Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Article in the Washingon Post -- Pet Deaths Spur Call for Better FDA Screening:Imports Raise Concern About Human Foods, by Rick Weiss and Ariana Eunjung Cha. Here's an excerpt:
Amid growing revelations that suppliers in China frequently spike pet food and other food ingredients with contaminants to boost profits, momentum is building in Washington to bolster the Food and Drug Administration's capacity to detect and screen out adulterated imports.
Several Chinese suppliers conceded over the weekend that adding melamine to pet food ingredients -- now blamed for the deaths of many animals in the United States and possible contamination of the human food supply -- is but the latest technique for fooling U.S. companies into thinking they are purchasing a high-quality product.
Before melamine there was urea, Chinese traders said -- another nitrogen-rich chemical that was used to give false high scores on tests of protein content but was abandoned after it made animals ill.
The task of guarding against contaminants in imports has become far more complicated because an increasing portion of the tens of billions of dollars in Chinese food and agricultural imports involves powders and concentrates for the processed-food industry -- including the wheat gluten and rice protein at the center of the pet food scandal. Animal feed imports alone grew sevenfold from 2001 to 2006, the Commerce Department says.