China investigating wheat gluten claims

China is investigating U.S. claims that a Chinese company exported contaminated wheat gluten implicated in pet deaths in the United States, a Chinese official said Friday.

China investigating wheat gluten claims

China isinvestigating U.S. claimsthat a Chinese company exported contaminated wheat gluten implicated in petdeaths in the United States,a Chinese official said Friday, the first time the government has weighed in onthe issue.

"We are investigating this," said Zeng Xing, an official with thepress office of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspectionand Quarantine. The administration monitors the export of food, animals andfarm products.

It is the first recent high-profile incident of a tainted product beingexported. In domestic cases — such one involving the drug regulators who tookbribes to approve shoddy drugs — the government has stepped in and promisedinvestigations.

Meanwhile, Chinese veterinarians and animal rights activists said they werenot aware of any reports of deaths in China due to tainted pet food.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administrationhas identified a Chinese company in the eastern city of Xuzhou as the supplier of the tainted gluten.The FDA last week blocked wheat gluten imports from Xuzhou Anying BiologicTechnology Development Co., saying they contained melamine, a chemical found inplastics and pesticides.

The FDA has confirmed about 15 pet deaths, while anecdotal reports suggesthundreds of cats and dogs may have died of kidney failure from the taintedfood.

More than 100 brands of pet foods and treats have been recalled in one ofthe largest pet food recalls in history, said Stephen Sundlof, director of theFDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Zeng said a report posted to the administration's official newspaper earlierthis week led some to believe China denied exporting any wheat gluten to theUnited States. She said that the administration meant that it had neverexported any wheat gluten containing a rat poison, aminopterin.

The New York State Food Laboratory last month identified aminopterin as thelikely culprit in the pet food, a finding the FDA later rejected.

Zeng confirmed that Chinais looking into the claim that it exported wheat gluten containing melamine butdeclined to give any other details.

The company has also said it is investigating the matter.

Las Vegas-based ChemNutra Inc., which imported the wheat gluten and shippedit to companies that make pet food, said Tuesday that Xuzhou Anying had neverreported the presence of melamine in the content analysis it provided.

Earlier this week, Geng Xiujuan, Xuzhou Anying's sales manager, said thegluten was not manufactured by the privately-owned firm, but was bought fromcompanies in neighboring provinces.

Xuzhou Anying produces and exports more than 10,000 tons of wheat gluten ayear, according to its Web site. But only 873 tons were linked to tainted U.S. pet food, raising the possibility that moreof the contaminated product could still be on the market in China, orabroad.

Mary Peng, a manager of the InternationalCenter for Veterinary Services in Beijing, said she's been receiving four to five queries aday from worried pet owners in Chinaasking which food brands are safe. However, there have been no reports ofanimals sickened by pet food.

"We have not had any reports so far of any animals sickened with theseparticular symptoms," she said.

Zu Shuxian, an animal rights activist and lecturer at the Anhui MedicalUniversity in eastern China, said healso has not heard of any domestic cases.

Melamine is used to make plastic kitchenware, glues,countertops, fabrics, fertilizers and flame retardants. It also is both acontaminant and byproduct of several pesticides, including cyromazine,according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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