Media Contact: Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, 916-654-0462
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in its continuing investigation following the detection of melamine in the urine of pigs at a Stanislaus County hog farm, has traced animals from the farm to several other Northern California meat vendors.
One of the vendors is a federally inspected facility, and the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Services agency has reported that it was able to secure all product from the American Hog Farm in Ceres before it entered the commercial food supply. Three other vendors are state-inspected facilities. Of those, one received animals during the time period in question that were not exposed to melamine-contaminated feed. At the property of another vendor, CDFA was able to account for and quarantine all of the exposed animals on-site, before they could be sold.
The third vendor, Bar None of Half Moon Bay, received hogs that were possibly exposed to contaminated feed. 42 pigs were purchased this month from the hog farm and may have consumed the feed.
CDFA staff have been working through the weekend to contact customers of the American Hog Farm and Bar None, to inform them that the California Department of Health Services is recommending that the pigs in question not be consumed and—if the pork has already been eaten—that California State Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Horton considers the health risks to be minimal.
Attempts are being made to reach approximately 50 customers of the two companies. Of those, at least 18 may not be reachable due to incomplete or erroneous contact information.
Both Bar None and the American Hog Farm operated what are known as custom slaughterhouses, which are state-inspected and, by law, may only sell to individuals for personal use and not for resale.
On April 18, CDFA was notified by the FDA that melamine-contaminated feed was likely delivered to the American Hog Farm. That same day, the farm was quarantined by California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer and urine and feed samples were collected for analysis. On April 19, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at U.C. Davis (CAHFS) reported that the urine was positive for melamine.
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 pet food scraps to the American Hog Farm for pig feed.
The investigation into this incident continues, and additional lab work on pig urine, serum and tissue samples continues at the CAHFS lab in Davis.
People who may have purchased pork from one of the two custom slaughterhouses may call 916-654-0504 for more information.