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Is Protein Powder Safe from Contamination?

Q. The recent melamine scare from China has me wondering. Due to the fact that supplements have little regulatory control, is there a risk that protein powders sold for dieters and muscle builders could contain melamine to increase the amount of protein when tested? Also, should I worry about my children’s melamine dining plates?

A. You raise a fascinating question. Chinese producers have apparently added melamine to milk to cover up the fact that it was diluted. The same chemical was also added to the pet food ingredient gluten to make it appear higher in protein so it would be worth more.

No one has suggested that protein powder has been contaminated with melamine, though we don’t know how carefully the FDA has tested such products. If the raw ingredients in such powders came from China there might be cause for concern.

Melamine is high in nitrogen and is used to make countertops, dry erase boards and unbreakable dishes. We doubt that the dishes pose any risk to your children, since such plastic plates have been used for decades and are unlikely to release melamine into the food.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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