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China Briefings

Reports on China issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

Food Safety in China

Food Safety in China

Samsung Economic Research Institute Beijing Office

Feb. 20, 2009

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Industrial accidents, corporate misbehavior and corruption are so common in China but nothing has approached the scale and magnitude of the melamine scandal in 2008. Food companies deliberately added the industrial chemical melamine to increase profits. They included makers of baby formula, who diluted their product, reducing the amount of protein and nutrients then added melamine, which raises protein levels and gets past inspections.

By the end of November, 294,000 infants were hospitalized. Six died while 154 others were in critical condition. Melamine victims also were reported in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Dangerous levels of melamine also were found in chicken feed and wheat gluten, casting concerns over of all Chinese processed foods. That prompted stores in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States and other countries to block sales of Chinese food products.

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