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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Contaminant Found in Second Pet Food Ingredient

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FDA is investigating an imported shipment of rice protein concentrate that has been found to contain melamine. The rice protein concentrate may have been used as an ingredient in some pet foods. Melamine is the same industrial chemical that was found in wheat gluten imported from China and used in pet food made by Menu Foods, which recalled 60 million cans and pouches of dog and cat food in mid-March of 2007.

Specialists at FDA headquarters and in 8 FDA district offices are investigating the rice protein. So far, FDA has established the following:

  • The suspect shipment of rice protein concentrate was imported and offloaded during the week of April 2, 2007, by San Francisco-based Wilbur-Ellis, an importer and distributor of agricultural products, including rice protein concentrate. The source of the product is identified as Binzhou Futian Biological Technology in China.
  • The shipment consisted primarily of rice protein concentrate in white bags, but also included one pink bag that was labeled, in part, with the word "melamine."
  • On April 15, 2007, Wilbur-Ellis notified FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine about the suspect shipment. On April 16, FDA launched a nationwide investigation tracing 8 import entries identified as being shipped from the Chinese firm since July 2006. FDA testing revealed melamine in both the white and pink bags.
  • Wilbur-Ellis has initiated a recall of all suspect rice protein concentrate it had imported and distributed. See Wilbur-Ellis' press release.

FDA investigators have obtained records showing distribution of the rice protein concentrate to 5 pet food manufacturers in 7 locations. Investigators are currently inspecting all 5 manufacturers and collecting additional samples for testing.

  • FDA initiated inspections at pet food manufacturers Royal Canin USA and C.J. Foods.
  • Both companies have voluntarily recalled certain products. See Royal Canin's press release and Blue Buffalo's press release.
  • FDA also has confirmed the presence of melamine in pet food products containing rice protein concentrate currently under voluntary recall by Natural Balance Pet Foods. The foods are: Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods; Venison and Brown Rice dog treats; and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. See Natural Balance's press release.

In a related development, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) issued a press release on April 19, 2007, stating that its laboratory testing had detected melamine in urine from hogs at the American Hog Farm in Ceres, Calif. Due to the involvement of animal feed, FDA is working with CDFA on this development.

FDA continues to work comprehensively to protect the nation's pet food, as well as to conduct a full investigation to determine any impact on the human food supply. The agency is now sampling all rice protein concentrate from China and continues to sample all wheat gluten imported from China. The agency is ready to increase its surveillance of other products if necessary.

This article appears on FDA's Consumer Health Information Web page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Date Posted: April 23, 2007