Food Contamination Affects More than Our Pets
The primary culprit for the contamination appears to be China, although melamine spiking of food goes back decades in both the United States and China. Why? Melamine contains nitrogen, and nitrogen content is commonly used to measure protein content.
In the past couple of days, The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and USA Today have once again picked up the story. In a virtually unprecedented move, the FDA has limited vegetable-based food imports from China:
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.
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Inspectors are now allowed to detain vegetable-protein imports from China because they may contain the chemical melamine. Melamine, used in the manufacture of plastics, was found in the wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that has led to the recall of 5,300 pet food products.
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An import alert of this breadth is rare. Before this new FDA action, only products from two Chinese companies that exported the melamine-tainted wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate had been detained.
Now for the products to reach U.S. foodmakers, the importers will have to prove to the FDA that they are safe. The ingredients restricted include wheat gluten, rice gluten, rice protein, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, corn gluten meal, corn by-products, soy protein, soy gluten, mung-bean protein and amino acids.
This affects virtually every prepared food product on the market. Here is the FDA's import alert. For more information, check out itchmo.com, pet connection, and howl911.com.