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29 September 2008


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Compare the Canadian Food Inspection Agency response to the FDA response: the Canadians are looking at the sources of protein in Health Food products, like protein bars, while the FDA is looking at milk products in Asain grocery stores!





I think I'll be watching the Canadian website for information.

Pat in Raleigh

Just viewed a commentary about the Cadbury chocolate recall that's taking place in countries other than the U.S. because those lots of Cadbury chocolates were evidently made in China and had traces of melamine in them. U.S. consumers of Cadbury chocolates were told that they didn't need to worry because "all Cadbury chocolates sold in the U.S. are made by Hershey." Am I the only on who remembers another commentary, aired several months ago, stating that Hershey had entered into contracts to begin manufacturing its chocolates IN CHINA!? Could this mean that Cadbury chocolates sold in the U.S. and "made by Hershey" could actually have been manufactured in CHINA?

BTW - Also heard that New Zealand is now having to recall some milk products because they contain melamine-contaminated ingredients fromm China. Make no mistake . . . this thing will turn out to be worldwide, just like the contaminated pet food. Global trade pretty much assures this will be the case.

Gina Spadafori

Lost in all the news on the economic crisis and the election was this gem from the AP:


BEIJING - While China grapples with its latest tainted food crisis, the political elite are served the choicest, safest delicacies. They get hormone-free beef from the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, organic tea from the foothills of Tibet and rice watered by melted mountain snow.

And it’s all supplied by a special government outfit that provides all-organic goods from farms working under the strictest guidelines.

That secure food supply stands in stark contrast to the frustrations of ordinary citizens who have faced recurring food scandals — vegetables with harmful pesticide residue, fish tainted with a cancer-causing chemical, eggs colored with industrial dye, fake liquor causing blindness or death, holiday pastries with bacteria-laden filling.


Might explain a little why the Chinese gov't doesn't seem to give a damn.


Comment by Carol V — September 29, 2008 @ 4:37 am

"Maybe the FDA has doubled their FTE’s from 2 as with the pet food recall to 4 to cover this melamilk disaster …."

Great - so would that mean that maybe instead of logging only about 40% of the calls coming in, they might be able to log all of 80% of the calls coming in? (Sarcasm meter alert - if you've got a logging system set up, then why in the name of heaven do you not log ALL!!!!! the calls coming in??????)


Pat, do you have the URL for the actual article you're quoting? (Just helps the integrity of the information to have the source provided!)

Pat in Raleigh

Found the info re Hershey's making chocolate in China. Here's the quote from the article:

In February 2007, Hershey's announced it would be cutting more than ten percent of its workforce and closing some of its U.S. plants. It expects to do away with about 1,500 jobs over the next three years from its current workforce of more than 13,000 and also plans to reduce the number of manufacturing lines it operates by almost a third. The company is building a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, that it says will be focused on both low-value added products and on emerging markets, and it is setting up a joint manufacturing venture in China with Lotte Confectionery of South Korea.

Hershey's Canadian operations are almost ended; by December 2007 the company will no longer have facilities in Canada. Other plant closures include facilities in Oakdale, California; Naugatuck, Connecticut; and Reading, Pennsylvania.

However, despite the e-mail's message that Hershey's is ending its U.S. operations, it should be kept in mind that while 3,000 of Hershey's U.S. workforce was (or will be) laid off, the rest of its American employees continue to work for the company, and Hershey's plants in the U.S. continue to make chocolate.

Anne T

I have stopped buying American chocolate. I only buy chocolate now from Euro companies thru my local health food store.

Regardless of my personal buying habits, I wonder what this is gonna do to the sales of Hallowe'en candies? Anything? Nothing? I suppose it depends on how much press ( insert blogging and other Internet discussions) the possible melamine contamination gets.

18 months ago, it wasn't good enough that hundreds if not thousands of pets died from tainted Chinese imports. The $64 billion dollar question ( raised for inflation) is "will the risk to our 'precious' children's health" be enough for the USDA/FDA to actually do something preventative?

I ain't holding my breath.

Nadine L.

Gina, I saw that too. But how do you account for our own here?

Nadine L.

