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FDA Finds Traces of Melamine in U.S. Formula

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Traces of the industrial chemical melamine have been detected in samples of top-selling U.S. infant formula, but federal regulators insist the products are safe.

“The levels that we are detecting are extremely low,” said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “They should not be changing the diet. If they’ve been feeding a particular product, they should continue to feed that product. That’s in the best interest of the your-baby.”

The Food and Drug Administration said last month it was unable to identify any melamine exposure level as safe for infants, but a top official said it would be a “dangerous overreaction” for parents to stop feeding infant formula to babies who depend on it.

Melamine is a chemical that has been found recently in Chinese infant formula, although in much larger concentrations. It has been blamed for killing at least 3 infants in China and causing at least 50,000 other children sick.

Melamine is used in some U.S. plastic food packaging. It can sometimes rub off onto what we eat.

The Associated Press obtained previously undisclosed tests under the Freedom of Information Act. Those tests show the FDA had detected melamine in a sample of one popular formula and the presence of cyanuric acid, which is a chemical relative of melamine in the formula of a second manufacturer. A third large formula maker told The Associated Press that in-house tests had detected melamine in its infant formula.

Those three companies, Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson, make more than 90 percent of all infant formula produced in the United States.

The FDA and other experts said the melamine contamination in U.S.-made formula had occurred during the manufacturing process, rather than intentionally.

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