Infant Formula companies should come clean on melamine,BPA

November 26th, 2008

Download the letter PDF version. Stephen W. Golsby President, Mead Johnson & Company 2400 W. Lloyd Expressway Evansville, IN 47721 Re: Melamine in baby formula Dear Mr. Golsby, We are concerned about the recent reports of melamine contamination in your formula. Given your company’s focus on providing infants with nutrition that is finely attuned to the developing body’s needs, you are clearly aware that infants are intensely vulnerable to trace levels of contaminants in formula. Because they are small and have large appetites, infants consume much more food than adults. At the same time, their immature systems are less able to detoxify and remove harmful chemicals than those of adults. Only during infancy does a single food make up 100 percent of a person’s daily diet. The special vulnerabilities of infants are particularly apparent in the case of BPA, a toxic sex hormone that leaches from metal can linings into liquid formula. BPA concentrations in liquid formula are less than 20 parts per billion—- just 10 percent the amount of melamine reported to have contaminated U.S. formula. However, even these low levels put infants at unacceptable risk of harm. As the National Toxicology Program has found, BPA is most toxic to the developing fetus and small child. It is well established that formula-fed babies ingest the highest concentrations of BPA of any age group. For these reasons, the Science Board of the federal Food and Drug Administration recently determined that FDA cannot prove that BPA exposures are safe, largely due to the intensity of exposures for formula-fed babies. For similar reasons, last month FDA concluded that it could not establish a “safe” level of melamine in infant formula. The agency correctly asserted that infant kidneys are less developed, that formula is a baby’s sole food for many months and that premature babies who eat proportionally more food than full-term infants face even greater risks (FDA’s Interim Safety and Risk Assessment of Melamine and its Analogues in Food for Humans, October 3, 2008). Concerned parents will not accept any avoidable risks when it comes to their children’s food. They have learned to doubt FDA’s reflexive reassurances that formula contaminants pose no risks. Infant formula can cost families substantial amounts of money. Parents have trusted your company to do everything possible to provide their children with safe, healthy, and pure food. Your clients have a right to know what your company is doing to identify and eliminate melamine in your infant formula, your strategy for preventing melamine contamination of your products, and how you are monitoring your products for all food additives and trace contaminants. Please tell them what effective and aggressive measures you are taking to fulfill your commitment to every child who consumes your formula. Sincerely, Ken Cook President Environmental Working Group


November 26, 2008 Gary E. McCullough President, Ross Products Division, Abbott 625 Cleveland Ave Columbus, OH 43215 Re: Melamine in baby formula Dear McCullough, We are concerned about the recent reports of melamine contamination in your formula. Given your company’s focus on providing infants with nutrition that is finely attuned to the developing body’s needs, you are clearly aware that infants are intensely vulnerable to trace levels of contaminants in formula. Because they are small and have large appetites, infants consume much more food than adults. At the same time, their immature systems are less able to detoxify and remove harmful chemicals than those of adults. Only during infancy does a single food make up 100 percent of a person’s daily diet. The special vulnerabilities of infants are particularly apparent in the case of BPA, a toxic sex hormone that leaches from metal can linings into liquid formula. BPA concentrations in liquid formula are less than 20 parts per billion—- just 10 percent the amount of melamine reported to have contaminated U.S. formula. However, even these low levels put infants at unacceptable risk of harm. As the National Toxicology Program has found, BPA is most toxic to the developing fetus and small child. It is well established that formula-fed babies ingest the highest concentrations of BPA of any age group. For these reasons, the Science Board of the federal Food and Drug Administration recently determined that FDA cannot prove that BPA exposures are safe, largely due to the intensity of exposures for formula-fed babies. For similar reasons, last month FDA concluded that it could not establish a “safe” level of melamine in infant formula. The agency correctly asserted that infant kidneys are less developed, that formula is a baby’s sole food for many months and that premature babies who eat proportionally more food than full-term infants face even greater risks (FDA’s Interim Safety and Risk Assessment of Melamine and its Analogues in Food for Humans, October 3, 2008). Concerned parents will not accept any avoidable risks when it comes to their children’s food. They have learned to doubt FDA’s reflexive reassurances that formula contaminants pose no risks. Infant formula can cost families substantial amounts of money. Parents have trusted your company to do everything possible to provide their children with safe, healthy, and pure food. Your clients have a right to know what your company is doing to identify and eliminate melamine in your infant formula, your strategy for preventing melamine contamination of your products, and how you are monitoring your products for all food additives and trace contaminants. Please tell them what effective and aggressive measures you are taking to fulfill your commitment to every child who consumes your formula. Ken Cook President Environmental Working Group


