By Genevieve Long & Mimi Li
Epoch Times Staff
Widespread problems with milk and milk-related food products from China contaminated with melamine have prompted state governments to search local stores for contaminated products. Since mid-September, six U.S. states have found and removed melamine-contaminated products from store shelves.
The impetus was the fact that more than 53,000 babies in China were hospitalized in September after ingesting milk containing a melamine additive.
Melamine is an industrial poly¬mer typically used in floor tiling, kitchenware, filters, and fire retard¬ants. Melamine’s high nitrogen content imitates protein when tested in food products that have been diluted to increase volume and profit, such as watered-down milk.
On Nov. 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an import alert that all milk and milk-derived products from China will be held and tested for melamine.
Products are being detained at border entry points until they have been tested by third-party laboratories. The alert does not ret¬roactively recall products imported from China that arrived on shelves in the U.S. before Nov. 12.
Several state-level governments, which typically work in concert with the FDA on food-safety issues, have found and recalled contaminated products. These states include Vermont, Connecticut, Georgia, Ala¬bama, and Wisconsin. Minnesota was the most recent state to find melamine-contaminated cookies on their shelves.
Another contaminated product, Sherwood Brands Fools Gold chocolate coins, was recalled in Canada, but there was no recall in the U.S. However, the state of Vermont issued an advisory to state residents to be cautious of the product.