Chinese authorities confirm melamine in feedstuff

Aquafeed industry main destination for waste melamine in China
October 30, 2008

Chinese authorities confirm melamine in feedstuff

Tests have confirmed the presence of melamine in Chinese feedstuff and regulatory bodies are now widening investigations into the chemical's use, state media reported on Oct. 30.

Reports that melamine was being used to pad out protein counts in the aquaculture industry first surfaced five years ago, according to Xinhua news agency.

"It's easier to mix melamine into fishfeed than it is in other feedstuffs because melamine is a powder, whereas soy meal, used in feed for pigs and poultry, comes in flake form," Wang Changmei, analyst with China Feedstuff Industry Association told the news agency, Interfax.

Investigations stemming from the recent discovery of melamine-contaminated eggs have also shown that some domestic fishfeed is contaminated with other products, such as through the cutting of feed with powdered shell or spices, Wang said.

An even more alarming development is that the melamine used in such activities is often a chemical factory waste product, according to the report.

"The normal price of melamine is around RMB 10,000 ($1,464.77) per ton, which makes it roughly as expensive as milk powder, while waste melamine costs only RMB 800 ($117.18) per ton or less, making it much cheaper than feedstuff," a sales official for Tianjin Kaiwei Chemicals Co. Ltd., surnamed Yuan, told Interfax.

Yuan said some illegal feedstuff producers buy melamine waste powder from chemical factories and add it to feedstuff products to elevate protein content test results and fool inspections, unbeknownst to wholesalers, retailers and terminal buyers.

Professor Mai Kangsen, with the Ocean University of China, said that in his view, the aquafeed industry was the largest destination market for waste melamine in China.