Oh boy. Well, I’ve have had my head firmly up my butt this week with Thanksgiving around the corner but apparently there is good reason to pull it out. News reports swirled yesterday and today regarding Melamine detection in US made baby formula. Since the news that melamine was found in baby formula in China, the US Government (FDA) began quietly testing US brands of baby formula for melamine.
In China, melamine was being intentionally dumped into watered-down milk to trick food quality tests into showing higher protein levels. In this case, the melamine detected was probably not intentional but the result of food packaging or the process plants. The levels that were found in China’s formula were around 2,500 parts per million. In the tests done in the US the results were between 0.137ppm - .247ppm.
The FDA tested 77 infant formula samples and found trace amounts of melamine in the following baby formulas:
Mead Johnsons Enfamil LIPIL with Iron: 2 tests read 0.137ppm and 0.14ppm
Nestle’s Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron: 3 tests with an average of 0.247ppm
The FDA did tests on Abbott Laboratories brands including Similac but none was detected in the 18 samples. However an Abbot spokesman said some in-house tests did find trace amounts though which brands were not specified.
McBean (Abbott spokesman) did say the detections were at levels far below the health limits set by all countries in the world, including Taiwan, where the limit is 0.05 parts per million.
“We’re talking about trace amounts right here, and you know there’s a lot of scientific bodies out there that say low levels of melamine are always present in certain types of foods,” said McBean.
Trace amounts are said to not be enough to cause problems (melamine exposure can cause kidney stones and other problems) in infants at these trace amounts. However, FDA critics think there should be no safe level of melamine contamination and that any formula with ANY amount of melamine should be recalled immediately.
Dr. Jerome Paulson, an associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said he didn’t think the FDA’s decision was unreasonable. He added, however, that the agency should research the impacts of long-term, low-dose exposure, “and not just assume it’s safe, and then 15 years from now find out that it’s not.”
What Should I Do? These are trace amounts of Melamine detected and the FDA is standing firm that there is no danger involved like the China scare. FDA scientists conclude there is a very low risk. But there is that word again… risk. We encourage our readers to call your formula makers regarding this latest news and find out what their position is on the subject. Unfortunately, we don’t know for sure what brands are free of any trace melamine contamination. We only know what the FDA has stated thus far regarding any need to worry: Here is the current stance from the FDA regarding Melamine.
Currently, the trace amounts detected are below any level of concern according to the FDA, so it is important you not stop feeding your baby formula. Talk to your pediatrician about changing brands if you really feel it’s necessary and check back with us as the information develops. We’ll keep you as posted as we can!