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Pigs Quarantined in US Farm Following Melamine Contamination

The melamine contamination of pet food continues to takes it toll in the US. Now a hog farm in the Stanislaus county in Calinfornia //was placed under quarantine following detection of the industrial chemical melamine in pig urine in the farm.

Additional testing was under way to determine if the chemical was present in the meat produced by that farm since April 3, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).

"Although all animals appear healthy, we are taking this action out of an abundance of caution," State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer said in a statement. "It is unknown if the chemical will be detected in meat."

Californian officials believe the melamine came from rice protein concentrate imported from China by Diamond Pet Food's Lathrop facility, from which the hog farm buys its pet food.

So from wheat gluten to rice protein, the melamine trail seems to continue. In March last the problem broke out.

There was a massive recall of pet food following reports of kidney failure in cats and dogs. The outbreak was blamed on the melamine contamination of wheat gluten imported from China and used in the manufacture of pet food. Melamine is used in making plastics and other industrial processes.

Officials were investigating the hog farm's sales records to determine who may be affected by the quarantine, said Steve Lyle, a CDFA spokesman. The 1,500-animal farm operates as a "custom slaughterhouse," which means it generally does not supply meat to commercial outlets.

"Mostly it is not so-called mainstream pork. This is an operation that sells to folks who come in and want a whole pig," said Steve Lyle, a CDFA spokesman.

Officials urged those who purchased pigs from the farm since April 3 not to consume the product until further notice.

Dr. Mark Horton, the state public health officer, said so far "evidence suggests a minimal health risk to persons w ho may have consumed pork" from the farm.

Specialist at the headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and another eight district offices are continuing to investigate the incidents and causes. Inspections and samples are being taken.

The latest national investigations have traced a total of eight imports from China dating back to July 2006.

Distributions to a total of five pet food manufacturers within seven locations in the U.S. have also been identified.

Voluntary recalls continue to take place by several manufacturers who have discovered the contaminated pet foods. The FDA expects manufacturers to continue initiating their voluntary recalls to remove these products from the store shelves, it has been stated.


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