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三鹿 (sān lù): Sanlu

Sanlu Group (三鹿集团) was the Chinese state-owned company at the center of the 2008 tainted milk scandal. In the fall of 2008, at least six infants died and thousands more were hospitalized after being fed formula manufactured by Sanlu. An investigation revealed that the company had been adding melamine, a chemical used in plastics manufacturing, to its milk powder in order to give the semblance of higher protein content. From that point on, “poison milk powder” and “melamine” have been terms well known to Chinese citizens.

The World Health Organization provides a Q&A about the the dangers of melamine contamination in the context of the 2008 scandal.

Since the 2008 Sanlu scandal, there have been numerous additional scandals involving milk contamination and tainted baby formula in China, battering faith in domestic dairy companies and significantly boosting profits for foreign diary firms in mainland China.

Read more about Sanlu, milk contamination and melamine from China Digital Times.
Bags of Sanlu milk powder for infants
Blame chain. From left to right: mother with sick child, Ministry of Health, Sanlu, farmer, cow, grass.
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