June 1, 2009


USDA finds no melamine danger in US meat, dairy products


US Department of Agriculture scientists found no danger from melamine in US food products after testing meat-containing foods that use dairy ingredients, according to government test results.


The USDA, concerned about the possibility that melamine-tainted dairy products from China may have ended up in US food products like sausages and baby food, tested 539 samples that were collected in grocery stores.


The testing began in December and was finished in March.


Eight samples did test positive for trace results of melamine, but the presence was so low that technically they scored as "non-detects," according to a results summary in the report. The melamine detections in the eight samples ranged from 0.013 part per million to 0.256 ppm.


USDA said the "average concentration of melamine in food from approved industrial uses is estimated to be less than 0.015 ppm."


Any level below 2.5 ppm in food products does "not raise health concerns," according to the FDA.


Melamine is a toxic chemical normally used in plastics and fertilizer, but it can also be misused to "inflate the apparent protein content" of dairy products, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.


"In China, melamine was added to diluted milk in the manufacture of powdered infant formula," the USDA said in the testing report. "The adulterated infant formula resulted in 50,000 cases of kidney stones (and, in some cases, renal failure), mostly among children under three years of age."

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