After the reports that melamine contaminating baby formula in China had sickened thousands of children there, some parents felt that soy products for their beloved children was safer.

Well, think again.

As early as mid December, Health Canada was noting trace amounts of melamine in soy products, including some that were labled “organic”.

The level wasn’t high enough for that country to ban the products, but now there are reports that the European Union has banned the import of all soy products used by children imported from China, after melamine was found in soybean meal.

The measures include a complete ban on children’s food containing soya, and compulsory testing on all other soy-related foods and on shipments of baking powder (ammonium bicarbonate), the statement said.

And children are not the only ones whose soy meal has melamine: it is also fed to organic chickens.

This cheap Chinese soy meal was delivered to 127 “organic” chicken farms in France. Nobody yet knows how many organic chicken farms in the U.S., Canada, U.K. or Australia might also be feeding their chickens toxic levels of melamine….The truth is, nobody knows if meats sold in the U.S. are free of melamine because nobody has tested the meat!

Because melamine is excreted by higher animals in urine,(which is why it causes kidney stone) it probably isn’t found in high enough amounts to worry the consumer.

One thing has to be realized: Melamine has been around for awhile, in lots of plastics, and so you probably have some in your body.

It is legally added to fertilizer in small amounts  to slow the dispersal of nitrogen.

So Professor Mc William’s article might get you worrying a lot about chemicals in your food, including organic food.

So what should you do?

Should you breast feed? Of course. It’s better for mom and child, on many levels (bonding, antibodies, fewer allergies). But of course, everything you eat may go into the breast milk, including the medicines you take and the chemicals in the environment. For example, CNN reports rocket fuel in breast milk…

So what should you do? Go back to a pristine environment of yesteryear?

Probably impossible.I’ve worked in some pretty isolated areas where people still live “traditionally” yet can buy Fanta or CocaCola and wear tee shirts made in China.

And the toxins of yesteryear’s foods isn’t something you want to face either (TB Scrofula from contaminated milk, typhoid/Salmonella on vegetables, Ergot poisoning from poorly stored grain) .

However, there is still a need to pressure governments to check for the (low level) contamination of consumer products.

But the real “headsup” is not the plastic industry per se, but the need for stronger and faster punishment of criminal adulteration of products.

There are rumors that the head of the Chinese Dairy kept the “melamine milk” scandal quiet in order to stop negative publicity before their hosting of the Olympics. She may get the death penalty. Yet a lot of people suspect that more than the 17 people now on trial profited from the scandal, or covered it up for monetary or patriotic reasons, and will never be prosecuted.

So 22 million Chinese children are now being screened for kidney problems from the poisoned milk.

But many worry  that is the tip of the iceberg

And, of course, the problem of food contaminated by chemicals or disease producing organisms is not limited to China.

There are reports here in the Philippines that some pigs have Ebola reston virus, and the sale of “Double Dead Meat” is always a problem…..


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.


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