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Obama’s Weekly Address 3/14/09: “Reversing a Troubling Trend in Food Safety” AND HSUS response (VIDEOS)
March 14, 2009 in animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal rights, animals, Barack Obama, FDA, food, food safety, government, health, human food supply, Humane Society of the United States, politics, salmonella, video, videos | Tags: animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, Barack Obama, cattle, FDA, food, food safety, government, health, salmonella, slaughterhouse, video, White House | 5 comments
President Obama’s weekly address hit upon one of the more troubling aspects of our government right now: the total failure of the FDA to keep us, our children, and our pets safe in the knowledge that what is consumed will not harm any of us. He has named a new Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency, Dr. Margaret Hamburg (go ahead, giggle as I did at her last name being Hamburg(er)–I blame the cold meds I’m taking), and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein (nope, no food-related funny with his last name) as Principal Deputy Commissioner. Obama is also creating a new Food Safety Working Group which ultimately sounds like it will be making sure that the left hand of government agencies involved with food safety know what the right hand is doing–what a concept!
And as an animal welfare advocate I am THRILLED with the short, but oh-so-important sentence President Obama stated, “As part of our commitment to public health, our Agriculture Department is closing a loophole in the system to ensure that diseased cows don’t find their way into the food supply.” Please read Wayne Pacelle’s email sent out this afternoon in response to this fantastic decision. Thank you President Obama, and thank you to everyone who helped put an end to the horribly abusive downer cattle issue!
March 14, 2009
It’s been a long fight, and today, we closed another chapter on it. Since the mid-1990s, The HSUS has been working hard to stop as a matter of public policy the abuse of downer cattle — animals too sick or injured to walk. And today, President Obama himself announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was officially putting a stop to non-ambulatory cattle being mishandled in order to get them into slaughter plants. He made the announcement along with two top selections for the Food and Drug Administration and a series of other statements about food safety.
I invite you to read my blog post for today about the food safety crises and horrifying investigations that led up to today’s announcement.
The length of time we had to persist and what our investigations revealed are sad, but today I celebrate this news. And I hope that it is a harbinger of a far more serious attitude toward food safety and animal welfare from the new Administration. I am personally looking forward to working with Secretary Vilsack — a man of great integrity — on a wide range of issues. And I express my gratitude to him and his team today for his decisive action.
Many of you joined us in demanding change on this issue, so this is your victory as well as the animals’. Thank you for all you do.
P.S. Did you know you can easily subscribe to receive my blog daily by email or RSS? Look for the links to subscribe on the right side of my blog, www.waynepacelle.org. I write daily about pressing issues like farm animal abuse, so it’s a great way to stay in touch.
July 14, 2007 in animals, birthday, celebration, dogs, human food supply, life, love, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, MoveOn.org, pets, poochie, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, VA Tech, Wal-Mart | 5 comments
No, not any of those other Rudys…MY Rudy, my poochie, my goofball, and the being that cracks me up each day. Yes, I am one of those folks that celebrates her dog’s birthday (bite your tongue, Jackson!), albeit one that was created based on the best judgment of shelter workers since Rudy was adopted from a Humane Society in SoCal. So approximately two years before I adopted Rudy on July 14th, 2002, my crazy, recently diagnosed with diabetes boy was born.
Happy Birthday Rudy, and thanks for all the happiness you bring to me and to everyone who meets you. 🙂 (And yes, Rudy can read. ;))
May 28, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, books, Captain and Tennille, cats, China, corn gluten, cyanuric acid, Dick Durbin, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, government, health, House of Representatives, human food supply, life, LiveSmart, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, politics, Purina, RC2 Corporation, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten | Leave a comment
Who would have thought this exasperating pet food contamination situation would STILL be dragging along TEN WEEKS later?! Here are some interesting articles covering: Menu Foods bullying of those filing claims against them, Seattle owners filing lawsuits, the response of web sites and blogs to the recall madness, the possibility of subpoenas being issued to the FDA, and the far reaching concern of the quality of exports from China.
Hope everyone had a safe Memorial Day!
Court: Menu Foods Harassed Pet Owners– USA Today-News10.net
“The pet food company that recalled 60 million cans of contaminated dog and cat food repeatedly made harassing phone calls to pet owners who had lawyers and said they didn’t want to talk, even after a judge ordered the firm to leave them alone, court records show.”
Seattle Pet Owners Part Of Class-Action Suit Over Tainted Food– SeattlePI.nwsource.com
“About 75 class-action lawsuits have been filed against Menu Foods around the country, said Tom Baisch, an attorney with the Seattle law firm Myers and Co. Baisch said his firm, along with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, has consulted with more than 500 people — many from the Seattle area — who believe they’re owed reparations.”
Pet Food Scandal Unleashes Once-Obscure Web Sites-BaltimoreSun.com
“The Internet has changed all the rules here in terms of mobilizing public opinion on important issues, and this pet-food contamination is a clear illustration,” Durbin said in a telephone interview from his Chicago office.”
House: FDA Unresponsive To Information About Pet Food Recall-NorthCountryGazette.org
“A Congressional committee has given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration until June 1 to produce requested records concerning drug and food safety in the United States or they will subpoena them.”
Menu Foods: Tainted Pet Food Raises A Bigger Concern-LawyersAndSettlements.com
“Now comes news on Friday that officials in Canada have intercepted a shipment of corn gluten contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid.”
May 11, 2007 in birthday, celebration, Engelbert Humperdinck, George W. Bush, human food supply, Kool and the Gang, life, me, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Mom, MoveOn.org, Righteous Brothers, Tom Jones, video, wheat industry, WordPress | Leave a comment
Mom is one of those folks that keeps saying she’s going to learn all about the internet, but has yet to even figure out how to get past clicking the on button…sigh. And it’s not like I haven’t tried to get her to learn. Oh well, she does peruse the blog when she’s visiting and since she’ll be here on Mother’s Day I thought I’d throw some well wishes out into the universe. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM, even though I know it’s that (gulp) birthday that has a special significance with the government. 😉 Here are a few classic videos of performers you’ve always enjoyed. As a matter of fact I think I’ve sent you and dad off to see each of them over the past few years. Hope the videos at least help make you feel a bit younger…memories, eh? Love ya, Mom!:)
“She’s A Lady”-Tom Jones (1973)
(5/10) US investigators in China on contaminated pet food case/Incorrectly labeled wheat flour the culprit/FDA-USDA release info/Science lesson/Menu Foods delays financial reports
May 10, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., books, Brian Molko, Captain and Tennille, cats, ChemNutra Inc., China, cyanuric acid, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, government, health, human food supply, life, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, politics, Purina, RC2 Corporation, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, science, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, USDA, VA Tech, wheat gluten, wheat industry, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | Leave a comment
Unfortunately the news doesn’t seem as if it will ever improve, and instead only becomes more concerning as tainted products are finding their way into the human food supply more often. Sad that so many beloved pets had to die in order for us all to have a huge “wake-up call” on the incredible inadequacy and incompetency of food regulation in our country and others. Also, time constraints for the next month will pretty much prohibit me from a lot of posting, but I will do my best to continue getting you at least some news headlines and links on the pet food contamination debacle. What a shame we’re still unsure of so much about all of this EIGHT WEEKS INTO IT!
