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Food Safety News

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WHO to Consider Melamine Limit

Representatives from 130 countries attending the World Health Organization’s annual food safety meeting this week will discuss setting a global limit on how much melamine is allowed in food and animal feed.


Melamine contamination in milk products was been blamed for the sickening of nearly 300,000 babies and the deaths of at least six infants in China in 2008.

Melamine is an attractive adulterant because boosts nitrogen content,

making dairy products show artificially high protein levels in quality

assurance tests.

Two executives were executed for their involvement in the 2008 Chinese melamine milk scandal, and Chinese authorities have arrested many milk producers who were selling melamine-tainted milk.

In January, Chinese officials shut down a milk processor in Shanghai after melamine was found in its dairy products.

WHO said Thursday that a new melamine limit may be set to 2.5 milligrams per kilogram with certain exceptions. 

The threshold for infant milk formula would be set at 1 milligram per kilogram, the equivalent of the current U.S. limit of 1 part per million.


The limit won’t be legally binding, however.  Countries can refuse to allow the import of products deemed below minimum quality.

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  • Ann Quinn, consumer

    Annual Report Targets Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States
    [year: 2008]
    A 30 percent increase in chronic kidney disease over the past decade has prompted the U.S. Renal Data System (USRDS) to issue for the first time a separate report documenting the magnitude of the disease, which affects an estimated 27 million Americans and accounts for more than 24 percent of Medicare costs.
    After the pet food recalls of 2007, you have to seriously
    question what this 30 percent increase in ten years in kidney disease is caused by.
    As usual, the government dillies and dallies with acceptable
    possible harm levels which could easily be eliminated by a change in the kinds of mandatory protein nitrogen testing
    procedures for food safety and which would clearly show the presence of melamine in the food supply from imported or
    domestic food ingredients and/or food packaging sources.

  • Chenchen

    Melamine is only used for food packaging and not supposed to present in food more than 0.015 ppm. The harm of it to human body starts from very low exposure, especially in the infants’ bodies with underdeveloped kidney function and weak immune system. Moreover, infant formula is the extensive feed to infants and parent may feed their children with more than one type of formula, which greatly increases the risk to kidney problems caused by melamine. I think that FDA’s 1ppm level need to be further lowered to keep the exposure of melamine to the infants to the minimum and ensure the future health of these babies since so far there are not any long-term extensive toxin assessment on melamine yet and the food manufactures are able to reduce this chemical to a lower level.