Melamine in feed is an “open secret”

Mixing of the industrial chemical melamine with animal feed to make the feed appear higher in protein is a common practice and an “open secret” in the industry, the Associated Press reported, citing Chinese press reports. The admission hints that the scope of the latest Chinese food scandal may extend far beyond tainted milk and eggs.


The acknowledgement was first reported by the Nanfang Daily newspaper, then republished on the websites of the Xinhua News Agency and the People’s Daily. Such extensive coverage of a food scandal is rare for the Chinese media and appears to be a tacit admission by the central government that the problem is widespread.


High levels of melamine – commonly found in fertilisers and plastics – were detected in at least four brands of Chinese eggs from hens thought to have been given tainted feed. That finding followed the discovery of contaminated milk and milk powder, which sickened tens of thousands of Chinese children and was linked to the death of four infants.


Although the deliberate addition of melamine to food products is illegal in China, the chemical’s widespread use indicates that the authorities are not able to control it. In recent years, it has been repackaged and sold as “protein powder”, the Nanfang Daily reported. Chinese health officials have pledged to enforce stricter standards for future food production.


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