Pork Contamination Spreads, FDA Widens Human Food Inspection
Consumers may want to steer away from eating pork after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that hog farms in at least five states, including New York, have been quarantined amid concerns that hog feed at those farms have been contaminated with melamine. Thousands of hogs could have been affected.
One poultry farm in Missouri was also affected.
Pet food which has been salvaged from manufacturers that have issued pet food recalls because of potential melamine contamination has been traced to hog farms in California, North Carolina, South Caroline, New York, Utah and possibly Ohio. Samples of hog urine from farms in three of the states, California, North Carolina and South Carolina, have tested positive for melamine. FDA said it hadn’t yet received test results from the identified hog farms in other states.
Six grain products-wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice bran and rice protein-which are used in foods ranging from bread to pizza to baby formula, are to be inspected by the FDA for traces of melamine, the same industrial chemical used in plastics and fertilizer that is said to have killed over 4,000 cats and dogs by kidney failure and have sickened thousands more.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in its continuing investigation following the detection of melamine in the urine of pigs at a Stanislaus County hog farm, has traced animals from the farm to several other Northern California meat vendors.
One of the vendors is a federally inspected facility, and the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Services agency has reported that it was able to secure all product from the American Hog Farm in Ceres, Ca., before it entered the commercial food supply. Three other vendors are state-inspected facilities. Of those, one received animals during the time period in question that were not exposed to melamine-contaminated feed. At the property of another vendor, CDFA was able to account for and quarantine all of the exposed animals on-site, before they could be sold.
The third vendor, Bar None of Half Moon Bay, received hogs that were possibly exposed to contaminated feed. 42 pigs were purchased this month from the hog farm and may have consumed the feed.
CDFA staff have been working through the weekend to contact customers of the American Hog Farm and Bar None, to inform them that the California Department of Health Services is recommending that the pigs in question not be consumed and-if the pork has already been eaten-that California State Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Horton considers the health risks to be minimal.
Attempts are being made to reach approximately 50 customers of the two companies. Of those, at least 18 may not be reachable due to incomplete or erroneous contact information.
Both Bar None and the American Hog Farm operated what are known as custom slaughterhouses, which are state-inspected and, by law, may only sell to individuals for personal use and not for resale.
It is believed the melamine originated with rice protein concentrate shipped from China. Through an importer, the concentrate was distributed to Diamond Pet Foods, a pet food manufacturer in Lathrop, which sold pet food scraps to the American Hog Farm for pig feed.
People who may have purchased pork from one of the two custom California slaughterhouses may call 916-654-0504 for more information.
The FDA says it has no intent to ban imports of wheat gluten, rice protein or similar products from China.
At a news briefing Tuesday, the FDA released the name of one of the last two companies said to have received the contaminated rice protein concentrate but the FDA is still withholding the name of the another manufacturer which may be marketing contaminated food. A FDA spokesman said that the company was exercising its “right” to test its own foods for the presence of contaminants.
Recent reports have indicated that in addition to the contaminated wheat gluten found during the first wave of pet food recalls, contaminated shipments of rice protein and corn gluten have been used for pet food and could have entered the human food supply. On April 2nd, a Chinese company, Binzhou-Futian, sold rice protein to Wilbur-Ellis and a second unknown importer. Wilbur-Ellis has said that the shipment was distributed to five pet food manufacturers. Now four of the five of those manufacturers have revealed themselves and recalled food.
The fourth company identified by the FDA said to have received the contaminated rice protein concentrate, SmartPAC, has recalled a single productin run of its LiveSmart Weight Management Chicken and Brown Rice product.
The particular lot of food recalled included rice protein concentrate that was supplied by Wilbur-Ellis, the same company that supplied rice protein concentrate contaminated with melamine to Natural Balance. 4-24-07
SOURCE: © 2007 North Country Gazette