Toxic Chinese Gluten Went
To Hogs In Six States

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
ProMed Mail

Hogs Ate Pet Food Tainted With Chemical
By Andrew Bridges
WASHINGTON DC (AP) -- Salvaged pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical was sent to hog farms in as many as 6 states, federal health officials said Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if any hogs that ate the tainted feed then entered the food supply for humans.
Hogs at a farm in California ate the contaminated products, and officials were trying to determine whether hogs in New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Ohio may have eaten the tainted food. Hogs at some of the farms -- it wasn't immediately clear which --have been quarantined.
A spokesman for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Steven Cohen, said in a statement that the FSIS was trying to determine whether the hog farms in the states other than California actually fed the material to their animals.
Hogs that were confirmed to have eaten the tainted food were processed at a federally inspected facility in California, Cohen said.
"All of that meat is under control at the facility," he said. "It is important to keep in mind this is a small number of farms that may have received this feed."
The urine of some hogs tested positive for the chemical, melamine, the Food and Drug Administration said.
"At this point, I don't have a definitive answer other than to say that the issue is being addressed," Stephen Sundlof, the FDA's chief veterinarian, told reporters when asked if any of the hogs had entered the human food supply. A poultry farm also may be involved, he added.
The FDA also said it planned to begin testing a wide variety of vegetable proteins at firms that imported the ingredients to make everything from pizza dough to infant formula, and protein shakes to energy bars. The ingredient list includes wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein and rice bran.
Pet food companies have recalled more than 100 brands of cat and dog food since the first reports of animal deaths a little over a month ago.
Investigators have found melamine in at least 2 imported Chinese vegetable proteins used to make pet foods. The chemical possibly was used to skew analyses that measured the protein content of the ingredients, wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate.
There were no direct shipments of either of the 2 ingredients to firms that make food for humans or for animals used as food, said Michael Rogers who directs field investigations for the FDA.
A second, related chemical called cyanuric acid also has been found to contaminate rice protein concentrate samples, Sundlof said.
The analyses the FDA plans to begin later this week will look at producers of both food for humans and animal feed, said Dr. David Acheson, the chief medical officer within the agency's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Acheson stressed that there was no evidence any of the other vegetable proteins had been contaminated, but that the FDA wanted to "get ahead of the curve" and raise awareness among manufacturers.
FDA officials said the hogs were fed salvaged pet food made with tainted rice protein concentrate. The food was given to the animals prior to the products' recalls, Rogers said. Adulterated food cannot be legally fed to either humans or animals, Sundlof said.
Meanwhile, the FDA is sampling for melamine and related compounds in all wheat gluten, rice protein and corn gluten coming into the United States from China.
Also Tuesday, the FDA said another pet food company, SmartPak, had recalled products made with tainted rice protein concentrate. The company said the recall covered a single production run of its LiveSmart Weight Management Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Food.
Communicated by Jim Cook <<>>
and ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall
Swine in the North Carolina case have been confirmed to be under quarantine.
It is critical to note that, according to this article, the FDA has expanded its testing to other glutens in other food sources.
The situation with the pet food and the swine foods highlights issues for human food as well. Cyanuric acid is most often used in swimming pools to slow the breakdown of chlorination by sunlight. Certainly this is not a product for use in food. The exact reason for this being in the gluten products is not entirely clear. It is speculated that it was intended to falsely lower the measurement of melamine in the gluten. There is no evidence to support this speculation at this time. - Mod.TG

Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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