Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,
Ovid
publius_ovidius

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Do you know anyone with an infant who uses infant formula?

As you might recall, Chinese firms have tainted infant formula with melamine because it throws off tests checking for protein content. Thousands of infants have grown ill and several have died. Given the spate of tainted products coming from China in the past few years, it might seem reasonable to stick with domestic products.

Enter the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is the administration responsible for ensuring that US businesses get their food and drug products to market as fast is possible while still maintaining a fiction of oversight. I suspect, though, that the FDA would describe their role slightly differently.

The FDA has found melamine in US infant formula, but they won't tell us which one. Salon has a much better -- and vaguely more reassuring -- article about this scandal, but why the hell won't the FDA tell us? Still, you can have fun reading the opening paragraph:

Traces of the industrial chemical melamine have been detected in samples of top-selling U.S. infant formula, but federal regulators insist the products are safe. The Food and Drug Administration said last month it was unable to identify any melamine exposure level as safe for infants, but a top official said it would be a "dangerous overreaction" for parents to stop feeding infant formula to babies who depend on it.

Um, hello? Breast feeding? There's mountains of evidence that breast feeding provides significant benefits to babies. It's not like mothers would stop using infant formula and let their children starve to death. While I assume there are some women who cannot breastfeed, I suspect that most use formula out of convenience, not out of necessity. But for cryin' out loud, it's your baby. Won't anyone think of the ... (I'll stop now).

You might not find feeding your children melamine a big deal, but I find it disquieting that FDA scientists are revolting against illegal activity at their agency (PDF) -- activity which does little but benefit business interests.

This is what eight years of Bush rule has left us with: business first, people second maybe. Ignoring science (ignorant Americans who trash science are just as culpable!) because you find it "inconvenient" or at odds with your ideology always bites you in the end.
Tags: politics
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