Imports are dangerous, but I still contend all products made in the U.S. that contain any milk or mild derivative in any form, whether using the Chinese ingredient or not, must be tested for melamine (and perhaps cyanuric acid too). and for that matter, any other additive that has the capability to up the protein content. I don't think I'm the only person who won't rest comfortably until this takes place.

Don't "they" care? We're talking about our FOOD -- that which keeps us alive or not! "They" eat it too! The newest world war should be the one on food safety.


Chocolate! This time they've gone too far (snark)!!

Other countries such as Uganda have BANNED any products containing Chinese dairy products and our country has done what exactly? When you have less control over your imports than Uganda, you know you are in deep Kimshee.


And meanwhile in China, lawyers helping the parents of affected infants are being pressured by the government to quit:


Carol V

I am unable to open the link...but I have a feeling I don't want to...my head already exploded a few times over this..I doubt the powers that be took the pet food recall as a wake up call that many of us did as we were the ones who saw what this poison did to our animals..and how fast it can happen...Maybe the FDA has doubled their FTE's from 2 as with the pet food recall to 4 to cover this melamilk disaster....

Pat in Raleigh

Re Annie's Sept. 30 a.m. post . . .

"The primary problem in the Sanlu Dairy Corporation scandal is that the volume of melamine was not properly measured, and too much of the toxic substance was added"

TOO MUCH OF THE TOXIC SUBSTANCE WAS ADDED!!%$&*@# . . . In view of this, it is to my mind an act of criminal negligence for our FDA to NOT be required to test a statistically significant sample of EVERY food product, ingredient, neutriceutical, or pharmaceutical that comes into this country from elsewhere, PERIOD. What more does it take for our government to realize how firmly entrenched these practices are in Chinese industries?!! And what more does it take for them to be aware that these toxic materials are shipped worldwide and can be therefore be expected to enter this country from almost any intermediate source. All imports destined for animal or human consumption MUST be screened!

Pat in Raleigh

What we need in this country is for a group of retired chemists and microbiologists to form a product/ingredient testing organization to be run for the benefit of people who can't afford to pay for expensive testing of suspect pet and human food items. Incorporated as a nonprofit, public service 501 C (3) charitable organization they could donate their time and expertise to perform the tests. Companies that use chemical and microbiological assay equipment could donate older model equipment as a tax writeoff. Cash-strapped, commercial property construction companies, overloaded with unsold, vacant warehouse/business properties, could similarly donate use of a vacant building, as could manufacturers of lab consumables (chemicals, reagents, labware, etc.) and computer gear. John Q Public would then have a source of affordable/low cost testing for any and all ingestable foods, additives, preservatives, nutriceuticals, etc. they felt were suspect. My bet - it would become rapidly apparent that the things we and our pets ingest are widely contaminated, not only with melamine, but with a whole litany of other dangerous materials that the FDA should have been protecting us from all along.

If someone could pull this off, and find a statistically significant cross-section of contaminated/adulterated products on US shelves, it just might finally be possible to light a big enough fire under American citizens that they'd wake up and DEMAND change.

Yeah . . . I know . . . dream on. But think how many baby boomers with the requisite skills are retiring every day and might be willing and able, if not anxious, to contribute their expertise! As a retired baby boomer who's heavily involved in a variety of animal rescue organizations, I can tell you there's an ever-increasing pool of volunteers with an amazing cross-section of skills/expertise out there waiting to be tapped. And, as we all know, in the U.S. if you want something done, you've got to do it yourself. There's not a government agency left with the funding, personnel and leadership required to carry out its designated functions.

Now somebody please, please tell me this organization already exists and how/where to send samples for testing!


Adding melamine is business as usual in China? Read this on a teleconference with the Chinese Ministry of Health:

The teleconference revealed the true circumstances behind the tainted milk powder scandal. Milk powder factories have been illegally adding melamine in order to increase the protein level measurement of their milk. The teleconference revealed many photographs of large volumes of melamine stockpiled in milk powder factory warehouses. The primary problem in the Sanlu Dairy Corporation scandal is that the volume of melamine was not properly measured, and too much of the toxic substance was added, leading to the present problems.

