U.S. Quarantines 6,000 Hogs Fed Tainted Pet Food

ByABC News
March 23, 2008, 11:40 PM

Mar. 23 -- THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Some 6,000 hogs have been quarantined across eight U.S. states because they may have eaten contaminated salvage pet food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday.

At the same time, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said that meat from 345 hogs that ate tainted feed has already entered the U.S. food supply, the Associated Press reported.

The quarantined hogs are on farms in California, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma and Ohio, the AP said. And the USDA reported that swine from slaughterhouses in Kansas and Utah may have entered the food supply. Government officials, however, consider the threat to human health to be very low.

The swine are thought to have been exposed to food contaminated by two chemicals, melamine and cyanuric acid, that was sent as salvage by companies who have had to recall massive quantities of dog and cat food as the pet food recall rolls on.

"Today we notified eight states that adulterated swine products will not be approved to enter the food supply," Capt. David Elder, director of the FDA's Office of Enforcement Office of Regulatory Affairs, said during a late afternoon teleconference.

He stressed, however, that "based on information currently available, the FDA and the USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating such pork is extremely low. However, the agencies also believe it is prudent to take this measure."

According to the AP, potentially contaminated pet food scraps may also have found their way to a poultry feed mill in Missouri. That case remains under investigation.

Melamine was first found in pet foods manufactured by the Canadian company Menu Foods, which began its widely publicized recall March 16. That recall included moist dog and cat foods made with melamine-contaminated wheat gluten imported from China.

The recall has since expanded to other pet food manufacturers and other pet food ingredients, including imported rice protein concentrate and corn gluten.