European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
Requests & mandates

Request of the European Commission (EC) for an urgent scientific opinion on the presence of melamine and structurally related compounds such as cyanuric acid in protein sources intended to be used for food or feed

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Following reports of sickness and death of pet animals (cats and dogs) in the United States beginning February 2007, US Authorities began an investigation to trace the source of these animal health problems. In mid-March 2007 it was found that wheat gluten imported from China and used for the production of pet food was the origin of these problems. As a result, a recall of pet food containing the wheat gluten began. Further investigations revealed that melamine, an industrial chemical high in nitrogen, that is used in such materials as plastics, had most likely been fraudulently added to wheat gluten and other protein sources to enhance the apparent protein content of these feed stuffs. While there is no evidence that contaminated wheat gluten originating from China has been imported into the EU, Member  States have been asked by the European Commission to control consignments of wheat gluten originating from third countries and in particular China. On May 16 2007, EFSA received a request from the European Commission to provide scientific advice on the presence of melamine and structurally related compounds in protein sources to be used for feed and food within 10 working days. EFSA aims to provide a scientific-based reply to the European Commission within the next few weeks.

Publication date: 22/05/2007
Last updated: 22/05/2007