Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » Food and Agriculture

CHINA: Hong Kong Finds Tainted Chinese Fish Feed


by DAVID BARBOZAThe New York Times
November 12th, 2008

SHANGHAI — Hong Kong food inspectors have found fish feed imported from China contaminated with high levels of melamine, a toxic chemical that has recently been blamed for tainting Chinese-produced milk, eggs and other foods.

The Hong Kong government finding, reported late Tuesday, is the latest indication that melamine, a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizer, has seeped into large parts of China’s food and feed industry, posing potential health hazards to consumers.

In September, melamine-tainted milk was blamed for sickening more than 50,000 children in China and causing the deaths of at least four, many of whom suffered from kidney ailments. That set off global recalls of Chinese dairy products and a nationwide investigation into whether China’s food chain was tainted with melamine.

The government has moved aggressively to deal with the scandal, blanketing the country with food inspectors, but melamine-tainted food and feed products continue to turn up in neighboring regions that trade with China.

Hong Kong officials have discovered melamine in milk, eggs and other food products imported from China, and are now testing a wide range of food and feed products for melamine.

Inspectors said fish feed imported from Fujian Province in southern China was found to have 6.6 parts per million, more than twice the level of melamine deemed safe for food. The acceptable level in Hong Kong and the United States is 2.5 parts per million.

But Hong Kong officials also said in an announcement posted on a government Web site that melamine-tainted fish feed would probably not pose serious health problems for people who consumed fish because consumers would not be directly eating the melamine.

As a precaution, inspectors asked Hong Kong fish farms not to use feed contaminated with melamine.

In late October, newspapers in Vietnam reported that tests on 240 tons of fish feed imported from China had found traces of melamine, but not high levels.

Last year, thousands of pets in the United States were sickened after eating pet food that contained melamine-tainted ingredients from China. That led to the largest pet food recall in the United States.

China has accused rogue food and feed dealers of intentionally spiking milk and food supplies with melamine because the chemical fools tests that measure protein levels. Some dealers use melamine as a cheap feed substitute, perhaps not knowing its dangers.

But in interviews last spring, after the pet food scandal, melamine scrap dealers — who sell the melamine waste material to anyone who will buy it — admitted that feed companies often bought melamine and that it was widely used in the fish feed industry.



This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.