andrew schneider investigates

January 13, 2009

Dogs are dying in China. Why?

A Chinese public health specialist who helped me a bit with last month’s series of stories on the dangers from some imported honey from his country, called me this morning to say that his bosses in the Beijing government are “going to crack down” on their country’s food safety problems.

I would be naive to think that chloramphenicol and the other illegal antibiotics that tainted much of the Chinese honey that is smuggled into the U.S. would be at the top of the list, and, according to my friend, it isn’t.

“It will be addressed along the way. The Health Ministry will start off trying to control all additives to all food products, and there will be a unit that pays special attention to a food that is exported,” he told me.


Melamine-tainted cookies

The U.S. FDA has people already in Beijing. But their assignment was made permanent after disclosure that almost 300,000 children have been made painfully ill and in six cases killed by exposure to melamine-contaminated milk formula.

The chemical melamine is used in plastics and fertilizer, but was added to watery milk by unscrupulous bottlers because its shows up as protein during testing and adds to what is paid for the milk. Melamine has also been found in many products sold in the U.S. and Canada like cookies, chocolate, instant coffee, crackers and some baby formula.

Meanwhile, my friend says, health authorities are trying to track down reports this week that something in dog food is killing many animals.

“Start sickening children and pets and even the most lackadaisical government will take action,” added the physician, who was trained at UCLA and works in Hong Kong.

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