Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Toxin Now Available in Milk Form

Wikipedia (Picture by Business Weekly)

Chinese protein export contamination was first identified after the wide recall of many brands of cat and dog food starting in March 2007 (the 2007 pet food recalls), and eventually involved the human food supply. The recalls in North America, Europe and South Africa came in response to reports of kidney failure in pets. Initially the recalls were associated with the consumption of mostly wet pet foods made with wheat gluten from a single Chinese company. In the following weeks, several other companies who received the contaminated wheat gluten also voluntarily recalled dozens of pet food brands. One month after the initial recall, contaminated rice protein from a different source in China was also identified as being associated with kidney failure in pets in the United States, while contaminated corn gluten was associated with kidney failure with pets in South Africa.

China’s Tainted Milk: The Scandal Grows

The toll from China’s tainted-milk scandal continues to grow. Since the news first broke that Chinese dairy producers have been adding the industrial chemical melamine to milk, companies throughout Asia have yanked products from store shelves, and governments in Asia and Africa have banned Chinese imports. In China, more than 50,000 children—most of them babies—have fallen ill and more than 13,000 have been hospitalized. Several Chinese children have died so far.

Until recently, China was a potentially lucrative market for the country’s milk producers. Chinese milk consumption has long been much lower than in other countries, and with ordinary Chinese consumers growing wealthier and more health-conscious, companies had great hopes that demand would soar. Now, though, the industry is in the midst of its worst crisis ever. For more on China’s troubled milk business, read on.

The Chinese government was initially slow to respond. Both government officials and manufacturers went so far as to deny that vegetable protein was even exported from China and refused for weeks to allow foreign food safety investigators to enter the country. Ultimately, the Chinese government acknowledged that contamination had occurred and arrested the managers of two protein manufacturers identified so far and took other measures to improve food safety and product quality.

Sanlu Group

Based in the northern city of Shijiazhuang, the Sanlu Group is China’s biggest producer of powdered milk and is 43% owned by New Zealand’s dairy giant, the Fonterra Co-operative Group. Sanlu is at the epicenter of the scandal, having been the first identified in the Chinese media as selling tainted milk. According to the official Xinhua news agency, Sanlu officials knew about problems with the milk for months before informing the public.

The first and most easily identified contaminant in the vegetable protein is melamine. However, melamine is not considered to be especially dangerous to animals or humans, and so investigators have continued to examine the role of other contaminants found to be present in the proteins, including cyanuric acid. Current research has focused on the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid in causing renal failure. Reports that cyanuric acid may be an independently and potentially widely-used adulterant in China have heightened concerns for both pet and human health.

China Mengniu Dairy

The Hong Kong-traded shares of Mengniu, the Inner Mongolia-based dairy company that is one of China’s largest producers of milk, were suspended on Sept. 17 after the Chinese government announced it was one of some two dozen implicated in the widening scandal. When Mengniu shares started trading again on Sept. 23, the stock collapsed 60%.

Both the wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate were found to actually be wheat flour, which contains wheat gluten as a component and is less expensive than separated gluten. Melamine and cyanuric acid were most likely added to fraudulently increase the apparent protein content of the flour to allow them to pass as concentrated vegetable proteins.

Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group

A month ago, Yili was riding high as the official dairy products sponsor for the Beijing Olympics. Now Yili is caught in the midst of the widening milk scandal. Like rival Mengiu and Sanlu, Yili pulled milk products from Chinese store shelves on Sept. 17. The company’s stock has been sinking ever since, down 25% in a week. That’s brought the Shanghai-listed shares year-to-date fall to 62% so far.

Reports of widespread adulteration of Chinese animal feed with melamine have raised the issue of melamine contamination in the human food supply both in China and abroad. On 27 April US FDA subjected all vegetable proteins imported from China, intended for human or animal consumption, to detention without physical examination, including: Wheat Gluten, Rice Gluten, Rice Protein, Rice Protein Concentrate, Corn Gluten, Corn Gluten Meal, Corn By-Products, Soy Protein, Soy Gluten, Proteins (includes amino acids and protein hydrosylates), and Mung Bean Protein. In a teleconference with reporters on 1 May, officials from the FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture said that between 2.5 and 3 million people in the United States had consumed chickens that had consumed feed containing contaminated vegetable protein from China. Reports that melamine has been added as a binder in animal feed manufactured in North America also raise the possibility that harmful melamine contamination might not be limited to China.

Young Victims

Tian Yaowen, a 15-month-old from central Henan province with kidney stones, is a patient at a hospital in Wuhan. Thousands of Chinese babies have developed kidney stones after consuming melamine-tainted milk. Children in Hong Kong and Macao are also suspected of having milk-related kidney problems.

There has been widespread public outrage and calls for government regulation of pet foods, which had previously been self-regulated by pet food manufacturers. The United States Senate held an oversight hearing on the matter by 12 April. The economic impact on the pet food market has been extensive, with Menu Foods losing roughly $30 million alone from the recall.

Government Action

The central government is determined to quell outrage among ordinary Chinese and demonstrate it is responding to the crisis. Premier Wen Jiabao has issued an apology and visited a sick child in the hospital. Speaking in New York on Sept. 23, Wen also promised strong action to inspect factories and protect consumers. Several top officials, including the chairwoman of Sanlu and the mayor of Shijiazhuang, the city where the company is based, have already lost their jobs.

