FDA Asks if Pet Food Tainted on Purpose
ANDREW BRIDGES | AP | April 19, 2007 05:50 PM EST
WASHINGTON — Imported ingredients used in recalled pet food may have been intentionally spiked with an industrial chemical to boost their apparent protein content, federal officials said Thursday.
That’s one theory being pursued by the Food and Drug Administration as it investigates how the chemical, melamine, contaminated at least two ingredients used to make more than 100 brands of dog and cat foods.
So far, melamine’s been found in both wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China. Media reports from South Africa suggest a third pet food ingredient, corn gluten, used in that country also was contaminated with melamine. That tainted ingredient has not been found in the United States, the FDA said.
FDA investigators, meanwhile, are awaiting visas that would allow them to visit the Chinese plants where the vegetable protein ingredients were produced.
“Melamine was found in all three of those _ it would certainly lend credibility to the theory that it may be intentional. That will be one of the theories we will pursue when we get into the plants in China,” Stephen Sundlof, the FDA’s chief veterinarian, told reporters.