Saturday, September 20

Starbucks stops using tainted milk in China  

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Tainted Milk Starbucks Image

According to, Starbucks and its 300 plus cafes in China have stopped using milk by Mengniu Dairy CO. Mengniu, together with the other top milk producers in China, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co. and Bright Dairy & Food Co., were part of the scandal where China found the toxic chemical melamine in the liquid milk and yogurt products they produce.

"Though we believe based on assurances from the supplier that the milk we received from Mengniu is not included in the contaminated lot, due to the serious nature of this warning, Starbucks has voluntarily pulled all Mengniu milk offerings until further notice," Starbucks said.

Melamine, used to make plastic and tan leather, is now being linked to the kidney failures in babies and leading to at least four deaths. Melamine, which is high in nitrogen, can be used to mask diluted milk because it makes protein levels appear higher than they really are, allowing producers to cut costs by watering down their products. [Read the full article]

Having stayed in China for a year back in 2006 and drinking milk almost everyday, I find it disturbing to know that my system must have been affected somehow by melamine. I seem okay and not affected by it but I think I'd like to have my system checked just to be sure. It's a little weird how they have the brand YiLi here in the Philippines and I was looking at it at the supermarket and I told the lady beside me that this is really good and she should get it since it's on sale. I wonder if as early as 2 weeks ago they already knew something was wrong with their milk. The expiration date is January 2009 so it couldn't be that hmm...

It's just crazy how their FDA didn't have much stricter standards when it comes to their milk, which is a $19 billion industry, and possibly even other food or drinks.

I wonder how Starbucks' sales have been the past few day and what alternatives they've been using for milk in their coffee. Soy maybe? If I were still staying in China and this happens to me, I'd be drinking my coffee black, which is something I rarely do. I haven't tried using soy as an alternative or I could be happy with using creamers that are imported just as long as I know it's safe.

This comes at a very bad time especially after China spent a lot during the Olympics where they were trying to tell the world that "We are now open, come visit us!" Only time will tell whether they can bounce back from this and still continue their image that started in the Olympics.

Photo by: SMCP

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