Don’t forget that today is the U.S. Senate oversight hearing on the pet food contamination situation. It is scheduled to begin at 2PM EST, and a press release from Senator Durbin said it would be webcast here. I just checked and C-SPAN IS airing the hearing! (UPDATED 5:45 PM PST: Just saw on C-SPAN’s site that they will be replaying the Pet Food Regulation hearing on C-SPAN2 tonight at 10:24 PM EST, and 2:50 AM EST)

**Here are my comments while watching the U.S. Senate oversight hearing**:

UPDATE at 2:02 EST: Oh my gosh, Sen. Kohl just quoted the 39,000 sick/dead pet quote from the AP story that kept changing…woo-hoo! Also, it seems that the webcast is NOT appearing on the link from Sen. Durbin’s press release, but CSPAN is airing it. If I see it will be replayed at a later time, I will post that. Wow, just SO impressed that Sen. Kohl used the 39,000 statistic!!!

UPDATE at 2:12 EST: Yippee, Senator Durbin just acknowledged that it is the BLOG community that is where most of the up-to-date information about the recall and everything surrounding it, is being spread to consumers and not the government who is getting that information out. Shout-out to all the hardworking bloggers out there–way to go fellow bloggers! I’m VERY proud to be among you. 🙂

UPDATE 2:18 EST: Dr. Stephen Sundlof, Director FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, in his opening remark just did SO much back patting of the companies, etc., involved in this recall, I thought for a moment he was trying to do his best impression of George Bush telling Michael Brown (FEMA) “And Brownie you’re doing a heck of a job!” during Katrina! Sheesh!

UPDATE 2:28 EST: Senator Durbin “No evidence contaminated wheat gluten in human supply?”, Dr. Soloman stated testing done, and the answer is no contaminated wheat gluten in human supply.

UPDATE 2:34 EST: Sen. Durbin pushed Dr. Sundlof to answer whether the delay of recall notice may have caused additional deaths, Dr. Sundlof said any delay would. OMG, Sen. Durbin just asked Dr. Sundlof if he admits that it is VERY difficult to find pet food recall information on the FDA website…Dr. Sundlof admitted it is! (SoCalMuchacha: It’s official, I ADORE Senator Durbin!!! 🙂)

UPDATE 2:43 EST: Sen. Byrd, what a colorful character. ‘Nuff said. 😉

UPDATE 2:45 EST: Sen. Byrd did ask why there is such a discrepancy in statistics being offered by the FDA and media outlets. Dr. Sundlof said, “There have been 15,000 phone calls to FDA…at this point just trying to make sure no other pets affected by this…Once sure all contaminated food off shelves, will assess true prevalence of the disease caused by this pet food.” Sen. Byrd, “How long has the tainted food been sold to the public” Dr. Sundlof said, “Traced back to beginning of November, 2006.” Sen. Byrd, “What screening systems are employed by the FDA to ensure harmful substances, such as contaminated wheat gluten, kept out of pet food?” Dr. Sundlof, “Pet food manufacturers are suppose to keep the products free of contaminants…FDA inspects on occasion to see if complying…company keeps records…in this case Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology (China) did supply certificates of analysis to the US importer which showed testing done…no testing for melamine…melamine not a substance we (FDA) would consider testing…manufacturer is responsible for products safely produced and have records showing they’ve exercised due diligence showing they are safe.”

UPDATE 3: 05 EST: Sen. Kohl thanked Dr. Sundlof and Dr. Solomon, they were excused. Second panel brought forward.

Dr. Claudia Kirk, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine spoke first: Lack of tracking of supply lead to additional month of confusion….establish a centralized site for veterinarians to report…some reports of affected pets exaggerated while current statistic unrealistically low.

Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM: Past 18 months there have been 3 major pet food recalls…no human food is allowed to bear such broad guarantees such as what you see on pet foods…no systematic inspections of suppliers…gov’t inspections of plants cannot prevent…need long term studies…proposes “Truth in Pet Food Labeling Initiative”.

Dr. Nelson, President, Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Duane Ekedahl, Executive Director, Pet Food Institute: Announced National Pet Food Commission…basically said the opposite of what Dr. Hodgkins said about pet food labeling…stated testing is very exacting, much analysis, highly regulated…says pet food industry acted quickly during this situation (SoCalMuchacha: not buying this guy’s comments…sorry…only thing he said I bought was that pets are members of our families)

UPDATE 3:30 EST: Sen. Kohl asked Dr. Kirk if all the foods at a plant are the same, if that plant contracts with various companies? Dr. Kirk stated that many are the same such as those contracted to Menu Foods, however, there are some companies that “rent” production facility space to keep their formula unique. Sen. Kohl asked Dr. Kirk her thoughts on consumers cooking their own pet’s food since unsure of pet food now. Dr. Kirk said she doesn’t normally recommend that because over time the consistency and balanced diet tends to wane. She feels products on shelf are generally safe, but that she would have the consumer check the label of the food they are using to see if there is wheat gluten in it.

Sen. Kohl and Dr. Hodgkins discussed no routine testing of ingredients, that every batch is not tested, that testing each batch of ingredients would be a daunting task. Dr. Hodgkins feels there is an unwarranted sense of safety in AAFCO label of guarantee…that there is a sieve of safety inadequacy assurances.

