2008 Sep 19 Is any milk safe to drink?
Starbucks customers in the capital had to take their coffee black - or more often than not choose to whiten it with soy milk - this morning as the international coffee chain decided to stop using milk supplied by Mengniu Dairy. The decision was made after news emerged that the baby milk powder scandal had spread to regular milk supplies with milk produced by some of China’s biggest brand names, including Olympic sponsor Yili, being tainted. While Starbucks continue to search for alternate suppliers, readers might be wondering what to put on their cereal tomorrow morning.
According to Chinese media reports, Sanyuan and Nestle (along with 406 other brands) have not tested positive for traces of melamine. However three of the country's most well-known brands Yili, Mengniu and Guangming all have had a small proportion of their products return a positive test for traces of the harmful chemical. Sanyuan is a Beijing-based supplier of dairy products and their share price has jumped 10% on the news of their clean bill of health. Although the fresh milk that Sanyuan produce is much more expensive than the others (RMB 8-9 a liter), the milk that the Great Hall of the People choose to serve at their official banquets looks like the safest bet for now.
In related news, there are conflicting reports about why the price of foreign baby milk powder has increased since the scandal surrounding Sanlu and 21 other brands of baby milk powder emerged. Are the foreign producers making a profit off a tragic food safety scandal or has increased demand for their product simply resulted in higher prices? Whatever the case, the relevant authorities have announced that they'll be monitoring the price of milk powder very closely.
Links and Sources
China Daily: Liquid milk sold by three big firms contaminated
(image) The Beijinger Forum: no milk in starbucks this morning ... checking supply for melamine
WSJ: China Starbucks to Stop Using Supplier, Amid Milk Scandal
Shanghaiist: Crisis hits the liquid milk industry
Sanyuan Official Website (Chinese)Sciencebase: Melamine in Milk
Straits Times: Liquid Milk also Tainted