Earth Hour

Monday, September 22, 2008

What Happened to Milk?

I am not a big fan of milk. I don't drink milk because I have lactose intolerance since I was a kid. But my brother drinks lots of milk. Even today when he's fully grown, he still drink the white stuff before he goes to bed. He said it relaxes him.

Though I am not a milk drinker, I encourage people, especially young children to drink milk. It's a complete food, you get Vitamin A for good vision, Vitamin D for your bones and teeth, Vitamin B for over-all wellness and lots of other minerals and micro nutrients. So if there's one food item that needs to be in the grocery list, it has to be milk.

But milk has become complicated today. There are so many brands (one celebrity endorser says, "ang daming milks (sic)"). Each brand has so many claims about having this and that to increase your child's growth, brain power, etc. One even has the temerity to claim that it can make your child a gifted child. Parents now are faced with the dilemma whether they're giving the right milk to their kids or not.

While milk is essentially one of the most nutritionally complete food available, its reputation was never unblemished. There have been instances that milk was blamed for the spread of diseases including tuberculosis. Thanks to the process called pasteurization, some of the bad bacteria that comes with milk have been minimized, if not eliminated.

Just this week, however, milk has become the object of another health scare. But it's not because of its own doing but by men.

In China, hundreds of kids got sick after consuming milk contaminated with melamine, a substance used for making plastic ware. News reports say that melamine contains compounds that added to milk, will make the milk register a higher protein content when tested.

This contamination caused kidney stones among other ailments in hundreds of babies in China. Some eventually died after their organs failed.

This caused the supermarkets here to withdraw all milk and milk products imported from China. Too late for me, I already bought one brand that was ordered to be recalled by government. It's called Yi LI. I intended to give it to my pet dog. Luckily, I haven't given it to her.

This incident however has put milk under suspicion. So much so that some of the milk companies came out with notices that ingredients of their products do not come from China. Even Starbucks had to announce that they don't use dairy products from China.

We Filipinos however have a tendency to generalize, as I have done so in that statement. When you say, some milk brands made in China are contaminated and unfit for consumption, we would avoid the milk not only from China but from anywhere else. So in TV tonight, newscasts reported of of a sudden drop in sales of milk.

Hopefully, this will not completely obliterate milk from the Filipino's diet. I am not so sure though what effect this incident will have on the price of milk. That is another story.

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