Author Topic: Dangers of the Toxin Melamine Found in Food  (Read 12223 times)

Offline JC Spencer

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 358
Dangers of the Toxin Melamine Found in Food
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2008, 01:26:26 AM »
Comments by J. C. Spencer

The toxin melamine found in foods, especially baby formula, has been a major concern
lately. The melamine scandal has caused contamination of pet food and human foods
made with powdered milk. A few have died and tens of thousands are sick.

The potentially deadly toxin is a white powder, looks like powdered milk, is cheaper
than powdered milk. Powdered milk coming out of China has been laced with it . While
glycomics teaches us that certain sugars are beneficial in removing toxins, we are to
expose and halt toxins from ever entering the human body to the best of our abilities.
Short cuts in food production and marketing for sake of economics without regard for
human life is the very reason we are in our health crisis. In one of my trips to India, I
was told about how a worker had chipped little white rocks into rice size pieces to add
to the rice to make it weigh more. My grandfather back in the early 1900s owned a
country store. He told the story of some boys who bought from him some buckshot to
fed to their geese to make them weigh more so they could sell them to my grandfather.
The finger on the scale will destroy a society.

When toxins are intentionally added to food, that is criminal. But, if that toxin looks like
and even has a molecular structure that fools the scientists, it can slip through normal
detection. I have long contended that “identical molecules” can be different. A classic
example, of course, is carbon. Coal/graphite and diamond are carbon, but each has
different crystal structure. The structure, the bond, though it be slight, renders the
molecule to have a totally different function. The angle of the bond, the positive or
negative ion charge and the strength of that charge, and many factors concerning that
environment yet to be discovered and understood, play roles in the functionality of

Following the articles on melamine in milk by David Bradley, Huang Yuanxi, Zhang Jing,
Edward Wong, and others, you will be able to review how melamine tricked the
scientists. Much of this extensive report comes out of China.

Note: You can read and view graphics and pictures this posting In The NEWS Section under TOXINS at
In The NEWS Section is accessable from the top navigation bar on the Home Page.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Melamine in Milk
Several thousand babies in China became ill, having suffered acute kidney failure, with
several fatalities, having been fed formula milk contaminated with the industrial
chemical melamine. The toll is far higher than was previously admitted by the Chinese
authorities, according to the BBC. According to David Bradley there is a long list of
melamine contaminated products.

Manufacturer, Sanlu, part-owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra Cooperative, recalled all
of its powdered milk products in China’s north-west province of Gansu. However,
twenty-two brands, including China Mengniu Diary Co and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial
Group, of milk powder were quickly identified as containing melamine. “The majority of
afflicted infants ingested Sanlu-brand milk powder over a long period of time, their
clinical symptoms showed up three to six months after ingesting the problematic
products,” Health Minister Chen Zhu told Bloomberg Asia.

Allegedly, someone in the supply change, milk supplier or manufacturer, was adding
melamine to the milk formula to artificially inflate the reading for protein levels. Formula
milk was not until now tested for melamine, because regulators did not suspect this
ingredient might be added. But, it turns out that melamine in the food supply is China’s
big open secret.

So, what is melamine and how does it spoof the protein levels in baby formula milk?

Melamine is a compound, a base with chemical formula C3H6N6. Officially it is 1,3,5-
triazine-2,4,6-triamine in the IUPAC nomenclature system (CAS #108-78-1). It is has a
molecular mass of just over 126, forms a white, crystalline powder, and is only slightly
soluble in water. It is used in fire retardants in polymer resins because its high nitrogen
content is released as flame-stifling nitrogen gas when the compound is burned or

Indeed, it is this high nitrogen level - 66% nitrogen by mass - in melamine that gives it
the analytical characteristics of protein molecules. Melamine can also be described as a
trimer of cyanamide, three cyanamide units joined in a ring. It is described as being
harmful according to its MSDS sheet: “Harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed
through the skin. Chronic exposure may cause cancer or reproductive damage. Eye,
skin and respiratory irritant.” Not something you would want in your infant’s milk.
However, that said, the toxic dose is rather high, on a par with common table salt with
an LD50 of more than 3 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Previously, melamine was found in exported pet food last year and blamed for killing
thousands of cats and dogs in the US. Bloomberg also reports that analysis of samples
of ice cream produced by Yili have also revealed the presence of melamine.

Regardless of crushing inflation and legislative pressure, there is no excuse for the
adulteration of food in this way. Diluting a product, the previous approach, is highly
unethical and can lead to malnutrition, but straight poisoning is tantamount infanticide.
This is also not the first time that Chinese consumers have faced problems with milk
powder. In 2004, more than a dozen children died having been fed formula with minimal
nutritional content.

The Beijinger milk has been withdrawn from the likes of Starbucks as it emerges that
regular milk has been tainted, including that produced by Olympic sponsor Yili.
However, milk from more than 400 companies including Sanyuan and Nestle have
tested negative for melamine and are presumably perfectly safe to drink.

