China’s Dairy Industry Took Deadly Shortcuts to Growth; 60 Arrests in Sanlu Case

The Ministry of Public Security has announced that they made 60 arrests over the contaminated milk scandal in 2008. From AP:

The ministry’s website said Friday 21 of those suspects have been prosecuted in Hebei province, home of Sanlu Group Co., the dairy at the heart of the scandal.

Previously authorities announced 42 arrests.

Tian Wenhua, the former board chairwoman and general manager of Sanlu, and three other top executives have been tried for their role in the milk contamination. Verdicts have not yet been announced.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times takes a look at how China’s rush to create a dairy industry resulted in mistakes which led to the deadly milk contamination:

Milk is not part of the traditional Chinese diet. Most Chinese adults are lactose-intolerant and many are repelled by the smell of dairy products.

But in the 1990s, economic planners decided that dairy cows were a quick way to improve rural incomes, particularly in northern provinces such as Hebei, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang with cool climate, flat terrain and lack of other economic prospects. To encourage consumption, the propaganda machine spread the word that children needed to drink milk to grow as strong and tall as Westerners.

In a landscape that looks more Rust Belt than Dairy Belt, people opened farms in patches of land between derelict factories and villages.


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