The mildly toxic chemical melamine is commonly added to animal feed in China, a manager of a feed company and one of the chemical's producers said Monday, a process that boosts the feed's sales value but risks introducing the chemical into meat eaten by humans.
Customers either don't know or aren't concerned about the practice, said Wang Jianhui, manager of the Kaiyuan Protein Feed company in the northern city of Shijiazhuang.
"We've been running the melamine feed business for about 15 years and receiving positive responses from our customers," Wang said.
"Using the proper quantity of melamine will not harm the animals. Our products are very safe, for sure," he said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government said Monday that 38 poultry farms in Indiana were given feed containing melamine in early February, with some of the animals likely to have entered the food supply.
The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration said there was a "low risk" to humans and no food recalls were expected at this time. They are uncertain how many animals were involved or entered the food supply.
Pet food tainted with melamine was found in feed given to hogs. Last week, the USDA said around 6,000 hogs in six states: California, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah: may have been given the contaminated feed.