Walgreens Recalls Melamine-Tainted Chocolate

Walgreens is recalling 173 teddy bears with chocolate bars sold in stores since late September 2008, the company said in a  press release.  The results of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis found that samples of the chocolate included with the teddy bear products were contaminated with the toxic industrial chemical <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">melamine.  Melamine has been at the center of this year’s international food scandal originating in China.

Walgreens is advising those consumers who bought the teddy bears with the tainted candy to immediately return them to the Walgreens store of purchase for a full refund.  Also, said Walgreens, its stores have been advised to stop selling the teddy bears and chocolate which are described as containing a nine-inch high “Dressy Teddy Bear” holding a four-ounce chocolate bar.  The Walgreen’s teddy bear’s UPC product number is 047475864485; the product tag also includes item number 291332, said Walgreens.

Walgreens noted that it has not received any reports of illness or injury related to this product and advises consumers to visit its Website for specific recall information on this product—www.walgreens.com/images/pdfs/recalls/TeddyBear_Product_Safety.pdf—or call its Walgreens Product Quality department at 847-315-2755, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. central time for more information.

Melamine is an industrial chemical used in the production of fire retardants, fertilizers, and plastics.  Because of its high nitrogen levels, it can create the false appearance of high protein levels in food and is known to have been added to diluted milk to falsely raise its protein levels.  In sufficient quantities, ingesting melamine can cause kidney problems, including kidney stones and kidney failure, and in the case of at least six children, death.

The Associated Press (AP) noted that the melamine scandal was first reported early this fall; however, China’s government confirmed that the Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co., a dairy firm and key participant in the melamine scandal, knew last year that its products were tainted and also was aware that company and local officials had been involved in a cover-up.  Last week, China’s Health Ministry confirmed six—not the originally reported three—babies may have died after ingesting melamine-tainted milk powder, the AP said. Chinese officials have also upped the number of children made ill as a result of contamination to 294,000 from 50,000.

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