Poisonous Infant Formula May Be Closer Than You Think
The concern arises over Friday’s announcement of a major Chinese dairy recalled 700 tons of milk powder linked to a rash of illnesses in infants. Most of the infants suffered from kidney stones, although two deaths had been reported at the time of this article. The culprit? Melamine, a substance used to make plastics, is reportedly not supposed to be used in food production, but suppliers in China have been found to mix it into some products to make them appear higher in volume (Associated Press). Remember the melamine dog food recalls?
Sanlu Bei Bei Infant Powder (the only brand found responsible at this point) isn’t a brand you may be familiar with. In fact, the FDA is trying to reassure those who purchase formula from the major US distribution channels that the contaminated milk won’t be in anything we typically use. But what about Chinese-Americans or others who may be inclined to purchase Chinese-made infant formula from ethnic grocery stores or other means? The FDA is standing firm on its claim that any formula made in China be tossed immediately.
I’ll even go one step further. Because of past scandals involving formula (including the 2004 arrests of Chinese infant manufacturers who were found guilty of providing infant formula with no nutritional value whatsoever), I would want to know more than just who made my formula. I would avoid buying even approved-brand formulas from any channel that is less than reputable. This means you may want to avoid getting formula from places like Ebay, Craiglist, or garage sales unless you can guarantee it is in its original, sealed containers (and not a fake formula.)
At this point, it is still safe to buy any formula from approved U.S. distributors (including “Abbott Nutritionals, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Nestle USA, PBM Nutritionals, and Solus Products LLC. Also, one manufacturer, SHS/Nutricia, Liverpool, England, markets an amino acid based exempt infant formula that does not contain any milk-derived ingredients.) Store-brand formulas are OK, too. Just be careful where you get it. Retail outlets with a good reputation for offering authentic wares are still your best bet.