Many expect the tragic numbers to grow as the belated investigation widens into China’s dairy industry. The fledgling industry produced 54 million tons of dairy products last year but still cannot keep up with rising demand.
Despite a newfound appetite for non-traditional dairy products, the dairy sector has been stymied by lax quality control and a culture of covering up life-threatening mistakes.
In a time when the Chinese government is eager to boost domestic consumption, the scandal has smashed consumers’ confidence in domestic dairy products. On the Internet, bloggers wrote: “My Heavens! What home brand can I trust now?” and “Save our children!”