Reports Suggest Addition Of Melamine Into Chinese Animal Feed Commonplace

The toxic chemical melamine is probably being routinely added to Chinese animal feed, state media has reported.

Correspondents say the unusually frank reports in several news outlets are an admission that contamination could be widespread throughout the food chain.

Several state newspapers carried reports on Thursday suggesting that the addition of melamine to animal feed was commonplace.

The feed industry seems to have acquiesced to agree on using the chemical to reduce production costs while maintaining the protein count for quality inspections," the state-run China Daily said in an editorial.

"We cannot say for sure if the same chemical has made its way into other types of food," the newspaper added.

The practice of mixing melamine into animal feed is an "open secret" in the industry, the Nanfang Daily reported.

Chinese officials have been criticised for initially covering up the melamine scandal - as they have in the past for other health scares.

Analysts say that the news reports are an unusual departure for Chinese officials, marking what amounts to a tacit government admission that the problem could affect many parts of the food supply.