F.D.A. to monitor gluten users

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — After 400 of 700 samples of vital wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate tested positive for melamine, the Food and Drug Administration said on May 3 that it will begin monitoring all U.S. facilities that use such ingredients in foods intended for human consumption. All the positive tests were traced to lots of wheat gluten and rice protein from two previously identified Chinese suppliers. Melamine, a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizer, was apparently mixed with the ingredients to give the appearance of higher protein content. David Acheson, named recently to the new post of assistant commissioner for food protection, said there is no evidence that tainted wheat gluten or rice protein has been found in human food. Mr. Acheson said the F.D.A. monitoring program was precautionary, aimed at raising the awareness of possible food contamination.

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