Burning Questions

I wonder how unethical food manufacturers manage to sleep at night.

It’s been more than a month since AVA suspended the import and sale of all milk and milk products from China, but the list of tainted foods continue to lengthen, bringing the total count to 33. As of 22 September, nearly 53,000 people had become ill, with more than 12,800 hospitalizations and four infant deaths.

Why are food manufacturers waiting for the authorities to conduct checks to reveal their intentional follies before withdrawing their products from shelves? The onus is on them to conduct internal investigations the moment the scandal broke out. They should be turning themselves in. “Not knowing” is hardly an excuse, because the unethical addition of melamine in food products is never unintentional. Many young lives might have been saved if these food manufacturers had the courage to voluntarily own up to their contemptible methods.

Why are there even “legal restrictions” for melamine, illegally added to food products in order to increase the apparent protein content? Why should melamine be added at all? This brazen form of consumer trickery should be banned, even if the levels of melamine are not life-endangering.

Why are the media in Singapore not questioning all this? The 24 October reportage of the new list of tainted products sounded very matter-of-fact, almost jaded. So what if “there is thus unlikely to be any adverse health effect unless large quantities of the contaminated products are consumed over a prolonged period of time”? That is not the question. We see only the tip of the iceberg: how many products have yet to be tested for melamine? How many more rogue food manufacturers are still scot-free, too blinded by greed to own up? Why are they not persecuted?

It is the media’s responsibility to question the warped nature of the situation. Why are they not doing it?


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