Natural Foods Merchandiser

Melamine found in the U.S.

Connecticut officials found a chemical responsible for sickening more than 10,000 Chinese infants in a certain type of imported Chinese candy yesterday.

"Our inspectors are currently obtaining retail-level distribution information from the company and we will provide this information to the public as soon as it is available," Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. said. "Meanwhile, we continue our work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help in the inspection and evaluation of imported food items that could contain milk or milk protein from China."

The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection found that White Rabbit Creamy Candy contained melamine, a chemical used in plastics that Chinese officials say poisoned thousands of infants, giving thousands kidney stones and killing at least four. Manufacturers might have added the chemical to the infant formula to make the formula appear to have an artificially high level of protein. Melamine was also responsible for the pet food recall in early 2007.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to consumers last week to avoid White Rabbit candy and Mr. Brown instant coffee mixes. The White Rabbit candy comes from China and the Mr. Brown coffee comes from Taiwan.

The Burlingame, Calif.-based Queensway Foods Company distributed the candy nationwide and has issued a voluntary recall of all flavors and sizes of the White Rabbit candy on Sept. 26, and officials recommend that anyone with the candy destroy it.

The company that distributes the coffee, Sunny Maid Corporation of Monterey Park, Calif., voluntarily recalled the powdered Mr. Brown coffee mixes because of melamine contamination, though the canned Mr. Brown coffee products were not affected by the recall.

The FDA said it had not heard of any illnesses associated with the candy or coffee so far.

The FDA reported last week that the candy was distributed to wholesale distributors in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. Officials in Asia, Singapore, Britain, and New Zealand also pulled the candy from the shelves, according to the Associated Press.

Guan Sheng Yuan Co., the Shanghai-based company that makes the candy, said last week it would halt all production of the candy, the AP reported.

In China, officials have recalled at least 100 batches of infant formula made by at least 20 different companies due to melamine contamination.

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