U.S. melamine probers find empty Chinese factories-ReutersAlertNet
“U.S. investigators found shuttered factories when they arrived at the Chinese food processors blamed for putting the chemical melamine into vegetable proteins shipped to America, officials said on Thursday.”
“China has long suffered adverse publicity tied to its notoriously lax enforcement of food and drug safety…China’s government body responsible for overseeing food safety said it had detained an unspecified number of managers from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. and Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd.”
China to start mobile food testing-(AP)-SFGate.com
“The business hub of Shanghai will soon employ mobile testing units that officials say can check the safety of most food within 30 minutes, as fears grew at home and abroad over contaminated Chinese products ranging from cough syrup to pet food.”
Fish Hatcheries Got Contaminated Feed-Forbes.com
“Fish feed made with a contaminated Chinese ingredient was distributed to about 120 fish hatcheries and farms, roughly split between the United States and Canada, officials said Thursday.“
Chicago-area company implicated in tainted pet food scandal: Cereal Byproducts. Co. of Mt. Prospect issued recall-Chicago Tribune (free subscription)
“Cereal Byproducts Co., which has plants in five states and a headquarters in Mt. Prospect, issued a recall for the rice protein products on May 4. The company’s products went to three pet food manufacturers… Word that yet another company has been implicated two months into the pet food contamination scare suggests that the scope of the problem is expanding, despite an ongoing FDA investigation. “
“Government officials say they have been wrong about calling the melamine-contaminated product imported by two Chinese firms “wheat gluten” and “rice protein concentrate.” These products were incorrectly labeled and were, in fact, wheat flour. The FDA is investigating the possibility that these products were intentionally mislabeled by the Chinese companies.”
“MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. I am Rob Ali from the FDA’s Media Relations Shop. And thanks, and welcome to this briefing this afternoon on the melamine investigation. We have speakers today from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We also have several FDA officials here and officials from USDA and Customs and Border Protection available to answer any questions later on in this briefing.”
“In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that pet food was contaminated by wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that contained melamine and its compounds. Subsequently, scraps of contaminated pet food that contained only low levels of melamine were distributed to farms in a limited number of states and added to the feed consumed by swine and poultry. These scraps constituted only a small percentage of the farm animal rations. In addition, melamine is known to be excreted in animal urine. When exposure levels are much higher, as was the case with cats and dogs, the melamine and its compounds appear to cause the formation of crystals in the kidney systems, resulting in kidney damage. There was no indication of kidney damage in hogs. Both hogs and chickens known to have been fed contaminated feed appear to be healthy.”
Menu Foods delays filing of financial statements– Reuters.com
“The pet food maker — at the center of a massive recall due to tainted wheat gluten imported from China — said the delay was primarily due to ongoing discussions with lenders over additional financing for, among other things, product recalls.”
How two innocuous compounds combined to kill pets-WashingtonPost.com
“Scientists seeking the chemical culprits in the widening pet food scare have come across some unusual chemistry that may help them understand how two largely nontoxic compounds ended up killing an unknown number of cats and dogs.”
George W. Bush does something right (gasp) by signing the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act
May 3, 2007 in animal rights, animals, books, celebration, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, driving, FDA, Freedom Writers, George W. Bush, government, human food supply, Humane Society of the United States, MoveOn.org, pets, politics, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, USDA, VA Tech | 3 comments
Someone might need to get the paddles for me because I think my heart stopped the minute I realized I was actually applauding something George W. Bush had done. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, so (deep breath) kudos to you, GWB, for doing something for the animals. Now can you get the government (FDA and USDA for a start) to get things straightened out with our pet food supply and our human food supply? Of course my “to do” list for you is much longer, but we’ll start there–for now.
Click HERE to read the press release from the Humane Society of the United States regarding the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act being signed into law.
May 3, 2007
Today, President Bush signed into law a bill that will help law enforcement rid the United States of dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal fighting.
Dogfighting and cockfighting crimes are rampant in the United States, with individuals arrested every week in scores of locations under state laws. The vast underground networks generate pervasive animal cruelty, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, public corruption and even violence and murder. The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which passed Congress with large bi-partisan support, will give law enforcement a stronger tool to crack down on this illegal activity.
“Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,” states Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which has led the national battle against animal fighting and been the primary advocate for this federal legislation.
The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.
Cockfighting is outlawed in every state except Louisiana, although there is mounting pressure in that state to ban the practice. Many states still have misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting. The federal law slaps felony penalties on interstate cockfighting trafficking, and this should provide an enormous deterrent for the tens of thousands of people involved in this criminal industry.
The law will have a devastating impact on major breeders of fighting animals, who depend on customers from all over the United States and abroad. Dog kennels rely on transporting their fighting dogs across state lines and across the world to customers. The new law should substantially curb the transport of fighting animals across state and U.S. borders. The HSUS is already seeing some major breeders of fighting roosters cutting back on production.
The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will help end the export of fighting animals to other countries. Selling roosters to customers in the Philippines and other nations can be lucrative for American cockfighters. The new law puts increased pressure on the airlines to stop shipping roosters to cockfighting hot spots.
The new law had been introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) in the House, and by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate. It had also been endorsed by more than 500 groups, including all major humane organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and more than 400 local law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states.
April 30, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., Blue Buffalo Co., books, Captain and Tennille, cats, CBS, ChemNutra Inc., China, Diamond Foods, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, health, human food supply, life, melamine, Menu Foods, Natural Balance, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, SmartPak, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 5 comments
Totally disturbing. Totally disgusting. And who knows how long this has been going on. Read on–if you dare.
“Melamine is a cheap way to fake high protein levels in wheat gluten. The Chinese government — moving to protect its multibillion-dollar exports of fruits and vegetables — has now banned melamine and shuttered plants that may have used it.”
“The mildly toxic chemical melamine is commonly added to animal feed in China, a manager of a feed company and one of the chemical’s producers said Monday, a process that boosts the feed’s sales value but risks introducing the chemical into meat eaten by humans.”
