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Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Milk scandal bares government failings

September 24, 2008

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— The note posted in July on the Web site of China's food safety inspection agency came from a doctor: There had been a sudden rise in infants turning up at his hospital with kidney stones after drinking the same brand of formula.

The warning, which urged an investigation, went unheeded. In the two weeks since China began piecemeal reporting about contamination of the milk supply, a picture has emerged of official indifference, greed and government dysfunction.

Among the startling details: the practice of adulterating milk was widely known in the industry, and one dairy knew since late last year that its formula was sickening children.

The revelations have dismayed a broad segment of the public - parents - who feel the government has breached their trust. Tens of thousands of children have sought medical care, nearly 13,000 have been hospitalized and four infants have died.

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