Farm Raised Fish Contaminated

This isn’t the kind of thing anyone wants to be able to say “I told you so”. Suffice it to say, I’m thrilled that I’ve fed my family ONLY wild-caught seafood. Of course, there’s not enough to go around, with wild supplies lasting possibly 90-days every year, but I’ll take that over being poisoned by the Chinese. And people thought the terrorists were in the Middle East…... -Sharon

Farm-raised fish were fed contaminated material

By ANDREW BRIDGES
Associated Press

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/4785636.html

WASHINGTON — Farmed fish were fed meal spiked with an industrial chemical linked to the ongoing recall of pet foods, though the contamination level was probably too low to pose a danger to anyone who may have eaten the fish, federal health officials said today.

The Canadian-made meal included what was purported to be wheat gluten, a protein source, imported from China. The material was actually wheat flour spiked by the chemical melamine and related, nitrogen-rich compounds to make it appear more protein rich than it was, officials said.

After pigs and chickens, the farmed fish mark the third food animal given contaminated feed. The level of contamination is expected to be too low to pose any danger to human health, said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for food protection.

It wasn’t immediately clear if any of the farmed fish entered the food supply. However, Acheson said at least one firm’s fish were still too young and small to be sold. Investigators were visiting other U.S. aquaculture farms that used the contaminated feed.

Melamine, a chemical found in plastics and pesticides and not approved for use in pet or human in the U.S., contaminated pet food that either sickened or killed an unknown number of dogs and cats. Since March 16, more than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled because they were contaminated with melamine.

Acheson said that fish samples would be screened for signs of melamine. “Depending upon what we find in that testing, that is going to drive the next steps,” Acheson said.

Canadian officials are aware of the finding, Acheson said.

“We used it to make pet food. They used it to make fish meal,” he told reporters.

Federal health and food officials have said some 20 million chickens and thousands of hogs also were fed feed contaminated by melamine. As with the fish, they said the risk to human health is very low.

U.S. investigators also have learned that the purported Chinese wheat gluten and a second ingredient, rice protein concentrate, were actually simple wheat flour. The flour was spiked with melamine and related, nitrogen-rich compounds to make it appear more protein rich than it was. In tests, nitrogen levels are measured to gauge the overall protein content of food ingredients.

“What we discovered is these are not wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate but in fact are wheat flour contaminated by melamine,” Acheson said.

The FDA is considering enforcement options, he added. The ingredients came from two Chinese firms: Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. and Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd.


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