Melamine in big demand in China-News24.com
“Melamine is so popular as a protein lookalike feed additive that at least one Chinese manufacturer is believed to have torn down buildings to get to leftover scraps, industry officials said on Monday”
A look at the additive Melamine-(AP)-Chron.com
“Melamine can serve as a fertilizer, since it’s high in nitrogen. Typically in the U.S., however, Kapin said melamine is used to make melamine resin, a polymer similar to plastic and used to coat countertops or cabinets because it is hard and largely heat resistant.”
Poultry farms in Indiana given contaminated feed-Reuters.com
“The U.S. government said on Monday 38 poultry farms in Indiana were given contaminated feed in early February containing melamine, with some of the chickens likely to have entered the food supply.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2007
FDA Media Relations Office, 301-827-6242
Joint Update: FDA/USDA Trace Adulterated Animal Feed to Poultry
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2007 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have learned that byproducts from pet food manufactured with contaminated wheat gluten imported from China have been used in chicken feed on some farms in the state of Indiana. This information came to light as part of the continuing investigation into imported rice protein concentrate and wheat gluten that have been found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds.
At this time, the investigation indicates that approximately 30 broiler poultry farms and eight breeder poultry farms in Indiana received contaminated feed in early February and fed it to poultry within days of receiving it. All of the broilers believed to have been fed contaminated product have since been processed. The breeders that were fed the contaminated product are under voluntary hold by the flock owners.
As with exposure from hogs fed contaminated pet food and for similar reasons related to the dilution of the contamination, FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating chicken fed the contaminated product is very low. Because there is no evidence of harm to humans associated with consumption of chicken fed the contaminated product, no recall of poultry products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.
Because the poultry being held have been fed adulterated products, USDA cannot knowingly approve products derived from these poultry for human consumption. USDA is offering to compensate producers who euthanize this poultry. USDA is also offering the expertise and assistance of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) personnel in carrying out depopulation activities, to ensure adherence to Federal and State laws.
FDA and USDA anticipate that as the investigation continues additional farms will likely be identified that received contaminated feed. As indicated in previous updates, FDA and USDA have also traced contaminated feed to swine farms in several states. The same procedures are being followed in relation to both swine and poultry; animals are being quarantined by state order or voluntarily held by the owners and USDA is offering compensation for depopulation and disposal of both swine and poultry that have been fed contaminated products.
USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full, comprehensive examination to protect the nation’s food supply and will provide updates as new information is confirmed.
Government: Hogs That Ate Contaminated Pet Food Will Not Be Recalled-(AP)-FoxNews.com (yes, I actually am using a Fox item…shocking! 😉)
“The government said last week that 345 of 6,000 hogs that may have the food are believed to have been placed on the path to slaughter, but that almost all are still on farms in California, New York and South Carolina.”
Here is the FDA news release (4/28/07) regarding the hogs who were fed melamine-tainted feed:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2007
FDA Press Office: 301-827-6242
USDA Press Office: 202-720-4623
Joint Update: FDA/USDA Update on Tainted Animal Feed
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue their investigation of imported rice protein concentrate which has been found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds. Based on information currently available, FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating pork from swine fed the contaminated product would be very low. The agencies are taking certain actions out of an abundance of caution. As announced on April 26, swine known to have been fed adulterated (contaminated) product will not be approved to enter the food supply. (Because the animal feed in question was adulterated, USDA cannot rule out the possibility that food produced from animals fed this product could also be adulterated. USDA cannot approve potentially adulterated meat.) This update provides additional information regarding the ongoing investigation.
As reported on April 22 by FDA, the Agency determined that rice protein concentrate imported from China was contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds. The product was imported by Wilbur-Ellis, an importer and distributor of agricultural products. Although the company began importing product from China in August 2006, the company did not become aware of the contamination until April 2007. As part of the ongoing investigation, FDA has determined the rice protein was used in the production of pet food and a portion of the pet food was used to produce animal feed. The ongoing investigation is tracing products distributed since August 2006 by Wilbur-Ellis throughout the distribution chain.
At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.
The assessment that, if there were to be harm to human health, it would be very low, is based on a number of factors, including the dilution of the contaminating melamine and melamine-related compounds from the original rice protein concentrate as it moves through the food system. First it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet. Neither FDA nor USDA has uncovered any evidence of harm to the swine from the contaminated feed. In addition to the dilutional factor and the lack of evidence of illnesses in the swine fed the waste pet food, we are not aware of any human illness that has occurred from exposure to melamine or its by-products. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention systems would have limited ability to detect subtle problems due to melamine and melamine-related compounds, no problems have been detected to date. To further evaluate any potential harm to humans, the FDA is developing and implementing further tests and risk assessments based on the toxicity of the compounds and how much of the compounds consumers could be expected to actually consume.
The ongoing investigation and product reconciliation and testing have led to certain farms. We expect the investigation will continue to find more places where product may have been distributed. As of April 26, sites in the following states are believed to have received and used contaminated product: California, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah. As we confirm additional sites that have received and used contaminated product, we will provide additional updates.
USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full, comprehensive examination to protect the nation’s food supply and will provide updates as new information is confirmed.
***Latest pet food recall “firm press releases” from the FDA***
April 26, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, books, cats, China, corn gluten, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, government, health, human food supply, life, LiveSmart, melamine, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, SmartPak, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 1 comment
Again, limited time, so just a quick roundup:
Chenango Valley Pet Foods Issues Recall-chron.com
“Chenango Valley Pet Foods has begun voluntarily recalling pet foods manufactured with a certain shipment of rice protein concentrate, the company said Thursday…Doctors Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food…Doctors Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Cat Food…Lick Your Chops Lamb meal, Rice & Egg Cat Food…Bulk Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food sold to one consignee, SmartPak…Consumers with questions may contact the company at: 610-821-0608…Also, SmartPak Canine is voluntarily recalling a batch of its LiveSmart-Weight Management Formula dog food…”
“China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement there was no evidence to support the FDA’s claim but that it would cooperate with the United States to find out what actually killed the animals…The comments in a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry were the first detailed response from Beijing to concerns that emerged a month ago about the country’s wheat and rice gluten exports.”
Hogs thought fed contaminated food may have entered food supply – (AP) Newsday.com
“Several hundred of the 6,000 hogs that may have eaten contaminated pet food are believed to have entered the food supply for humans, the government said Thursday.”