UPDATE 3:55 EST: Sen. Durbin basically called Ekedahl on the carpet for not having the information he should have had regarding details of why Menu Foods had such a delay in reporting the contaminated food and pet deaths. Sen. Durbin stated that he thought Dr. Hodgkins’ ideas are on the right track. (SoCalMuchacha: totally agree! Dr. Hodgkins totally appears to be the go-to person for how to rectify a very broken system.)

Hearing ended at 4:00 PM EST.

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Overall I thought the hearing was quite an interesting event. I taped it and will have to watch it again to really process all that was said. The notes above are certainly not intended to be verbatim, since I was trying to type them as they were being said, but they are intended to convey a general idea of what took place. And yes, I still think Sen. Durbin is AWESOME and is one man (I hope!) we can count on to continue the investigation into all of this, and one to create change.

_________________________________________________

 

Also, I received the following recall notice from the FDA today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
P07-63
April 12, 2007

Media Inquiries:
Vash Klein and Catherine McDermott, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA

 

FDA Warns Consumers That Retailers May Still Have Recalled Pet Food on Shelves
Menu Foods Expands Recall to More Cat Food

FDA is advising pet owners that recalled pet food may still be on the shelves in some retail establishments. FDA urges retailers across the country to be vigilant in removing all products associated with the pet food recall, which began on March 16, 2007.

To verify the effectiveness of the recall, FDA has conducted approximately 400 checks of retail stores across the country. Based on the checks, FDA believes most companies have removed the recalled product; however, some have not. FDA will continue to monitor retailers’ efforts to remove these items from the shelves.

“FDA’s priority is to make sure that cats and dogs have safe food to eat, said Stephen Sundlof, D.V.M., director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.” Many of us are pet owners and animal lovers, and we want pet owners to feel assured that we are doing everything we can to make sure that all contaminated food is off the shelves.”

In related news, Menu Foods, Inc., a private label manufacturer based in Streetsville, Ontario, Canada, expanded its recall on Tuesday, April 10, to cat food not previously subject to the recall. The varieties of cat food in the United States and Canada now being recalled are included in the list at the bottom of this news release. A complete list of Menu Foods’ recalled products, including the new items, can be reviewed at www.menufoods.com.

The company acted after receiving information from FDA, which had confirmed test results it received from a laboratory at University of California, Davis. The UC-Davis lab found that canned cat food which had not been included in Menu Food’s earlier recalls tested positive for melamine, a chemical used as a fertilizer and in the manufacture of cutlery and kitchenware.

The company informed FDA that it had shipped wheat gluten purchased from China and contaminated with melamine from its Emporia, Kansas plant to its plant in Streetsville. Some of the products produced with the contaminated wheat gluten also were shipped to the United States. FDA investigators and officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were in the Ontario facility on April 10.

Since March 16, recalls of pet food products, including certain varieties of dog food, have been conducted by Menu Foods, Inc., Hill’s Pet Nutrition, P&G Pet Care, Nestle Purina PetCare Company, Del Monte Pet Products, and Sunshine Mills, Inc. Extensive information about the current pet food situation can be found at the FDA Web site, www.fda.gov. There is now a single list of all recalled pet food located at http://www.fda.gov/ora/fed_state/recalls/Recall.xls which will be updated with any new recall information when announced.

LIST OF NEWLY RECALLED PRODUCTS:

Cat Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brand

Look For This Date on The Bottom of Can or Back of Pouch

Variety Description

Can / Pouch

Size

UPC

 

Americas Choice, Preferred Pet

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 54807-59114

 

 

 

 

 

Your Pet

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 72036-29026

Jan/24/10

 

 

 

 

Nov 06 09

Sliced Variety Pack 3oz Can 3oz 72036-40013

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Pride

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 11110-86264

Jan/24/10

 

 

 

 

Nov 06 09

Sliced Variety Pack 3oz Can 3oz 11110-86003

Dec 05 09

 

 

 

 

Dec 06 09

 

 

 

 

Jan 23 10

 

 

 

 

Jan 24 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Lynn

 

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 86854-02407

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 86854-02406

 

 

 

 

 

Nutriplan

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 41130-06755

 

 

 

 

 

Price Chopper

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 41735-12828

 

 

 

 

 

Publix

 

 

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 41415-08327

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 41415-08827

Jan/2/10

 

 

 

 

Jan/24/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop & Shop Companion

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 88267-00286

 

 

 

 

 

Winn Dixie

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 21140-19419

 

 

 

Nutro Products

 

 

 

 

All Dates

Chicken Cacciatore 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35205

All Dates

Orleans Seafood Jambalaya 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35206

All Dates

Beef Ragout 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35207

All Dates

Alaskan Halibut/Rice 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35221

All Dates

Kitten Chicken/Lamb 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35202

All Dates

California Chicken 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30011

All Dates

Lamb/Turkey Cutlets 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30014

All Dates

Salmon/Whitefish 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30013

All Dates

Beef/Egg 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30015

All Dates

Turkey/Chicken Liver 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30016

All Dates

Seafood/Tomato/Bisque 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30017

All Dates

Hunters Stew with Duck 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30018

All Dates

Hunters Stew with Venison 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30019

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