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onecareus.gifWhile AB 8 (horrible compromise bill) and SB 840 (infinitely superior bill) are California-specific pending legislation, the ramifications of which bill is ultimately passed (if any) will ring throughout our country since insurance companies, the medical industry, and politicians will be watching to see what they can get away with in YOUR state. Please take heed and most definitely take action. The following letters are reprinted with permission from the “Health Care for All” MySpace blog.

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ACTION ALERT!

TAKE ACTION to STOP AB-8. Everybody in California can go to: Legislator Search – Type in your zip code and call your Senator and follow up with e-mails no later than 9/11. And please forward this to all your e-mail lists off MySpace in California. Please see below the official Health Care For All opposition letter on AB8 for talking specific talking points.

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California’s Unhealthy Bill: Fake Healthcare Reform A Victory for Schwarzenegger — And a Boon for Insurance Companies

Posted September 5, 2007 | 10:10 PM (EST)

In alliance with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democratic leaders of the state Legislature, led by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez are rushing to enact a substandard health reform plan that will not reduce the health insecurity of California families.

They’re apparently even willing to jeopardize Sen. Barbara Boxer and their own party’s slim hold on the United States Senate along the way.

Here’s the deal: Nuñez and some other Democrats are actively working with Schwarzenegger to put together a “compromise” healthcare package.

Schwarzenegger, the main architect of that plan, gets to claim credit for supposedly solving the state’s healthcare crisis using “bipartisan consensus.” As collateral damage to Democrats, Schwarzenegger can tout this deal to boost his candidacy against Boxer in 2010.

Nuñez could then get the governor’s support for extending his term as speaker.

This constellation of events may be dandy for a career politician or two, but it leaves behind a lot of other Californians, who will have to contend with a poor healthcare bill full of holes.

AB 8 does nothing to rein in rising insurance premiums — up 87% nationally this decade — or rising co-pays, deductibles and other health fees. Which means that costs, already unaffordable for far too many, would continue to spin out of control.

The bill fails to limit rising prescription drug costs, especially notable at a time when Schwarzenegger has just eliminated funding for his “voluntary” drug price restraints that were so ballyhooed last year by the governor and the authors of AB 8.

It is not universal, as many of the currently uninsured would remain without access to care. It fails to assure uniform, comprehensive benefits, and therefore perpetuates an increasingly multi-tiered health system based on the ability to pay.

It fails even to require insurance companies to provide insurance. They would not have to offer coverage to those with serious medical conditions — those people would instead be dumped into a publicly funded high-risk pool, earning big insurance companies millions in additional profits while bankrupting the public pool with the sickest, costliest patients.

The bill does not even protect patients’ choice of physicians, hospitals or other providers.

And, most critically, the plan reinforces and expands an insurance-based system — the source of much of the present crisis — thereby subverting real reform for years to come.

At the center of the plan is a mandate on businesses to either provide health coverage or pay taxes into a fund to buy it for their employees. The new tax would fall between the 7.5% of payroll costs favored by Nuñez and the 4% Schwarzenegger proposes.

No matter where the compromise figure ends up, it will be far less than many employers now pay for health benefits. One-fourth of all California businesses that provide health benefits currently pay more than 15% of their payroll for health premiums, according to the California Healthcare Foundation. As a result, businesses that now provide health coverage to employees would have an incentive to drop it.

Moreover, the mandate on employers is unlikely to survive a legal challenge; a similar Maryland bill was thrown out by the federal courts for violating federal benefits law.

Schwarzenegger continues to push his proposal to force most uninsured people to buy insurance or face severe penalties. So far, Democrats have resisted this proposal, but many expect them to accept some form of individual mandate as the final price for Schwarzenegger’s blessing for the term limits initiative.

Last year, Democrats united behind SB 840, a single-payer-style, enhanced “Medicare for all” bill that would have provided guaranteed healthcare for everyone, controlled costs, eliminated co-pays and deductibles, guaranteed choice of provider, and gotten the insurance companies out of the way.

