China has pledged to tighten supervision of the animal feed industry, state media said Saturday, amid signs a toxic chemical found in milk and eggs was being mixed into livestock feed.
“The ministry will tighten its supervision of the feed industry and crack down on producers who add melamine to their products,” the China Daily quoted Wang Zhicai, head of the Agriculture Ministry’s livestock division as saying.
Melamine, an industrial chemical normally used to make plastic, was first found to have been added to milk in China, leading to the death of four infants and sickening at least 53,000 other people.
The chemical — which can lead to severe kidney problems if ingested in large amounts — was then discovered in Chinese eggs, leading to concerns the chemical was much more prevalent in China’s food chain than initially believed.
A market in Xiamen. China has pledged to tighten supervision of the animal feed industry, state media said Saturday, amid signs a toxic chemical found in milk and eggs was being mixed into livestock feed(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)
Wang acknowledged that the ministry issued a regulation in June last year banning the addition of melamine into livestock feed, according to a transcript of the interview on its website.
“Anyone who adds melamine into feed is acting against the law, we must resolutely combat this,” Wang said.
The ministry also introduced a “rigid” standard to test the level of melamine in feed, Wang said, following a scandal over contaminated feed exported to the United States that killed hundreds of pets there.
Despite this, experts have indicated melamine could still be being mixed into animal feed to make it appear higher in protein, and concerns are mounting that the practice is widespread.
In an editorial published on Friday, the China Daily said it was unclear whether melamine had found its way into other types of food.
Poison in Feed Not A New Problem in China
China’s communist state media is trying to paint the poisoned animal feed problem as a dilemma just uncovered within the last 60-90 days. Sadly, some respected Westen media including the BBC have swallowed and spread this line of lies.
I saw the improper mixing and use of animal feed in China years ago. Chinese farmers were just trying to lessen the cost of feeding chickens and cattle. And agricultural suppliers of all kinds in China work feverishly to sell “cheeper, better” feeds, insecticides and fertilizers.
Beijing’s government has little or no control over the millions of small manufacturers and farmers in the vast countryside of this rural nation of 1.3 billion people. Until this last summer’s Olympics, Beijing had never even had food sanitation and safety standards written much less enforced for restaurants — a very basic of health taken for granted in the West.
On October 31, 2008, the BBC reported that the poison melamine was widely used in many food products in China and that “the melamine scandal began early in September.”
Apparently the BBC took no note of the New York Times report a year ago last April (2007) that melamine was widely used in food products in China — and probably had been for years. The Times called the use a melamine an “open secret” in China.
Here’s the report on melamine in China’s food supply from The New York Times from April 2007:
ZHANGQIU, China, April 28, 2007 — As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.
For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.
“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”
Melamine is at the center of a recall of 60 million packages of pet food, after the chemical was found in wheat gluten linked this month to the deaths of at least 16 pets in the United States.
No one knows exactly how melamine (which is not believed to be particularly toxic) became so fatal in pet food, but its presence in any form of American food is illegal.
The link to China has set off concerns among critics of the Food and Drug Administration that ingredients in pet food as well as human food, which are increasingly coming from abroad, are not being adequately screened.
“They have fewer people inspecting product at the ports than ever before,” says Caroline Smith DeWaal, the director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington. “Until China gets programs in place to verify the safety of their products, they need to be inspected by U.S. inspectors. This open-door policy on food ingredients is an open invitation for an attack on the food supply, either intentional or unintentional.”
Now, with evidence mounting that the tainted wheat gluten came from China, American regulators have been granted permission to visit the region to conduct inspections of food treatment facilities.
The Food and Drug Administration has already banned imports of wheat gluten from China after it received more than 14,000 reports of pets believed to have been sickened by packaged food. And last week, the agency opened a criminal investigation in the case and searched the offices of at least one pet food supplier.
The Department of Agriculture has also stepped in. On Thursday, the agency ordered more than 6,000 hogs to be quarantined or slaughtered after some of the pet food ingredients laced with melamine were accidentally sent to hog farms in eight states, including California.
They must not have the Internet in London because I found the New York Times report on melamine in China’s food supply on the Internet from April 2007 in just seconds.
My Vietnamese-born wife, who has been a guest of the communist prison and torture system said, “When you want to do business with communist China’s news media, you publish what they tell you or else.”
The BBC should be ashamed.