Magazine article Risk Management

Made in China

Magazine article Risk Management

Made in China

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

China's product safety woes continued in 2008 as more scandals called into question the ability of the country's manufacturers to monitor their supply chain. While 2007 saw lead-painted toys, defective tires, and contaminated toothpaste and pet food, tainted medicine and milk made headlines in 2008.

In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration linked 81 deaths in the United States to contaminated heparin that had been made in China. The popular blood-thinning drug had been found in at least 11 countries.

A more widespread problem surfaced in August when it was discovered that much of China's milk supply, particularly infant formula and powdered milk, had been contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizer--the same chemical that had been responsible for the tainted pet food scandal in 2007. It was thought that, in order to cut costs, suppliers added the melamine to watered-down milk in order to increase nitrogen levels and mask the protein deficiency of the product. Four children died and more than 54,000 became ill--almost 13,000 of which required hospitalization for serious kidney problems.

At first, the milk was thought to have originated from Sanlu, Chinas largest powdered milk producer, when investigators revealed that the company had knowledge of the problem as early as December of 2007, but contamination was found in more than 20 other dairy companies around the country. …

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