News 662 views last update:May 1, 2007

FDA: contaminated pork won't enter food chain

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have jointly announced that hogs found to have eaten feed contaminated with melanine will not be approved to enter the food supply.

Both USDA and FDA emphasised that "the likelihood of illness after eating pork from swine fed the adulterated product would be very low."

Not a human health concern
According to officials, scientific research indicates that melamine alone, at detected levels, is not a human health concern. However, no scientific data exist to ascertain the effects of combining melamine and melamine-related compounds.

USDA said it cannot rule out the possibility that food produced from animals that consumed contaminated feed might also be contaminated, which is why the agency cannot place the mark of inspection on it.

Pet food
The tainted pig food was traced after pet food was found to be contaminated by melanine, an industrial chemical used in plastics and fertiliser, said to have killed over 4,000 cats and dogs by kidney failure and have sickened thousands more.

Tests revealed potential melamine contamination, thought to be originating from an infected rice protein shipment from China, has been traced to hog farms in California, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Utah and possibly Ohio.

Samples of hog urine from farms in three of the states, California, North Carolina and South Carolina, have tested positive for melamine. FDA said it hadn't yet received test results from the identified hog farms in other states.

A USDA spokeswoman said about 6,000 hogs in the US are believed to be infected.

Related websites:
• United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
• Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

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