Tainted Chinese Product Was "Wheat Flour" And It Was Also Fed To Fish

We’ve decided to take a week off and let the chemical melamine write the blog, because our feeble minds can not comprehend the extent of the contamination that has entered our food supply. Today’s news is that it is not “wheat gluten” that contaminated the pet food that has killed thousands and thousands of pets, but “wheat flour.” What’s more, the wheat flour was also used as food for fish that were meant for human consumption.

Fantastic news. They don’t know how many U.S. fish farming operations used the tainted feed or what type of fish they fed it to. Some of the fish was probably sold to grocery stores and restaurants, some might have been released into lakes and rivers.

From the Washington Post:

Government scientists said they will conduct a risk analysis to determine whether eating fish that were fed tainted feed raises human health concerns. A similar analysis completed last weekend concluded that chickens fed small amounts of contaminated pet food were safe to eat.

David Acheson, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for food protection, said he is optimistic that the risks of eating fish will be minimal, even though contaminated ingredients may have made up a greater percentage of the fish feed than of the chicken feed.

In other news, the “wheat gluten” was, in fact, simply wheat flour. Chinese manufacturers added melamine to the flour to make it appear to be wheat gluten.

Gluten is the high-protein constituent of flour that remains after starch has been removed. Investigators suspect that Chinese exporters boosted their profits by using cheap, unprocessed, low-protein flour and adding melamine, which gives false high-protein readings.

Nice job. Might want to avoid farm raised fish until they let you know if its ok to eat.—MEGHANN MARCO

Farm-Raised Fish Given Tainted Food [Washington Post]
(Photo:cygnoir)

Comments

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  1. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    So the moral of this story appears to be, grow corn in your backyard and live off of that, otherwise the Chinese death food will kill us all?

  2. Kornkob says:

    See– the people in Jericho who were leery of eating the food from the air drop had a point.

    /obscoure enough?

  3. zibby says:

    Nah, the moral is that the Chinese do not give a F***. If you thought they’d stop at plagiarizing IT manuals and pirating everything they can get their hands on, well, it turns out they wouldn’t.

    In a strange sort of way, ya gotta respect that.

  4. Skiffer says:

    Weren’t there already talks of suing China in World Court over piracy issues? Did that ever happen? Can we sue them over this, too?

  5. B says:

    Wait, are we importing fish from China? I’m not sure how fresh it could be after being shipped halfway across the world, with melamine or not.

  6. Die Schwarze Ewigkeit says:

    Jeeze! I’m starting to run out of things to eat. Good thing I’ve got a stash of those biodegradable packing peanuts around. I guess I’ll have to eat those. They’re like cheese doodles, but without the orange cheese dust.

    …pleh.

  7. K-Bo says:

    @B:
    I think they mean the fish here were fed the food imported from China, but it’s not impossible to get fish from China to the US and have it still be fresh, that’s what they make refrigerated airplanes for.

  8. Skiffer says:

    @B: It was the fish feed that was contaminated and shipped around the world. But we do also import fish from china – like the antibiotic-laced catfish fillets found at wal-mart…

  9. FOOD = POISON

    …some might have been released into lakes and rivers.

    Oh, awesome! So now people can’t even go fishing without wondering whether the fish have already eaten this stuff!

    Does anyone know the symptoms of getting sick from this stuff? I was in a really bad way last week and now I’m wondering if it could have been the fish I ate.

  10. Skiffer says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: All in all – I don’t expect any effects on humans from any of this melamine in any of the food. There’s a big difference between being able to detect a substance and it being at toxic levels.

    True, I don’t want any of it in my food – but realistically, I don’t think there’s any worries.

    As the saying goes, “The solution to pollution is dilution.”

  11. TedSez says:

    Time to consider the concept of “local eating.” Eating foods produced as close to you as possible cuts way down on the energy involved in transportation, allows you to support local growers, and gives you much fresher food. Now it’s apparently safer, too.

  12. paco says:

    @B: Shrimp and crawfish are imported. Snapper is too, sometimes–if it’s really snapper. I’m sure there’s more.

    @TedSez: Yes!

  13. mac-phisto says:

    @TedSez: which is great, but where i live, pregnant women & children cannot eat fish from local streams & it is recommended that adults do not eat more than one serving of fish per week & no more than 3 per month.

    thanks, ge!

  14. Onouris says:

    @zibby:

    OK and you know that how?

    I forgot Americans never pirated anything :S

    Glad I’m not eating any American fish anyway.

  15. holocron says:

    See…We should all be eating cheap, nutritious, and plentiful Soylent products. Soylent green in my favorite! Only 5 more days till Soylent Green day!!!

  16. Skiffer says:

    @mac-phisto: What exactly has GE contaminated the water with? What chemical or from what type of facility? Just curious…

  17. Buran says:

    According to the NY Times, China has gotten caught exporting medicine ingredients contaminated with a close relative of the same stuff that makes antifreeze so deadly. This is not the first time that Chinese companies have knowingly shipped products meant for human consumption that, when eaten, actually killed people — cough medicine is supposed to heal you, not send you to the morgue in a body bag.

    From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine

    From the looks of it it’s time to stop importing food of any kind from China. They’ve shown they cannot be trusted.