But, if melamine has low toxicity (hat tip to commenter Barney) then what is it that has
poisoned thousands of babies in China and why has this scandal occurred? Well,
LD50, the toxic dose issue, tells us something about acute exposure not the apparent
six-months’ worth of accumulated exposure these babies have suffered. Chronic
exposure to melamine can lead to bladder or kidney stones and even bladder cancer
and as we have learned, acute kidney failure.

The melamine in milk headlines also ignore the fact that the compound added to the
milk may not be pure. There is no reason to imagine that those unscrupulous enough to
add a toxic compound to baby formula milk would worry about contaminants, such as
cyanuric acid, that might be found in the raw material. Indeed, even if melamine toxicity
were not an issue and truly was an inert substance added to spike the protein readings
in quality control tests, then any one of the impurities associated with rough melamine
manufacture may be a major cause for concern.
By David Bradley Sep 17, 2008
Sciencebase will be keeping you updated on the melamine scandal with opinion from
the experts and the latest news on the story as it unfolds. To stay informed, be sure to
subscribe for free to the newsfeed to receive the latest updates on this story via RSS or
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
The following information a friend sent me is very informative but not referenced. This
information with pictures and graphs were made outside of the US. JCS
What is Melamine use for?

It is an industrial chemical use in the production of melawares.
It is also used in home decoration. ' US resistant board'
Do you understand? Melamine is use in industrial production & it cannot be eaten.

2.Why is Melamine added in milk powder?
The most important nutrient in milk is protein. And Melamine has the same protein that
contains 'NITROGEN'
Adding Melamine in milk reduces milk content and it is cheaper than milk so it lowers
capitalization. It can give the business man more profit!
Below is Melamine; doesn't it look like milk?
It doesn't have any smell, so cannot be detected.

3.When was it discovered?
Year 2007, US cats and dogs died suddenly, they found that pet food from China
contains Melamine.
Starting 2008, In China , an abnormal increase in infant cases of kidney stones.
August 2008 China Sanlu Milk Powder tested with Melamine
Sept. 2008, New Zealand gov't ask China to check this problem
Sept. 21, 2008, lots of food products in Taiwan tested with Melamine

4.What happens when Melamine is digested?
Melamine remains inside the kidney. It forms into stones blocking the tubes.
Pain will be eminent and person cannot urinate. Kidney will then swell.
Although surgery can remove the stones, but it will cause irreversible kidney damage.
It can lead to loss of kidney function and will require kidney dialysis or lead to death
because of uremia.

What is dialysis? In fact, it should be called 'blood washing'; it is filtering all of the body's
blood into the machine and then go back to the body.

The whole process takes 4 hours and it is necessary to dialysis once for every 3 days
for the rest of your life.
Here is a dialysis center (pictures in NEWS Section at
Large dialysis center
A small hole is required in the arm to insert the sub-dialysis catheter.
Why is it more serious in babies? Because the kidney is very small and they drink a lot
of milk powder.
Here is a baby undergoing dialysis.
China currenty has 13,000 infants hospitalized
It does not matter how much a human being took Melamine. The important point is 'It
cannot be EATEN!'

5.What are the foods to be avoided?
Foods that contain dairy products should be avoided.
Remember: Foods with creamer or milk should be avoided.

6.Which companies are affected?
Hereunder are the companies affected with Melamine.

7.What do we do next?
Avoid the above foods for at least six months.
If you have a snack bar, restaurant or coffee shops, stop selling dairy products for the

If you have infants at home, change to mother's milk or find other substitutes.
Finally, share this information with friends so they will understand the risk of milk

The whole world is scared of China made 'black hearted goods'. Can you differentiate
which one is made in the USA , Philippines , Taiwan or China ? Let me tell you how...
the first 3 digits of the barcode is the country code wherein the product was made.
Sample all barcodes that start with 690.691.692 until 695 are all MADE IN CHINA.
471 is Made in Taiwan

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Editor’s comment and disclaimer: Bar codes used in the United States are almost exclusively based on the Universal Product Code, type A (UPC-A) standard, not the EAN-13 standard, consequently most buyers do not see the three-digit prefixes that indicate the code’s point of origin. To determine the country of origin of a product sold in the U.S., the consumer should look for “Made in ________” labeling on the package.

The EAN number indicates which numbering organization allocated the bank of numbers to the company.  Example: A packaging company may have headquarters in one country. However, the products may be manufactured in another country.  So while 471 may indicate Taiwan, that indicates more about where the bar codes were purchased, or where the companies headquarters are than actually where the raw materials originated.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This is our human right to know, but the government and related departments never
educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves.

Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products 'Made
in China', so they don't show from which country it is made.

However, you may now refer to the barcode, remember if the first 3 digits is 690-695
then it is Made in China.
00 ~ 13 USA & CANADA
30 ~ 37 FRANCE
40 ~ 44 GERMANY
49 ~ JAPAN
50 ~ UK
57 ~ Denmark
64 ~ Finland
76 ~ Switzerland and Lienchtenstein
628 ~ Saudi-Arabien
629 ~ United Arab Emirates
740 ~ 745 - Central America
All 480 Codes are Made in the Philippines.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Method developed for detecting melamine in baby formula

New FDA method for detecting melamine and cyanuric acid in infant formula uses
Merck SeQuant™ ZIC®-HILIC chromatography column

The contamination of food with melamine can cause severe illness - especially to
children. Therefore, a reliable method is needed to determine melamine residues and
related potential contaminations in food and particularly in milk products for children.
Merck SeQuant™ ZIC®-HILIC technology offers a solution.

