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Home Page > Business > Organizational > Chinese Protein Adulteration

Chinese Protein Adulteration

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Posted: Sep 01, 2010 |Comments: 0





Main article: Timeline of the 2007 pet food recalls

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The contaminated vegetable proteins were imported from China in 2006 and early 2007 and used as pet food ingredients. The process of identifying and accounting for the source of the contamination and for how the contaminant causes sickness is ongoing.

The first recalls were announced by Menu Foods late on Friday, 16 March 2007 for cat and dog food products in the United States. By 30 March the United States began to ban imports of wheat gluten from China. The Chinese government responded on 4 April by categorically denying any connection to the North American food poisonings refusing to allow inspection of facilities suspected of producing contaminated products.

However, on 6 April 2007, the Chinese government told the Associated Press they would investigate the source of the wheat gluten and by 23 April China gave permission to FDA investigators to enter the country. On 25 April Chinese authorities began to shut down and destroy the implicated factories and detain their managers. The following day, China’s Foreign Ministry said it had banned the use of melamine in food products, admitting that products containing melamine had cleared customs while continuing to dispute the role of melamine in causing pet deaths. China also vowed to cooperate with U.S. investigators to find the “real cause” of pet deaths.

The United States Senate held an oversight hearing on the matter by 12 April. The economic impact on the pet food market has been extensive, with Menu Foods losing roughly million alone from the recall.

On 24 April 2007, for the first time FDA officials said that melamine had been detected in feed given to animals raised for human consumption within the United States.

As of 7 May 2007, United States food safety officials stated: “There is very low risk to human health from consuming meat from hogs and chickens known to have been fed animal feed supplemented with pet food scraps that contained melamine and melamine-related compounds”


In the 2007 outbreak, as all three pet food ingredients containing melamine had been imported from China, investigators focused their inquiries there. Another concern was been raised by allegations that one contract manufacturer of pet food had included contaminated ingredients from China without the knowledge or approval of the pet food marketers. Melamine had also been purposely added as a binder to fish feed manufactured in the United States from ingredients produced in Ohio. This adulteration has not been linked to any illness. The FDA issued a warning to Tembec, the manufacturer of the adulterated binding ingredients. In response, Tembec declared that, in addition to completing the recall of all products containing the adulterated binding ingredients, it would “discontinue manufacturing and marketing of [the products] as aquatic feed binder. Tembec’s aquatic feed binder products were also used by another US company, Uniscope, to produce a binder (XtraBond) for livestock feeds. This binder and the feeds made from it were not recalled, nor was the meat of the livestock fed on these feeds. No fish or fish products were recalled as a result of having been raised on the adulterated feeds.

In 2008, investigation of kidney problems in Chinese infants focused on domestic dairy suppliers in China.

Melamine production and use in China

This section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject.

The following WikiProjects or Portals may be able to help recruit one:

WikiProject China China Portal WikiProject Food and drink

If another appropriate WikiProject or portal exists, please adjust this template accordingly.(February 2009)

Melamine is commonly produced from urea, mainly by either catalyzed gas-phase production or high pressure liquid-phase production, and is soluble in water. Melamine is used combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic, and melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include counter-tops, fabrics, glues and flame retardants. Occasionally, melamine-formaldehyde resin is added to gluten for non-food purposes, such as adhesives or fabric printing.

Melamine is also a byproduct of several pesticides, including cyromazine. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a test method for analyzing cyromazine and melamine in animal tissues in its Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook which “contains test methods used by FSIS Laboratories to support the Agency’s inspection program, ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome and accurately labeled.” In 1999, in a proposed rule published in the Federal Register regarding cyromazine residue, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed “remov[ing] melamine, a metabolite of cyromazine from the tolerance expression since it is no longer considered a residue of concern.”

Melamine production in China has also been reported as using coal as raw material. This production has been described as also producing “melamine scrap” which is not “pure melamine but impure melamine scrap that is sold more cheaply as the waste product after melamine is produced by chemical and fertilizer factories here.” Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group, the company reported by the New York Times as producing melamine from coal, produces and sells both urea and melamine but does not list melamine resin as a product. Melamine production in China has increased greatly in recent years and was described as in “serious surplus” in 2006 . In the United States Geological Survey 2004 Minerals Survey Yearbook, in a report on worldwide nitrogen production, the author stated that “China continued to plan and construct new ammonia and urea plants using coal gasification technology.”

The off-gas in production contains large

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