Since melamine has set off a global food safety scare, the consuming public has raised the health concerns of most foods tainted with the chemical.
The Food and Drug Administration, however, has reported and concluded with its safety experts that eating a minuscule amount of melamine – 2.5 parts per million is still within tolerance, even a person has a daily intake of such dosage.
The explanation by the food safety program director of the FDA, would be like, having a million grains of sand that were all white and you have two or three grains that are black.
Melamine levels in imported Chinese candies recalled last week in California were as high as 520 parts per million, about 200 times greater than the level set by FDA for “tolerable” risk.
In China, melamine tainted formula has sickened more than 54,000 children mainly with kidney problems and is being blamed for the death of at least four.
The industrial chemical has also turned up in products sold across Asia ranging from candies, to chocolates, to coffee drinks all of which used dairy ingredients from China.
In California and Connecticut, White Rabbit candies from China were recalled after authorities found melamine. And recently, a New Jersey company announced, that it was recalling a yogurt type drink from China, “Blue Cat Flavor Drink”, after FDA testing found melamine.
Although, no illness have been reported to this effect in the US, authorities are checking for any tell tale increase in reports of kidney problems.
The FDA says, infant formula sold in the US is safe because manufacturers do not use ingredients from China. FDA stressed that the melamine risk assessment issued recently by them does not mean US authorities will condone foods deliberately spiked with the chemical.
The 2.5 parts per million standard is meant to address situations in which the chemical accidentally comes into contact with food. Plastic food processing equipment, for example, may have been made using melamine and some of the chemical might find its way into food.
Melamine first came to the attention of US consumers last year, when it touched off a massive pet food recall. Chinese suppliers of bulk pet food ingredients were found to have been adding the chemical to artificially boost the protein readings of their products. The result, was that thousands of pets were sickened and hundreds are believed to have died.
Melamine is harmful to the kidneys. It can cause kidney stones as the body tries to eliminate it, in extreme cases, it is life threatening and can cause kidney failure.