Another recall/Hog concerns expand to several states/House hearing on food safety/Canadian pet food regulation
April 24, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., books, CA Dept of Food/Ag, Captain and Tennille, cats, ChemNutra Inc., China, corn gluten, Diamond Foods, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, health, House of Representatives, human food supply, life, LiveSmart, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, recall, Rudy, SmartPak, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | Leave a comment
Please note that there HAS BEEN ANOTHER RECALL, this one (SmartPak’s LiveSmart Weight Management Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Food) is mentioned at the bottom of the “Hogs Ate Pet Food Tainted with Chemical” story linked below. Here is the link for SmartPak, but I see no notice of the recall at this point (6:35 PM PST). My time will be limited for the next eight weeks, so posts will more than likely be news links. Then again, when I get on a rant there’s no stopping me. Guess we’ll just see. 😉
“”What has the FDA done to prevent food-borne illnesses? It appears the FDA has decided to centralize food safety decision making in Washington D.C., cut back on inspections, and hope that food producers and manufacturers will self-police their industry based on voluntary guidelines,” said Stupak, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.“
“The suspicion of international contamination is eerily similar to past incidents in China,” Barton said. “A dozen years ago, 89 children in Haiti died after taking cough medicine made with, believe it or not, poisonous antifreeze that was traced back to China. The world never got an answer from the Chinese on how this crime occurred.”
“Ten pet food manufacturers sent unusable dog and cat food containing the toxic chemical melamine to hog producers in California, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and possibly Ohio, FDA officials announced during a late afternoon press conference. Contaminated pet food was also sent to one chicken farm in Missouri, the officials added.”
Hogs Ate Pet Food Tainted with Chemical-AP-PawtucketTimes.com
“However, the Food and Drug Administration said the urine of some hogs tested positive for the chemical, melamine, in North Carolina and South Carolina as well as California.
Also Tuesday, the FDA said another pet food company, SmartPak, had recalled products made with tainted rice protein concentrate. The company said the recall covered a single production run of its LiveSmart Weight Management Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Food.”
Canada to review need for pet-food regulation-DVMNewsMagazine.com
“It doesn’t mean Canada should or will impose regulations, he says, adding that regulations didn’t keep pets from dying in the United States.“
Senators: Second importer of tainted rice protein found/CA Dept. of Food/Ag. update on hogs and melamine
April 23, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., books, CA Dept of Food/Ag, Captain and Tennille, cats, China, corn gluten, Diamond Foods, Dick Durbin, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, health, human food supply, life, Maria Cantwell, melamine, Menu Foods, Natural Balance, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 1 comment
Looks like Sen. Durbin is continuing to stand up for pets and their parents by pushing forward with his pursuit of the truth in all this pet food contamination mess. He, along with Sen. Cantwell, sent a letter today (will copy it below…note to Sen. Durbin’s office, “You might want to proofread the letter before sending next time. United States Senator was spelled Untied States Senator.”…then again, I suppose we are ALL feeling a bit ‘untied’ lately. 😉) to Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D. (FDA) requesting action by the FDA on many fronts, most interestingly in regard to this alarming (yet not very surprising) discovery of a second importer of rice protein, which is more than likely melamine-tainted:
We have learned that in addition to Wilbur-Ellis, a second United States company imported a shipment of rice protein from China that is also likely to be contaminated with melamine. We request the FDA identify this second importer as well as those manufacturers to which it may have sold the contaminated product. Again, we request the FDA closely track this shipment and immediately press the affected companies to recall any food containing the imported rice protein.
Part of a Reuters Alert story “US Senators raise new concerns in pet food scare” reports:
An aide to Durbin said the senators found out about the second importer from industry sources.
If confirmed, that could further expand a pet food recall that so far includes more than 100 brands. FDA officials have confirmed 16 deaths of cats and dogs from kidney failure and have received more than 15,000 reports of illnesses.
The senators’ letter came ahead of a congressional hearing on Tuesday to examine the pet food scare as well as the larger issue of human food safety before a U.S. House of Representatives committee.
FDA spokeswoman Cathy McDermott said so far the agency is only aware of one rice protein importer, Wilbur-Ellis Co., but the investigation is ongoing.
Is anyone else as tired of the same old line of crap from the FDA? The, “Um, uh, the investigation is ongoing…we have our fingers up our patootie and can’t handle our jobs…what’s a little poison amongst friends?” line of malarkey they keep regurgitating. ARGH!!! I feel like a broken record bitching and moaning about the fact that the FDA should be able to track ANY DARN THING at ANY MOMENT. There is no reason,with technology such as it is, that someone can’t get on the phone or online and track things down. Heck, the blogging community has done a better job tracking down information than some of the media AND government agencies. Okay, gotta keep the blood pressure down…breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. The good news is that there is another hearing tomorrow, so hopefully some folks responsible for protecting our food supplies (both human and pet) will get their collective fannies nailed to the wall by Senator Durbin and others.
DURBIN, CANTWELL ASK FDA TO STRENGTHEN INSPECTIONS AND DISCLOSE COMPANIES THAT PURCHASED CONTAMINATED RICE PROTEIN FROM CHINA
Monday, April 23, 2007
[WASHINGTON, DC] — U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today sent a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach asking him to identify the companies that were recipients of the contaminated rice protein shipments from China and to request that the FDA identify and inspect all suspect pet food ingredients imported by the U.S. from China and other countries.
Recent reports indicate that in addition to the contaminated wheat gluten found during the first wave of pet food recalls, contaminated shipments of rice protein and corn gluten have been used for pet food and could have entered the human food supply. On April 2nd, a Chinese company, Binzhou-Futian, sold rice protein to Wilbur-Ellis and a second unknown importer. Wilbur-Ellis has said that the shipment was distributed to five pet food manufacturers. Three of those manufacturers have revealed themselves and recalled food, the other two have not.
Given the strong possibility that these two pet food manufacturers also received contaminated rice protein and that they have failed to implement voluntary recalls, Durbin and Cantwell today asked FDA to release the names of these manufacturers and require them to trace and recall any pet food made with the potentially contaminated rice protein. The Senators have also asked that the name of the second importer be released.
Last week, Senator Durbin and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) met with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach in Durbin’s Capitol office to discuss the latest recall of pet food, this time caused by contaminated rice protein imported from China. In the meeting, Durbin and DeLauro learned that the Chinese Government has blocked requests from the FDA to send personnel to China to inspect the facilities suspected of producing the contaminated products. The FDA first contacted the Chinese Government on April 4, 2007, but have not been granted permission to send food inspectors into the country. In response, Durbin and DeLauro sent a letter to the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzong, urging the Chinese Government to issue visas to U.S. food inspectors as quickly as possible.
Two weeks ago, Durbin and Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing the FDA’s response to the pet food recall. The hearing examined the timeline of the investigation, the source of the contamination, and the agency’s regulatory and inspection responsibilities. In the hearing, the Senators also questioned outside experts about the current state of the pet food industry, as well as regulatory or resource shortfalls that led to the widespread recall of tainted pet food.
Text of the letter appears below:
April 23, 2007Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.
