Peggy Armstrong, spokesperson for trade group the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), said that despite growing scrutiny of product safety, Melamine was not a major issue for domestic food manufacturers.
The recent Chinese melamine scandal, which was first linked to contaminated milk used in some infant formula products, has now spread to a wider variety of products containing milks including confectionery, snacks and even beverages.
The ensuing worldwide hunt for contaminated products has this week led the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recall Blue Cat flavoured drinks from ethnic supermarkets across the nation over potential safety fears following the regulator’s pledge to step up inspections.
Despite concerns over contaminated products reaching US shelves, the IDFA says that it members does not feel the need to monitor melamine in their products, claiming existing safety measures are more than sufficient.
“Ingredient safety and quality measures in the plant include an integrated and multi-layered system of checks and balances starting with state inspection of a representative sample of all dairy farms twice a year, and plant inspections by state dairy regulators four times a year,” Armstrong told DairyReporter.com.
Aside from these safety measures, the IDFA added that no dairy products were currently allowed to be imported from China that meet US requirements to be sold as Grade A products. The association claims that no dairy foods that are Grade A, a distinction used to measure manufacturers compliance to safety and quality, are therefore legally available in the country.
The grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) set out requirements on how milk can be produced, transported, pasteurised and labelled across the supply chain, the IDFA says.
The IDFA’s claims come after the FDA last week revealed findings from a scientific safety and risk assessment of melamine, which has been linked to kidney problems in thousands of Chinese children.
As part of the interim research, the regulator said that any food product other than infant formula that contains less than 2.5 parts per million (ppm) of the industrial chemical does not pose safety risks for consumers.
However, the FDA claimed that establishing a limit on the chemical’s presence in infant formula was currently impossible, owing to uncertainty over the specific impacts of melamine in an infant’s body.
The regulator said that this did not necessarily mean that any exposure to the chemical in infant formula would definitely harm young children, but added that there was too much uncertainty to outline specific guidelines for consumers.