Food and Drug Administration officials said this afternoon that they will begin testing a variety of finished food products manufactured with imported protein concentrate as proactive surveillance for melamine.
In addition, perhaps "thousands" of hogs in North Carolina, South Carolina, California, New York, Utah and possibly Ohio have been quarantined from the human food supply after urine tested positive for melamine, according to Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. He said it's believed that less than 10 firms in the United States distributed salvaged contaminated pet food for use as hog feed before it was known that the rice protein concentrate was contaminated. FDA is also investigating the possibility that a poultry farm in Missouri may have received some of the contaminated feed. All recalled pet food must be disposed of in a landfill or incinerated at the manufacturer's expense, a FDA official said.
David Acheson, chief medical officer for FDA's Center for Food Safety, said that there is no evidence that contaminated protein concentrate has gone directly to food manufacturers. But the new surveillance and testing program is proactive to ensure it hasn't. "After we found contaminated rice protein concentrate, it was prudent to ask where else it might have gone," Acheson said. FDA will be expanding testing over the upcoming weeks with 100% sampling of wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, rice protein concentrate, rice bran and soy protein imported from China. The agency will track those products using the prior notices required to be filed with FDA under the Bioterrorism Act.