FDA Warns to Avoid Baby Formula from China

Yesterday, the FDA issued a warning to U.S. consumers that they should avoid all baby formula from China, as it may be tainted with a chemical that could cause kidney failure. No infant formula from China is approved for sale in the United States, but some may be on sale in certain stores.

A number of cases have been reported in China of babies developing severe kidney problems after using baby formula which has been found to be contaminated with melamine, a chemical used in the manufacturing of plastics.

Although no injuries have been reported in the United States, it appear that some may have been illegally imported, and could be on sale in some ethnic grocery stores. This appears to be most likely in areas with large Chinese populations, such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston. The FDA is working with state officials to raise awareness among immigrant communities.

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In the last two months, as many as 60 babies from several Chinese provinces have been admitted to hospitals with various kidney problems, including kidney stones, which is generally rare among infants.

According to reports in the Chinese media released on September 10, 2008, all of the sickened infants had been given the same powdered infant formula manufactured by Sanlu Group, a leading dairy products company in China.

Testing by the company revealed the presence of the industrial chemical melamine . The company claims it could have been added by unscrupulous suppliers to make the milk powder appear high in protein. Adding melamine increases nitrogen, which is measured as a test of high protein substances.

A similar contamination led to the largest recall of pet food in U.S. history in March 2007, which caused numerous sicknesses and deaths among cats and dogs across North America. Melamine and cyanuric acid were added to grain products in China to fake their protein content and make them appear to be gluten. The adulterated products were sold to U.S. and Canadian pet food makers as gluten, which subsequently combined to form crystals in the urinary tracts of animals, leading to illness and death.

In 2004, another Chinese infant formula recall was issued after it caused the death of about 13 babies in China, and about 170 more showed symptoms of malnutrition. At that time, the fake formula was found in at least one store in the United States.

The FDA is working with state officials to raise awareness among immigrant communities about the risks that could be associated with baby formula from China. The health officials have stressed that the contamination does not impact any brands of baby formula made in the United States, as no manufacturers are using any ingredients from China.

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2 Comments

  • Melamine Levels in Contaminated Infant Formula Safe Says FDA : AboutLawsuits.comDecember 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    [...] several samples of infant formula in the United Staets tested positive for trace amounts of the chemical melamine, which is the same chemical that hospitalized more than 12,000 babies in China. However, the FDA [...]

  • myrnaDecember 1, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Why do US continually use products for other countries which are not regulated by the USDA and continue to jeopardize the health of our infants. I need to know what alternative that I have to the baby formula that were found with traces of melamine. Also why the media is not alerting consumers about it, are they afraid of lawsuit from those big companies I really do not get it. Is human life so[Show More]Why do US continually use products for other countries which are not regulated by the USDA and continue to jeopardize the health of our infants. I need to know what alternative that I have to the baby formula that were found with traces of melamine. Also why the media is not alerting consumers about it, are they afraid of lawsuit from those big companies I really do not get it. Is human life so insignificant that the news media is scared? There will be a bigger lawsuit from the public if nothing is said and our babies get sick. I am a concerned grandmother

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