The bear and the rabbit

Singapore October 10th, 2008

A bear and a rabbit took a poo in the forest one day and the bear asked the rabbit:

Bear: Do you have a problem with poo sticking on your fur?

Rabbit: No, why?

Before the rabbit knew it, the bear picked up the rabbit and begin cleaning the poo of his fur.

Alice came up with another joke with the bear and the rabbit:

Bear: Do you know how similar we are?

Rabbit: No?

Bear: We both have melamine in us

Not funny, Alice, not funny at all.

Rabbit sweets:

White Rabbit’s sour aftertaste

SHANGHAI – CHINA’S creamy White Rabbit sweets survived Japan’s World War II occupation and the Communist Revolution, but the tainted milk crisis has cast doubt on the future of the well-known brand.

Sales of White Rabbit’s milk-flavoured sweets were halted after they were found to contain melamine, an industrial chemical that was added to Chinese milk to make its protein content seem higher.

Tainted milk has killed at least four children and sickened 53,000 in China in a widening scandal that has put a spotlight on the country’s lax food safety standards and lack of corporate accountability.

But White Rabbit’s manufacturer, Guan Sheng Yuan, has kept mum about the scandal, even as the list of multinationals recalling products grows.

The silence stands in sharp contrast to last year when, amid allegations that its famous confectionery contained formaldehyde, the company’s general manager called a press conference to pop sweets into his mouth to show they were safe.

When contacted by AFP for this article, no company officials would agree to be quoted by name.

‘We really don’t want to see so many reputable brands be dragged down or even destroyed,’ a high-level Guan Sheng Yuan employee told AFP. ‘We don’t want the media to give us too much attention.’

The cream sweets were first produced in Shanghai in 1943 and throughout its various incarnations its edible rice paper wrapper has fascinated school children in China and around the world, becoming one of China’s most recognisable brands.

They were presented as a state gift to US president Richard Nixon in 1972.

Already Sanlu, previously one of China’s most-trusted milk brands, is said to be bankrupt and, according to state media, is soon to be merged with a major dairy company to escape the scandal.

The milk crisis could be crippling for White Rabbit, analysts said.

‘The damage to their reputation could be extreme. Consumption will definitely drop, consumers probably won’t dare buy their products for half a year of even a year,’ said Ms Chen Lanfang, an analyst with the Beijing-based Orient Agribusiness Consultant Company.

But Ms Chen thinks that consumers will ultimately see White Rabbit, whose sweets consist of 45 per cent milk powder, as a victim of the scandal.

Unilever has recalled milk powder after finding melamine in its Lipton tea products, Cadbury ordered back all mainland-made chocolate products and Heinz recalled hundreds of cases of baby food.

But unlike other companies, White Rabbit’s problems do not stem from rogue suppliers. Guang Shen Yuan gets its milk from its parent company, one of the tarnished milk producers, Shanghai Guangming (Bright) Dairy and Food.

Singapore health authorities first raised the alarm over White Rabbit late last month, warning that the sweets contained the highest melamine levels out of a range of products tested.

Stores in the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand soon pulled the product off their shelves, and Guanming Bright Dairy said it was halting exports to 50 overseas markets and suspending Chinese sales.

‘We ate White Rabbit candy for many years,’ an elderly Shanghai woman, who gave her surname as Li, said as she waited for her grandchild to finish school outside a mostly empty White Rabbit-branded shop.

‘It’s an old Shanghai brand. We like eating it because the milk flavour was very strong,’ she said. ‘But we will quit eating them now and are unlikely to eat them in the future.’

But Ms Zhang Wei, a young mother who was waiting for her son to finish school, said consumers might be willing to give White Rabbit another chance – eventually.

‘The feeling and emotion are still there, we cannot act as if it never existed,’ she said. – AFP

Source: Straits Times Interactive,

Panda (Bear) Whole Milk Powder:

3 more tainted items found

AVA says two flavours of Cadbury Choclairs and Panda Dairy Whole Milk Powder tainted

By Tessa Wong

TWO Cadbury products and an industrial milk powder have been found to contain melamine, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said yesterday.

The tainted items – Cadbury Choclairs in blueberry and coffee flavour and industrial packs of Panda Dairy Whole Milk Powder – were all made in China.

There is no danger of consumers buying these products because the milk powder was sold only to manufacturers while the Cadbury products should have been taken off the shelves since Sept 19, when the AVA issued a precautionary ban on all China-made dairy products.

During this temporary ban, the authority is testing hundreds of China dairy items and products that may contain melamine. Once found tainted, all stocks of the product are destroyed.

Even after the sale ban is lifted, fresh batches will not be cleared for sale until they pass checks by both the China health authorities and the AVA.

The three newly-identified items bring the number of contaminated products found here to 13.

All have relatively low melamine levels. An adult weighing 60kg, for instance, will have to eat 108 pieces of the coffee-flavoured Cadbury Choclairs every day of his life to be in any danger.

The AVA said the batch of Panda Dairy milk powder which tested positive was imported in January and intended for the production of chocolate blocks for overseas markets.

It added that none of it has gone into food items produced here.

A Cadbury Singapore spokesman told The Straits Times recently that all its chocolate came from Australia, but she admitted yesterday that while the company’s chocolate is from Down Under, as well as the United Kingdom and Malaysia, some of its candies are from China.

Meanwhile, some retailers have begun putting back on shelves previously withdrawn food items.

Last week, hypermarket chain Giant recalled two products which, although made elsewhere, were suspected of containing China dairy products. But one item, Pei Tian Cream Biscuit, will be back on the shelves from Monday after its importer proved it was free of China dairy products.

Sheng Siong Supermarket, which also recalled all its stocks of M&M candies, put back on the shelves those made in the United States two days ago.

The AVA has yet to release a list of items which have been tested and found safe to eat. Its spokesman Goh Shih Yong cautioned that even if random samples are found to be melamine-free, they are not representative of ‘all possibly affected batches’ and thus would not be given the all-clear just yet.

‘The AVA will only release the products for sale when we are very sure that it is safe for consumption,’ he added.

Singapore is one of many countries hit by a food scare originating in China, where dairy suppliers added melamine to milk to boost its protein content.

In China, tainted products have killed four people, and nearly 47,000 children have been hospitalised with kidney problems.

Consumers in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan have been similarly hit.

Source: Straits Times Interactive,

Article extracted on 10th October 2008

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