Media Contacts: Nancy Lungren, Deputy Secretary of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0433, firstname.lastname@example.org, Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462 , Mike Bowman, Calif. Dept. of Health Svcs. (916) 440-7660
SACRAMENTO – The American Hog Farm, a 1500-animal facility in Ceres, has been quarantined by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and lab testing has revealed the presence of the chemical melamine in pig urine. Additional testing of tissues, serum and urine from animals at the farm is underway at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at UC Davis to determine if melamine is present in meat.
“Although all animals appear healthy, we are taking this action out of an abundance of caution,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer. “It is unknown if the chemical will be detected in meat. The farm is cooperating with us to determine the disposition of all animals that have left the premises since April 3.”
CDFA was notified of the potential problem by the FDA on April 18. A quarantine was established immediately and urine samples were sent to the lab for analysis. The results became known on April 19.
It is believed the melamine originated with rice protein concentrate shipped from China. Through an importer, the concentrate was distributed to Diamond Pet Foods, a pet food manufacturer in Lathrop, which sold salvage pet food to the farm for pig feed.
Tests of salvage pet food/pig feed at the farm were positive for melamine, as were tests on the pet food in question, Natural Balance – the subject of a recall announced April 16.
The American Hog Farm operates a sizable part of its business through a “custom slaughterhouse,” which processes animals on-site and sells them to individuals for personal use and not for resale. Additional sales by the farm continue to be investigated.
The California Department of Health Services (CDHS) recommends that individuals who purchased hogs from the American Hog Farm after April 3, 2007 not consume the product until further notice.
“At this point in the investigation, evidence suggests a minimal health risk to persons who have consumed pork purchased from these facilities over this timeframe,” said State Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Horton.
The investigation is still in the early stages. CDFA, in consultation with CDHS, will continue to work together with their federal partners to investigate this incident. As the investigation and testing continues, additional information and recommendations will be shared with the public as soon as they are available.