Animal health officials have quarantined 1,400 hogs at a Western North Carolina farm because at least some of the animals ingested melamine contaminated feed. Collected samples have confirmed the presence of the melamine in the urine of some of the swine.
North Carolina is one of six states that received shipments of contaminated pet food. The pet food is sometimes fed to hogs when it has cosmetic blemishes. South Carolina also received some of the shipments of tainted food. The other states that received the tainted feed are California, Kansas, New York and Utah.
The distributor that sold the tainted feed to the North Carolina farm is Diamond Pet Foods of Gaston, South Carolina. The melamine contamination is believed to have originated in rice protein concentrate from China.
"We want to make sure people understand that all the N.C. animals that may have come in contact with this feed are accounted for and none have entered the food supply," said N.C. assistant state veterinarian Mary Ann McBride. "Based on what we know now, we have no reason to believe that there is any risk associated with the N.C. pork supply at this time."
On April 26 (2007) the USDA notified state authorities that swine fed the contaminated feed would not be allowed into the food supply. USDA is compensating swine producers who must euthanize their animals because of the contamination.
The USDA says 6,000 hogs from all states may have ingested the tainted feed. The agency said it is possible that pork products from animals that have eaten the contaminated feed could also be tainted but at this time there is no evidence of harm to humans. It also assessed that any harm to human health would be very low because of the dilution of the melamine in meat products.
So far there are no reports of animals being made sick from ingesting the contaminated feed.
For more information on the melamine contaminated products including a pet food recall, visit www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html#update.