Melamine Traces Found in US Infant Formula

Feds say there's no health risk to babies
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 25, 2008 6:40 PM CST
A 1-year-old Chinese girl drinks milk from a bottle in Beijing Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

(Newser) – Traces of the industrial chemical melamine have been detected in samples of top-selling US infant formula, but federal regulators insist the products are safe. A top official said the levels detected are so low that it would be a "dangerous overreaction" for parents to stop using formula. An outbreak in China has killed at least three infants and sickened 50,000, but the melamine concentrations were 10,000 times higher.

The FDA detected melamine in a sample of one popular formula (Mead Johnson's Infant Formula Powder, Enfamil LIPIL with Iron) and the presence of cyanuric acid, a chemical relative of melamine, in the formula of a second manufacturer. Separately, a third major formula maker said in-house tests had detected trace levels of melamine in its infant formula. The three firms—Abbott Laboratories, Nestle, and Mead Johnson—manufacture more than 90 percent of all infant formula produced in the US.