Read more:



A brand of milk tea powder (Mr.Brown brand) has also been recalled, and it's a drink very popular where I live. So if you also drink milk tea or milk tea shakes, be sure to ask what brand your tea bar uses.

Pat in Raleigh

Response to "The Other Pat" - Request for URL for the quote in my 3:55 pm Sept. 29 comment.

The URL is: http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/hersheys.asp

The site is one that debunks Urban myths and the quote is in response to a comment/myth claiming that Hershey was "closing ALL U.S. plants and moving to Mexico". The snopes site was communicating the actual facts of the matter, including the fact that Hershey is "is setting up a joint manufacturing venture in China with Lotte Confectionery of South Korea."

Another site (http://internationaltrade.suite101.com/article.cfm/online_chocolate_sales) makes it clear Hershey has already built at least one plant in China as part of the joint venture with Lotte:

"Although Hershey’s annual revenues exceed US$5 billion, overall sales growth has slowed to around 4% per year. This has forced the company to rethink the marketing of its products to an international trade audience.

Hershey’s International Sales

North American sales in America, Canada, Mexico and Brazil account for 90% of total company revenues. Remaining sales come from international markets in 50 countries led by Japan, Korea, the Philippines and China.

Traditionally, full-time sales representatives and food brokers sell Hershey kisses and similar convenience foods to wholesale distributors and clubs, mass merchandisers, concessionaires, vending companies, grocery and drug store chains as well as other retailers. Over 25% of Hershey’s net sales in 2006 were to giant American wholesale distributor McLane Company, a leading distributor for WalMart.

To stimulate its maturing sales, Hershey’s has built a chocolate factory near Shanghai and will use Chinese retailers to sell Hershey’s and Reese’s brands by August 2007. A joint venture with Korea’s Lotte Confectionary, the new Hershey chocolate factory in China shows that Hershey’s is ready to explore larger-scale opportunities throughout Asia."

This article further states that Hershey is intent upon getting into the internet marketplace:

"Currently, Hershey’s online sales are limited to residents of the U.S. However, this past March the company signalled its plans to enhance its e-commerce offerings by signing a multiyear deal with technology experts GSI Commerce. GSI has been charged to build up Hershey’s sales in the online retail specialty foods marketplace.

Boasting well-developed global manufacturing, distribution and marketing networks, Hershey’s is strongly positioned to benefit from blossoming operations in fast-growing Asian markets like China. The company can significantly expand its global trade footprint if entrepreneurs can popularize Internet candy stores and virtual Web candy machines from which Hershey gourmet chocolate products can be bought from anywhere in the world."

(Sources For This Article

This article presents independent calculations and insights based on data drawn from source material on hersheys.com, including Hershey’s 2006 annual report.)

Now tell me . . . if they're manufacturing chocolate in China and marketing chocolate internationally via the internet, how can they give realistic assurances that chocolate made at their China plant isn't coming into the U.S.??

Pat in Raleigh

And here's another little revelation just posted on the CNN news site:

Heinz stops use of Chinese milk in products

By Rick Stouffer


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The H.J. Heinz Co. on Monday said it no longer is using milk produced in China, hoping to eliminate any perception that its Far East products are in any way contaminated with the chemical melamine.

Gee . . . who knew Heinz was putting Chinese mild in their American soups!??

Pat in Raleigh

Just saw this on today's CNN online news site:

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- "Unilever is recalling four batches of Lipton Milk Tea sold in Hong Kong and Macau after finding traces of the chemical melamine in the product, the company said Tuesday.

Unilever Hong Kong Limited described it as a precautionary measure and said no other Lipton Milk Tea Powder products were affected."

And so another U.S. giant globalized corporation is caught in the melamine web. When will these companies learn? Where's the profit in products that are manufactured only to be recalled and ?discarded? (we hope). Maybe they make so much from reselling the recalled toxic stuff to animal feed producers that they don't have to care!

Nadine L.

"...an act of criminal negligence for our FDA to NOT be required to test a statistically significant sample of EVERY food product, ingredient, neutriceutical, or pharmaceutical that comes into this country from elsewhere, PERIOD."

