This is a follow up to the main article from PA on-line (5-9-07). It comes as "Breaking News" from today's Times (5-9-07).
It seems there was another chemical added to animal feed by the Chinese companies involved. This is called cyanuric acid. Its an industrial chemical that some people put in their swimming pools. It is supposed to be non-toxic, but when mixed with melamine (alone or perhaps with other compounds in pet food) a deadly combination results.
Like melamine, cyanuric acid is used to fake the protein content of pet food and animal feed. The Chinese government says that only two big wheat gluten exporting companies are responsible, according to the Times. The two, the Chinese said, "illegally added melamine" to their exports. But other Times reports indicate that up to 25 different companies were involved and that the two big exporters did not actually make any of the feed products.
The government says only the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company and the Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Company were involved with the melamine. David Barboza, who wrote the Times article, reports that Chinese chemical producers have known for years that cyanuric acid is added to animal food. It is cheaper than melamine and has been "secretly used... to cheat buyers of animal feed." The makers of the chemicals knew, the government certainly knew about it as well, yet it went on for years.
Yu Luwei, who is the general manager of the Juancheng Ouya Chemical Company is quoted as saying, "Cyanuric acid scrap can be added to animal feed. I sell it to fish meal manufacturers and fish farmers. It can also be added to feed for other animals."
An executive at another chemical company said, "I've heard that people add cyanuric acid and melamine to animal feed to boost the protein level," What is meant, is to boost the apparent protein level. Neither product has any protein. In other words these chemicals are used to make counterfeit animal feed.
"The substance is nontoxic," Mr. Yu said, "it's legal to add it to animal feed. The practice has been around for many years. I often sell it to animal feed makers." The Chinese goverment better get on the ball. The "invisible hand" of capitalism should be made to show itself.