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.