China to allow pet food investigation
China has given US regulators permission to enter the
country to investigate the possibility that Chinese suppliers exported
contaminated pet food ingredients to the United States.
Up until this week representatives of the US Food and Drug Administration had
been blocked from entering China. Evidence, however, is growing that the raw
materials for pet food were already tainted with melamine China before they were shipped to the US.
The melamine was found in wheat gluten and rice protein and ended up in pet
food and pig feed. Several pets have died from the contamination and pigs fed the tainted feed ended up in the food
American regulators believe some Chinese firms may have intentionally added
melamine to their feed ingredients to artificially bolster the protein count in
order to meet requirements.
The amine in melamine can boost the protein level in tests, because it has
the chemical element N (nitrogen). It's also likely to increase the adhesiveness
of the gluten. Melamine is hard to detect in ordinary tests.
A definite link between melamine and the deaths of animals that consumed it
has not been made yet. But melamine is not approved for use in animal or human
foods and therefore any use of it would be illegal.
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