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Newest Treat From China - 
Formaldehyde In Kids Candy
Candy Incident Raises Concerns
From Dr. Patricia Doyle, PhD From ProMed Mail
By Shan Juan
The China Daily

The (Chinese) government is deeply concerned by reports that some Filipino students have fallen ill after eating Chinese-made milk candies, the spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce said. A special team of food safety experts will be sent to the Philippines if necessary to assist in the investigation, the spokesman said. He declined to reveal the name of the candies.
Some 23 schoolchildren fell ill on Thursday [4 Oct 2007] after eating milk candies imported from China and were sent to hospital in Cebu, the Philippines, according to local reports. They were all discharged a day later [5 Oct 2007], reports said.
Pending the results of the investigation into the incident, local stores have been asked to temporarily stop selling the candies.
In response, the Chinese government directed its Cebu consulate to immediately look into the matter and submit a report.
Late last month [September 2007], the Philippines banned the sale of imported Chinese food products at school canteens in response to reports that the goods contained cancer-causing formaldehyde.
Among the products tested by the top food watchdog in the Philippines and found to contain formaldehyde were White Rabbit milk candies and Yong Kang Foods grape biscuits.
Formaldehyde, a colorless, flammable gas, has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research and as a probable human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection [Agency].
Communicated by ProMED-mail
Formaldehyde is most often encountered in the work place as a vapor causing damage by inhalation and eye irritation. But it is not always in a vapor state. It can be found in a liquid as formalin and can be ingested. Ingestion of as little as 30 ml of a 37 percent solution of formaldehyde (formalin) can result in death. Gastrointestinal toxicity after ingestion is most severe in the stomach and results in symptoms, which can include nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Diverse damage to other organ systems including the liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, brain, and central nervous systems can occur from the acute response to ingestion of formaldehyde.
This article does not indicate the level of formaldehyde, nor does it indicate how severely the children were affected. However, thy should be followed as cancer is often associated with formaldehyde exposure.
Portions of this comment were extracted from:
p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10078 - Mod.TG
(1)  From: Name withheld by request
China is not the only Asia country to have a problem with the illegal  use of formaldehyde as a food preservative. For example, in  Indonesia, the most serious examples are reportedly in street vendors  or food intended for local consumption rather than in food intend for  export. News stories have reported on the use of formaldehyde to  prolong the fresh appearance of fish. Apparently, it even keeps the  eye of fish appearing "clear and fresh." Other news reports speak of  using formaldehyde on chicken carcasses and in tofu.
-- The identity of this informed source is known to ProMED-mail. - Ed.LM
(2)  From: John Young 
Regarding the moderator's comment: "However, they should be followed,  as cancer is often associated with formaldehyde exposure," this may  be premature.
While formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen (as classified by the  International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC), it is a  multi-mechanism carcinogen, with a correspondingly complex  dose-response model.
Before recommending that a nation with limited economic resources  initiate health monitoring for an extremely small exposed population  (with the consequent very low probability of detecting any real  effects), it would be prudent 1st to establish (quantitatively) the  likely exposure and to use the available tools to predict the  corresponding excess risk. Only in the case that the predicted excess  risk is sufficiently high that there is a reasonable likelihood of  detection in this population would it be sensible to initiate a  multi-year monitoring program.
John S. Young, Ph.D.
Supervisor of Risk Assessment
Food and Nutrition Services
Israel Ministry of Health
Dr. Young's comment regarding dose is appropriate. However, we don't 
know how high the level of formaldehyde was or whether lower levels 
are in other candies that may represent a longer exposure at a lower 
dose. - Mod.TG
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:  http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health 



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