There are a number of concerns I have about having a child in China (for example the hospitals, the education system and the absence of a safety culture) but even the basics are a bit of a concern.
One of the problems I had hoped had been fixed was the issue of fake baby milk. This issue reared its head in 2004 when 10 brands of fake and counterfeit baby milk powders were found to be on sale - but not found until an estimated 200 babies had died horribly of malnutrition and many others had swollen heads.
Some of the other notable scandals since I've been living in China (note: that's not an admission of guilt...)
- Tofu made from "gypsum, paint and starch, then fried in oil made from kitchen waste and swill"
- Rabies vaccine that was actually just salt water
- Fake alcoholic drinks made with methanol
One of the biggest worries for me has always been counterfeits rather than fakes. I recall during the baby milk scare that some of the fake milk had been packaged as premium brand milk and was for sale in reputable supermarkets who had been hoodwinked by someone in their supply chain to accepting the counterfeits.
It's astounding that a group of people (and there must be a number of people knowingly involved to produce the 'product' and packaging, and infiltrate the supply chain) could be sufficiently cold-hearted to sell fake baby milk, knowing it had no nutritional value and that babies would inevitably die as a result. It's quite sickening to see the level of brutality and pain that these reprehensible people would be prepared to inflict on others for their own personal gain. So it was quite a relief when the whole thing was cleared up.
Or so I thought.
So, it's almost two years since that scandal and what's the latest scandal?
30% of Infant Milk Formula Does not Meet Quality Standard
So, two companies have been blacklisted but 30% failed to meet quality standards?
I know there are many arguments about breastfeeding being vastly superior than using Formula but for many reasons there will surely be times it is inevitable.
In a country where even foreign giants like Nestle (admittedly with a fairly controversial history itself with regard to Infant Formula) have admitted that "some non-Nestle products had been repackaged using Nestle packaging and labelling" my problem is who or what do I trust? I would very happily by the best brands from the best stores if that meant giving my child a guarantee of high quality nutrition but I'm not sure how I can believe that even these products are of the same quality that I would expect in the UK. Perhaps its time to order a crate from home now...