Checking the “Don’t Buy” List

As concern that products made with milk from China might be contaminated with melamine spreads around the globe, Don Lee, a Los Angeles Times staff writer, files a story that looks at how China’s citizens are coping with the crisis.

A quick recap: Melamine is a toxic chemical that is sometimes added to food to manipulate its protein content. Last month, reports began to surface that there was melamine in a brand of baby formula made in China. So far four infants have died of causes related to the poisoning and more than 50,000 have been sickened.

Lee notes that in China, worry about food contamination has become a day-to-day reality for many people:

Though the government has tried to tone down news reports on the crisis, the topic is on everybody’s mind, if not his or her lips. My barber said he was feeding his baby formula from South Korea. My Chinese tutor, father of a 6-month-old boy, said he hoped his wife would breast-feed for as long as possible. If not, they could hire a wet nurse, though they are in high demand now.

And Lee, like many people in China, is keeping a mental “don’t buy” list. He’s buying more imported goods and spending more for them in an effort to keep his family safe.

Of course, now that we have cool new laws that require stores to specify the origins of (most) foods, we don’t have to worry about our food stream being dangerous. Heck, according to the FDA, a little bit of melamine won’t hurt you.

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