Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chinese recall of melamine contaminated infant formula

The formula is not approved for distribution in the US, but the FDA suspects ethnic markets may sell it here. Infant formula contaminated with melamine has been recalled in China:
FDA: Melamine found in baby formula made in China -

... The Food and Drug Administration is alerting Asian and ethnic markets across the USA that infant formula made in China may be contaminated.

The FDA is working with state health agencies across the country to make members of Chinese-American communities aware of the danger.

Chinese newspapers report that some infant formula has been linked to kidney problems and kidney stones in babies in China because the formula contains melamine — the same industrial contaminant from China that poisoned and killed thousands of U.S. dogs and cats last year.

Sanlu Group, the major Chinese dairy that produced the formula, has recalled 700 tons of the product, state Xinhua News Agency reported today.

No baby formula approved for use in the USA is manufactured in China, the FDA says. 'We want to reassure the public that there's no contamination in the domestic supply of infant formula,' says Janice Oliver, deputy of operations at the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition."
It's very likely that Chinese infants get quite a bit of melamine in their formula. It's used to make formula appear more nutritious than it is, allowing use of cheap ingredients. Melamine has no nutritional value, so the infants are being both poisoned and starved of nutrients.

Humans are supposed to be fairly resistant to its effect, and the toxicity in cats and dogs was supposed to require simultaneous contamination with cyanuric acid -- still these are baby kidneys. Many must have been harmed.

I wonder if the recall is a sign that China is getting more serious about caring for its people?

A good reminder that the food fraud saga continues.

Update 9/14/08: Turns out a New Zealand company forced the recall, it wasn't a sign of increased attention by Chinese authorities. Infants died, we may never know how many. It sounds like the nutritional content of the "formula" may have been very low, probably lower than the dog food shipments.

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