Wednesday, September 17, 2008

China + Baby Milk = Ethical Crisis?

A recent article makes the claim that the root cause over the contaminated milk is "an ethical gap in China's business" (Christian Science Monitor).

There are a few parts to this scandal - from quality control to the likely cover up with the Chinese partners in the venture resisting an effort to recall the faulty product. I'd disagree that it's a question of ethics in China business - but rather, the lack of a free media. Thankfully the article notes that regulation isn't the only answer (though in any other society, what was done is criminally negligent - so I'm not even sure more regulation is the answer). It should be clear to anyone with half a brain that in a broader context, adding a chemical that would cause kidney stones in babies would be a net loser - I mean seriously, after this, how many people are going to buy Sanlu milk?

So what's the answer? Companies must be held responsible for testing the products that they sell. Laws should be enforced, consumers should have the opportunity to seek compensation and penalties that are significantly greater than any possible savings that could have been achieved by using the chemical substitute, and the government should open the markets to greater foreign competition to allow for greater choice and force a rush towards improving standards.

Update: More on the growing scandal (Imagethief). Yet another reason why I don't partake in dairy products in China.

No comments: