In September 2008, China found that milk powder, milk, yogurt and infant formula had been adulterated (contaminated) with melamine.  Nearly 53,000 illnesses, over 12,800 hospitalizations and several infant deaths caused by kidney stones and renal failure have been reported.

Melamine was added to milk products to fool government quality tests.Water was added to fraudulently increase product volume, and melamine would cause a false increase in the measurement of protein in the milk. About 20 percent of the dairy companies tested in China sell products tainted with melamine.  Melamine production in China is reported to be in surplus. China is the world’s largest exporter of melamine, which is used in plastic materials.

Melamine analysis is currently required when importing feed materials to the USA or exporting to the EU.  Vegetable proteins, wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice protein concentrate that originate from China or from third party countries are scrutinized or detained.  The FDA advises consumers not to purchase infant formula manufactured in China from Internet sites or from other sources.

Melamine testing includes related compounds such as cyanuric acid, ammelide and ammeline.  Melamine is also the metabolite of Cyromazine, an insecticide.

FDA Melamine Advisory



ADPEN can provide melamine analytical testing to the food industry, importers, exporters, food retailers and consumers.  Testing can be provided by LC/MS/MS or GC/MS.  It is recommended that testing be done by LC/MS/MS because it is the most sensitive test with a Limit of Quantitation of 10 ppb and a Limit of Detection of 1 ppb.  GC/MS testing is not that sensitive with a Limit of Quantitation of 10 ppm and a Limit of Detection of 2 ppm.