Thursday, January 22, 2009

Facts and Findings - Tainted Milk

Yesterday we mentioned the baby Agnes Moore, who died of malnutrition on April 20, 1869, probably from drinking watery, contaminated milk.

Last year a milk contamination scandle shook China. Today a court has deemed the milk producers resonsible.

Bee Wilson, author of “Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud From Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee,” wrote an enlightening NYT op-ed piece last September about historical food contamination in America, which uses past events to shed light on what's happening today:

THE milk was marketed as pure and wholesome, and it looked fine to the naked eye. How were the mothers to know they were poisoning their babies? They had paid good money for it on the open market. It would take thousands of sick children before lawmakers did anything to stop it.

China in 2008? No, New York City in 1858. Missing from the coverage of the current Chinese baby formula poisoning, in which more than 53,000 babies have been sickened and at least four have died, is how often it has happened before.

The disaster unfolding now in China — and spreading inevitably to its trading partners — is eerily similar to the “swill milk” scandal that rumbled on in New York for several decades of the 19th century.

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