WASHINGTON â?? Less than two months after federal food regulators said they were unable to set a safety threshold for the industrial chemical melamine in baby formula, they announced a standard that allows for higher levels than those found in U.S.-made batches of the product.
Food and Drug Administration officials on Friday set a threshold of 1 part per million of melamine in formula, provided a related chemical isn’t present. They insisted the formulas are safe.
The setting of the standard comes days after The Associated Press reported that FDA tests found traces of melamine in the infant formula of one major U.S. manufacturer and cyanuric acid, a chemical relative, in the formula of a second major maker. The contaminated samples, which both measured at levels below the new standard, were analyzed several weeks ago.
The FDA had stated in early October that it was unable to set a safety contamination level for melamine in infant formula.
If I were a betting guy, I’d put good money down to say courts strike this as “arbitrary and capricious,” which is a standard used by courts when considering adminstrative action taken by a government agency. It means that there is no reasonable basis for making an administrative rule or that the agency did not give the rule proper consideration.
How exactly is it that the FDA refused to issue a rule less than two months ago based on lack of information but, based on the same information, can come out with a rule a couple days after news reports of melamine in U.S. formula? It smells like milk gone bad.