Now, Health Canada is reporting that the highest levels were found in an organic product sold by a Canadian company.
The “snapshot” of the Canadian market found that 60 of 80 samples from retail and grocery stores in the Ottawa area had melamine levels ranging from 0.00431 to .346 parts per million (ppm). Two batches of My Organic Baby soy-based powder formula had the highest melamine levels (.334 and .346 ppm). The baby food company is a subsidiary of Vancouver-based alternative beverages group Clearly Canadian.
Health Canada considers all the trace levels to be safe because they fall below Canada’s new allowable level for infant formula, which dropped this week from one ppm to 0.5 ppm based on a recommendation by the World Health Organization.
“To put these findings into perspective, based on the findings of the survey, the average infant would have to consume over 130 kilograms of formula per day to approach the new tolerable daily intake,” the department said in a statement.
Despite these assurances, some parents and public-health advocates say the synthetic chemical, widely present in the environment because of its use in the production of resins, cleaning products, fertilizers and pesticides, should not be found even in trace amounts in infant foods.
Health Canada conducted the tests to determine background levels in the wake of the melamine milk scandal in China, where infant formula was intentionally contaminated with melamine – with fatal consequences – in an attempt to artificially increase the protein content.
- Loblaws, Wal-Mart, Sobeys and Shoppers Drug Mart sold infant formula with traces of melamine as high as 0.094 to 0.183 ppm
- Abbott Laboratories, Nestle, Mead Johnson and H.J. Heinz – also sold products with traces of melamine, but at lower levels than these house brands
- 6 Heinz products contained traces of melamine
- 8/17 Nestle products contained traces of melamine
- 8/18 types of formula produced by Abbott and sold under the Similac and Isomil brands had traces
- 14/19 Mead Johnson products, sold under Enfamil, Enfapro and Enfagrow brands
*One batch of Costco’s Kirkland brand was tested, in which Health Canada found no detectable levels.*
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