Poisoned powder milk in China – why Bangladesh needs to worry



The world came to know about the horror only a couple of days ago that the powdered milk products produced by the Sanlu Group in China were contaminated by melamine after hundreds of Chinese babies were hospitalized for having kidney stones and some had kidney failures.

On 11th of September Sanlu first defended that “their milk powder has no problem” then announced a recall of its products. Global Voices reports:

“By estimation, the tainted formula amount to 700 tons. Not until this moment were millions of babies protected from the deadly dairy products. There are over 30 thousand potential victims (in china) predicted from Sanlu’s influence in domestic market.”

Three children already died till yesterday and the number of sick children has risen to 6200. Chinese state-run media announced that 21 more companies were found producing milk powder tainted with melamine.

A New Zealand media reveals that:

“SanLu knew six months ago that babies were becoming sick as a result of drinking infant formula containing melamine – a chemical banned from food.

A New Zealand dairy Giant Fonterra, which owns 43 per cent of SanLu and has three directors on its board, also knew of the contamination for six weeks before a public recall, which began only after the New Zealand Government blew the whistle.”

Global Voices quoted a Taiwanese blogger:

“Before the Olympic Games, China government gave orders to cover all the reports that might destroy the image of China. The Sanlu Group discovered the contamination just before the Olympic Games, and we can see the China government chose to let their people die so that they can keep the positive image of China.”

“The Sanlu Group claimed that the melamine found in their powdered milk was added by the dairy farmers and milk dealers to meet the nitrogen standard after they added water to dilute the milk. However, not everyone believes their claim.“

25 tons of powered milk products manufactured by the Sanlu Group were exported to Taiwan this August and it created a lot of panic in the country.

And Bangladesh should also worry because AP reveals that:

State broadcaster CCTV reported on its Tuesday evening newscast that One company, based in the southern province of Guangdong, exported its products abroad — to Bangladesh, Yemen, and Burma.

The Bangkok post informs:

“Two Chinese firms where tests found tainted milk products had exported baby formula milk powder to five countries including Bangladesh and Burma

The Suokang and Yashili companies had started to recall their exported milk powder products, which were also sent to Yemen, Burundi and Gabon, said Li Changjiang, the head of the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).”

We are yet to see any Bangladeshi media asking questions about this import. The Chinese milk powder imports may be hard to locate if they were imported loose and later packed in another label. Some months ago a milk powder consignment of Abul Khair group was detained because their expiry date overrun. We have seen in TV reports that the consignment was packed in large sacks to be repacked in local brands.

Arup reveals that the popular brands of Fronterra, the major shareholders of Sanlu are:

Anchor and Anlene are famous brands in Bangladesh. So there should be a nationwide awareness campaign to demand from the sellers the origin of the milk and to stop consuming non-trusted baby milk.

I hope the Bangladesh Government will take immediate action to withdraw the milks imported from China from the market and ban future imports until everything is sorted out.

Rezwan [http://rezwanul.blogspot.com] is often referred as “the dean of Bangladeshi bloggers” for his authoritative contributions towards setting the blogging agenda in Bangladesh. Blogging since 2003 on Bangladesh and the world. Portrays Bangladesh and Bangladeshis beyond the typical headlines published in Western Media.

8 Responses to “Poisoned powder milk in China – why Bangladesh needs to worry”

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    Rifat Khan

    Most of the powdered milk in the market are tainted. Countries like Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand, and now it seems China export milk to poor countries in Asia and Africa just for monetary reasons. I am sure the nutritional value claimed is fake.

    Nothing can be better than mother’s and cow’s milk. International donor agencies (i.e., DANIDA) instead of helping the local dairy sector grow make sure that it is crippled so that products like DANO and NESTLE can flood the market.

    The next elected constitutional government should do everything possible to revive and/or strengthen local dairy industry like Milk Vita, Aftab and Pran so that fresh milk can be delivered to consumers in bottles and cartoons first thing in the morning as was the tradition for hundreds of years until the mercantilist colonialists came and destroyed all traditional local industries solely for profiteering reasons.