As of 7 May, United States food safety officials stated: "There is very low risk to human health from consuming meat from hogs and chickens known to have been fed animal feed supplemented with pet food scraps that contained melamine and melamine-related compounds"

In September 2008, Sanlu Group had to recall baby milk because it was contaminated with melamine. Over 6,000 babies became ill after drinking the milk; at least four babies died.

Melamine Molecular Structure


Melamine by itself is nontoxic in low doses, but when combined with cyanuric acid it can cause fatal kidney stones due to the formation of an insoluble melamine cyanurate. Melamine is described as being "Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Chronic exposure may cause cancer or reproductive damage. Eye, skin and respiratory irritant.” However, the toxic dose is on a par with common table salt with an LD50 of more than 3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.

Melamine is commonly use to create Laminate Board

Melamine is reported to have an oral LD50 of 3248 /kg based on rat data. It is also an irritant when inhaled or in contact with the skin or eyes. The reported dermal LD50 is >1000 mg/kg for rabbits. In a 1945 study, large doses of melamine were given orally to rats, rabbits and dogs with "no significant toxic effects" observed.

A study by USSR researchers in the 1980s suggested that melamine cyanurate, commonly used as a fire retardant), could be more toxic than either melamine or cyanuric acid alone. For rats and mice, the reported LD50 for melamine cyanurate was 4.1 g/kg (given inside the stomach) and 3.5 g/kg (via inhalation), compared to 6.0 and 4.3 g/kg for melamine and 7.7 and 3.4 g/kg for cyanuric acid, respectively.

A toxicology study conducted after recalls of contaminated pet food concluded that the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid in diet does lead to acute renal failure in cats.

Chronic Toxicity

Ingestion of melamine may lead to reproductive damage, or bladder or kidney stones, which can lead to bladder cancer.

A study in 1953 reported that dogs fed 3% melamine for a year had the following changes in their urine: (1) reduced specific gravity, (2) increased output, (3) melamine crystalluria, and (4) protein and occult blood.

Melamine Ware

A survey commissioned by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians suggested that crystals formed in the kidneys melamine combined with cyanuric acid, "don't dissolve easily. They go away slowly, if at all, so there is the potential for chronic toxicity."

Poisoning and kidney failure caused by melamine cyanurate
Animal Feed Recall

Further information: 2007 pet food recalls and Chinese protein export contamination

In 2007 a pet food recall was initiated by Menu Foods and other pet food manufacturers who had found their products had been contaminated and caused serious illnesses or deaths in some of the animals that had eaten them. In March 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration reported finding white granular melamine in the pet food, in samples of white granular wheat gluten imported from a single source in China, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology as well as in crystalline form in the kidneys and in urine of affected animals.Further vegetable protein imported from China was later implicated.

In April 2007, The New York Times reported that the addition of "melamine scrap" into fish and livestock feed to give the false appearance of a higher level of protein was an "open secret" in many parts of mainland China, reporting that this melamine scrap was being produced by at least one plant processing coal into melamine. Four days later, the New York Times reported that, despite the widely reported ban on melamine use in vegetable proteins in mainland China, at least some chemical manufacturers continued to report selling it for use in animal feed and in products for human consumption. Li Xiuping, a manager at Henan Xinxiang Huaxing Chemical in Henan Province, stated, "Our chemical products are mostly used for additives, not for animal feed. Melamine is mainly used in the chemical industry, but it can also be used in making cakes." Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group, the company reported by the New York Times as producing melamine from coal, produces and sells both urea and melamine but does not list melamine resin as a product.

Melamine discovered in our favourite White Rabbit Candy!

Another recall incident in 2007 involved melamine which had been purposely added as a binder to fish and livestock feed manufactured in the United States. This was traced to suppliers in Ohio and Colorado.

Melamine found in four Marudai products
Sweets first said to be tainted with toxin linked to Chinese milk

OSAKA (Kyodo) The health authority in Osaka Prefecture said Friday that the toxic substance melamine has been found in four of the six food products sold by Marudai Food Co., the latest company to be embroiled in unfolding food-safety scandal involving tainted ingredients from China.

No health problems have been reported so far, Marudai said, adding that it is trying to recall as many tainted products as possible.

It is the first time the presence of melamine, an industrial chemical used to create fire retardant materials, has been confirmed in commercial food products sold in Japan.

Melamine, which can cause kidney stones in humans, was detected in four Marudai Food products, all of which used milk from major Chinese dairy Yili, according to data from the public health authority, based in Takatsuki.

The four products are Kurimu Panda, Guratan Kurepu Kon, Matcha Azuki Mirukuman and Kurimu Panda for commercial use.

The other two products — Kakuni Pao and Motchiri Nikuman — were found to be melamine-free, local health officials said.

So first we had China trying to kill off our pets with melamine, then they poisoned our toothpaste with anti-freeze, put lead in the paint on toys, made defective tires, and scr*wed up on food from the sea and elsewhere.

I think I’ve figured out the Chinese plan for world domination. It’s not efficient but it is subtle.

-Collateral Damage

MySpace Playlist at MixPod.com

China Toxin Milk Shocked the World!

Hong Kong New Report on China Toxin Milk

Money makes the World go round. Is there a possibility that the killer dairy product being strip off it original label and repack with a fresh label?

You Decide!

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