ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

20 million chickens held because of feed

by 5m Editor
6 May 2007, at 11:10pm

WASHINGTON - Federal officials on Friday placed a hold on 20 million chickens raised for market in several states because their feed was mixed with pet food containing an industrial chemical.

Three government agencies - the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency - are overseeing a risk assessment to determine whether the chickens would pose a threat to human health if eaten, USDA spokesman Keith Williams said. The assessment may be completed as early as Monday.

The 20 million chickens represent a tiny fraction of the 9 billion chickens raised each year in the United States. Meat from the birds can’t go into commercial use without the USDA’s inspection seal, which is being withheld until the risk assessment is completed, Williams said.

Which states have chicken producers affected by the hold will be announced later, Williams said. State agriculture officials as well as chicken manufacturers were being contacted as the agencies determine the extent of the problem, he said, adding that many farms in several states probably were involved.

Investigators found last week that about 5 percent of feed used at some smaller chicken production operations came from pet food tainted with the chemical melamine, Williams said. Larger manufacturers, because they usually use special feed for the chickens they raise or contract for raising, are unlikely to have exposed their animals to large amounts of the tainted pet products, he said.

As of Friday, no melamine had been detected in the feed used by larger manufacturers, Williams said. However, because investigators know some of the tainted pet food was used in that feed, officials still placed a hold on the birds, he said.

Source: BostonHerald.com

5m Editor