A look inside some dairy farms in China
The latest Business Weekly has an article written by Chang, Yi-jun and Han, Yi, describing the dairy farms they visited in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China. Journalists travelled there to see for themselves, which is more than the ‘expert group’ sent by Ma’s government has done. I don’t know whether there are photos they took in those farms in the print edition. I hope there are.
The first thing the authors mentioned that all the containers for collecting raw milk have dead flies, grass stalks and dust in them.
Wang, a farmer who owns a small farm, told the authors that milk is often diluted with water from the local river/wells to increase the volume by 30-50% and then added all sorts of chemicals to increase the protein and fat readings. When asked why he did not do the same, the farmer replied ‘because I don’t have enough cows (to produce enough) to get away with it’. He said everyone can work out an estimate as to whether others dilute their milk by calculating the numbers of the cows they have.
A big dairy farm owner, Li, told the journalists that the reason why everyone started diluting milk was the sharp increase in demand, which pushed the price of milk higher last year and the reason behind this sharp increase was the 37.5% increase in the number of newborns in 2007, the Year of Golden Pig. In Chinese culture, the Year of Golden Pig only comes once in every 600 years and many people believe that children born in this year will have a prosperous and wealthy life. Therefore, many couples decided to have their babies born during last year.
A dairy company owner said that some companies expanded their business but did not expand their raw milk supplies. They would rather go thousands of miles to intercept other companies’ supply sources at a higher price and transport the milk back to their production base. To make sure the milk doesn’t go off, other types of chemicals are needed. Therefore, some chemical suppliers open up their business right around those dairy farms.
This year is the Olympics year for the Chinese, the number of newborns is believed to be on the increase again. The authors wonder what kind of milk will be fed to those babies.
Most of the things described in this article are so obvious and visible. How could government inspectors not notice?