But beyond the disgust element was another more important question concerning borax: was it actually safe to eat? This troubling issue was the reason why squad members were imbibing the compound at Christmas, the reason for the Poison Squad experiments themselves. Established by a famously outspoken, crusading chemist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Harvey Washington Wiley, the squads were also meant to answer another, larger question: were manufacturers actually poisoning the food supply?
Melamine found in almost half of all Chinese food imports now on the banned list. The Food and Drug Administration is enforcing a new import alert that greatly expands its curtailment of some food ingredients imported from China, authorizing border inspectors to detain ingredients used in everything from noodles to breakfast bars. The FDA has also announced that melamine laced products have found their way into the human consumption cycle via poultry and pork. Interesting to note that the budget for FDA inspections is at it's lowest level ever, and that only 1% of all imports actually get inspected.