goods, including milk products, this year to reduce the impact of inflation on consumers.
“These companies aren’t really permitted to price their products at a commercially reasonable price,” Dickinson said in a telephone interview from the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao. “Yet their superiors are beating on them to make money. Melamine allows them to get higher-rated protein content at no extra cost.”
Food Safety Efforts
Dickinson added that so far, the central government’s efforts to improve food safety haven’t filtered down to the local level. “They haven’t found a way to make it work,” he said.
For more on how to handle China quality issues (and in the spirit of “here we go again), check out the following posts we have done on this issue:
– “China Products: Ya Want Quality? I Got Quality.”
– “China Quality Control: Darkness Before The Dawn.”
– “Quality Control Direct From The China Factory.”
– “China Products: Forget Trust, Just Verify.”
– “China Product Outsourcing Done Right: A Sort Of Guide.”
– “China Product Problems: What’s Morality Got To Do With It?”