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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

The Haphazard Gourmet Girl is the New FDA

Melamine-tainted milk powder has contaminated products world-wide, from infant formula, cookies, tea, and candies.  The contamination has been blamed for the deaths of four children and kidney ailments among 54,000 others.  More than 13,000 children have been hospitalized, over 1,400 with kidney failure.  There have been four deaths.  And guess what?  The tainted powder can be found in food on store shelves in the US.  No recall?

As our government spends $700,000,000,000 on Wall Street, I guess it simply does not have the time nor the money to protect us from an industrial chemical blamed for sickening thousands of infants in China? Go figure.  Where is the FDA and our famous “food czar?”  My guess is they are all watching the stock market and their government retirements flush down the food safety toilet.

Were governments world-wide are pulling products containing the milk powder, the FDA could not be bothered.   Leave it to our new Superhero, “Eddie, the Haphazard Gourmet Girl” to swing into action when the FDA could not be bothered (lycra suit?).   She and her photographer did what the FDA seems incapable to do – take this stuff of store shelves before children eat it.   She first blogged about it a few days ago and then she made made FOX TV 11 in Los Angeles (click here or on picture on right).  FDA, where are you?

For those who forget, melamine, which is high in nitrogen, is used to make plastics and fertilizers and experts say some amount of the chemical may be transferred from the environment during food processing.  But in China’s case, suppliers trying to boost output are believed to have diluted their milk, adding melamine because its nitrogen content can fool tests aimed at verifying protein content.  And remember this:

December 2007 – Sanlu Fonterra had first received complaints about its powdered baby formula.

March 2008 – Sanlu Fonterra had hired private companies to test its milk powder for contaminants.  Sanlu Fonterra never issued any public warnings and never stopped promoting its products.

May 18 – After the devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, the Sanlu Fonterra made a much-publicized donation of $1.25 million worth of baby formula for infants orphaned or displaced by the catastrophe.

June 30 – A mother in Hunan Province had written a detailed letter pleading for help from the food quality agency, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (organization that sponsored the Food Safety Conference I attended).  The letter, posted on the agency’s Web site, described rising numbers of infants at a local children’s hospital who were suffering from kidney stones after drinking powdered formula made by Sanlu Fonterra.  The watchdog agency’s director, Li Changjiang, and several Communist Party officials in Hebei province, where Sanlu Fonterra is based, lost their jobs.

August 2 – Sanlu Fonterra officials informed the board about the melamine problem.

September – The New Zealand government, after discussions with Fonterra executives, contacted authorities in Beijing.  Beijing officials say they knew nothing about the scandal until September, though a Fonterra company spokesman said the company believed the central government knew in August.

September 9 – Recall announced.

September 29 – FDA does nothing, but the Haphazard Gourmet Girl swings into action.

  • You doing such a great job by informing every one what is going on. I hope every one can read your blog and see that you are doing a great job.
    Thandi zulu

  • Mary W.

    October 3, 2008
    Dear Mr. Marler,
    Today, the FDA decided to let our food supply (except for formula) be contaminated with melamine.
    Can you please do something about this?
    “In food products other than infant formula, the FDA concludes that levels of melamine and melamine-related compounds below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) do not raise concerns.”
    Thank you.

  • Bix

    Interesting, Mary. Does this mean that if White Rabbit candy contains less than 2.5 ppm we can put it back on shelves?

  • Leslie K

    I find it absolutely appalling that the US is now less safety conscious than 54 supposedly 3rd world countries.Maybe if we weren’t going for record breaking deficits,with China buying up our national debt our country would also ban & or inspect everything imported from China.

  • Mary W.

    October 16, 2008
    Last Friday (Oct 10, 2008), the FDA notified US food manufacturers that their food and ingredients “may be” contaminated with melamine.
    IMHO, the FDA has done sufficient testing by now to KNOW that the US food supply is contaminated.
    “This letter is intended to ensure that members of the United States food manufacturing industry are aware of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) serious concern about the possibility that foods or food ingredients produced in China and exported to the United States may be contaminated with melamine or its analogues.”