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Melamine found in second pet food item

Tainted rice concentrate forces recall of another brand; supplier is different

WASHINGTON -- An industrial chemical that led to the nationwide recall of more than 100 brands of cat and dog food has turned up in a second pet food ingredient imported from China.

The discovery expands the monthlong cascade of recalls to include more brands and varieties of pet foods and treats tainted by the chemical.

The chemical, melamine, is believed to have contaminated rice protein concentrate used to make a variety of Natural Balance Pet Foods products for both dogs and cats, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday.

Previously, the chemical was found to contaminate wheat gluten used by at least six other pet food and treat manufacturers.

Both ingredients were imported from China, though by different companies and from different manufacturers.

A lawmaker said yesterday the Chinese have refused to grant visas to FDA inspectors seeking to visit the plants where the ingredients were made. An FDA spokesman later said the visas were not refused but that the agency had not received the necessary invitation letter to get visas.

"It troubles me greatly the Chinese are making it more difficult to understand what led to this pet food crisis," Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said after meeting with the FDA commissioner .

A message left yesterday with the Chinese Embassy in Washington was not immediately returned.

Natural Balance said it was recalling all Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.

The recalls now include products made by at least seven companies and sold under more than 100 brands.

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