This report discusses what Melamine is and its uses, the effects of consuming food contaminated with Melamine, and precautionary measures to take to prevent Melamine food contamination.
Melamine contamination has been widely reported in the news recently as four babies were killed and more than 53 000 others were affected after consuming milk contaminated with Melamine (The Straits Times 2008). This caused a worldwide recall of Chinese-produced milk and milk products and other foods containing milk.
This report serves to highlight several important aspects of Melamine and is submitted to the lecturer of the Chemicals in Food Products module, xxxx.
2.1 What melamine is and its uses
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), melamine is an organic base compound that is mostly found in the form of white crystals. With high nitrogen content, melamine has more than 5 times nitrogen compared to proline, a type of amino acid commonly found in milk. Being a relatively cheap industrial material that is durable, relatively non-toxic and water-soluble, melamine is used to make utensils, dishware and resins (used to varnish wood, table tops etc.). It can also be easily moulded while warm but stays in shape when cooled, which is another reason why it is preferred when making utensils and dishware. Melamine is used in some flame-retarders, fertilisers and dyes too. Figure 1: Structure of melamine, showing its high nitrogen content (Psufoodscience) Figure 1: Structure of melamine, showing its high nitrogen content (Psufoodscience)
2.2 The negative effects of consuming food with unsafe levels of melamine
The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that high levels of melamine can lead to the formation of kidney stones and kidney failure. Cyanuric acid, which is formed during the decomposition of melamine in the body, will react with melamine that has yet to be decomposed in the...