Should We Worry About Recent Deaths from Milk in China?

baby and milk, food safety
Go ahead and drink. The recent deaths in China are not a food safety issue.

After three young children died from drinking milk, China worried it had another food scandal on its hands. In 2008, six children were killed and hundreds of thousands made sick when China milk producers added melamine to their product in order to boost protein levels. The scandal forced China to pass food safety laws to protect the unsuspecting public.

So when 36 people, mostly children, got sick recently, the government moved quickly to investigate.

What they found was that milk from two different dairies contained toxic levels of nitrates, but that the industrial salts had been intentionally added in order to harm people. A suspect has been arrested.

Food safety continues to be an issue throughout the country. In the central province Henan, 95 people have been arrested for allegedly taking part in a scheme to grow and sell pigs that have been fattened through means dangerous to consumers.

The Guardian reports that detainees had allegedly “made, sold or used pig feed laced with clenbuterol, a banned drug that causes pigs to convert fat to muscle quickly.” Lean meat costs more than fatty meat so profit margin on pigs who were fed the substance are higher. The problem is, clenbuterol causes nausea, dizziness, headaches and heart palpitations in humans.