Melamine detected in U.S.-made infant formula

by Staff
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WASHINGTON — Food and Drug Administration test results obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed trace amounts of melamine and cyanuric in two brands of infant formula manufactured in the United States. A third infant formula manufacturer told the A.P. its own internal testing detected trace levels of melamine as well. The three companies, Abbott Laboratories, Nestle Nutrition and Mead Johnson account for approximately 90% of the infant formula manufactured in the United States.

It is believed the contamination occurred during the manufacturing process and was not a deliberate act, as was the case in China where thousands of infants became ill after being exposed to high levels of melamine in infant formula.

Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told the A.P. the positive test results were in the trace range, and from a public health perspective or infant health perspective not a threat.

Following the A.P.’s story, the International Formula Council, a group that consists of Abbott, Mead Johnson and Nestle as well as Wyeth Nutrition, issued a statement saying infant formula sold in the United States remains safe.

"While trace levels of melamine may be found in food as a byproduct of processing and packaging, these levels are far below the level deemed safe by numerous other governments including Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and China," the I.F.C. said. "Further, these trace amounts are far below the levels recently found in Chinese infant formulas intentionally contaminated with melamine."

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