FDA: Pet food tainting might be intentional
Plastics chemical can make feed appear more protein-rich
The Associated Press
Updated: 9:48 a.m. CT April 20, 2007
WASHINGTON - Imported ingredients used in recalled pet food may have been intentionally spiked with an industrial chemical to boost their apparent protein content, federal health officials suspect.
Thatâ€™s one theory being pursued by the Food and Drug Administration as it investigates how the chemical, melamine, contaminated at least two ingredients used to make more than 100 brands of dog and cat foods.
In California, state agriculture officials placed a hog farm under quarantine after melamine was found in pig urine there. Additional testing was under way to determine whether the chemical was present in the meat produced by American Hog Farm in Ceres since April 3, the state Department of Food and Agriculture said.
So far, melamineâ€™s been found in both wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China. Media reports from South Africa, where 30 dogs died, suggest a third pet food ingredient, corn gluten
, used in that country also was contaminated with melamine. That tainted ingredient has not been found in the United States, the FDA said.
FDA investigators were awaiting visas that would allow them to visit the Chinese plants where the vegetable protein ingredients were produced.
Heading to China
â€œMelamine was found in all three of those â€” it would certainly lend credibility to the theory that it may be intentional. That will be one of the theories we will pursue when we get into the plants in China,â€