US: Poultry checks for melamine
US officials will start sample checks on processed meat and poultry products.
The products are already on shop shelves, they will be checked for for traces of melamine contamination.
The US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has said that a general sampling plan to check those meat and poultry products that contain milk-derived ingredients such as non-fat dried milk, casein, whey, evaporated milk, and milk powder.
It is the latest in a urge of measures introduced in the US after the deaths of four infants in China linked to consuming baby milk contaminated with the industrial chemical.
“In light of recent disclosures of melamine being found in certain imported food products, FSIS has determined that it is prudent to do a small amount of sampling to see if there is any reason to be concerned about the presence of this chemical in meat and poultry products,” the FSIS said in a statement.
The products it has chosen for sampling fall into five categories are:
- Baby food; containing a significant amount of meat or poultry products.
- Cooked sausages; including hot dogs or frankfurters with and without cheese products.
- Breaded chicken; bite sized morsels or nuggets with and without cheese products. Examples include “Chicken and Cheese Nugget Shaped Patties”.
- Meat and poultry wrapped in dough and pizza (including calzones). Examples include products enrobed in a dough that are often identified with descriptive names such as “Pizza Snacks-Crust Filled with Cheese, Sausage and Sauce”.
It is planned that the agency will collect and test a total of 45 samples per week over a 12-week period.
Reports state further that it has also issued examples of common milk-derived ingredients for investigators to look for on the label of meat and poultry products, which include dried milk, whey, casein, milk solids, caseinates, hydrolyzed milk protein, cheese products and flavours.
Samples for analyses will be sent by investigators to make sure that they are above the guidance level identified by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
During October this year, the FDA announced that any food product other than infant formula that contains less than 2.5 parts per million (ppm) of the industrial chemical does not pose safety risks for consumers.
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