  2. Author Image


    I see that china has been contaminating the whole world with their evil motives. what the hell is going on all around the world. it is not funny that a baby is going to die drinking milk tainted with the poisonous chemicals. Why the question is being arisen after a thousands of babies have been seriously afflicted with that particular poison of melamine. The BSTI should be aware of that tainted milk so that the powdered milk tainted with the melamine can not be spread throughout the country especially in Bangladesh. Our caretaker or upcoming government should take severe actions not to import milk from china. Actions should be taken immediately before getting too late.

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    The news says that Bangladesh is the major importer of the melamine mixed chinese milk productes. but BSTI has named only three (unknown in the market) which are banned not that those are tested positive, but bcz of the illigeal papers.
    So where are those imported chinese milk products?
    We have to wait for few weeks bcz BSTI does not have the testing eqpt to identify melamine in the milk product.

  4. Author Image

    MD. Shahriar Hossain

    The government has sent the sample of 8 brand milk (Including DANO, NIDO) to test if the milk are ok or not, till then we couldn’t accused those brands regarding the milk contaminated issue, If the milk would be contaminated, we should have come to know baby sick incident, but we didn’t yet. And again the result of Dhaka University is not yet sure. The result shows the scale of melamine is far ahead than the normal level, which is not very reliable, because if some drink that milk with that level of contamination will die, but there is no record of such.

    Government or the BSTI must inform us ASAP the actual result, thus to remove the fear from us. And there are other brands in market which must be examined, or the risk will remain.

  5. Author Image

    Badrul Islam

    Here is my comments published in the FeedBack column of NewAge dated
    Friday 0ctober 31,2008.

    Tainted milk and our responsibility

    Apart from the melamine scare on powder milk there is also the rumour
    that most of the fruits found in different markets are also hazardous
    to health because chemicals are injected either to make them big so
    that they weigh more and/or they ripen fast. Besides, the nation
    hasn’t forgotten the contribution of Magistrate Rokonuddowla who had
    found many restaurants and other food producing/dealing businesses
    violating standards.
    The businessmen are thinking in terms of loss of their profits
    without thinking about the value of a human life but they are morally
    bound by religion and legally obliged by the constitution to provide
    goods pure and not poisonous to the health status of the humans. I
    wonder what would be the condition of a businessmen if he found that
    his imported milk powder containing melamine is the cause of death of
    one of his children or that of a close relative of his. Would his
    greed for money supersede his human feelings?
    Lastly, the politicians of the country who are preparing for the
    elections to form the next government and opposition in the
    parliament must take note that they are to revamp the BSTI and get
    rid of the entire corrupt and useless staff and make at least
    four/five more institutions that would be able to monitor the food
    standard of all locally-produced and imported food items. Also banks
    must be instructed that while receiving the LCs from importers they
    must attach with the LCs results of chemical tests and certificates
    from both national and foreign parties. The present interim
    government, especially the chief adviser, commerce, food and legal
    advisers, should sit with all the importers in the country to discuss
    the following points:
    1. That they will jointly remove all milk powder declared unfit
    for human consumption and destroy those in the presence of a
    committee that should comprise members of the judiciary, print and
    electronic media and any other as suggested by the importers’
    2. That the importers’ association would provide the government
    their undertakings and/or written assurances that they would not
    import food items for human consumption without first checking and
    comparing the chemical test of all their imported items and that one
    of their representatives would remain present in the country of
    origin to ensure shipment of those tested food items.
    3. That the importers wouldn’t wilfully create a `crisis’ of other
    imported items and/or increase their prices causing hardship to the
    If those above three points are not followed, we shall see that
    all the powder milk that the stores are now `hiding’ will soon emerge
    at a later date in different packaging and brand names and the people
    are yet again buying the same tainted items.
    Badrul Islam
    Via e-mail

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