The other day a professor from City University of Hong Kong explained why China continues to have issues with its milk, some of which was recently found to have hydrolysed leather in it, again a pathetic yet shocking attempt to boost the protein content of the milk.
Desmond K O'Toole, an adjunct professor in the department of biology and chemistry writes in a letter to a Hong Kong newspaper that the Chinese government is targeting the wrong part of the milk production and processing system.
"Clearly farmers are finding it very difficult to get their cows to produce enough protein in their milk to meet the standards required," says O'Toole. "Dairy factories can only accept what is produced. The major reason for this situation can be found in the breed of cow being used and the feeding of those cows."
He goes on to explain Holstein and Friesian cows produce good amounts of milk, but only if they are well fed "with the right amount of energy in the form of grain as well as with protein supplements. Alternatively they can be grazed on good quality pasture".
O'Toole is hinting that perhaps the issue is that the farmers don't know how to look after their cows well and aren't giving them quality feed... which leads to the issue of high costs for farmers.
Nevertheless, he ends by suggesting the mainland authorities should consider establishing dairy farm advisers to give suggestions to farmers on how to better look after their cows in the hopes of higher quality milk.
"Dairy farming is a highly skilled occupation and it requires a high degree of knowledge to be successful," O'Toole says.
While farming has become a highly skilled job in many developed countries, it's still one that eeks out a meagre living in China.
Perhaps O'Toole doesn't realize it would take a great leap forward for Chinese farmers to be considered skilled enough to produce higher quality goods, but the bigger question is, is the government keen enough to help them do so?
Currently the government seems more concerned about getting farmers to buy consumer goods than invest in better feed for their livestock. The central authority's promise of preventing more tainted food scandals has faded quickly, making people there and in Hong Kong continue to be wary of what they are ingesting.
When will the government earnestly help farmers become more efficient and produce better quality food? More hormones and unscrupulous additives are not the answer.