The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has opened a criminal investigation after reports surfaced that over 100 hogs were fed contaminated food and later wound up on consumers’ dinner tables.
The hogs were slaughtered in California’s Central Valley after ingesting feed that contained rice protein tainted with melamine, a chemical that has made many dogs and cats ill and caused several pet deaths world wide.
People that purchased pork from American Hog Farm in California between April 3-18 are being advised not to consume the meat, although California health officials say there have been no reports of illness in the hogs or consumers. The authorities are currently trying to track all the purchasers.
While the risk is minimal, the investigation in only in the infancy stage, said California Department of Health Services.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture imposed the quarantine Thursday after records from Diamond Pet Food’s Lathrop facility showed it sold salvage pet food to the farm for pig feed earlier this month. Those shipments from Diamond, which produces products under the Natural Balance brand, were later found to have melamine, traced to rice protein concentrate imported from China.
Melamine, which is used in making plastics and other industrial processes, has been blamed for causing health problems in dozens of dogs and cats, but the Food and Drug Administration could not provide numbers of pet deaths or injuries due to the contaminated food.
The house pets that have died from contaminated pet food likely had long-term exposure to the chemical through their diet, but the pigs on American Hog Farm were likely only exposed about two weeks, Breitmeyer said. The hogs appeared healthy, officials said.
Continue reading about the contaminated pork recall.