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Just a heads up that one of my current obsessions, The Cat Empire, (the others being The Cliks and Amy Winehouse) will be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno TONIGHT (5/7/07). The email I’m including below says that they’ll be performing “The Car Song”, but I could have sworn they sent out a previous notice saying they were playing “The Chariot”–either is cool. I’ll include both videos for you.

Tomorrow night we’ll be having a blast at their show at The Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA! Soooo in need of a night of immersing myself in some good music, and escaping the realities of life for a few hours. (LYB and miss ya! ;))

***Just caught the boys on The Tonight Show. I think my poochie must be a Cat Empire fan, too, because he jumped on the bed and woke me up about one minute before the Leno appearance (never fear, had the VCR set ;)). Harry seemed a bit restrained in the beginning, as if he was trying really hard to NOT move outside some predetermined space, but boy did he burst with energy after playing the trumpet. The audience needed to have a LOT more excitement (bad audience, bad audience ;). And oh my goodness, was Felix looking HOT, HOT, HOT with that shorter hair and sans hat, or what?! Why yes he was! What a great tease the Leno gig was for the show tonight…can’t wait! But for now it’s back to sawing logs. Night.***

The Cat Empire “The Car Song”

The Cat Empire “The Chariot”

From The Cat Empire:

The Cat Empire on Leno/Cali Tour/Summer Dates Announced

The Cat Empire will make their third US late night TV appearance in 2007 tonight (May 7th) when they perform “The Car Song” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The Tonight Show is on NBC and airs at 11:30PM in most cities. Be sure to tune in!

After their Tonight Show performance they’ll be hitting the road for three California shows.

5/8 San Diego, CA — The Belly Up
5/9 San Francisco, CA — The Grand Ballroom
5/10 Los Angeles, CA — Key Club

You can purchase tickets for any of these shows at Ticketmaster

We’ve also announced that The Cat Empire will be joining us stateside for June-July as they tour North America this summer.

6/28 Atlanta, GA – Roxy
6/29 Chattanooga, TN – Rhythm and Brews
6/30 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
7/01 Ann Arbor, MI – Mountain Stage
7/03 Pittsburgh, PA – Diesel Club (WYEP)
7/05 Milwaukee, WI – Summerfest
7/06 Minneapolis, MN – Basilica Block Party
7/07 Winnipeg, MB – Winnipeg Folk Fest
7/10 Chicago, IL – Double Door
7/11 Toronto, ON – Kool Haus
7/13 Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Blues Festival
7/14 Quebec City, QC – Festival D’Ete
7/15 Montreal, QC – Olympia
7/16 Albany NY, – WEQX Festival
7/18 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
7/19 Portland, ME – Alive at Five Monument Square
7/20 Trumansburg, NY – Grassroots Festival
7/21 Camden, NJ – WXPN All About The Music Festival
7/22 New York NY TBA May 22nd
7/25 Providence, RI – Lupos
7/26 Boston, MA – WBOS Copley Square
7/27 Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
7/28 Floyd, VA – Floyd Fest

And be sure to visit this link to see a few live videos from TCE’s Winter Tour visit to San Francisco. You can also stop by Amplifier Magazine Online, where Ryan (bass) gives us the low down on the perfect mix CD.

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This whole situation just gets more bizarre each day, with the most odd today being the news that pet food unsuitable for pet consumption (due to melamine in the rice protein) was instead fed to hogs! And just where might those hogs end up? Also makes you wonder where the recalled pet food returned to vendors over the last 5 weeks will end up, too. Hmmm… (***UPDATE about the hogs!***)

Joe, from Friday Morning After, posted a heads up on another Andrew Bridges article which explains this continuously evolving (and not for the better) situation better than I just did. (Sorry folks, still dealing with my tooth issues, so a bit off–can we say root canal next week? Ick.)

So to sum up for those keeping score, we are now talking melamine in:

  1. Wheat gluten (initial pet food recall)
  2. Rice protein concentrate (Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo Co. recall. Here’s a notice from Wilbur-Ellis, a company which imported tainted rice protein from China.)
  3. Corn gluten in Royal Canin foods found in South Africa. (I find it interesting that the main Royal Canin web site does NOT have a notice about the recall (as of now 4/19 PM), but the Royal Canin USA web site DOES have one saying their products are NOT affected.) [***UPDATE just one hour after this post!: Royal Canin US is now recalling products. I will sadly add this release/items to the Pet food recall info/posts page.***]

If this entire situation wasn’t so frustrating and heartbreaking due to the needless deaths of so many beloved pets, I think I’d start a pool to see which ingredient will turn up next as having been tainted with melamine. Sigh.

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Here’s what Blue Buffalo Co. has as a pop-up on their web site:

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Voluntary Recall of Spa Select Kitten Dry Food

Dear Pet Parents:

The Blue Buffalo Company has undertaken a voluntary recall on one production run of our Spa Select Kitten dry food. The production code on the recalled product is:

“Best Used By Mar. 07 08 B.”

We have taken this action because the rice protein concentrate used for this one production run was obtained from Wilbur-Ellis, the same company who supplied this ingredient to Natural Balance. Test results received late last evening (4/18) indicated that this rice protein concentrate tested positive for melamine. This is the first and only time our manufacturing partner sourced an ingredient from Wilbur-Ellis, and we had no knowledge that they had imported the ingredients from China.

We have advised the FDA of this finding and will be working closely with them on this issue.

Of the 5,044 bags produced in this one run, we were able to prevent the majority from ever entering retail distribution. We are working closely with our retail partners to remove this product immediately and will be re-stocking the shelves with Spa Select Kitten dry food that was produced without any rice protein sourced from Wilbur-Ellis as soon as possible.

