The safety of baby milk in China has once again come under scrutiny, following news that six people have been arrested for selling counterfeit formula.
The six are accused of producing cheap milk powder and repackaging it as “Similac”, a popular US brand. Authorities hurried to reassure parents that this was not a repeat of the 2008 scandal, when six children died and two men were executed for their part in selling contaminated formula. The Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration announced that they had tested the formula and that it posed no risk to children. Abbott Laboratories, the makers of Similac, issued a statement saying that this case had come to light in December 2015 and that all the fake product had been traced and recalled by the end of last year.
Nonetheless this news will alarm families, particularly following the recent revelations about black market vaccine sales. As with the vaccine issue, the statement from Abbott reveals that this problem was known to the authorities months before any announcement was made, once again preventing parents from making informed choices. It is now eight years since the last formula scandal made international headlines, yet China still cannot guarantee the integrity of supplies.
We will be following this story as it develops.