Tainted pet food wheat gluten was "food grade"
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Del Monte Foods has confirmed that the melamine-tainted wheat gluten used in several of its recalled pet food products was supplied as a "food grade" additive, raising the likelihood that contaminated wheat gluten might have entered the human food supply.Question: is it identified as "wheat gluten" on labels, or as something else, such as a more or less generic term?
"Yes, it is food grade," Del Monte spokesperson Melissa Murphy-Brown wrote in reply to an e-mail query...
...Wheat gluten is sold in both "food grade" and "feed grade" varieties. Either may be used in pet food, but only "food grade" gluten may be used in the manufacture of products meant for human consumption...
...Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine said the FDA is not aware of any contaminated gluten that went into human food but said he could not confirm this "with 100 percent certainty." [link] Wheat gluten is a common food additive used as a thickener, dough conditioner, and meat substitute. It is widely used as an additive in commercial bakery items and special purpose flours...
4/3/07 UPDATE: From this:
Tainted wheat gluten that triggered a massive nationwide pet food recall also ended up in processing plants that prepare food consumed by people, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday. While agency leaders offered assurances that the nation's food supply remains safe, they said they cannot yet completely rule out contamination of human food by the suspect wheat gluten, which contained melamine, a chemical found in plastics and pesticides.Given the Bush administration's well-deserved reputation for managerial competence, I'm sure that will work well.
"To date, we have nothing that indicates it's gone into human food," said Dorothy Miller , director of the FDA's Office of Emergency Operations. "We have a bit more investigation to do."