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News 260 views last update:6 Aug 2012

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 chain.

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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