The FDA believe that the melamine originated in imports of vital wheat gluten (a natural protein obtained from wheat used for pet food and human consumption and pet food). It appears that some Chinese producers of vital wheat gluten may have been using a product containing melamine to boost the apparent total protein content of their products.
This incident may have raised concerns whether melamine or any other substance, which may be used to boost the apparent protein content of vital wheat gluten, is used in the production processes in the EU.
European producers of vital wheat gluten – sourcing wheat only from within Europe – can confirm that melamine and/or any other substance which may be used to boost the apparent protein content of vital wheat gluten have never been used, this is in compliance with EU law and operating to the highest safety standards. The production process of vital wheat gluten is a wet process using water and mechanical separation to extract the gluten from flour.
- The EU starch industry applies strict Quality Management Systems in line with ISO, GMP and other certification requirements and meeting the applicable requirements of the EU laws in order to provide a consistently high quality, purity and safety of its products.
- The EU starch producers reassure that they will continue to supply the same safe and high quality products to their customers.
Vital wheat gluten is the natural protein obtained from wheat kernels by physical separation from starch, germs and fibres, the other main components of wheat.
Vital wheat gluten has traditionally been used in food, pet food and feed. In food application it is commonly used as an ingredient for bakery, noodles and processed meat products. As a feed ingredient, vital wheat gluten is used in products like aqua feed, pet food, and feed for young animals as a source of protein. The benefits of vital wheat gluten in animal feed are:
- High digestibility and palatability;
- Absence of anti-nutritional factors; and,
- Presence of beneficial Amino Acids like cysteine, which has a beneficial effect on fur quality and glutamine, which has proven effects on gut health and the immune system.