Melamine in Infant Formulas; What's Safe, What's Not?

The FDA has reached their conclusion that levels of melamine alone or cyanuric acid alone, at or below 1 part per million (ppm) in infant formula do not raise public health concerns. Traces of any amount, especially those above the FDA minimum raise alarm in my mind as well as many others I am sure. 

Melamine is widely used in plastics, adhesives, countertops, dishware, and whiteboards. Because melamine is rich in nitrogen, companies who are trying to increase their production of formulas add the substance to increase the apparent protein levels of their product. This in addition to diluting the raw milk with water. It is not naturally occurring and is not approved to be directly added to food in the United States. Though somewhere in the world of government loopholes, melamine is approved for use as part of certain food contact substances. This does leave legal room for traceable levels of melamine to show up in certain food commodities.

Behind the scenes, the FDA had conducted tests over the past several months on U.S. made formula. You can check out some of  those results here. Some definite red flags from the report show that melamine and cyanuric acid, a related chemical, were found in the baby formula made by U.S. manufacturers Abbott Labs, maker of Similac; Mead Johnson, maker of Enfamil; and Nestle, maker of Good Start. The sad and alarming news is that these 3 brands make up 90% of all of the formula sold in this country.

Shortly after the China infant formula contamination scare, Nature’s One made it a integral operational process to test each production run of their “Baby’s Only Organic” and “PediaSmart” products for Melamine. The products are manufactured in the U.S.A. with no milk protein or dairy derivatives purchased from China. They also are the only carriers of organic lactose free milk based formula, Baby’s Only Organic® Lactose Free.

This is a great solution for parents who wish to avoid soy proteins and for babies who are lactose intolerant. Instead of corn syrup, which is found in all other lactose-free formulas, the company uses brown rice syrup. The formula is designed to address common digestion problems that result in fussiness, gas and bloating. You can only purchase here and the company offers free shipping if you buy by the case or they have a maximum shipping rate of just $5.95.

Of course I have to mention that the healthiest, most sustainable, and economic way to providing your baby with the nutrients and goodness he or she needs is breastfeeding. Here are just a few benefits of breastfeeding as referenced from the NRDC:

• Breast-fed children are more resistant to disease and infection early in life than formula-fed children

• Breast-fed children are less likely to contract a number of diseases later in life, including juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and cancer before the age of 15

• Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life, are able to lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily and have a lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer