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U.S. officials in China to probe tainted pet products

U.S. officials in China to probe tainted pet products

U.S. food and drug officials were in Beijing yesterday to step up a joint investigation with Chinese authorities into tainted pet food products that have killed numerous animals in the United States.
The delegation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were meeting with their counterparts to launch the inspection into how the chemical melamine, a substance used in fertilizers and plastics, had found its way into wheat gluten exported to the United States, a U.S. embassy spokeswoman said.
The wheat gluten was used as an additive in the pet food.
"The FDA ... have sent a team to China to work with the Chinese government to find answers about the contamination of wheat gluten and rice products that were exported to the United States," the spokeswoman said.
The team was meeting with "appropriate" Chinese officials on the matter, despite an ongoing week-long May Day holiday, she added.
The tainted wheat gluten has been found in nearly 100 brands of U.S. pet food. Melamine is used to enhance nitrogen-levels in the food and is believed to have led to kidney failure in pets.
Joint investigation
Adding melamine to food products is illegal in the United States, but appears to be widely used in China. It is not known to be toxic to humans.
The Chinese on Monday agreed to a joint investigation into the issue.
"The Chinese side is very concerned with the U.S. animal food pollution incident that has led to the deaths of some animals and has launched an investigation and adopted a series of emergency measures," the General Administration of Quality, Supervision and Inspection said in a statement on its Web site.
"The Chinese side will respect scientific findings and in the spirit of friendly cooperation work together with the U.S. side to launch a joint investigation."
On March 30 the FDA ordered its field personnel to detain wheat gluten imported from China's Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co because it contained melamine.
China initially denied that the country had exported contaminated pet food ingredients, but last month launched an investigation into the tainted products and has worked to ban the use of melamine in animal food products.
Thirty-eight pets are believed to have died after eating tainted pet food in Oregon state and the nationwide U.S. death toll from the crisis may be far higher, a U.S. veterinarian official said last month.


Updated : 2021-02-28 11:17 GMT+08:00