Mail Code: HF-1
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20856Dear Commissioner:We are writing today in light of the recent expansion in the pet food recall. Over the past week, shipments of imported rice protein and corn gluten have been discovered to be contaminated with melamine. In addition, we have learned that the human food supply may be at risk from tainted pet food sold to a hog feeding operation in California.Once again, our food supply has been put at risk by contaminated ingredients that originated overseas and were never inspected by the FDA. In addition to identifying those companies who were recipients of the contaminated rice protein and have yet to do the right thing by identifying themselves, we request that the FDA begin comprehensive testing and sampling of both rice protein and corn gluten, similar to the testing and sampling performed on wheat gluten. The FDA must assure Congress and the American people that the shipments of rice protein known to be contaminated with melamine imported by Wilbur Ellis and the second unknown importer are the only shipments of contaminated rice protein to reach the United States and that no contaminated corn gluten has reached the United States. Should any additional contaminated rice protein or corn gluten be found, the FDA should take immediate action to identify those companies receiving the contaminated products and press for removal of any contaminated food from the market. Additionally, we request that the FDA conduct comprehensive testing on all pet food about which it has received complaints regarding symptoms of kidney failure in dogs or cats. The FDA’s strategy thus far of waiting for companies to self-report contamination and make the individual decision to remove contaminated food in their own time frame has served to increase the number of animals sick and dying and magnify this sad situation.Repeatedly, American pet owners have been told that products not on the recall list are safe for their pets, only to discover that the recall has expanded and that their pets may still be vulnerable. In order to prevent further contaminated food from reaching our shelves, we are requesting the following of the Food and Drug Administration:1. Wilbur-Ellis Co., the San Francisco-based company that imported the shipment of contaminated rice protein has said that the shipment was distributed to five pet food manufacturers. Three of those manufacturers have revealed themselves and recalled food, the other two have not. Given the strong possibility that these two pet food manufacturers also received contaminated rice protein and that they have failed to implement voluntary recalls, we believe the FDA should release the names of these manufacturers and require them to trace and recall any pet food made with the potentially contaminated rice protein. If FDA is unable to reveal this information, we ask for a detailed legal explanation.2. We have learned that in addition to Wilbur-Ellis, a second United States company imported a shipment of rice protein from China that is also likely to be contaminated with melamine. We request the FDA identify this second importer as well as those manufacturers to which it may have sold the contaminated product. Again, we request the FDA closely track this shipment and immediately press the affected companies to recall any food containing the imported rice protein.3. The FDA has engaged in significant testing and sampling of wheat gluten. Given we now know contaminated shipments of both rice protein concentrate and corn gluten have also been exported from China, we ask the FDA to begin comprehensive testing and sampling of rice protein concentrate and corn gluten immediately.4. We have seen this recall expand dramatically, both in terms of the number of brands and different products recalled, and in the number of ingredients contaminated. In light of the strong possibility that these protein sources were purposefully contaminated for economic purposes, we are concerned about the safety of other imported pet food ingredients and the possibility of them being contaminated. Accordingly, we ask the FDA to proactively respond by:
· Identifying and inspecting all suspect pet food ingredients imported by the U.S. from China and other countries;
· Studying the feasibility of testing protein-based pet food ingredients imported from China and other countries for melamine;
· Taking steps to work with the Chinese Government and other foreign governments to inspect their facilities and provide technical assistance to improve their food safety standards.
Approximately 63% of Americans own a cat or a dog. The FDA owes the American public their best effort to prevent contaminated food from getting to store shelves and to remove contaminated food that is already on shelves before more pets die. We look forward to the Food and Drug Administration’s prompt and complete response to this letter.
Richard J. Durbin
Untied States Senator
Maria E. Cantwell
Untied States Senator
FDA update on investigation/CA Dept of Food&Ag press release regarding hogs and melamine/3 more contaminants found
April 22, 2007 in Aminopterin, animals, ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., Blue Buffalo Co., books, CA Dept of Food/Ag, California, Captain and Tennille, cats, ChemNutra Inc., China, corn gluten, Diamond Foods, diet, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Earth Day, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, hair, health, human food supply, life, melamine, Menu Foods, Natural Balance, Nutro, Ozomatli, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, University of Guelph, VA Tech, vegetarian, wheat gluten, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 2 comments
So much for taking today off from posting and enjoying Earth Day instead. Was checking email and found news from the FDA titled “Update on Tainted Pet Food“, which included a link to the press release from the California Department of Agriculture, so I just had to come post about it. To read the articles in their entirety click on the links I’ve provide, and I would also highly, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you read a VERY informative article by Karen Roebuck at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She discusses the melamine situation with the hogs in California, and sheds light on laboratories finding three additional contaminants in pets who were sickened or died after eating tainted pet food:
Researchers also have identified three other contaminants in the urine and kidneys of animals sickened or killed after eating the recalled foods, including cyanuric acid, a chemical commonly used in pool chlorination, three researchers told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Cyanuric acid is what most likely sickened pets, one researcher said..Researchers in at least three labs found cyanuric acid, amilorine and amiloride — all by-products of melamine — in the crystals of animals’ urine, tissues and kidneys…
Another interesting, yet not surprising, nugget in her article was:
The Chinese government told the Trib and the FDA yesterday that the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., which the FDA said supplied the tainted wheat gluten, did not export any wheat gluten intended to be used in food.
Anyone else getting some increasingly worrisome vibes about our continuously deteriorating relationship with China. Bad vibes I tell ya, bad vibes.
Okay, I really AM going to “try” and get away from the computer today, this beautiful Earth Day 2007, but knowing me I’ll keep checking for updates. 😉 In the meantime here is today’s (4/22/07) update from the FDA, and last Thursday’s (4/19/07) release from the California Department of Agriculture regarding the melamine and hogs. Usually, as a 14 year vegetarian, reading something like the news about the hogs would have me gently chiding non-vegetarians for eating meat, but considering many items vegetarians eat may be affected by the tainted glutens and proteins, there is really no one who can be happy about the state of our food supply. Until later, my friends.
Updated Pet Products Recall page/Melamine and hogs/Intentional poisoning?/Homemade pet food/US Wheat Industry assurances
April 21, 2007 in American Bullie, animals, ASPCA, Berkley & Jensen, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., books, CA Dept of Food/Ag, Captain and Tennille, cats, ChemNutra Inc., China, corn gluten, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, health, homemade pet food, human food supply, life, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, Petrapport, Inc., pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, salmonella, SmartPak, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, wheat industry, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | Leave a comment
Phew! Just finished spending a good deal of time revamping and updating the Pet Products Recall page (changed the name from Pet Food Recall info/posts page since I decided to include ALL pet-related recalls, such as the salmonella-related recalls, not just the ones related to the pet food chaos), so give it a gander and let me know if there’s anything I need to change and/or add. Thanks! Too pooped out now to do a regular post, but did want to at least post some interesting news articles and links I have run across today.
