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article imageFiller in Animal Feed Is Open Secret in China

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Apr 30, 2007 in World
Workers in ZHANGQIU, China openly admit that melamine is regularly added to animal food as a fake protein. Melamine is a chemical made from coal.
American food safety regulators are on their way to China to see how this chemical was put into animal food that killed dogs and cats in the U.S.A.
For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.
According to Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine, many companies buy scrap melamine to add to animal feed such as fish food. He says he knows of no regulation on it. There is no regulation against it so everyone does it. He states the laws in China are like that. If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”
Melamine is not believed to be toxic so no one knows why it became fatal in pet food. It is illegal in America in any form in food.
The link to China has set off concerns among critics of the Food and Drug Administration that ingredients in pet food as well as human food, which are increasingly coming from abroad, are not being adequately screened.
They have fewer people inspecting product at the ports than ever before,” says Caroline Smith DeWaal, the director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington. “Until China gets programs in place to verify the safety of their products, they need to be inspected by U.S. inspectors. This open-door policy on food ingredients is an open invitation for an attack on the food supply, either intentional or unintentional.”
American inspectors have been granted permission to inspect food treatment facilities.
After receiving more than 14,000 reports from pet owners the Food and Drug Administration has banned wheat gluten from being imported from China. The FDA has opened a criminal investigation and has searched the offices of a pet food supplier.
few people outside the agriculture business know about the use of melamine scrap. The Chinese news media — which is strictly censored — has not reported much about the country’s ties to the pet food recall in the United States. And few in agriculture here see any harm in using melamine in small doses; they simply see it as cheating a little on protein, not harming animals or pets.
More about Animal feed, China, Secretly supplemented
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