I am SO with you on this. Perhaps we Americans should file a gargantuan Class Action lawsuit?

Heck, they've got $700 billion today. With that same $700 billion, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could be brought to state-of-the-art status; in addition, every American could be provided equally with health insurance via a fund in order for us to take care of physiological injuries and impairments, seen and yet unseen, that our bodies have suffered from years of government criminal negligence in their lack of food safety oversight. Throw in some great hospitals with advanced equipment while they're at it.


‘The tasks of the rectification campaign have been fulfilled completely and its objectives all have been reached . . . The illegal practice of using non-food materials and or recycled food to produce and process food has been basically eliminated’.”

WTF? I've never heard that one before & it's almost funny if it weren't for the fact that it has done so much damage.....first it was our fur babies, now it's human babies. How long before it's the rest of us? It wasn't a priority before when it was "just animals" & it doesn't appear to be a priority now. What is it going to take for our gov't to stop ALL food from China until they stop trying to poison every living thing. By the time we all start dying out thanks to melafood, it'll obviously be too late.

You can bet your a$$ that the FDA & others in our gov't also have a much better source for their food.....& what they feed their family. Bet me they don't trust China's food any more than we do.....but we have to eat it, they don't.

Excuse me while I go melabarf......


From the Wall Street Journal:

"Due to a little known loophole in the food safety laws in the United States, it is likely that most Americans are unknowingly consuming Chinese dairy products and other contaminated Chinese ingredients."

"Did you know that China is the largest exporter of whey into the United States? Did you know that if your favorite cookie contains Chinese whey, the U.S. manufacturer does not have a legal responsibility to inform you? Did you know that the assurances made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about Chinese dairy products not being in our food are almost certainly false?"

Read more:



Sorry, wrong link and source for above article:



It's he-e-e-e-e-e-re:


And that's just one they've FOUND . . . . . .


To Pat in Raleigh: Thanks for the cite! It's much appreciated!

I'm still working through Marion Nestle's book "Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine" and it continues to feel like deja vu all over again (I would so like to send copies of this book to all the US legislators, but they're a wee bit preoccupied with - um - OTHER matters right now - which also take on fresh poignancy in light of our trade deficits and indebtedness to China - also discussed in this book). Here on page 132 I find the surprising revelation that "In January of 2008, the (Chinese) government announced the success of its food safety campaign. 'The tasks of the rectification campaign have been fulfilled completely and its objectives all have been reached . . . The illegal practice of using non-food materials and or recycled food to produce and process food has been basically eliminated'."

Uh - yeah - and the check's in the mail . . . . . . . . . .


"Nestle and Heinz have argued that low-level melamine contamination does not pose a health risk"



Whey is an ingredient in hundreds of processed food products. The FDA should be testinga any protein ingredient that is valued by its protein conten that enters the borders, including nut protein, soy protein, non-fat milk powder, whey powder, lactose powder, casein, and grain glutens. If we've already imported two million pounds of milk proteins by July, it could be in anything.


Nadine L.

Now they've found traces of melamine in Chinese Nabisco Ritz Bits Crackers with Cheese and some rice cakes.

Well, FDA, there's one food item for you to start with.

How do we know the Ritz Bits we buy here wasn't made there? How do we know the Ritz we buy here and that is made here doesn't contain these same ingredients imported from China?

Oh, right, I forgot, it's not supposed to be harmful (although not a food ingredient) according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. Silly me.



Why are we pet owners not really surprised at all this?

After going through the melamine fiasco last year with our pets, and then the end result being that practically nothing was done by our government to assure that it didn't happen again...here we are a year later, only this time it's human food.

What did they think...if they closed their eyes and ignored it, that it would go away?


It isn't just products made in China - according to this article tons of milk protein are imported from China and used in a variety of processed foods.

'China's Milk Scandal Now Seen as Risk in Europe'


In the United States, some consumer groups called for stricter regulation as well.

"It is now clear that China has exported dairy products like powdered milk and milk protein products around the globe and we know that some of them came to the United States," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch. "It is time for the F.D.A. to take this issue seriously and stop the import of dairy products from China until this situation is under control."