Melamine and hogs/Intentional poisoning of products?:
- Updated: Chemical in tainted pet food turns up on hog farms; probably not in Oregon-OregonLive.com (Mentions hogs in NY, but I don’t see any further details in the article and haven’t been able to find anything online…stay tuned!)
- Chemical found in state hogs-SacBee.com
- Contaminated pet food sold to hog farm-ModBee.com
- Pet Foods May Have Been Intentionally Poisoned–CBS4, Florida (This story broke a couple days back, but it’s a good recap)
- Pet Food Contamination Scandal Spreads to Pork, FDA Opens Criminal Investigation-consumeraffairs.com (Interesting to see “criminal investigation” being used by the FDA since, in my opinion, the whole darn thing has been criminal from the get-go, most especially the FDA.)
US Wheat Industry assurances:
- With the Ongoing Pet Food Recall, the U.S. Wheat Industry Works to Assure Consumers that American Wheat Products are Safe-GrainNet.com
Homemade diets for pets? Pro and Con:
- Pets’ nutritional needs are different than yours-SunSentinel.com
- Local vet: Homemade is the best way to go-MaineToday.com
- Healthy or harmful?-MaineToday.com
- Before you cook for Rover or Mittens, check with your vet, ASPCA urges-pressofAtlanticCity.com
While revamping and updating information on the Pet Product Recalls page, I found this 4/16/07 Consumer Health Information update titled “FDA’s Ongoing Pet Food Investigation”, which I hadn’t seen before. Also wanted to post the FDA’s search engine for recalled foods , but I would HIGHLY recommend continuing to check the web sites of individual companies or here. At least the FDA site is another tool for those interested in finding out the most information possible. I think we have all discovered that you cannot depend on just one media source, blog, or government agency to give you all the information you need, since it is always changing. While there are some fantastic sites and resources available, there just isn’t really one media outlet alone that has been able to keep up on EVERY bit of info that surfaces. That being said, I will still stick to my claim that the blogging community has been the primary source for the most updated information getting out to concerned lovers of pets in quick and effective fashion.
Probably won’t post tomorrow (unless some news breaks), so have a GREAT weekend, everyone! 🙂
April 19, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., books, cats, CBS, China, corn gluten, Diamond Foods, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, government, health, human food supply, life, melamine, Natural Balance, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Wilbur-Ellis | 6 comments
I just watched the 11 o’clock news on CBS2 in Los Angeles, and unfortunately found answers to the hog farm questions I posed in my earlier post tonight. I tell ya, if this excerpt won’t get you to read the entire story, and sit up and take notice that this situation is NOT just an issue for those with pets, I don’t know what will.
“State officials believe the melamine came from rice protein concentrate imported from China by Diamond Pet Food’s Lathrop facility, which produces products under the Natural Balance brand and sold salvage pet food to the farm for pig feed.”
If this melamine contamination of wheat gluten, rice protein, and corn gluten, has not directly entered the human food system already, this story is an indication of how it can make its way there indirectly. Tip of the iceberg, people, tip of the iceberg. I also find it quite bothersome to discover that this is what is happening with the recalled food: being sold as “salvaged” food. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
(4/20-Updated story here.)
April 13, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, books, Captain and Tennille, cats, CBS, ChemNutra Inc., China, Dick Durbin, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, homemade pet food, human food supply, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, politics, Purina, recall, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 1 comment
Interesting, eclectic mix of news on the pet food contamination situation. As for the CBS story, I think anyone really following the developments knew long ago that the wheat gluten in some pet food was “food grade (suitable for human consumption products) “, so it wasn’t really any stretch of the imagination for the same situation to have occurred with Menu Foods. Also sad to see that the pet food has reached other continents such as South Africa. And maybe it’s just because I’ve been so consumed with this tainted pet food mess and reading so much on it, but I have a hard time believing the survey stating that most Americans aren’t changing anything with the diet of their pets on the heels of this scare. Then again, I suppose we’ve earned our “Lazy American” title for a reason, right? 😉
- CBS News says tainted wheat gluten almost in the human food supply
- China’s government web site article on their investigation of tainted wheat gluten claims (dated 4/7)
- Chicago Tribune recap on yesterday’s Pet Food Regulation hearing(free subscription required) (http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/health/chi-0704130021apr13,1,4239026.story)
- Canadian story on the Pet Food Regulation hearing
- South African pets are affected by pet food recall
- Belize may have the ALPO product
- Survey says most Americans unaffected by pet food scare
April 10, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Bailey, Captain and Tennille, cats, celebration, ChemNutra Inc., Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, health, human food supply, life, melamine, Menu Foods, MoveOn.org, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, Purina, recall, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, video, wheat gluten, wheat industry, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 5 comments
Pick a number. Any number between 14 and say, oh, how about 39,000? Well, it seems that is about as concrete as ANY number you’ll get regarding just how many poor, innocent pets have died due to the tainted wheat gluten used in possibly millions of containers of recalled pet food. The FDA and Menu Foods continue to stand by their statistic of 14-16 pets dead (majority of those from Menu Foods own “tasting trials”), while online pet web site, Pet Connection, had registered 3,598 owner-reported pet deaths by 4/9/07. Then to add even MORE mystery to the already “shrouded in secrecy“ pet food contamination story, is what has the internet all abuzz: two “somewhat” different versions of an AP story by Andrew Bridges. I took screen shots of each and will also save the entire stories on a page on this blog so you can compare the differences yourself. And goodness knows how many more times the story might change. Kind of makes you wonder what sort of pressure Andrew Bridges and/or the Associated Press might be receiving (if any), and by whom?
Here’s the first version:
Then there is this later version:
While the latest development in the pet food contamination scandal ended up taking me away from the blog entry I was going to do on today being ASPCA Day, I can’t go without acknowledging the organization and its incredible work on behalf of animals, such as the beautiful one pictured here in a birthday tiara, my dearly departed Bailey. I adopted her from a shelter in June of 1992, and I was unbelievably fortunate to share 14 1/2 memorable and loving years with her. There are thousands upon thousands of animals in shelters RIGHT NOW, just waiting for you to open up your heart and your home. Trust me, doing so is something you (and the pet) will not regret. Just ask my current shelter boy pictured below, my goofball Rudy!
So let’s all gather ’round and sing a hearty version of “Happy Birthday” to the ASPCA, celebrating their 141st year of looking out for those who cannot look out for themselves; our furry, feathered, and finned friends (and any others that don’t fall into those categories ;)). While we all celebrate this fabulous occasion and “Go Orange for the Animals” in some form or fashion today, let’s also do our best YEAR ROUND to assist the ASPCA in its various efforts to end animal cruelty and find loving homes for all those pets who need them. Keep up the good work, ASPCA!