If you currently have a bag of Spa Select Kitten dry food, please check the code date and if it matches the one shown above discontinue use immediately and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. If your cat has eaten any of the recalled food, please call your veterinarian immediately to discuss if there are any risks to your pet.

Should you have a specific question call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-919-2833 or email us at info@bluebuff.com. We understand your desire for immediate answers and we will be working to get back to you as quickly as we can.

No other Spa Select cat food or dog food, canned or dry, is included in this recall.

As a family owned company whose reason for being is to provide cats and dogs with the highest quality natural foods, we are extremely upset by this recall and can’t begin to apologize enough to our customers. From our perspective, it is unacceptable to produce even one bag of food with the potential to cause a pet to become ill, and we will further tighten our ingredient sourcing and quality assurance procedures as a result of this incident.

Sincerely,

Bill Bishop
President
The Blue Buffalo Company

So it looks like we now have not only the name of the company that provided the tainted wheat gluten to Menu Foods, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., but we are now also hearing from the importer of that wheat gluten, ChemNutra Inc., by way of a press release (included below).

So one would think we’re getting all the answers now, right? Wrong. It only becomes more muddled when Xuzhou Anying now says they did NOT manufacture the wheat gluten, but had actually bought it elsewhere! Read more here. This whole supplier, importer, broker, thing really has me questioning who the heck really knows what goes into our food and who do we assume will regulate that for us? The FDA? Not feeling the love OR the trust on that front.

Another alert poster to this blog, Joe from Friday Morning After (Thanks, Joe!), linked to an article on the thread “Who provided Menu Foods wheat gluten?“, which supports our fear about the tainted wheat gluten getting into our human food supply (or at least the plants which process our food), and not just in the pet food supply. It is now being confirmed in this article by Diedtra Henderson, with the Boston Globe.

ROCKVILLE, Maryland: The tainted wheat gluten that triggered a massive pet food recall also ended up in processing plants that prepare food consumed by people, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said…

Now did any of us REALLY think that there was NO possibility that this would happen? I think not.

 

However, there is this report from CBS news which conflicts the Boston Globe report. In this article Stephen Miller, CEO of ChemNutra Inc., says that none of the contaminated wheat gluten ended up in human food manufacturing plants. ChemNutra Inc. was the importer of the tainted wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., which was the company who provided the wheat gluten to Menu Foods.

Here is the press release from ChemNutra Inc. dated April 3, 2007:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2007

CHEMNUTRA ANNOUNCES NATIONWIDE WHEAT GLUTEN RECALL
Las Vegas, NV… April 3, 2007… ChemNutra Inc., of Las Vegas, Nevada, yesterday recalled all wheat gluten it had imported from one of its three Chinese wheat gluten suppliers – Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.
The wheat gluten ChemNutra recalled was all shipped from China in 25 kg. paper bags, and distributed to customers in the same unopened bags. The bags were all labeled “Wheat Gluten Batch No.: _______ Net Weight: 25 kg Gross Weight: 25.1 kg Made in China”. The batch numbers included in the recall are 20061006, 20061027, 20061101, 20061108, 20061122, 20061126, 20061201, 20061202, 20061203, 20061204, 20061205, 20061206, 20061208, 20061221, 20070106, 20070111, 20070116, and 20070126.

Each ChemNutra shipment had the certificate of analysis information from the supplier, including batch number and the supplier’s content analysis and test results. ChemNutra shipped from its Kansas City warehouse to three pet food manufacturers and one distributor who supplies wheat gluten only to the pet food industry. ChemNutra’s shipments commenced November 9, 2006 and ended March 8, 2007. ChemNutra did not ship to facilities that manufacture food for human consumption, and the distributor ChemNutra shipped to supplies wheat gluten only to pet food manufacturers. The total quantity of Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten shipped was 792 metric tons.

ChemNutra learned on March 8 from one pet food manufacturer that the wheat gluten it had sold them – all from the Xuzhou Anying – was among ingredients suspected as a potential cause of pet food problems. ChemNutra immediately quarantined its entire wheat gluten inventory and assisted this customer’s investigation.

After that manufacturer issued a pet food recall, the FDA immediately commenced a thorough investigation of ChemNutra’s wheat gluten, including documentation analysis, inspection, and laboratory testing. ChemNutra cooperated fully with the FDA and immediately notified its other three wheat gluten customers about the FDA’s investigation. Those customers had all purchased smaller amounts of the Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten commencing in January, 2007.

On Friday, March 30, the FDA announced they had found melamine in samples of the wheat gluten ChemNutra had imported from Xuzhou Anying. The FDA did not inform ChemNutra of any other impurities in the Xuzhou Anying wheat gluten, nor of any impurities in the wheat gluten from ChemNutra’s other two Chinese suppliers.

The toxicity of melamine is not clear. However, since melamine is not approved by the FDA for pet food, it should absolutely not have been in wheat gluten. ChemNutra is extremely concerned about the purity of all of its products. The company is particularly troubled that the certificates of analysis provided by the above-named supplier did not report the presence of melamine.
ChemNutra wants to ensure its products are safe. Consequently, in addition to its ongoing cooperation with the FDA, ChemNutra will be conducting its own independent, analytical tests of wheat gluten from all of its suppliers.

Yesterday ChemNutra sent recall notices to all four of its direct customers. If any other company received bags of recalled wheat gluten from the lot numbers referenced above, please call ChemNutra at 702.818.5019.

Consumers who have questions about the pet food they should go to the FDA’s website at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01590.html. This website lists all brands of petfood involved, with links to the manufacturer who should be contacted with questions.

4/6/07: Here’s an interesting article about China actually getting into the investigation process.

Sniffin’ out the info

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