Volume 9 Issue 132
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 13-May-2007 
Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 14-May-2007

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
Vidyya.
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USDA fact sheet: Melamine and analogues safety/risk assessment

(13 May 2007: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) --

  • There is very low risk to humans from eating pork, chicken and eggs from animals fed animal feed supplemented with pet food scraps that contained melamine and related compounds, according to an assessment by federal scientists.
  • This conclusion was drawn as part of a "Melamine and Analogues Safety-/Risk Assessment" conducted by scientists from five federal agencies. Melamine analogues include cyanuric acid, ammelide and ammeline, which are commonly referred to as melamine compounds.
  • A safety/risk assessment is a scientific approach to estimating the risk to human health from exposure to specified compounds. It is based on available data and certain scientific assumptions in the absence of data.
  • These scientists estimated the human exposure to melamine and related compounds from the consumption of contaminated pork, poultry, and eggs as well as from foods containing pork and poultry as ingredients, and compared this exposure to levels calculated to be safe to consume.
  • Scientists conclude that for individuals who consume large amounts of the specified foods, the level of consumption is 18,000 - 30,000 times lower than the level considered safe. In other words, a person could multiply the level of consumption by thousands and remain well below the level of public health concern.
  • Scientists also calculated the risk if melamine were present in all the solid food consumed by an individual every day. The amount consumed is still approximately 2,500 times lower than the level considered safe. These individuals are still extremely unlikely to exhibit any adverse health effects.
  • The assessment notes that melamine is not metabolized, and is rapidly excreted in the urine. Thus, it is not believed to accumulate in the body of animals.
  • The assessment was conducted by scientists from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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