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The toll from China’s tainted-milk scandal continues to grow. Since the news first broke that Chinese dairy producers have been adding the industrial chemical melamine to milk, companies throughout Asia have yanked products from store shelves, and governments in Asia and Africa have banned Chinese imports. In China, more than 50,000 children—most of them babies—have fallen ill and more than 13,000 have been hospitalized. Several Chinese children have died so far.
Until recently, China was a potentially lucrative market for the country’s milk producers. Chinese milk consumption has long been much lower than in other countries, and with ordinary Chinese consumers growing wealthier and more health-conscious, companies had great hopes that demand would soar. Now, though, the industry is in the midst of its worst crisis ever. For more on China’s troubled milk business, read on.