|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Several hundred of the 6,000 hogs that may have eaten contaminated pet food are believed to have entered the food supply for humans, the government said Thursday. The potential risk to human health was said to be very low.
The government told the three states involved it would not allow meat from any of the hogs that ate the feed to enter the food supply.
No more than 345 hogs from farms in California, New York and South Carolina are involved, according to the Agriculture Department. It appears the large majority of the hogs that may have been exposed are still on the farms where they are being raised, spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said.
Salvaged pet food from companies known or suspected of using a tainted ingredient was shipped to hog farms in seven states for use as feed.
The government will compensate farmers if they kill those hogs, said Kenneth Peterson of department's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The department knew of no countries moving to suspend imports of U.S. pork products.
Also, a poultry feed mill in an eighth state, Missouri, also received possibly contaminated pet food scraps left over from production. The fate of the feed made from that waste was under investigation.
The pet food sent to the farms later was discovered to have an ingredient, rice protein concentrate, imported from China that was tainted by an industrial chemical, melamine. Testing also revealed other related and similarly banned compounds, including cyanuric acid. Food and Drug Administration inspectors were preparing to visit China as part of the agency's investigation.
Melamine is not considered a human health concern. But there is no scientific data on the health effects of melamine combined with the other compounds, said David Elder, director of enforcement for the FDA.
Still, the FDA and Agriculture Department believe the likelihood of someone becoming ill after eating pork from hogs fed contaminated feed is very low. Meanwhile, the University of California, Davis, is developing a test to measure melamine levels in tissue, Andrews said.