Melamine in Infant Formula? We Need Food Safety Now!

Melamine-contaminated pet food killed thousands of dogs and cats in the United States two years ago. Melamine-contaminated infant formula recently killed six babies in China, and made hundreds of thousands of children there ill.

Now melamine has been found in some chocolate, cookies and infant formula in the U.S.!

Yet our own Food and Drug Administration says it’s OK to have a certain amount of the chemical in infant formula, even though the agency previously said it couldn’t determine a safe level for melamine. What are we supposed to believe?

Tell Congress you’re fed up with the FDA’s lax regulation of our food and drug supply. Strong leadership, more safety testing, better inspection of imports, and tough enforcement are needed to make sure no American families suffer the tragic consequences of eating contaminated food.

We need strong FDA leadership - melamine latest failure

Dear [Decision Maker],

The recent news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found melamine and cyanuric acid in U.S.-made infant formula -- but didn't make these findings immediately public, and failed to recall the contaminated formula --- is another chilling example that the agency is not fulfilling its mission to protect the public.

I strongly urge the new Administration to put in place strong leadership at the FDA so the agency can fulfill its public safety mission, and I urge Congress to pass needed reforms of the agency to keep me and my family safe. I also urge the FDA to adequately test for chemical contaminants in infant formula and other foods, to inform us when they find these kinds of results, and to recall those products to prevent any unnecessary risks to our children.

Melamine contamination is a very serious issue. Contaminated Chinese infant formula caused the deaths of six babies in that country, and made almost 300,000 sick there. The same chemical was found in pet food made with Chinese ingredients in 2007, killing thousands of dogs and cats in the U.S. Unscrupulous manufacturers lace products with melamine to make the protein content appear higher than it really is, but melamine in combination with one of its analogues, cyanuric acid, causes kidney stones, kidney failure and death. Melamine already has been found in United States.

But what is even more disturbing than these discoveries are the FDA's actions regarding melamine.

In October, the FDA said it could not define what would be a safe level of melamine in infant formula. But a month later, after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information request and published stories that FDA tests had indeed found melamine in infant formula here, the agency suddenly claimed some melamine levels were safe.

And it was just revealed the FDA found melamine in two more samples of infant formula in December, but did not actively inform the public about those findings.

With the agency's abrupt about-face over what levels of melamine are "safe," and their failure to actively inform the public of their findings, what are consumers supposed to believe about melamine contamination?

To be safe, the FDA must recall any infant formula contaminated with melamine or cyanuric acid, and adequately test for these contaminants in food products. American families should not suffer because of inadequate safety monitoring of our food supply by the FDA.

Melamine contamination is just the latest in a string of FDA failures to adequately protect the public. I urge the Administration and Congress to instill strong leadership at the agency that will fulfill its public-safety mission. I also urge you to make needed changes a priority, including tougher laws, better enforcement, and more funding, so American families can have faith in the safety of the food and products we consume each day.

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