FDA recalls melamine-tainted animal feed

Products found to contain melamine, but unlike pet food recall, contamination came from within the United States.

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration recalled products used to make animal feed Wednesday because they contain melamine and related compounds, which were responsible for the recent recall of more than 60 million cans and bags of pet food.

The FDA said it is alerting livestock and fish/shrimp feed manufacturers that may have used the products.

The products affected by the recall are from Tembec BTLSR Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, and Uniscope Inc. of Johnstown, Colo., said Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food protection at the agency.

Tembec makes AquaBond and Aqua-Tec II for Uniscope, which distributes them. And Uniscope makes Xtra-Bond with ingredients it buys from Tembec.

All the products are used as binders in pelleted feed for cattle, sheep and goats, or fish and shrimp.

Monday's recall differs from recent recalls of melamine-tainted pet food in that the source of the contamination is from within the United States, not China. In addition, Wednesday's recall is unrelated to the pet food recalls.

"It's not a product that has wound up in pet food," Acheson said.

The FDA is in the process of notifying international regulatory authorities "where we know they were shipped," Acheson said. He would not identify the countries, he said, until the notification process is complete.

Melamine, an industrial ingredient used in the manufacture of plastics, is not an approved feed additive and is no longer being added to the feed, Acheson said.

The case came to the attention of the FDA on May 18, when Uniscope - which had tested the product itself and found that it contained melamine - notified the FDA, said Capt. David Elder, director of FDA's Office of Enforcement, Office of Regulatory Affairs.

By May 21, the FDA started inspections at Uniscope and Tembec, he said.

Both companies have been cooperative, Elder said. Neither company responded immediately to telephone calls seeking comment.

Acheson said it was not clear how much of the tainted product was produced over what period of time.

Asked whether it is odd that Tembec would continue to manufacture with melamine, which has received widespread negative attention over the past several months of recalls, Acheson said, "That's part of the active investigation."

In addition, the FDA is investigating the possibility that the Tembec and Uniscope products also contain "a urea formaldehyde resin-type ingredient," it said.

The agency "will take appropriate regulatory action if warranted."

The FDA estimated the level of melamine and related compounds in livestock feed using the tainted ingredients as less than 50 parts per million, and the levels in fish and shrimp feed at less than 233 ppm and 465 ppm respectively.

"FDA advises feed manufacturers and others who mix their own feed not to use these products, and to contact the manufacturers," the agency said in a written statement.

"FDA advises feed manufacturers to recall finished feed that is made from AquaBond or Aqua-Tech II," it added.

No recall is warranted of the feed made from Xtra-Bond based on the amount of melamine and related products it is estimated to contain, Acheson said.

An FDA interim safety/risk assessment has concluded that the potential exposure is about 250 times lower than the dose considered safe. Top of page