Reliable and sensitive: FDA recommends SeQuantTM ZIC®-HILIC from Merck
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has
developed a method for simultaneously detecting residues of melamine and cyanuric
acid in infant formula using the chromatography column SeQuantTM ZIC®-HILIC from
Merck. The FDA regulates, among other things, the safety of foods in the U.S.
Recommendations of the FDA receive global attention and are often adopted by
national authorities in other countries.

The proposed method is a variant of liquid chromatography (hydrophilic liquid
chromatography, HILIC) combined with mass spectrometry (LC-MS). With the use of
SeQuantTM ZIC®-HILIC, even minute quantities of melamine and cyanuric acid can be
precisely separated and detected. The limits of quantification and confirmation are 0.25
μg/g for both analytes. Thus, using SeQuantTM ZIC®-HILIC from Merck, the quality of
infant formula can be reliably tested.

Simultaneous detection of melamine and cyanuric

The ZIC®-HILIC method proposed by the FDA offers a decisive advantage over
alternative measurement methods: Infant formula contaminated with melamine may
also contain other toxic triazine compounds such as cyanuric acid, which in combination
with melamine can intensify the negative effects of the contaminated food. By
simultaneously determining and confirming melamine and cyanuric acid in powdered
milk-based infant formula, the proposed procedure considerably increases food safety.
More about the FDA method for detecting melamine and other substances in infant
formula can be found at
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
China announces permissible levels of melamine in milk

By Edward Wong
Published: October 8, 2008

BEIJING: The Chinese Health Ministry announced on Wednesday new limits set by the
government on the amount of the industrial chemical melamine to be permitted in dairy
products, but it refused to provide updated statistics on the number of people who have
died or fallen ill from ingesting melamine-tainted dairy products.

The announcement of the new limits is the latest move by the government to try to
rebuild consumer confidence after it was revealed last month that at least three babies
had died and 53,000 children had fallen ill from drinking milk products tainted with

Government officials say the melamine was added to milk products by suppliers to
artificially boost protein count in milk that had been diluted. Babies and children who
regularly drink the tainted milk can develop kidney stones after several months.
On Wednesday, Health Ministry officials said at a news conference that traces of
melamine are found in many food products because melamine is used to make plastic,
and can seep into food from packaging. A certain amount of melamine can be
tolerated, they said.

The government has now set melamine limits at one milligram per kilogram of infant
formula and 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of liquid milk, milk powder and food products
that contain more than 15 percent milk. Any dairy products with higher levels are
banned. The news limits are supported by assessments by the Hong Kong government,
the World Health Organization and the United Nations, the officials said.

When asked what the previous standards were, the officials declined to give an answer
and implied that there had been no limits before the milk scandal erupted last month.
Wang Xuening, the deputy chief of the ministry's health inspection and supervision
department, said the new limits act as guidance for how much unintentional seepage of
melamine into food can be permitted by inspectors.

People who purposefully add melamine to food will be prosecuted, he said.
"Melamine is neither a raw food material nor a food additive," he said. "Deliberately
adding the chemical to food items is prohibited. Once such cases are spotted, they will
be investigated according to law."

The officials were asked by reporters to give updated statistics on the number of people
made sick by tainted food, but a ministry spokesman, Deng Haihua, said he could not
do that at the news conference. Later, a ministry employee said by telephone that the
statistics were not authorized for release.

In late September, the ministry reported the figures on the deaths and illnesses from
drinking tainted milk products. At the time, 13,000 children were hospitalized, it said.
Since then, the government has not released any new statistics.

Before that announcement, Xinhua, the official news agency, reported that an infant in
the western region of Xinjiang had died from melamine ingestion, but the ministry has
not confirmed it. The latest news reports from Xinhua put the number of deaths at

A scan by The New York Times of statistics on the Web sites or official news media
outlets of eight of China's more than 30 provinces and provincial-level administrative
areas shows that in those eight territories, about 52,000 people have fallen ill from
tainted milk. Some of the numbers were published in early October and others in late
September. Extrapolating from those statistics, the number sickened across all of China
would be much higher than the 53,000 announced by the Health Ministry in late

Two lawyers representing separate cases of one-year-old children from Henan
Province who fell ill said by telephone on Wednesday that they were awaiting word on
whether local courts would hear their cases.

One lawyer, Chang Boyang, said lawyers in Henan had been told they should inform
the government if they represent any clients in the milk scandal, which amounts to a
certain level of "psychological pressure," but that there was no overt ban on working on
the cases. "We are told to report to them if anyone decides to handle a milk powder
case," he said. "But they never said we can't do it."

Huang Yuanxi and Zhang Jing contributed research
International Herald Tribune
« Last Edit: November 29, 2008, 12:58:48 PM by JC Spencer »