Monday, December 08, 2008

National and international developments in melamine

Nationally:

Walgreens is recalling 173 teddy bears with chocolate bars sold in stores since late September 2008. Analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that certain samples of the chocolate provided with the teddy bears were contaminated with melamine. Customers who purchased any of the 173 teddy bears should return them immediately to the Walgreens stores where they were purchased for a full refund. Walgreens already has instructed stores to stop selling the product, which is specifically described as an approximately 9-inch high Dressy Teddy Bear with 4-oz. Chocolate Bar.

Internationally:

The World Health Organization has released a tolerable upper limit of 0.2 milligrams of melamine per kilogram of body weight per day. A meeting of food safety experts held by WHO in Ottawa, Canada, made the decision Friday noting that there is no good reason to have any melamine in food products at all.

According to the Associated Press:

Jorgen Schlundt, WHO's director for food safety, said that threshold is lower than the European Union's limitation of 0.5 milligrams. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which originally set its limit at 0.63 milligrams, later reduced its tolerable daily intake to 0.063 milligrams.

WHO's guidance is used by governments to set their minimum food safety standards.Melamine, a nitrogen-rich chemical used in the production of plastics, was first discovered to be a major problem when it appeared in Chinese infant formula in September. Since then traces have been found in milk products around the world.

Last month the FDA said tests found traces of melamine in the infant formula of one major U.S. manufacturer and cyanuric acid, a related chemical, in the formula of a second major maker. Schlundt stressed that the threshold the WHO has set — which stipulates that a 50 kilogram (110-pound) person could tolerate 10 milligrams of melamine per day — is not a "safe" level for melamine, but merely the amount a human being can consume without higher health risk.

Melamine is used in some food packaging and can rub off into packaged food products. It also is part of a cleaning solution used on some food processing equipment.

Cross posted from www.epicureanideal.blogspot.com

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