Food Safety Focus (11th Issue, June 2007) – Food Incident Highlight
Contamination of Animal Feed with Melamine and Food Safety
In early May, the authorities in the United States found that certain pet food for cats and dogs and feed for hogs, chickens and fish had been contaminated with melamine and its related compounds. Melamine, a nitrogen containing substance, is a chemical used in the manufacture of plastics. Its presence in feed can make the protein level appears higher than reality during crude analysis.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) have conducted a joint risk assessment on human exposure of melamine from the consumption of affected pork, poultry etc. Their interim assessment concluded that exposure level in the worst case was 250 times lower than what is considered safe and an adult had to consume over 300 kg of contaminated pork each day to reach a level that may cause a health concern. The Centre for Food Safety will continue to monitor the situation.