Melamine Tainted Candy from China Found in United States Stores
October 2, 2008
The industrial chemical melamine, which is blamed for sickening thousands of infants in China, has been found in candy on American shelves. Specifically, tests done in Connecticut on White Rabbit Creamy Candy found the toxic chemical in candy being sold at several Connecticut stores.
The vanilla-flavored candy was imported from China and sold primarily at Asian markets, Connecticut consumer protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. said. Exactly how the melamine contaminated candy was discovered is not known at this time.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that consumers avoid eating White Rabbit Creamy Candy and that retailers remove it from store shelves after several other countries made the same move. Queensway Foods Company Inc. of California distributed the melamine tainted candy found in the U.S. and has recalled it.
Melamine is normally used in manufacturing plastics, but the chemical has recently been associated with contaminated baby formula and other milk protein products manufactured in China. More than 53,000 Chinese infants have reportedly been sickened by formula contaminated with melamine and at least four have died. More than 13,000 children have been hospitalized and 27 people arrested in connection with the contamination.
Small amounts of melamine, which is high in nitrogen, may be accidentally transferred from the environment during food processing. But in China’s case, suppliers trying to boost output are believed to have purposely diluted their milk with melamine in order to fool quality control tests aimed at verifying protein content.
When ingested in large enough amounts, melamine can cause kidney stones, leading to kidney failure. Infants are particularly vulnerable.
White Rabbit Creamy Candy has already been recalled in Asia and Britain, and tests in Singapore and New Zealand last week found White Rabbit candy tainted with melamine. The Shanghai-based company that makes White Rabbit candy, Guan Sheng Yuan Co., said last week it was halting production of the candy.
White Rabbit Creamy Candy is sold in more than 50 countries throughout the world, including most of the Chinatowns in the United States. Overseas sales have reached $160 million over the past five years.
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