By Dan Shapley
More than a month after tainted pet food killed as many as 4,000 cats and dogs around the country, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered border inspectors to detain products that may be tainted with melamine. Previously, products from only two Chinese companies could be detained. Since the FDA started checking shipments of certain vegetable proteins, close to half of the wheat gluten shipments tested and nearly one third of rice protein concentrate products have been found to be tainted. Melamine, which is used to fertilize fields and manufacture plastics, was found in the wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate from China, where food producers and manufacturers have acknowledged that its use is widespread. It falsely boosts the apparent protein content of foods, which allows producers to get a better price.