September 30, 2008 – Manufacturers of products containing milk chocolate, such as Cadbury, Mars and Kraft Foods, have been recalling some products as a precautionary measure after learning that milk produced in China has been found to contain melamine.
Melamine is an industrial chemical that is high in nitrogen and used to make plastics. In an attempt to hide the protein deficiency of watered-down milk during quality testing, Chinese milk producers have added melamine. In China, baby formula and other dairy products have led to 54,000 children becoming ill, and four deaths.
In the United States, there is no acceptable level of melamine that can be added to a food product. However, in the event the chemical is accidentally added to a food product, the FDA plans to determine how much melamine would be safe. Hong Kong and New Zealand have guidelines establishing that 2.5 parts per million or less is safe. For children under 3 years of age and pregnant or lactating women, Hong Kong reduced the level of safety to 1 part per million.