Why do the Chinese use melamine? Because in tests conducted by international companies, it looks like protein even though it has no nutritional benefits. Scrap traders sell it and there are no regulations in China about adding it to animal feed. It is specially used for chicken, pig and fish feed in China and America as well.
The American/Canadians companies importing this rubbish for animal feed cannot plead ignorance. They have known about the melamine for years. In fact animal feed makers ask on the net regularly for melamine scrap for animal feed. Another industrial chemical, cyanuric acid, is also used in animal feed because it is cheap and increases the protein content. This can also be toxic. Animal feed companies in China explain in great detail how they purchase wheat, corn and soya after it is declared unfit for human use (which means really, really bad) and then mix in melamine scrap whose chemical properties help the feed register an inflated protein level. The Chinese say that they used to use urea but it is easily detected so they replaced it with melamine.
Scientists employed by the food sector have rushed to the press to announce that even if humans ate the pork and fish, they would not die of it ("Even if these fish have been fed this fish feed, we believe that the risk to humans is low”). So you feed poison to the animals but you will not get any of it when you eat the animals. Is that logical? Even the same scientists say that they know too little about how the chemical reacts with other substances to be sure it is safe. Why might something that may have caused lethal kidney failure in animals be harmless for people eating melamine-tainted meat or eggs?
Melamine is a nitrogen-containing substance that is used as a fertilizer and plastic . (However even that is not legal in the United States.) The feed was supposed to contain wheat gluten . But what it turned out to be was wheat flour contaminated by melamine.Wheat flour contains wheat gluten, which is high in protein. Rather than taking the trouble to extract the wheat gluten the Chinese simply ground up the wheat, put it all together, and then artificially create the appearance of it being high in protein by adding a high-nitrogen-containing compound such as melamine."
How did companies allow the melamine to slip through for years? Because they tested for protein by doing the cheap nitrogen test instead of the more expensive test in which they look for protein directly. The Chinese insist that the American companies knew about the melamine all along. The manager of Sanming Dinghui Chemical Trading Co. in Fujian, the manufacturers of melamine said animal food companies have always been his best customers as it lowers the costs of animal feed. Corporate profits over safety.
This is a prime example of agribusiness run amok, and it’s not just the Chinese. Do we know what is put into animal feed in India? We have a thriving melamine industry out of coal scrap. We have no laws on animal feed. In fact we have no laws on factory farming or pesticide use either. Is there any regulation on how much pesticide can be in your tomato? The soft drink manufacturers have been protected for so many years by the Health Ministry inspite of finding pesticides in their colas. Capitalism requires an extraordinary amount of integrity and transparency – neither one of which exists in India. There are no rules there except make it cheaper by whatever methods you have and the devil take the consumer. Both in America and India, kidney failure is the number one cause of death and illness in dogs and cats. How did that happen?
Over the last 50 years, the way meat animals are raised and fed has changed dramatically—to the detriment of both animals and humans. Most of the food animals come from crowded animal factories.
Just like other factories, animal factories are constantly searching for ways to shave their costs. To save money, they've redefined what constitutes animal feed, with little consideration of what is best for the animals or for human health. As a result, many of the ingredients used in feed these days are not the kind of food the animals are designed by nature to eat.
Take a look at what's being fed to the animals you eat.
Same Species Meat, Diseased Animals, and Feathers, Hair, Skin, and Blood:
Most animals are made to eat the meat from their own species. Cattle, pig, turkeys and chicken carcasses are minced and fed back to each. Animal feed legally can contain rendered road kill, dead horses, cats and dogs. Rendered feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood, and intestines can also be found in feed, often under catchall categories like "animal protein products."
Manure and Other Animal Waste:
Feed for any food animal can contain cattle manure, swine waste, and poultry litter. This waste may contain drugs such as antibiotics and hormones that have passed unchanged through the animals' bodies. Animal waste used for feed is allowed to contain dirt, rocks, sand and wood.
Many animals need roughage to move food through their digestive systems. But instead of using plant-based roughage, animal factories often turn to pellets made from plastics to compensate for the lack of natural fiber in the factory feed.
Drugs and Chemicals:
Animals at animal factories often receive antibiotics to promote faster growth and to compensate for crowded, stressful, and unsanitary living conditions. An estimated 13.5 million pounds of antibiotics are added to animal feed or water.
Some of the antimicrobials used to control parasites and promote growth in poultry contain arsenic, a known human carcinogen. .
Are these ingredients legal? Unfortunately, yes. All of them raise human health concerns. Mad cow disease, increased liver abscesses, and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are just some examples of the damage that comes from unwise and inhumane approaches to raising food animals.