Melamine: What was the FDA thinking?

Melamine: What was the FDA thinking?

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday its safety experts have concluded that eating a very tiny amount of melamine — 2.5 parts per million — would not raise health concerns, even if a person ate food that was tainted with the chemical every day, except of course for infants. The FDA also said that it was improper to add melamine to any food. However, one has to question the underlying rationale for the FDA announcement. Yes, it is correct that the toxicology of melamine, at first blush, does not suggest it is overly dangerous in very minute amounts. See http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/f?./temp/~1l2QOd:1:human. However, its use is permitted only as an additive to adhesives that are used to glue food containers together. See http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/f?./temp/~1l2QOd:1:fda. Additionally, there have been no longterm exposure studies, and so it is unknown if the substance is as benign as the FDA''s statement would imply. Additionally, when heated to decomposition, it emits nitrogen oxides and hydrogen cyanide. See http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/f?./temp/~1l2QOd:1:dcmp. As such, it may be rather dangerous in any food product that may be cooked, or overcooked. Thus, the FDA''s statement should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.