China’s Dairy Farmers Say They Are Victims

The New York Times looks at how the contaminated milk crisis is affecting dairy farmers

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The dairy farming villages around Shijiazhuang came under sharp scrutiny last month after investigators arrested dozens of farmers and milk station operators for spiking milk with melamine, which if blended into food can artificially inflate protein readings, helping it pass quality tests.

But dairy farmers here insist that they never used malamine, and that the real culprits are dairy companies and the milking stations that they operate. They also complain that they have been squeezed by the price controls on food that went into effect last year, which may have created incentives among some farmers and big companies to dilute milk and use chemical substitutes.

Regulatory loopholes and corruption are believed to be part of the problem. Many dairy farmers in the region said bribery was common at milking stations. And dairy experts say local regulators are also known to take bribes or favor companies that are partly owned by a local government entity, which sometimes means that the regulator and the regulated are virtually one and the same.

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