Melamine Toxic Tsunami

October 31, 2008 in melamine

Melamine (for blog)

I gave you an introduction to melamine in my post “Melamine, oh thy name is Legion” where I also hypothesized that, since melamine has been used as a fertilizer and pesticide in the past, that there may be a looming second wave of melamine crisis coming.

It didn’t take that long for others to make this connection.

Reuters has an article on its wire today (10/31/08) entitled “Hong Kong to test meat, vegetables for melamine” by Tan Ee Lyn that starts like this:

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong will soon begin testing meat, vegetables and processed food for melamine, a move that underlines concerns about environmental contamination and food safety, experts say.

And this gem:

It has since emerged that cyromazine, a derivative of melamine, is widely used in pesticides and animal feed in China, and experts say it is absorbed in plants as melamine and that the chemical is already in the human food chain.
..
“It’s possible there may be contamination from pesticides … and there is some concern about vegetables and animal feed,” Kwan Hoishan, a biologist at the Chinese University and member of a government-backed task force working on the melamine problem in Hong Kong, told Reuters.

The New York Times has a headline web story at this moment “China Widens Food Tests on Signs of New Contamination” by David Barboza where he reports:

SHANGHAI — Chinese regulators said Friday that they were widening their investigation into contaminated food amid growing signs that an industrial chemical called melamine had leeched into the nation’s animal feed supplies, posing even deeper health risks to consumers after the recent tainted milk scandal.
…
The cases are fueling global concerns about contaminated Chinese food. In Hong Kong, food safety officials announced this week that they would be testing a wider variety of foods for melamine, including vegetables, flour and meat products.
…
But interviews Friday, and over the past year, with several chemical dealers who sell melamine suggests that melamine scrap, the substantially cheaper waste left over after producing melamine, has been added to animal and fish feed in China for years.

CBC news reported on toxic pesticide-tainted beans from china exported to Japan and how they were making people acutely ill in an article “Japan warns of high levels of pesticide in Chinese beans”

Japanese officials warned consumers on Wednesday not to eat a type of frozen green beans imported from China that contain extremely high levels of pesticide.

At least one woman was briefly hospitalized with vomiting and a numb mouth after eating the green beans imported by Nichirei Foods and sold in Ito-Yokado supermarkets, media reports said.

And

Tests showed one package of beans contained 34,000 times the permitted level of dichlorvos, a highly toxic insecticide, Japan’s Health Ministry said.

From the Wiki:

Dichlorvos (2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate), or DDVP is a highly volatile organophosphate, widely used as a fumigant to control household pests, in public health, and protecting stored product from insects.

Clearly, its not just melamine that we have to worry about when we are considering the toxic foods coming out of China.