As many as 20 million chickens currently on US farms in
several states may have been fed contaminated feed, the US Agriculture
Department has said.
According to spokesman Keith Williams the USDA have learned that larger
commercial contractors purchased and used contaminated feed.
declined to release specific details and said it was still establishing how long
the contractors had been using the bad feed, contaminated with pet food that
contained the industrial chemical melamine.
The Agriculture Department is
requesting that the chickens be held on farms until the government can complete
a risk assessment to rule out any threat to humans from eating the meat before
the birds can be processed.
The review, which is being conducted by the
Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and USDA, is
expected to be finalised over the past weekend.
The birds were among
millions believed to have been given pet food containing melamine, a chemical
used in plastics and fertiliser. It is uncertain how many chickens have been
processed and made their way to US retail stores.