On March 15, 2007, FDA learned that certain pet foods were sickening and killing cats and dogs. FDA found contaminants in vegetable proteins imported into the United States from China and used as ingredients in pet food.
A portion of the tainted pet food was used to produce farm animal feed and fish feed. FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered that some animals that ate the tainted feed had been processed into human food. Government scientists have determined that there is very low risk to human health from consuming food from animals that ate tainted feed. All tainted pet food, animal and fish feed, and vegetable proteins continue to be recalled and destroyed.
As a result of FDA and USDA’s comprehensive investigation, on February 6, 2008, FDA announced that two Chinese nationals and the businesses they operate, along with a U.S. company and its president and chief executive officer, were indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a scheme to import products purported to be wheat gluten into the United States that were contaminated with melamine.
Scientists discover quicker test for melamine
A group of scientists from Purdue University have discovered a faster way to detect melamine levels by utilizing infrared spectroscopy in laboratory tests, according to a report in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The Food and Drug Administration currently utilizes a time-consuming analysis to detect melamine levels, so researchers have been trying to find a more efficient way to spot melamine contamination.
Last year and in 2007, cases of melamine contamination emerged from Chinese-produced infant formula and pet food, due to its properties as a cheap but illegal substitute for protein.