April 5, 2007 in American Bullie, animals, ASPCA, CA Dept of Food/Ag, Captain and Tennille, cats, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, Don Imus, Erin Burnett, FDA, government, human food supply, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, Purina, recall, Rudy, salmonella, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 4 comments
Sometimes you just do NOT want to be right about something, and many of us did NOT want to be right about the list of recalled items expanding over time, nor did we want to be right about the tainted wheat gluten making it into human food processing plants. Yet here we are with yet ANOTHER recall notice from the FDA today, added to the alarming report this week from the Boston Globe.
The recall today affects another branded and private-label pet food manufacturer, Sunshine Mills Inc., and includes: Nurture Chicken & Rice, Nurture Lamb & Rice, Pet Life Large, Pet Life Extra Large, Pet Life Large Variety, Pet Life Large Peanut Butter, Lassie Lamb and Rice (AKA Natural Way Dog Biscuits baked with Lamb & Rice), Pet Life People Pleasers Dog Treats, Companion’s Best Multi Flavor Biscuit, Stater Brothers Large Biscuit, Ol’Roy Peanut Butter Biscuit, Ol’Roy 4 Flavor Large Biscuit, Ol’Roy Puppy Biscuit, Champion Breed Peanut Butter Biscuit, Champion Breed Large Biscuit, Perfect Pals Large Biscuit, Stater Brothers Large Biscuit. I will add the code information with other recalled pet food information on the Pet food recall info/posts page.
I noticed the FDA has revamped their Pet Food Recall page, which is a sad sign to me that this situation is going to be with us for some time. I also found this Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts page, which I hadn’t seen before. Oh, and can I just vent for a moment and ask all the affected companies and the FDA to STOP SAYING that other products are safe and we do not need to worry! Kind of hard for us to buy into that idea since practically every other day we’re getting news of more items being recalled. Just tell us, once and for all, the names of all companies which received the tainted wheat gluten so WE, the consumers, can make our own decisions about what is and isn’t safe. Simple request, in my opinion.
***Just got another recall notice (American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chew and Dog Chew [made from all American beef pizzle]) from the FDA in my mail, but this is another SALMONELLA-related one (not Menu Foods-related), similar to this one from 3/25.***
April 3, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Blue Buffalo Co., Captain and Tennille, cats, ChemNutra Inc., Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, Friday Morning After, government, health, human food supply, life, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, Purina, rat poison, recall, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 12 comments
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.
March 17, 2007 in Alpo, American Bullie, American Nutrition Inc., Aminopterin, animals, ASPCA, AVMA, Berkley & Jensen, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., Blue Buffalo Co., CA Dept of Food/Ag, cats, CBS, Cereal Byproducts Co., ChemNutra Inc., Chenango Valley Pet Food, China, corn gluten, cyanuric acid, Dennis Kucinich, Diamond Foods, Dick Durbin, diet, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, FDA, government, health, Hill's, homemade pet food, House of Representatives, human food supply, Humane Society of the United States, LiveSmart, Maria Cantwell, melamine, Menu Foods, Natural Balance, Nutra Nuggets, Nutro, NY Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, Ol' Roy, pet food, pet food recall, PETA, Petrapport, Inc., pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, rat poison, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rosa DeLauro, Royal Canin, salmonella, Science Diet, SmartPak, Sunshine Mills, University of Guelph, USDA, wheat gluten, wheat industry, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 40 comments
POSTS for 3/17-8/22:
- 3/17/07: Fairly long lists came out yesterday (3/16/07) for a PET FOOD RECALL. Press Release, Cat food (cat food list updated by Menu Foods on 3/23/07), Dog foods (dog food list updated by Menu Foods on 3/23/07) PLEASE take the time to follow the links I’m including to see if the brand of food you feed your pet is listed. On behalf of your pets, thank you!
- 3/18/07: Science Diet has added some of their foods to the voluntary recall list. Pets HAVE died and others are suffering severe health problems, so PLEASE check this new list AND the ones I listed above. Thank you! Science Diet Recall (On 3/30/07 Science Diet recalled feline m/d)
- 3/18/07 10:15PM PST: The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is even posting information which shows just how far-reaching this has become. They even have a web page with information on how to register adverse reactions/consumer complaints. I appreciate that so many of you are reading as much as you can about this and staying on top of the situation. What wonderful owners your pets have! 🙂 And PLEASE continue to spread the information to AS MANY folks as you can, and have THEM stay on top of it as well. I’ll definitely continue to add information as I find out about it.
- 3/19/07 11:10 AM PST: Looks like Menu Foods has another press release, which interestingly enough says it’s not for US newswire services, whatever THAT really means. It’s in PDF format and can be accessed from their main recall page.
- 3/20/07 11:20 AM PST: It is disconcerting to hear that in February, Menu Foods apparently was notified of the problems with pets eating certain Menu Foods produced food, did their own testing in which approximately 17% of the tested pets died, yet it wasn’t until March 16th that the recall was announced?!?! I am obviously no expert on how these things work, but it sure seems to me that the motto of “better safe than sorry” should have been in place LONG BEFORE March 16th! Menu Foods recall notice states:
“We take these complaints very seriously and, while we are still looking for a specific cause, we are acting to err on the side of caution” said Paul K. Henderson, President and CEO, Menu Foods. “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our products maintain the very highest quality standards.”
Seems to me that “acting to err on the side of caution” would have meant alerting consumers about the problems MUCH sooner than they did. According to news reports, Menu Foods was alerted by pet owners about deaths and renal failure on February 20th, Menu Foods began their own tests February 27th where between 15%-20% of the pets they tested died, yet the recall was not announced until March 16th, THREE WEEKS AFTER they were first alerted of the deaths and health issues?!?!
I certainly hope to hear SOME type of logical explanation SOON from Menu Foods, but until then all I can assume is that $$$$ (especially since in their initial press release on 3/16/07 they repeatedly mention how much the recall could cost their company) and probable financial loss is what had Menu Foods dragging their feet, while their consumers were unknowingly feeding their beloved pets food which could possibly kill them, if not leave them with painful health issues and enormous veterinary bills which many owners cannot truly afford. I worked in the veterinary field for nearly 7 years and know the high cost of health care for pets, along with having had expensive medical situations with my own pets. But that is what pet owners do, they care for their pets as if they were members of their family, which they are (just four-legged instead of two-legged), and will put themselves into debt just to make sure their pets get the best care possible. Unfortunately there will be pets whose health care costs related to the issues from the tainted food will be too high for some owners to absorb, and they will then have to make the heartbreaking choice to have their beloved pet euthanized.
