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Melamine Milk Powder and Infant Formula Sold in East Africa

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This is the first study proving the existence of melamine in milk powder and infant formula exported to the African market. A total of 49 milk powder batches were collected in Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania, East Africa), the center of international trade in East Africa, which serves as a commercial bottleneck and shipment hub for sub-Saharan, Central, and East Africa. Two categories of samples were collected between October and December 2008, immediately after the melamine contamination of Chinese products became public: (i) market brands of all international companies supplying the East African market and (ii) illegally sold products from informal channels. Melamine concentration was determined with the AgraQuant Melamine Sensitive Assay. Despite the national import prohibition of Chinese milk products and unlabeled milk powder in Tanzania, 11% (22 of 200) of inspected microretailers sold milk powder on the local black market. Manufacturers could be identified for only 55% (27) of the 49 investigated batches. Six percent (3 of 49) of all samples and 11% (3 of 27) of all international brand name products tested revealed melamine concentrations up to 5.5 mg/kg of milk powder. This amount represents about twice the tolerable daily intake as suggested by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Based on our study, we can assume that the number of affected children in Africa is substantial.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Milk Hygiene, Milk Technology and Food Science, Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health of the Veterinary Medical University of Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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