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New Threat Found in Chinese Fish: Melamine

by 5m Editor
2 January 2009, at 12:00am

US - The Catfish Institute in Louisiana has warned that the imports could contain melamine, the substance discovered in Chinese milk powder. Currently, FDA does not test for this chemical in seaffod imported from China.

Louisiana has been fighting the sale of seafood imported from China for years, according to Daily World.

Probably the strongest measure was taken in 2005, when the state agriculture department moved to stop sales of Asian seafood after it was discovered that the imports contained fluoroquinolones. The antibiotic could boost the resistance of potentially harmful bacteria found in the fish. If such bacteria are passed along to humans in the food chain, the efficiency of needed antibiotics could be reduced, the agency said.

The Catfish Institute says the US Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of imported fish, currently does not require screening of seafood products for melamine. This is despite the fact that laboratory studies of melamine-fed catfish, trout, tilapia and salmon by the FDA's Animal Drugs Research Center found melamine concentrations of up to 200 parts per million. That is 80 times the maximum "tolerable" amount set by the FDA for safe consumption.

Since melamine has been linked to illness on the part of thousands of children, the Chinese government has begun to crack down on melamine suppliers. Still, Chinese shipments of contaminated fish continue to be detained at US ports, exposing holes in the Chinese food-safety system that analysts say is undermined by a lack of resources, corruption and unscrupulous businesses that will sometimes mislabel or reroute goods through other countries.

5m Editor