Tainted Wheat Gluten Recalled

ChemNutra, a Las Vegas-based importer and distributor of wheat gluten, announced a recall of nearly 800 metric tons of the product. The tainted batch, imported from Chinese supplier Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., was found to have the presence of the chemical melamine and has been connected with the pet food contamination scare that has killed dozens of cats and dogs.

ChemNutra supplies wheat gluten to three pet-food manufacturers and one distributor within the pet-food industry. The company says it does not supply wheat gluten to any producers of human food. The recall applies to 25 kg. bags of wheat gluten that were shipped from ChemNutra’s Kansas City plant between November 9, 2006, and March 8, 2007.

Last week, the FDA announced they had discovered melamine in samples of the wheat gluten ChemNutra had imported from Xuzhou Anying. The wheat gluten imported by the company from two other Chinese sources was not found to have any foreign or dangerous elements.

Although the FDA said that the toxic effects of melamine are not yet known, they also said that melamine was “not approved” for use in pet food and “should absolutely not have been in wheat gluten.” Considering that the chemical is used in Asia as a type of fertilizer and is also used in the manufacture of plastic for tile wall panels and Formica, the FDA’s position seems reasonable.

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