The U.S. food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed the presence of melamine in fish feed manufactured in Canada. Skretting, Nutretco's Canadian aquafeed company based in British Columbia, Canada, is recalling fish feed to contamination with melamine. To date, FDA analysis has shown one positive sample of contaminated fish feed from a hatchery in the United States, and that's Marion Forks Hatchery in Oregon.
The hatchery manager had discontinued use of the feed which according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was used as a starter diet for juvenile salmon and trout. The fish feed was manufactured in Vancouver, Canada, by the Skretting Company and distributed under the Bio-Oregon label out of Longview, Washington.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also reported that same lot from Screeting was sent to the Willamette Gnat Creek, Big Creek, Cold River, Butte Falls and Leesburg (sp) Hatcheries throughout the state. Skretting is undertaking its own investigation and notifying all commercial fisheries and fish hatcheries that received the product including U.S. customers and advising them not to use the feed. The company is offering replacement feed to affected customers.
FDA investigators are working to determine the scope of fish feed distribution and whether any of the fish that were fed the melamine-containing products have been released into the environment or eaten by humans. The human health risk assessment that was announced this past Monday on May 7 also included an assessment for eating fish. Based on that assessment, federal scientists from multiple agencies concluded that humans who may have eaten fish fed the melamine-containing feed face a very low health risk. The investigation, including additional sample collections analysis, is continuing, and we will continue to update all of you as we obtain validated information during that investigation.
FDA said in a press briefing that it is in constant communication with the Canadian Food Inspection Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other state agencies and continues to work collaboratively with all agencies in the investigation.
With regard to sampling, Dr. David Acheson Assistant Commissioner for Food Protection with the FDA, said all vegetable protein products imported or transshipped from China cannot come into the United States unless they've been tested for melamine, cyanuric acid, or other melamine-derived compounds. So those products are not allowed into U.S. commerce until they have been shown to be safe.
Also, at the port FDA has a sampling assignment underway for pet food imported from China, and that is pet food that specifically could contain melamine or melamine-related compounds.
"We also have a sampling assignment that is due to begin very soon focused on animal feed, and that will include directed and targeted samplings of fish feed – again, all imported from China", he said.