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Bloomberg reports this morning that “the US Department of Agriculture said it is keeping as many as 20 million chickens from slaughter this weekend as officials investigate whether the birds were given tainted feed.” USDA is doing a “risk assessment” to decide whether or not the bird were given food tainted with the toxic compound melamine, and whether they can enter the human food supply.

The melamine has been found in wheat gluten imported from China. It reportedly was put in the gluten as a way of increasing the appearance of protein in the gluten, thereby increasing its price. More than a dozen pets that have eaten the contaminated pet food have died, and some veterinarians say that countless more have been made sick or killed by the toxic compound.
KC's View:
Most of the people with whom we talk seem to firmly believe that it is just a matter of time before we have a human death related to the melamine contamination…and that the long-term implications for the national food safety consciousness will be dire.