With growing incidence of milk powder coming from China being contaminated with Melamine, health authorities of various countries has asked China to thoroughly investigate the milk processing industry in their country.
Melamine is used for industrial purpose to prepare melawares which is crockery that can also be used in the micro wave. Besides, it is also used for home decorations.
Melamine is being used in milk powder as it has the same protein containing ‘nitrogen’ that is found in milk. Given the fact that adding Melamine reduces the milk to be used to prepare the powder it is cheaper to produce milk powder by using Melamine and hence increase the profits.
Melamine is a colourless and odourless product and hence cannot be easily detected.
It was in 2007 that the use of Melamine in milk and milk products was first discovered when quite a number of dogs and cats that were fed pet food products from China, suddenly began dying.
Next year when there was an abnormal increase in kidney stone cases in Chinese children, a serious investigation began and in August 2008 one of the leading milk powder brand in China was found to be containing Melamine.
In September 2008 New Zealand authorities asked China to look into this issue and the same month, many samples of milk products imported from China to Taiwan tested positive with Melamine.
Melamine when consumed by humans is not digested and accumulates in the kidneys thereby leading to kidney stones and other problems which can result in the patient needing even dialysis.
The problem is with infants who are poisoned by milk mixed with Melamine as they are the worst sufferers since they consume a lot of milk and their suffering is indeed horrible as their kidneys are very small.
At present in China around 13,000 children are hospitalized due to Melamine poisoning.
Health authorities in various countries have cautioned their citizens to avoid processed dairy products and products containing cream or milk for the next six months as the shelf life of these processed products is six months.