November 26, 2008 Paul Bulcke Executive Vice President, Nestlé USA, Inc. 800 North Brand Boulevard Glendale, CA 91203 Re: Melamine in baby formula Dear Mr. Bulcke, We are concerned about the recent reports of melamine contamination in your formula. Given your company’s focus on providing infants with nutrition that is finely attuned to the developing body’s needs, you are clearly aware that infants are intensely vulnerable to trace levels of contaminants in formula. Because they are small and have large appetites, infants consume much more food than adults. At the same time, their immature systems are less able to detoxify and remove harmful chemicals than those of adults. Only during infancy does a single food make up 100 percent of a person’s daily diet. The special vulnerabilities of infants are particularly apparent in the case of BPA, a toxic sex hormone that leaches from metal can linings into liquid formula. BPA concentrations in liquid formula are less than 20 parts per billion—- just 10 percent the amount of melamine reported to have contaminated U.S. formula. However, even these low levels put infants at unacceptable risk of harm. As the National Toxicology Program has found, BPA is most toxic to the developing fetus and small child. It is well established that formula-fed babies ingest the highest concentrations of BPA of any age group. For these reasons, the Science Board of the federal Food and Drug Administration recently determined that FDA cannot prove that BPA exposures are safe, largely due to the intensity of exposures for formula-fed babies. For similar reasons, last month FDA concluded that it could not establish a “safe” level of melamine in infant formula. The agency correctly asserted that infant kidneys are less developed, that formula is a baby’s sole food for many months and that premature babies who eat proportionally more food than full-term infants face even greater risks (FDA’s Interim Safety and Risk Assessment of Melamine and its Analogues in Food for Humans, October 3, 2008). Concerned parents will not accept any avoidable risks when it comes to their children’s food. They have learned to doubt FDA’s reflexive reassurances that formula contaminants pose no risks. Infant formula can cost families substantial amounts of money. Parents have trusted your company to do everything possible to provide their children with safe, healthy, and pure food. Your clients have a right to know what your company is doing to identify and eliminate melamine in your infant formula, your strategy for preventing melamine contamination of your products, and how you are monitoring your products for all food additives and trace contaminants. Please tell them what effective and aggressive measures you are taking to fulfill your commitment to every child who consumes your formula. Ken Cook President Environmental Working Group


November 26, 2008 Paul Manning President and CEO, PBM Products LLC 204 N. Main St. Gordonsville, VA 22942 Re: Melamine in baby formula Dear Mr. Manning, We are concerned about the recent reports of melamine contamination in infant formula. Given your company’s focus on providing infants with nutrition that is finely attuned to the developing body’s needs, you are clearly aware that infants are intensely vulnerable to trace levels of contaminants in formula. Because they are small and have large appetites, infants consume much more food than adults. At the same time, their immature systems are less able to detoxify and remove harmful chemicals than those of adults. Only during infancy does a single food make up 100 percent of a person’s daily diet. The special vulnerabilities of infants are particularly apparent in the case of BPA, a toxic sex hormone that leaches from metal can linings into liquid formula. BPA concentrations in liquid formula are less than 20 parts per billion—- just 10 percent the amount of melamine reported to have contaminated U.S. formula. However, even these low levels put infants at unacceptable risk of harm. As the National Toxicology Program has found, BPA is most toxic to the developing fetus and small child. It is well established that formula-fed babies ingest the highest concentrations of BPA of any age group. For these reasons, the Science Board of the federal Food and Drug Administration recently determined that FDA cannot prove that BPA exposures are safe, largely due to the intensity of exposures for formula-fed babies. For similar reasons, last month FDA concluded that it could not establish a “safe” level of melamine in infant formula. The agency correctly asserted that infant kidneys are less developed, that formula is a baby’s sole food for many months and that premature babies who eat proportionally more food than full-term infants face even greater risks (FDA’s Interim Safety and Risk Assessment of Melamine and its Analogues in Food for Humans, October 3, 2008). Concerned parents will not accept any avoidable risks when it comes to their children’s food. They have learned to doubt FDA’s reflexive reassurances that formula contaminants pose no risks. Infant formula can cost families substantial amounts of money. Parents have trusted your company to do everything possible to provide their children with safe, healthy, and pure food. Your clients have a right to know what your company is doing to identify and eliminate melamine in your infant formula, your strategy for preventing melamine contamination of your products, and how you are monitoring your products for all food additives and trace contaminants. Please tell them what effective and aggressive measures you are taking to fulfill your commitment to every child who consumes your formula. Ken Cook President Environmental Working Group

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