Newest Melamine Recalls Hit New York AreaOct 14, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP
After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that two milk products sold in New York City stores contain melamine, a recall was implemented for YILI Brand Sour Milk Drink and YILI Brand Pure Milk Drink. YILI Brand Sour Milk Drink and YILI Brand Pure Milk Drink were distributed to New York City through Asian retail grocery stores. Melamine contamination has caused a global epidemic of recalls of Chinese-made products such as cheese, ice cream, yogurt, biscuits, milk tea, instant coffee, dairy drinks, and candies.
The tainted dairy products were recalled by HUA XIA Food Trade USA, Inc. of Flushing, New York and were packaged in 250ml flexible paperboard boxes. Every code and every lot of these two products is included in this recall over concerns of melamine contamination. Consumers in possession of the contaminated dairy products are urged to stop using them immediately and return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact HUA XIA Food Trade USA, Inc. at (917) 216-0575, Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time.
The YILI Sour Milk Drink packaging contains blue, red, and green Chinese writing as well as a picture of an Asian man in a green shirt and white tie clapping his hands. The picture appears on the face of the box. The YILI Pure Milk Drink packaging contains black, red, and white writing; the package’s writing is indicated in both Chinese and English. The face of this box contains a picture of two cows playing basketball.
Melamine is a chemical that has gained notoriety in recent years for its ability to cheat nutrition tests; the chemical was originally designed to make plastics, fertilizer, and fire retardants. Because melamine possesses high nitrogen contents, it is used to falsify protein levels in foods; the toxic chemical was added to watered-down baby formula to create the impression of high protein levels in the diluted products and is now turning up in a wider variety of foods containing dairy products. Melamine can cause kidney problems—including kidney stones and kidney failure—when ingested and is also to blame for the death of four and the illnesses of some 54,000 children in China.
Chinese health officials last week said that nearly 10,700 infants and children remained hospitalized after drinking toxic milk and formula, with many remaining in serious condition; over 36,000 other children had been treated and released. The China Ministry of Agriculture continues sending quality teams across the country to monitor the crackdown at milk stations and with animal feed producers. "Supervise and urge local authorities to investigate and punish the illegal use of melamine and other toxins, and other unlawful adulteration," the ministry said. Experts believe approximately 94,000 others may also be affected by melamine-tainted dairy products.
The FDA has increased inspections and product testing efforts, focusing on milk products from China into the U.S., especially in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York areas due to their large Asian communities. The FDA is also working closely with Customs and Border Protection within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCD), other federal agencies, and foreign governments.