Tainted Animal Feed May Be in Fish
FDA Says Health Risk to Humans Is Low
May 8, 2007 -- Add farmed fish to the list of animals that have been fed
melamine-tainted food made from Chinese ingredients -- but pose little risk to
humans, according to the FDA.
Melamine is a nitrogen-containing molecule that has several industrial uses.
It has been used as a fertilizer in some parts of the world, but melamine
isn't a registered fertilizer in the U.S.
"We have discovered melamine in fish [feed]," the FDA's David
Acheson, MD, told reporters in a news conference today.
Acheson, who is the FDA's assistant commissioner for food protection,
explains that the tainted ingredients came from the same two Chinese companies
linked to melamine-tainted pet food and animal feed fed to U.S. hogs and
Those Chinese companies shipped the tainted ingredients to Canada, which
produced fish feed that was then shipped to several U.S. fish farms.
Acheson said he doesn't know how many fish (or what types of fish) might
have eaten the tainted fish feed.
"This is a new finding. It's a very active part of the
investigation," Acheson says.
Low Risk to Humans
"At this point, based on the risk assessment and the levels that we know
of in the fish [feed], as with the hogs and the poultry, we do not believe that
this poses any significant human health threat," Acheson says.
"Even if these fish have been fed this fish [feed], we believe that the
risk to humans is low," Acheson says.
"We know of a number of firms that received this fish [feed], and our
investigators are getting out there to determine exactly what they are doing
with the fish that have been fed this fish [feed].
"We have so far managed to get to one of these establishments, where we
confirmed the positive finding," Acheson says. "That particular
establishment is dealing with very small fish ... these are tiny fish that are
not yet ready for human consumption."