More contaminants found in pet food — are we at risk as well?

Humans at risk from tainted pet food?
By Karen Roebuck, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Friday, April 20, 2007

Federal officials confirmed Thursday they are investigating whether pork products intended for humans are contaminated with the same industrial chemical that prompted a massive pet food recall and sickened cats and dogs nationwide.

Researchers also have identified three other contaminants in the urine and kidneys of animals sickened or killed after eating the recalled foods, including cyanuric acid, a chemical commonly used in pool chlorination, three researchers told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Cyanuric acid is what most likely sickened pets, one researcher said.

Melamine previously was found in the recalled pet food and two ingredients — wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate — as well as in the urine, blood, kidneys and tissues of infected animals.

The Trib learned yesterday that melamine-contaminated feed was fed to hogs.The FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are investigating. Some animals that are believed to have eaten the contaminated food were slaughtered and sold as food before authorities learned their feed had been contaminated, said Nancy Lungren, spokeswoman for the California agriculture department. …

Researchers isolated a spoke-like crystal in pet food, wheat gluten and in the urine, kidneys and tissues of infected animals. That crystal serves as a marker for determining what animals were sickened in the outbreak. About 30 percent of those crystals are made up of melamine, one investigator said, and researchers spent several weeks trying to identify what is in the remainder.

Finding cyanuric acid is the more significant finding, Hoff, Goldstein and Mullaney said, although they are not yet certain how toxic it is to animals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site said, “When ingested (by humans) in large amounts, the substance may have effects on the kidneys, resulting in tissue lesions.”

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