December 15, 2008

US tests for melamine in meat products

The USDA has begun testing certain domestically produced meat products, baby foods, sausages, meatballs and other products for melamine contamination.

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) spokeswoman Amanda Eamich said on Thursday (Dec 11) USDA was doing the test because domestic meat products may contain suspicious ingredients.

In a document by FSIS dated Dec 11, the agency has determined it is prudent to do a small amount of sampling to see if there is any reason to be concerned about the presence of this chemical in meat and poultry products.

The document was drafted to "inform investigators" that they are to "collect certain types of products at retail stores for testing for the presence of melamine."

Earlier this year, melamine-contaminated dairy products sickened and killed infants in China. FDA officials said that no contaminated baby formula was legally imported into the US from China but that other dairy products that tested positive had been brought in.

Melamine is a toxic chemical used in plastics and fertiliser.

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