The House Agriculture Committee began a series of hearings in advance of writing legislation to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The agency's statutory authorization expires at the end of the fiscal year.
Committee Investigates Government Response to Melamine Tainted Animal Feed
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Committee on Agriculture investigated the governmentÆs response to melamine-tainted products imported from China that were used in pet food and animal feed products.
The Committee heard testimony from representatives of both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Both departments are involved in an in-depth, on-going investigation to determine the facts and circumstances involved in the importation of contaminated products. The witnesses also detailed the governmentÆs multi-agency risk assessment that determined there was minimal risk to human health from products from animals that ate the tainted feed.
"These imported Chinese products may have been intentionally adulterated with melamine. This raises serious concerns about the ability of our import inspection system to monitor the quality and safety of imports that enter our food supply," Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said. "The next time tainted food or feed products slip through the very large cracks in our import inspection system, we may be forced to confront an even more serious situation in terms of animal or human health."
"I look forward to learning the conclusions of the FDA and USDA's investigation once the entire process is complete. In the meantime, I applaud the FDA's recent decision to detain all vegetable protein products imported from China. I hope FDA's detention order will send a strong signal to the Chinese industry and government that we are serious about this issue and will not tolerate violations of our food import standards," said Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte.
Witness testimony is available on the Committee website: http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/index.html. A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website in 4-6 weeks.
Dr. Kenneth E. Petersen, Food Safety Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Dr. David Acheson, M.D., F.R.C.P., Assistant Commissioner for Food Protection, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland