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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Fri 20 Apr 2007

Melamine contamination in pet food - this time in rice

Category : meow

Reports have emerged about melamine contamination in rice protein concentrate imported from China by a pet food manufacturer in the US. An importer has suggested that spiking a product with melamine can raise its protein value in tests, increasing its economic value. The investigation is ongoing.

Since I am about to get dry food for the cats, I decied to sift through the reports to see if my pet's food is listed amongst the brand, type and batch affected. Its tricky because the contaminant added to the source product in China is imported by a US company and resold to a pet food manufacturers. They remix and resell and in this case this has already affected more than 100 brands sold by seven companies!

I do hope AVA finds, once again, that local supplies are unaffected.

Sites to check:

This alert was sounded when pet owners in the US complained that their pets were vomiting and experiencing kidney problems after consuming Natural Balance Pet Foods' Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food, and Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Foods. The manufacturer recalled the entire product and eventually the problem was identified as melamine contamination in components from a US supplier who traced it to a Chinese source.

These two wire reports provide most of the information that follows (many other reports were extracted from these):

Melamine contamination turned up in rice protein concentrate imported from China by Wilbur-Ellis Co. It resold the concentrate to five pet food manufacturers:
  • Two (unidentified) manufacturers have apparently tested their products and not found melamine.
  • "Natural Balance Pet Foods has recalled its venison-flavored dog and cat foods after reports of vomiting and kidney problems."
  • "The Blue Buffalo Co. on Thursday recalled its Spa Select Kitten dry food labeled as best used by March 7, 2008."
  • The recalls now include products made by at least seven companies and sold under more than 100 brands.
  • One company has not reported in.

FDA says consumers should check its web site for updates as invesitagtions are ongoing. They have begun sampling all rice protein concentrate imported from China just as they have been reviewing wheat gluten imports from China which are now blocked.

This time the source of contamination came from Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd. in China, according to Wilbur-Ellis Co. FDA, however, has not yet received "the necessary invitation letter to get visas" for their inspectors to visit the plants in which the ingredients were made.

In March 2007, Menu Foods Income Fund, Canada, recalled some 60 million cans of dog and cat food after the deaths of 16 pets, mostly cats. Melamine-contamination was detected in wheat gluten and the recall of more than 100 brands of pet food included specific products by Iams and Eukanuba; more varieties are still being added [e.g. the 22 Nov 09 expiry vegetarian 13.2oz can by Natural Life was added on 17 Apr 2007]. Other pet food makers also recalled products (see the FDA list).

In Singapore at the time, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) confirmed then that there were no local imports of the affected pet foods.

The FDA indicated the malamine contamination arose from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. in China. The company apparently still denies this claim.

Alvin just sent this in off ChinaDaily.com:

See also "Pet Food Recall Expands Again." By Steven Reinberg. HealthDay News, 19 Apr 2007.

"Meanwhile in South Africa, melamine has been found in Royal Canin pet food company's Vets Choice and Royal Canin dry dog and cat food sold exclusively in South Africa and Namibia. The source of the melamine appears to be from corn gluten imported from China, according to published reports."

"We are aware that melamine can increase protein content," Sundlof [Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration] said. "It's still a theory, but it seems to be a plausible one. The motivation would be economic in that you can take a product that is low in protein and would not qualify for the designation as protein supplement and make it appear that it has a high protein content so it can be sold at a higher price."

"In another development, it appears that some of the contaminated rice protein concentrate made its way in to hog feed. The extent of the problem isn't known. It's also not known if hogs fed the contaminated food have made it into the human food chain, the FDA reported."

Posted at 3:17AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .