Oh China, You’ve Done it Again!
In 2007 a pet food recall was initiated by pet food manufacturers who had found their products had been contaminated and caused serious illnesses or deaths in some of the animals that had eaten them. On 30 March 2007, the Unites States F.D.A. reported finding white granular melamine in the pet food, in samples of white granular wheat gluten imported from a single source in China, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology. Further vegetable protein imported from China was later implicated.
The practice of adding “melamine scrap” to animal feed is reported to be widespread in China in order to give the appearance of increased protein content in animal feed. And now! And now they have added it to milk powder which will be fed to babies! Oh please. For the sake of duping the protein counters? What were they thinking? As if it wasn’t bad enough to cause pet pooches go belly-up, did they think that babies digestive systems might in some way be tougher that a Rottweiler’s?
Early in September, several companies in China were implicated in a scandal involving milk and infant formula which had been adulterated with melamine. By 22 September, nearly 53,000 illnesses, over 12,800 hospitalizations, and four infant deaths had been reported, caused by kidney stones and other renal failure. Melamine may have been added to fool government quality tests after water was added to fraudulently increase the milk’s volume, since melamine will cause a false increase in the measurement of protein by increasing the nitrogen levels in the milk. Officials estimate that about 20 percent of the dairy companies tested in China sell products tainted with melamine.
So what is this “stuff” that food manufactures cannot resist adding to certain foods? Melamine is a plastic resin; Melamine is used combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic, and of melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include plates & drinking cups, countertops, fabrics, glues and flame retardants. Melamine is one of the major components in Pigment Yellow 150, a colorant in inks and plastics. Melamine is also used to make fertilizers.
But why can’t we eat it?
Well it’s like this; melamine is plastic, completely non-digestible and non-soluble. Unfortunately the contaminate particles are small enough to find their way into the renal (kidney) tubules where they cause all manner of mischief such as kidney stones, renal failure and even bladder cancer later in life.
So the message here is keep “as your plate”, not “on your plate”. Fortunately the Indonesian authorities seem to be on to it and have published lists of possible contaminated products. Those include Oreo stick wafer and M&Ms, Snickers and Guozhen formula milk. White Rabbit candy,Cadbury Dark Chocette, Cadbury Eclairs, Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, Cadbury Dairy Milk Hazelnut Chocolate, Cadbury Dairy Milk Cookies Chocolate and Cadbury Hazelnut Praline Chocolate.
If you feel you have ingested substantial amounts of any of these products and you are feeling unwell please consult you local medical practitioner.
Kim Patra is a qualified registered nurse and midwife who has been living and working in Bali for almost 20 years. She now runs her own private practice and medical referral service from her Kuta office. Kim is happy to discuss any health concerns with you and she may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com or Hp. 081 2366 0000.