The Chinese Tainted Milk Scandal

            
 
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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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Case Details:

Price:

Case Code : BECG092 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges

Themes

Ethics in Business/ Health-related Issues/ Safety of Products
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2008-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Sanlu Group and other dairy products companies
Industry : Food and Beverage
Countries : China

Abstract:

The case discusses the tainted milk scandal that was unearthed in China in 2008. The milk scandal became public in August 2008, after it was disclosed that the baby formula produced by the Chinese dairy products company, Sanlu Group was contaminated with melamine, which caused kidney failure of many children, resulting in death in some cases. Later, the investigation by the government revealed that the products of 21 other Chinese dairy firms were also contaminated with melamine.

As soon the crisis became public, the Chinese Health Ministry ordered the dairy firms to recall the contaminated products and to destroy the unsold and recalled products. The Chinese Health Ministry started testing dairy products across the country.

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Top executives of Sanlu were arrested. Government offficials who were found guilty were also sacked. China's dairy industry association announced that the affected children and their families would get compensation from the responsible dairy firms. To support the affected dairy farmers, the government also announced a subsidy.

As a result of this scandal, many countries like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, and Indonesia banned Chinese dairy products. Several foreign companies which sold China made products or products which used Chinese ingredients recalled their products. The scandal severely affected the reputation of China as one of the leading food products exporting country.
The case details the actions taken by the Chinese Government in response to the milk scandal. It also attempts to analyze the impact of the crisis on the Chinese dairy industry. The case ends with a discussion on the repercussions of the milk scandal on Chinese exports of food products.

Issues:

To gain insight into food safety issues in China.

To understand the Chinese milk scandal and its impact on the Chinese dairy industry.

To critically analyze the damage control measures taken by the Chinese government.

To discuss the role of regulation and enforcement to prevent reoccurrence of such incidents.

Contents:

  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
The Milk Scandal 3
The Government Steps In 5
The Impact on Chinese Dairy Industry 7
The Aftermath 8
Exhibits 10

Keywords:

Milk Scandal, Contaminated milk, Melamine, Baby formula, Sanlu Group, Chinese Health Ministry, Dairy firms, Dairy Industry Association, Food export, Fonterra, Dairy industry, Mengniu, Yili, Bright Dairy, Ethics in Business, Food Safety

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