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Another Melamine Recall: Fresh and Crispy Jacobina Biscuits

Nov 3, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just announced that Everlasting Distributors Inc. issued a nationwide recall of Fresh and Crispy Jacobina Biscuits over possible health risks.  Everlasting Distributors Inc., located in Bayonne New Jersey, initiated the nationwide recall of all their 3.88oz (110gm) packages of Fresh and Crispy Jacobina Biscuits over possible melamine contamination.  The biscuits were distributed nationwide in Asian grocery stores and are packaged in blue- and red-colored clear plastic containers labeled “JACOBINA.”

The recall was initiated after FDA testing revealed that the Fresh and Crispy Jacobina Biscuits were found to contain melamine.  Consumers in possession of the recalled product should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund and may contact the company at 201-823-0800, Monday to Friday 9:00 to 5:00, Eastern Standard Time.

Melamine, an industrial chemical originally designed to make plastics, fertilizer, and fire retardants, has gained notoriety in recent years for its ability to cheat nutrition tests because it possesses high nitrogen contents.  Because of this, melamine can create the appearance in food of being high in protein and has been used in recent years to falsify protein levels in foods.  China has been experiencing a widespread scandal that began when it was discovered that melamine was added to watered-down baby formula to create the impression of high protein levels in diluted milk products.

Since the scandal began, melamine has also been discovered in a wider variety of foods containing dairy products such as yogurt, dairy drinks, milk teas and coffees, cookies, biscuits, cheese, candy, and ice cream.  Most recently, melamine turned up in China-produced eggs believed to have been tainted via contaminated feed.  At least one industry expert has claimed fake feed is an established trade in parts of China and the Agriculture Ministry admitted that recent checks on 22,700 batches of animal feed found melamine in nearly three percent of the feed.  This is no small issue given that the Chinese population consumes billions of animals annually; therefore, if two percent of feed is tainted nationwide, a significant amount of food could be contaminated.  "The tainted eggs were found in some batches of egg products made by certain manufacturers," China’s Agriculture Health Minister, Sun Zhengcai, told the country’s news agency during a tour of egg producers, adding that there were still illegal outfits "ad
ding hazardous chemicals and drugs into their products," he said.

The ever-expanding melamine-tainting scandal has prompted international recalls and wreaked significant damage to the dairy industry in China, which is now adding melamine to its list of controlled ingredients.  Melamine can cause kidney problems—kidney stones and kidney failure—when ingested.  At its height, the scandal caused the illnesses of some 54,000 children in China as well as the death of four infants.  Some dairy suppliers were arrested and the Chinese government dismissed some local and national officials for negligence.  As part of the milk tainting investigation, police there detained 22 people suspected of involvement in introducing melamine into the supply chain following raids on dozens of dairy farms and milk purchasing stations in which nearly 500 pounds of melamine were seized.

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