FDA Will Test More Food Ingredients | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: April 26, 2007

FDA Will Test More Food Ingredients

Increased scrutiny is response to discovery of melamine in imported proteins
Department: Government & Policy

FDA has announced that it will begin testing six imported food ingredients for melamine contamination. The action is in response to the discovery of the industrial compound in wheat gluten and rice protein imported from China. There is concern that the contaminated proteins may have been fed to livestock and could enter the human food chain.

In addition to wheat gluten and rice protein, FDA will test corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, and rice bran for melamine. "This is a proactive step," according to David Acheson, chief medical officer for the FDA Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition. He adds that the agency plans to test a variety of foods and animal feed to determine the extent of contamination.

FDA scientists have found melamine in the urine and kidneys of pet cats and dogs that became ill or died in recent months and probably had been fed contaminated pet food. FDA notes in a fact sheet, however, that a direct link between the melamine contamination and pet health problems has not been made. FDA says it has not been able to confirm earlier reports that a rodent poison, aminopterin, contaminated the pet food.

Melamine (1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamine) is an industrial compound primarily used to manufacture thermosetting plastics and a variety of other products.

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