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Consumer groups criticize FDA melamine guidelines

Melamine is an industrial chemical which has been identified in several products, both domestic and foreign.  It was used intentionally to falsely inflate the level of protein in watered-down Chinese dairy products, causing a number of deaths and poisoning nearly three hundred thousand children, many of whom developed severe kidney trouble.  The Chinese government has sentenced at least two people to death in the tragedy and provided families with an average compensation of about $500.00.  The FDA began investigating domestically-produced products and has identified a trace of Melamine or its by-product cyanuric acid, in a number of them, including NestleGood Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron and Mead Johnson's Enfamil LIPIL with Iron.

The non-profit Consumers Union has spoken out, criticizing the FDA's proposed guidelines for domestically produced formula and its decision to all U.S.-manufactured formula despite contamination.  The FDA argues that contamination with Melamine or its by-product is not a health concern unless both are present in the same formula:  CU points out that a parent may substitute or alternate formula, resulting in an exposure to both, even though neither brand contains both contaminants.  The industry group that manufactures formula argues that doctors recommend sticking to a single brand,  however, it is unlikely that parents recognize changing brands occasionally as a serious health risk--nor should they.

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