New Safety Standard for Baby Formula

12.02.08 U.S. officials adjust level of chemical melamine allowed in infant milk products


The Food and Drug Administration has decided to raise the safety threshold for the industrial chemical melamine in baby formula in the wake of a dust-up last week over its use, The Associated Press reports. The new standard is 1 part per million (ppm) provided a related chemical is not also used in the product, the FDA said Friday. No amount of the two chemicals together is allowed, AP reports. The previous stance was below 2.5 ppm of melamine.

U.S. health officials insist that U.S. baby formulas are safe, but the development comes days after FDA tests found traces of melamine in formula from one manufacturer and then cyanuric acid (a chemical relative) in formula from another maker. The FDA decided against a national recall because officials said no evidence was found to suggest that the tested formula would be dangerous with the trace level of melamine detected.

Melamine is OK'd for use to line cans, make flame retardant and cleaning product, and does not occur naturally. Safety problems over melamine in milk products first surfaced earlier this year in China, where at least six children have died of kidney failure and 294,000 have fallen ill after consuming such items laced with high doses of the chemical, Chinese media reports. Crib Notes first reported on the tainted milk in China back in September.

For 15 years Fit Pregnancy has been touting "Breast is still best!" But for some women, we understand that formula is the answer, so here's some tips on how to keep it safe.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.