Come on Menu Foods, let’s get cracking on finding some solutions here. I think everyone understands that “accidents” and “mistakes” do happen in life, which might possibly explain how the food became tainted in the first place, but the part I’m having the hardest time understanding right now is why the recall took so long to be announced to consumers. What do you have to say Menu Foods? You have countless pet owners looking to you for answers.
- 3/21/07: Menu Foods Recall: Good video
- 3/22/07: Pet Food Recall: Who provided Menu Foods wheat gluten?
- 3/23/07: Pet food recall: NY Dept. of Ag says “Aminopterin” (AKA rat poison)(<–2:15 PST: Click for links to videos of the Menu Foods media teleconference held today)
- 3/24/07: Pet food recall: Menu Foods updates recall web site (includes FAQ)–dog and cat recall food lists updated, too!
- 3/25/07: Pet food recall: Menu Foods recalling ALL wet food (There’s been a non-Menu Foods pet pig ear treat recall)
- 3?25?07:Pig ear dog treats recalled: SALMONELLA contamination (NOT Menu Foods recall related)
- 3/26/07: Pet food recall: Menu Foods “clarifies”?
- 3/29/07: Pet food recall: Where to register complaints
- 3/30/07: Pet food recall: First rat poison, now melamine! How about trying to put FOOD in the food? (Also includes a link to the Menu Foods press conference on 3/30/07 and link to recall of Science Diet feline m/d)
- 3/31/07: Pet food recall: Items added 3/30 & 3/31!
- 4/1/07: Pet food recall: FDA memo naming recalled food WHEAT GLUTEN SUPPLIER?! (Also includes a link I found on 4/2 to the FDA’s chart of their “Pet Food Contamination Process)
- 4/3/07: Pet food recall: Taking action AND Pet food recall: Companies named & tainted wheat gluten reported in human food manufacturing plant
- 4/4/07:Pet food recall: Anderson Cooper 360° in China on wheat gluten story
- 4/5/07:Pet food recall: MORE products added on 4/5 (Sunshine Mills produced) (Also includes a link to the recall notice for American Bullie dog chews)
- 4/6/07:Pet food recall: Senate hearing on FDA/Kudos to Sen. Durbin “The FDA’s response to this situation has been tragically slow…”
- 4/7/07:Pet food recall: Yet AGAIN, recall EXPANDS (links to updated lists)
- 4/10/07:Changing AP story on Pet Food Recall deaths AND “Go Orange for Animals” with the ASPCA today!
- 4/10/07:Pet food recall: Menu Foods issues THIRD recall list today (4/10)
- 4/11/07:Animal news round-up: HR 137 passes, Oversight hearing on 4/12, CFO sold shares…
- 4/12/07:Pet food recall: Oversight hearing on CSPAN & FDA warns some recalled food STILL on shelves
- 4/13/07:Pet food recall: Headlines around the globe
- 4/16/07:Pet food recall: Natural Balance pet food notice from FDA
- 4/17/07:Salmonella AGAIN: Twelve days AFTER FDA “warning” American Bullie dog chews finally recalled (NOT Menu Foods recall related)
- 4/17/07:Melamine the culprit (again) in Natural Balance’s expanded recall today (4/17)
- 4/18/07:Pet food recall: Menu Foods adds another item
- 4/18/07:Pet food recall: Melamine in rice protein/kudos to Natural Balance/Wilbur-Ellis the new ChemNutra?
- 4/18/07:Sen. Durbin and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro continue investigation
- 4/19/07:Pet food recall: Melamine in wheat gluten/Corn gluten/Rice protein–Causes Blue Buffalo Co. to pull item
- 4/19/07:Stanislaus hog farm quarantined after “salvaged” melamine-tainted food fed to hogs
- 4/21/07:Updated Pet Products Recall page/Melamine and hogs/Intentional poisoning?/Homemade pet food/US Wheat Industry assurances
- 4/22/07:FDA update on investigation/CA Dept of Food&Ag press release regarding hogs and melamine/3 more contaminants found
- 4/23/07:Senators: Second importer of tainted rice protein found/CA Dept. of Food/Ag. update on hogs and melamine
- 4/24/07:Another recall/Hog concerns expand to several states/House hearing on food safety/Canadian pet food regulation
- 4/26/07:4/26 Pet food contamination news: More recalls/China bans melamine/hogs & human food chain/
- 4/27/07:4/27-FDA Press Release re: Additional Diamond Pet Food recall
- 4/27/07:(4/27)MORE firm FDA press releases: Blue Buffalo BLASTS American Nutrition, Inc.
- 4/28/07:(4/28):Natural Balance expanding recall after American Nutrition, Inc. altering comes to light/FDA raids Menu Foods and ChemNutra
- 4/30/07:(4/30)Melamine+China=Disgusting/Expanded pet food recalls
- 5/3/07:(5/3) No shocker here: Menu Foods expands pet food recall (again!) 7 weeks AFTER first recall
- 5/4/07:(5/4) Combination of melamine & cyanuric acid may be key to deaths/Another pet food recall/Crisis far from over/Transcript of USDA & FDA update
- 5/10/07:(5/10)US investigators in China on contaminated pet food case/Incorrectly labeled wheat flour the culprit/FDA-USDA release info/Science lesson/Menu Foods delays financial reports
- 5/14/07:(5/14) Royal Canin USA recalls 8 Sensible Choice dry dog foods and 7 Kasco dry dog and cat foods
- 5/15/07:(5/15) ChemNutra calls for a national Pet Food Ingredients Safety Summit/Kirkland recall/Hogs that ate tainted feed being released for consumption
- 5/18/07:(5/18) Chenango Valley Pet Foods expands recall: possibility of cross-contamination (includes ferret food)
- 5/28/07:(5/28) And the pet food contamination saga continues…
- 5/29/07:(5/29) Head of China’s Food and Drug Agency sentenced to death/Nutra Nuggets recall
- 6/7/07:Dog food recalled due to possibility of salmonella (Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition) (NOT related to melamine-tainted pet food recall)
- 7/11/07:Videos of Michael Moore on CNN (Parts I & II with Wolf Blitzer AND Larry King Live with Dr. Gupta)/Pet food recall update
- 8/21/07:Wal-Mart pulls chicken jerky dog treats produced in China
- 8/22/07:Red Flannel dog food (Mars Petcare) recalled in PA due to possibility of salmonella contamination
- 9/13/07:Possible new “made in China” tainted dog treat: Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats
- 9/19/07:Pet food recall: Bravo! recalls tubes of raw food poultry products for pets due to possibility of Salmonella/Listeria
- 9/13/08: Deja vu: Mars Petcare US announces 9-12-08 pet food recall of SEVERAL brands due to potential salmonella contamination (list included)