  18. Papercutninja says:

    Everyone is talking about how China is an economic giant blah blah blah and they’re going to be the biggest economy etc etc etc. The Chinese “ambition” is going to be the downfall of the global economy. The more large companies rely on imported goods/commodities from China, the more incentive the factories have to produce fake/counterfeit goods.

    It has been well-known in the Chinese-American community to stay AWAY from food that is made in Mainland China (PRC) and to buy stuff from Taiwan or Hong Kong instead. There are many many articles in Chinese-American newspapers with stories on counterfeit food, but the fake baby formula/hair soy sauce/melamine wheat gluten are just big ones that made it to the mainstream media. Chinese factories have been known to make fake medicine, ointments, EVERYTHING.

    Just watch what you buy. If you buy asian groceries, make sure it ain’t from Mainland China/Peoples Republic of China.

  19. lpranal says:

    kornkob, I was actually thinking the same thing while reading this. Looks like there is more than one person still watching that damn show

  20. esqdork says:

    @Papercutninja: Staying away from PRC food only works if they are labeled properly, but the origin of the products might be false.

    These stories will probably do wonders for locally grown organic foods, assuming they are labeled correctly. Maybe the FDA and USDA should step up enforcement.

  21. mopar_man says:

    our feeble minds can not comprehend the extent of the contamination that has entered our food supply.

    I can’t get my femble mind to comprehend why all this shit was imported from China anyway.

  22. jgodsey says:

    if a small Islamist country had contaminated our food supply, we’d be over there kicking their ass like a shot. but china? nah -let’s just keep eating the contamination.

  23. jgodsey says:

    @mopar_man: because we can’t feed ourselves anymore….they call it free trade.

  24. mac-phisto says:

    @Skiffer: PCB. all over new england. the story you will probably recognize the most is their pollution of the upper hudson in ny. i think that’s a superfund now.

  25. jamier says:

    Time to consider the concept of “local eating.” Eating foods produced as close to you as possible cuts way down on the energy involved in transportation, allows you to support local growers, and gives you much fresher food. Now it’s apparently safer, too.

    I agree, but it’s VERY difficult for most people to eat most of their food locally right now, especially for lazy people like me who don’t want to prepare fresh vegetables every day.

    It’s a lot easier to avoid processing and additives as much as possible. This includes meat, the most processed and dangerous food of all. When e coli or salmonella is present in any product except meat, there’s a recall and massive outrage. When those bacteria are in meat, that’s considered normal. Theoretically, food products contain only what is on an ingredient label, but there’s no ingredient label listing what a cow or fish ate and, therefore, what it’s really made out of.

  26. mac-phisto says:

    @jamier: ever put any thought to what sort of fertilizer plants were grown in? i know more than one vietnam vet that refuses to this day to eat rice.

  27. BeastMasterJ says:

    Bleh. Does anyone even know how a person can avoid foodstuffs from PRC? Even if it’s made here, do they need to list foreign ingredients? I’d love to stop buy Chiniese fauxFood, but I’m not ready to go to the whole within-100-miles thing yet.

  28. phrygian says:

    @jamier: The other concern is that eating locally doesn’t guarantee that the feed the livestock is eating is local. Even if you buy livestock feed from a local seller and that feed is labeled as coming from a local factory/plant, you can’t be sure that the ingredients are all local (or even all US-grown/processed).

  29. nuton2wheels says:

    I read a disturbing article in the 05/14 Newsweek that detailed how the renmimbe is kept artificially low by the chinese government. As a result, the cost of producing goods in china stays competitive and attracts short sighted businesses, despite the quality concerns.

    When the chinese decide to accurately reflect the “value” of their currency, production costs will balloon while diminishing the value realized by companies with infrastructure on the mainland. Consequently, these heightened costs will result in consumers bearing the ultimate burden, while domestic competencies in production are lost due to relocated jobs. President Bush has been very reluctant to cause any friction with the chinese, and the US Treasury Dept has yet to call them out on their currency bluff.

    Case in point, we’re obtaining the notorious tainted grain, animal feeds, and fish from china, in addition to all the cheap junk sold at Wal-Mart. We could easily source these products domestically with a smaller carbon footprint, but the chinese are providing them so cheaply that the present cost of fuel used in transportation is negligible. Now we’re also being told to ignore the presence of melamine in our food since it’s “not THAT toxic.” I think that’s a pathetic cop-out. Rather than implementing standards for imported food to protect its citizens, our government is lying on its back for the sake of corporate profits and diplomatic relations. We’re going to hell in a handbasket.

  30. Trai_Dep says:

    I’m trying to imagine the reaction – governmental and popular – if terrorists poisoned out beef and chicken to the point where we need to char it black or be poisoned. Or this nonsense where toxins are gleefully added to base food stocks that penetrate pretty much every type of meat available on the market.

    Visions of Air Carrier fleets assembling and “daisy-cutters” raining down on cities come to mind.

    But it’s out own meat processors’ greed or agribusiness that does it, and the FDA/EPA/USDA extolls the magic of the unrestrained marketplace…

  31. zibby says:

    @Onouris: I’m too busy right now to explain the obvious. Google “IP rights China” and “Huwei Cisco” for starters and read up.

    And yeah, Americans pirate stuff – but I’m comfy saying it’s a lot less prevalent here.