Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do counterfeiters have no shame?

Who would target innocent children in the pursuit of money? Fourteen babies have been hospitalized with kidney stones after drinking what is thought to be counterfeit baby formula. This recent scheme seems targeted toward the poorer rural areas of China where young families have turned to discounted milk powder to lower their household costs.

Why did they choose infant formula? – Well, just as in the case of the adulterated heparin, as demand exceeds supply so does the increased risk of susceptibility to counterfeiting. Over the past few years, increases in the cost of raw milk coupled with the decrease of dairy farming have further complicated this matter.

Sanlu, one of the four largest powdered milk companies in China, has stated that the product labeled as theirs is a fake and has sent their own personnel to investigate. This, however, is little consolation to the poor rural families whose babies are now suffering.

This is not the first case of deadly Chinese baby formula. In 2004, thirteen infants died and 170 were left malnutrition and underdeveloped by counterfeit formulas with little or no nutritional value which were sold under 45 different brands and manufactured in over 141 different factories.

The mere expanse of the operation is disheartening and its implications frightening in light of the fact that China is one of the largest exporters in pharmaceutical ingredients to the U.S.

We must fortify our inspection and authentication methods to ensure our brands integrity. Fool me once shame on you …. Fool me twice shame on me.

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