"It is now clear that China has exported dairy products like powdered milk and milk protein products around the globe and we know that some of them came to the United States," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch. "It is time for the F.D.A. to take this issue seriously and stop the import of dairy products from China until this situation is under control."

The United States has imported two million pounds of a milk protein called casein this year, along with other powdered milk proteins that are used as ingredients in many processed foods, according to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture. This includes 293,000 pounds that were imported in July. The Food and Drug Administration did not immediately return calls for comment on Thursday.


I am beginning to wonder about anything made in China that is in any way ingestible, has contact with the skin, or can be used for cooking.

Awhile ago I picked up some bowls at the local "Dollar Store". On the bottom, a sticker:

"WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm."

My reaction after reading this warning was: "What is this Sh*t?"

I haven't used them. Nor would I use them to feed my dog.

Maybe it's time for a consumer revolt about products from China.


Marion Nestle has a blog! It's here:


Nadine L.

Here's the May 2007 U.S. FDA/CFSAN Interim Melamine and Analogues Safety/Risk Assessment for anyone who can decifer:


Nadine L.

Make that "decipher." It's midnight.


“Nestle and Heinz have argued that low-level melamine contamination does not pose a health risk”


Comment by Annie — September 30, 2008 @ 2:08 am

C'mon Nestle and Heinz...it's just hazardous and deadly to Chinese babies???

Let's get real, and quit speaking through our bank books. Melamine is a foreign substance to our bodies, and is not meant to be eaten.


Obviously I can't transcribe the entire chapter (although sometimes if feels like that's exactly what I'm doing! G!) but if you'll note the dose at the study you cite - it's 400 mg/Kg. More of the text from page 87 of Nestle's book (UC Davis study exploring dosing melamine and cyanuric acid each separately at varying doses, and then combined):

"The cats fed both chemicals, however, did not do well at all. Even at the lowest dose - 32 mg/Kg body weight for each chemical - the cats vomited and stopped eating. Within 36 hours, all three cats fed the two chemicals in combination had signs of of impaired kidney function and were excreting crystals in their urine. Upon autopsy, the cats' kidney tubules were were packed with crystals of complexes of melamine and cyanuric acid. Without question, this combination of chemicals disrupts normal kidney function. Mixed with cyanuric acid, a dose of melamine well below the level considered safe can cause kidney damage”.

Somewhere else in the book when she's talking about discussions with the FDA, the "factor of ten" (or thereabouts) idea comes into play again. I'll have to see if I can find it later when I have more time.

Nadine L.


American Journal of Veterinary Research

September 2008, Vol. 69, No. 9, Pages 1217-1228

doi: 10.2460/ajvr.69.9.1217

Evaluation of the renal effects of experimental feeding of melamine and cyanuric acid to fish and pigs

Abstract here: http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/ajvr.69.9.1217?cookieSet=1&journalCode=ajvr

In other words, dogs, cats, fish, humans ... scrap melamine ... a killer combination. I want a home test kit.

Nadine L.

Where were these studies done? I remember some we found last year, on animals, but the 10X seems like new information.

This book needs huge airplay. Should be required reading for many.

Can't wait to read it.


Everyone seems to keep forgetting about the cyanuric acid. Quoting again from Marion Nestle's book "Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine", page 69:

"Melamine is an industrial chemical which, when mixed with formaldehyde, forms polymers that can be made into hard plastic dinnerware. This process generates wastewater containing melamine AND ITS BYPRODUCTS (emphasis mine), one of which is a related chemical, cyanuric acid. To clean the wastewater and allow it to be recycled, these compounds are reconstituted into 'scrap' containing a mix of melamine, cyanuric acid, and other melamine by-products. Because the constituent chemicals contain nitrogen,melamine SCRAP (emphasis mine again) can be used for fertilizer or for other nitrogen-requiring purposes, legal or not".

