June 29, 2007


Swiss authorities discover melamine in China's corn gluten shipments



Switzerland has blocked a 2,500-tonne shipment of corn gluten from China has having been contaminated by melamine.


Research from the Swiss research institute Agroscope Liebefeld in Posieux (ALP) said certain Chinese exporters had qualified cereal by-products mixed with urea as being corn gluten. Although urea is allowed in ruminant feeds, its derivates melamine and cyanuric acid are prohibited.


ALP officers took 63 corn gluten samples of which 11 samples did not contain corn gluten. These falsified products contained a mixture of grain by-products, mainly wheat, in which large amounts of urea were found.


Analysis of the samples revealed that up to 15 percent of urea was added to reach a raw protein content of 60 percent to resemble corn gluten.


Two other ingredients, melamine and cyanuric acid were found in four of the 11 samples. Both substances are prohibited in animal feeds.


However, the ALP said most of the shipment had already been fed to farm animals before they were discovered.


Switzerland used to imported corn gluten from the US. However, GMO concerns forced the Swiss to turn to China. The country currently imports 50,000 tonnes a year from China.

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