Chinese Add Melamine to Animal Feed
Filler that tainted pet food is commonly used as fake protein
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2007 7:04 AM CDT
Pet food   (Getty Images (by Event))

(Newser) – The compound that tainted pet food and is being blamed for hundreds of pet illnesses and deaths is a commonly used additive in animal feed in China, reports the New York Times. The coal derivative melamine, used in plastics and fertilizers, is nitrogen-rich, which triggers tests for protein content.

The compound isn't believed to be especially toxic and isn't explicitly banned in China, but it's illegal to use it in any food—pet or human—in the states. "You can make more profit by putting melamine in," one maker who uses it says, because real protein costs five times as much as melamine scrap.