Here's the thing - people keep talking about this adulteration as if the scam artists are going out and buying nice, purified melamine powder to fraudulently mix into their wheat gluten and milk products and so on. But they're not. They're bottom-feeding money-hungry con-men who are doing whatever they can to put in as little and get out as much as they possibly can. And they're not buying melamine. They're buying melamine SCRAP. Which - as we see in the quote above - is also going to contain cyanuric acid. From page 87 of Nestle's book (following a great deal of explanatory text):

"Mixed with cyanuric acid, a dose of melamine well below the level considered safe can cause kidney damage".

In fact - the *combination* of cyanuric acid and melamine started causing problems with kidney function at something like a factor of TEN lower than when either chemical (in carefully controlled laboratory studies) was consumed alone. A lot of us who were tracking all of this in "real time" as it happened last year already knew this, but it bears repeating.

The part that I think people either forget or really haven't stopped to consider is that the stuff that the crooks are illegally putting into the food supply did NOT come from "carefully controlled laboratory studies". They're buying cheap salvaged melamine SCRAP, which - according the the description above - WILL also contain cyanuric acid and that therefore - according to all the studies cited in Nestle's book (several of which she had to go to paper records for because they're not on the Internet) WILL be roughly TEN TIMES as toxic as if they were adding melamine (which is all anyone seems to be talking about) alone.

Let's not forget the ugly plot twist of last year's saga. Chances are that what we're seeing here is not a pure adulteration by melamine, but rather, a contamination with cyanuric acid-containing melamine SCRAP. And we know how awful that can be.


Oh look! It appears that EPA and FDA took the same class in "dilution theory"!


(If you get an ad, wait until "Enter Salon" appears in the upper right and then click on it)

Pat in Raleigh

You know, I just can't figure out why Consumer Reports hasn't taken up this melamine testing cause. You'd think they'd be the perfect organization to step into the breech left by FDA impotence/incompetance. But they seem to be spending all their time these days testing washing machines and vacuum cleaners and taste-testing food products. Taste-testing??? . . . as if safety-testing of pet and human food products wasn't hugely more important!! I quit buying their magazine when they started spending funds to taste test food!

And what about good old Ralph Nader? . . . too busy running for President, I suppose.

Whatever happened to Consumer Reports and Nader? . . . just when you most need them, they're AWOL.

Pat in Raleigh

Look what just came across CNN News today (below). I say it's just a matter of time before the chocolate from China ends up here in the U.S. . . . it's probably here already, since the FDA can say all they want to about stepping up testing of Chinese dairy imports, but they still aren't funded or staffed to test more than 1% of everything that comes into this country!!

S.Korea says finds melamine in China-made Snickers, Kit Kat

Sat Oct 4, 2008 4:27pm

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's food watchdog has ordered four more Chinese-made food products to be destroyed after they were found to contain the industrial chemical melamine.

Chinese food safety personnel check the fresh milk at a milk collection station in Chengdu, China.

Melamine was found in Snickers Peanut Funsize and M&Ms chocolate milk made by Mars, as well as KitKat wafers made by Nestle and a biscuit manufactured by Lotte Confectionery Co., the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement Saturday.

The test results raise the number of known melamine-tainted food products imported to South Korea from China to 10.

About 430 Chinese-made products using dairy ingredients have already been pulled from store shelves and put into storage pending tests.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said small amounts of melamine -- less than 2.5 parts per million -- are not harmful in most foods, except baby formula.

The South Korean tests found 1.78 parts per million of melamine in Snickers bars, 2.38 parts per million in M&Ms, 2.89 parts per million for KitKats, and up to 3.36 parts per million in the Lotte biscuits.

Lotte and Mars Korea said they were withdrawing their products. Comments from Nestle Korea were not immediately available.

Last week, Seoul suspended imports of all Chinese-made foods using dairy ingredients.


I bought a Cadbury chocolate bar last week...have I eaten it yet? No.

Will I eat it? No.

Why? Because I don't trust any of these manufacturers since last year.

Colorado Transplant

First the pets get poisoned, then the babies, and now sweenten it all for adults by putting poison into chocolate.

Is this how we are going to cut down the population? I thought it was going to be by a super-duper bug that nobody could find the cure for but I was wrong. It is melamine that will do the job.


Here we go again:


So - when ARE we going to get that single, centralized food safety oversight agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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