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Infant formula adulteration with melamine underscores need for better detection methods
Date:6/17/2009

Rockville, Md., June 17, 2009 Following the recent adulteration of infant formula and other milk products with the industrial chemical melamine, the U. S. Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention is holding an international workshop this week to explore better ways to detect deliberately falsified protein content in food ingredients. The presence of false protein can lead to illness and death, as with thousands of Chinese children in the tragic melamine adulteration of infant formula this year and with pets in the United States in 2007. Vulnerabilities in global supply chains for food and drug ingredients allow such adulteration to affect people worldwide, which is what happened in similar instances where toxic diethylene glycol was substituted for the sweetener glycerin in toothpaste and cough syrup. USP is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets official standards for the identity, quality, purity, and strength of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. USP also sets widely recognized standards for the quality and purity of food ingredients and dietary supplements.

"This Food Protein workshop comes at a timely moment, as Congress considers legislation to better protect the U.S. food supply," said James Griffiths, Ph.D., USP's vice president of food, dietary supplement and excipient standards. "Adhering to good manufacturing practices and utilizing third-party verification programs are important components of food safety efforts, but the international array of experts we've convened here agrees that testing to good quality standards is equally essential. The financial motivation for faking protein content can, unfortunately, be compelling. Rigorously defined quality standards and test methods can give manufacturers and regulators powerful tools to catch and discourage bad actorshelping to restore a shaken public confidence."

Some have separated considerations of "quality" from those of "safety." However, at a time when public health is threa
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Contact: Francine Pierson
fp@usp.org
301-816-8588
US Pharmacopeia
Source:Eurekalert

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