Contaminated Baby Formula in China–Could It Happen Here?

About 13,000 babies have been hospitalized in China from contaminated formula.  In total, about 53,000 infants have gotten sick from bad baby formula.  See the September 22, 2008, The New York Times story.

The baby formula, which was made in China,  had been contaminated with melamine, a plastic.  It was supposed to boost protein.

Could this happen here?  Would a U.S. company do this?  Not likely.

Our civil justice is a very powerful deterrent against such wrongdoing.  It is one weapon along with government regulation and oversight.  Manufacturers of baby formula and other consumables know that if they were to intentionally or negligently adulterate the product, an angry public would sue them out of existence.  If such conduct were intentional, corporate executives might not be able to hide behind the “corporate veil” so as to protect their personal assets.  Indeed, their personal wealth would be at risk.  Also, if such were to happen in the U.S., many of the responsible company employees, from the executive suite to the factory floor, would face harsh criminal sentences.

Our civil justice system has been reviled by the so-called tort reform lobbies which are a front for big business.  We and our children can all sleep a little better at night knowing that our civil justice system helps makes products safe.  

Mark E. Seitelman, 9/23/08,


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