WASHINGTON (AP) _ About 80,000 chickens that were fed contaminated pet food scraps can be released for processing because testing showed meat from the birds is safe to eat, the Agriculture Department said Friday.
The chickens, bred to lay eggs hatched for chicks, had been held on Indiana farms after eating feed that included an industrial chemical blamed in the deaths of cats and dogs.
Their feed was supplemented with pet food scraps containing melamine and related compounds. Testing showed that melamine does not accumulate in birds and is eliminated by their bodies quickly, the USDA said.
Previously, the department cleared thousands of pigs given feed also made using pet food scraps.
Melamine contamination has been blamed for the deaths of an unknown number of dogs and cats, resulting in the recall of more than 100 brands of pet food.
While the dog and cat food was lethal to some pets, the diluted use of pet food scraps in animal feed apparently did not sicken any farm animals. Nor in turn do any of those animals pose a health risk to humans if eaten, according to the USDA and Food and Drug Administration.