Nov 24, 2008
The melamine in milk scandal continues to draw interest. You recall, across Asia, in particularly in China, infant formula milk was discovered to be contaminated with a starting material for making plastics and fire retardant materials, melamine. Thousands of babies were hospitalised with possible renal failure, and several died.
But, could some good have come out of this scandal? Apparently, breast-feeding rates have bounced back across Asia, according to some reports and a roundtable, Secure nutritious diet: Save children’s lives, organised jointly by Save the Children UK and others is using the melamine scare to help promote the breast is best message. It has been demonstrated time and again that breastfeeding reduces infant mortality rates particularly in the developing world. One wit even suggested that the melamine contamination was done deliberately to promote breastfeeding, a nonsense, obviously.
Others are now reporting that the formula manufacturers are hoping to restrict this renewed enthusiasm for breastfeeding by heavy promotion of their products even if they are in breach of WHO guidelines on marketing of breast milk substitutes.
Others benefiting from the melamine scandal, although not in the same cynical way are chemical analysis companies, who, according to the Boston Globe are seeing improved business as food safety scares raise the profile of state-of-the-art testing equipments, including melamine test kits. The Gainesville Sun even reported on a woman who had developed her own testing kit for melamine.
As was mentioned in a comment on a previous melamine post, the US FDA has updated its import alert on melamine: “Detention without physical examination of all milk products, milk derived ingredients and finished food products containing milk from china due to the presence of melamine and/or melamine analogs.”