Thursday, January 22, 2009

The FDA is OK with Melamine in Baby Formula, are you?

In the United States this month the FDA has released additional information regarding melamine in infants formula. Astonishingly, the problem is not limited to Chinese practices but extends as far as North American formula manufacturing as well. Three products available right now on your American grocers shelf have tested positive for melamine or cyanuric acid (think bleach, disinfectants and herbicides) - and no, they do not plan to do anything about it.

According to the FDA Enfamil with Iron & Enfamil Lipil with Iron tested positive for cyanuric acid and Nestle Good Start Supreme with Iron tested positive for melamine; however the FDA believes that the products need not be pulled from the shelves given that a) that the melamine and cyanuric acid were never both found present at the same time in any of the tested formulas and B) the individual levels found were 'believed' to not pose any health hazards. In case your wondering it has been determined that it is the combination of the two together that makes one sick.

Now granted, the levels found in the American made formulas were significantly less than the 1 part per million considered safe for baby formula by the FDA and yes it is about 10,000 times lower that the levels found in China's tainted formula scandal and yes, the two compounds were not found present together in one package but I'm not sure that is good enough for me.

In fact I know it isn't good enough for me.

Here is my reasoning:
  • Melamine and Cyanuric Acid have no business in infant formula. While it is reasonable to assume that they found their way there through the ingredients in the formula or leached from the liners of the containers rather than having been added as an ingredient to the formula, I believe that the quality of the ingredients used in infant formula and it's packaging should be of the highest quality and free from anything considered in any way, shape or form to be in any way toxic.
  • Melamine is a protein and protein levels in formula are important and relevant to a babies development. the sheer existence of the melamine in the formula changes, for me at least, the value and quality of the protein given to an infant.
  • While the melamine and the cyanuric acid were never found present in the same formula, thereby making them 'safe', who is to say that a baby may not find themselves drinking from different formulas in the same day?
  • The determination of a safe level for infants is flawed if you ask me, given that it is theoretical analysis and not based on observed fact. The FDA 'believes' it to be safe, but much like giving a baby a CAT Scan they really do not have any imperical data to suggest it really is safe, it's kind of like back in the day when they said tobacco smoke is ok - have you heard of the effects of 3rd hand smoke on little ones lately?
  • And quite finally and simply - I have no interest in feeding my children cheap counter top laminate and it's waste product - especially without my express knowledge.
Both my children were breastfed, one was supplemented with formula, and I am well aware that my milk was not as pure as an Arctic glacier (one wonders how pure that is b.t.w.) but was natural breast milk containing all the good bits breast milk does. For those children who's mother's need offer formula for whatever reason we should be able to rest assured that it contains only good healthy things that will help them thrive, not fill them in any way with empty protein or leave parents with any doubt as to the goodness and nature of the formulas contents.

to see the list of tested products go here

to read the FDA report go here

As always

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