Melamine A Hot Commodity, Which Means This

It is widely used. And the practice of adding powdered and even scrap melamine to grain products–a cheap and only “mildy toxic” (!) way to artificially boost protein readings and market prices–did not become popular on a China-wide basis overnight, either.

We who live and dine in America might as well get used to the idea that we’ve probably already consumed an unidentified amount of melamine and, what’s more, that we may have been doing so for as long as sixteen years (read the last sentence of the excerpt; emphasis mine):

BEIJING (Reuters) – Melamine is so popular as a protein lookalike feed additive that at least one Chinese manufacturer is believed to have torn down buildings to get to leftover scraps, industry officials said on Monday.

Melamine, used in making plastic and fertilizers, was blamed for killing pets in the United States and South America last month after it was found in wheat gluten and rice protein exported from China for use in pet food.

More than 100 brands of pet food were recalled, triggering a round of finger-pointing among pet food suppliers in the U.S. China last week said it would ban melamine-tainted protein products from export and from domestic markets.

Melamine scrap is believed to be commonly mixed in animal feed in China to artificially boost the protein level, especially in soymeal, tricking feedlots and farmers into paying more for feed for chickens and pigs.

“The chemical plant next to us used the melamine scrap as waste for landfill and built houses on it. Then they tore down the buildings to get the scrap once the price rose,” said a manager with Tai’an Yongfeng Feedmill Co. Ltd in the coastal province of Shandong.

“It is a very popular business here. I know people have been mixing this since 1991.”

Crossposted at litbrit

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Melamine A Hot Commodity, Which Means This

  1. Arkades

    Worst news I’ve heard all day.

    This Melamine thing is an ongoing nightmare, and it seems as though we’ve only heard the tip of the iceberg so far.

    Thanks for keeping on top of this issue, Litbrit.

  2. Ditto on the thanks. I just wish there weren’t so much to keep on top of.

  3. Fuckin’ hell. This is just beyond the beyond.

    I’ll add to the chorus for Litbrit rocking out loud for getting the goods on this story.

  4. cellar door

    I wanted to thank you for following this, as well. It’s hard to keep up on the information, and a blogger who does it and shares with the rest of us is a lovely thing.

  5. Jersey

    Probably the reason for autism. Planted my own garden this weekend, thinking about seeing if chicken raising is allowed in my burrough.

  6. Goodness, everyone, you’re all welcome–I’d say my usual “it’s my pleasure”, but not really, you know?! Regardless, it is my job, as it is, to do my best to find out whatever facts I can, organize them, and put them out in the sunlight.

    Stay tuned.

  7. keshmeshi

    The Chinese have been using it for 16 years, but for how long has food from China been exported to the U.S.? I don’t know about other agricultural products, but I do know that China hasn’t had much success exporting their apples and other fruit here. If this stuff has been incorporated into American food for so long, our pets would have died off a long time ago. Additionally, it’s been used in animal feed, not human food. How much melamime would we actually be eating by eating the flesh of animals raised on the stuff?

  8. oddjob

    My impression is that there wasn’t much agricultural trade with China until Clinton got into office.

  9. Thank you litbrit for continuing to put the facts into the sunlight. Your posts about melamine and the pet food recall are excellent and help to develop a firm understanding of the situation. If more people are aware of what exactly is put into our food, a change can occur. It can help save our lives and our beloved pets.

  10. keshmeshi, I am trying to find accurate data as to when Chinese imports (of edible items) began. I believe it has been at least fifteen years, though, during which time I don’t doubt the melamine spiking was going on with increasing frequency.

    The FDA and ChemNutra, the US import company who brought in the melamine-tainted wheat gluten and rice gluten (much of which is still unaccounted for) both state that it was food-grade gluten. It theoretically could have been shipped to human-food manufacturers, though neither the Feds nor ChemNutra will disclose all the customers.

    Why no deaths until now? The concentration of the melamine in this particular shipment (or shipments) from a specific producer in China (Anying Biologic), which by the way is hundreds of tons, was something like 6%, which indicates an outright overload, or a failure to mix properly.

    There should be no melamine in grain products whatsoever, but growers and businesspeople all over China freely admit the practice has been going on for many years.

    Virtually nothing is known about residual activity of melamine in the body, or about its long term effects. There are no human studies I could locate. If anyone knows of any, please send the links to me, or Melissa.

    Slow poisoning of a nation via grain proteins.

    That’s what this is. And our leaders and agencies who are charged with protecting us simply haven’t.

    Cyanuric acid, one of melamine’s byproducts and also a contaminant in the food, was shown to cause tumors in animal studies.

  11. oddjob

    My impression is that there wasn’t much agricultural trade with China until Clinton got into office.

    Wrong! I remember now!

    It was 41 (aka He Who Didn’t Care At All About Tiananmen Square) who had a hard-on about trading with the communists!

  12. mikefromtexas

    Grocery shopping shouldn’t be russian roulette…

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