But that is no longer the case.
According to the International Herald Tribune, because melamine has been detected in Chinese milk, wheat gluten, and chicken feed, the chemical is almost impossible to avoid in processed foods.
The FDA finally cracked down on Chinese imports last week, holding foods at the border until producers could prove they were melamine-free. But this article points out that Americans are ignoring the fact that we have our own melamine problems.
The author says that melamine is a common ingredient in cleaning products, waterproof plywood, plastic compounds, cement, ink and fire-retardant paint, and millions of pounds of melamine are produced each year by chemical plants, some of it ending up in our food.
Melamine is also added to fertilizer, tainting soil.
What might be most surprising to Americans is the fact that the US imports most of its wheat gluten, according to the article, and we have eaten animals raised on feed made with melamine-tainted gluten imported from China. And let's not forget all the pets who died after eating melamine-contaminated pet food.
But, the author reminds us we aren't helpless.
Consumers can choose organic foods, which are grown with fertilizer without melamine (though, that fertilizer could have been composted with manure from animals fed melamine-laden feed, the author warns).
In addition, meat from grass-fed or truly free-range animals are safer options, provided the grass wasn't fertilized with a conventional product.
Obviously, it's not easy to know how a food product was grown or raised and which chemicals were used. So, as the author suggests, let's keep monitoring China, but let's also put pressure on our government to provide stricter standards for our food supply.
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