Farmed fish were fed meal spiked with an industrial chemical linked to the ongoing recall of pet foods, though the contamination level was probably too low to pose a danger to anyone who may have eaten the fish, federal health officials said Tuesday.
The Canadian-made meal included what was purported to be wheat gluten, a protein source, imported from China. The ingredient was contaminated by the chemical melamine and related compounds.
After pigs and chickens, the farmed fish mark the third food animal given contaminated feed. The level of contamination is expected to be too low to pose any danger to human health, said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's assistant commissioner for food protection.
It wasn't immediately clear if any of the farmed fish entered the food supply. However, Acheson said at least one firm's fish were still too young and small to be sold. Investigators were visiting other U.S. aquaculture farms that used the contaminated feed.
Melamine, a chemical found in plastics and pesticides and not approved for use in pet or human in the U.S., contaminated pet food that either sickened or killed an unknown number of dogs and cats. Since March 16, more than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled because they were contaminated with melamine.