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Halloween is less than a month away. Costumed children of all ages will swarm through their local neighborhoods, looking to fill their bags with candies and other treats. Upon their return home, parents will perform the traditional screening for dangers lurking in the treats. Who doesn’t remember sitting patiently while mom or dad checked the candy and apples for razor blades and needles?. But this year, the dangers may be a lot less conspicuous and potentially a lot more serious.

Word has it that candies from China, possibly tainted with the chemical melamine, have made their way into the U.S. market. Days after contaminated White Rabbit Creamy Candy was found in California, Connecticut Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. said tests found melamine in bags of the candy sold at two New Haven stores, a West Hartford market and an East Haven store.

According to their corporate web site, Queensway Foods Company, Inc. (QFCO) of Burlingame, California is the exclusive distributor of White Rabbitt Creamy Candy in the United States. The company has recalled of all of the candy sold in the U.S. and has issued an updated recall notice as recently as this week.

In September 2008, more than 52,000 cases of children were reportedly made sick by melamine-tainted dairy products in China. Most of the children were diagnosed with kidney problems of varying degree. White Rabbit Creamy Candy was listed among the many milk-based food products made in China that were contaminated with melamine and was removed from store shelves. The same form of contamination was responsible for the Chinese melamine pet food contamination scandal in 2007, during which thousands of pet dogs and cats died of renal failure after eating pet food that contained melamine.

While there are no direct human studies on the effect of melamine data from animal studies can be used to predict adverse health effects. Melamine alone causes bladder stones in animal tests. When combined with cyanuric acid, which may also be present in melamine powder, melamine can form crystals that can give rise to kidney stones.

The most common symptoms of melamine poisoning are irritability, blood in urine, little or no urine, signs of kidney infection and high blood pressure.

For more information about food safety litigation, contact the Smith & Vanture firm.

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