Melamine Found in U.S. Baby Formula



The Food and Drug Administration has found trace amounts of the industrial chemical melamine in some of the top-selling infant formulas sold in the U.S. The samples of the three top firms – Abbott Laboratories, Mead Johnson, and Nestle – manufacture over 90 percent of all infant formula in the country. However, a top official said parents should not stop feeding this formula to their babies because the levels are extremely low.

This is a change from the beginning of October when the FDA announced that melamine exposure at any level was dangerous to infants, and that they could not set an acceptable level of melamine because scientists have not had enough time to look into how the chemical will affect underdeveloped kidneys of infants. Dr. Stephen Sundlof, Director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said this comment may have been misinterpreted, and that the agency didn’t mean to imply that domestic infant formula was going to be completely free from melamine.

Melamine exposure has been linked to kidney stones and kidney failure, and has seriously injured and killed infants in China. The FDA said dumping melamine into watered-down milk in China was done intentionally to show higher protein levels, which tricked food quality testing. The concentrations of the melamine in China was as high as 2,500 parts per million. The concentrations found in the U.S. formula were 10,000 smaller, or a drop in a 64 gallon drum.

The formulas the FDA found melamine in include Mead Johnson’s Enfamil LIPIL with Iron and Nestle’s Good Start Supreme Infant Formula. Though the FDA did not find melamine in Abbott Laboratories’ formula, other company tests did find the trace amounts in formula, including Similac brand.

Congressional critics of the FDA say the agency should begin an immediate recall of all formulas that tested positive for any amount of melamine, no matter how small.