Similar systems are succeeding in every other industrialized democracy — including Schwarzenegger’s homeland, Austria. If the politicians in Sacramento are concerned about patient care, they will not now settle for a bad healthcare bill that will further degrade our healthcare safety net. A bad healthcare bill is worse than no bill.

Deborah Burger, RN is president of the California Nurses Association.

Health Care for All California, a statewide chapter-based organization, has led the movement to pass single payer health care since 1997. HCA sponsors both SB 840 (Kuehl) and the OneCareNow Campaign, a growing grassroots movement to pass single payer health care. SB 840, now called the “gold standard of health care,” would solve the state’s health care crisis by providing for equitable and affordable universal health insurance and a single standard of high quality comprehensive care while preserving the state’s health care infrastructure of providers, hospitals and pharmacies as private and competitive businesses.

We oppose AB 8 for the following reasons:

  • AB 8 will expand the health insurance industry, not solve the health care crisis.

First and foremost, under the banner of moving toward universal health care, instead, AB 8 will leave millions uninsured or underinsured while strengthening and perpetuating an insurance system that currently rations health care by excluding those who cannot afford to pay the high cost of insurance premiums. Insurance companies decide what is covered and what is not. They deny care to the uninsured, the underinsured and the insured with preexisting conditions. Health insurance companies ration health care to secure profits.

The unsolvable issue for the status quo is that although health care is treated as such, it is not a commodity. It is a life-giving and life-saving service that is needed by everyone. Providing affordable and quality health care for Californians is not the mission of for-profit insurance entities. AB 8 will not alter the profit motives of this industry, nor will it change the responsibility insurance companies have to their stockholders. The reforms AB 8 proposes to place on current insurance practices will not solve the state’s health care crisis. Instead, they will result in higher insurance prices for individuals, businesses and governments.

  • AB 8 does not provide for the necessary cost controls to achieve affordable health care.

Both state and national studies indicate that including all residents in a single risk pool that is insured by a government administered non-profit insurance trust fund is the only method that will save billions of health care dollars–enough to provide affordable and comprehensive universal health care. Although AB 8 provides for preventative health care, disease management and administrative cost controls, it does not do enough to control costs. With its piece meal approach, AB 8 cannot achieve the significant cost savings that a single payer system can. In addition to the above measures, a system as provided by SB 840 can control costs by establishing evidenced based standards of care and by utilizing capital investment management, consolidated budgetary authority, system-wide health care planning and the state’s power to negotiate lower prices for durable medical devices and bulk prescription drugs for 36 million Californians.

  • AB 8 does not provide protections needed to guarantee affordability.

This bill leaves too many Californians vulnerable to health care reform that will be too expensive, will not provide enough coverage and for many, no coverage at all. AB 8 does not provide for guaranteed affordability and does not limit co-payments, deductibles or other out-of pocket costs. Although AB 8 does allow for premium subsidies for enrollees with household incomes at or below 300 percent of the poverty line, it does not provide a benchmark for cost sharing between employers and employees.

AB 8 requires that all defined employers spend 7.5 percent of Social Security wages on health care expenditures, which includes purchasing health care coverage for their employees and could include as well, contributions to health savings accounts and other health care programs that do not provide direct health care coverage.Many employers who currently provide health care coverage spend more than 7.5 percent of Social Security wages for the coverage they provide to their employees. AB 8 does not provide minimum coverage standards for the employer market, which could encourage some of these employers to reduce or drop the coverage they provide.

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage have increased by 73 percent since 2000, while wages increased only 15 percent concurrently. AB 8 provides for no state oversight of health insurance rates.

A recent joint report by the California Budget Project and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research finds that “many families spend a substantial amount on health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and could face financially devastating medical expenses if they are not adequately protected.” The report states that health care reform legislation should take into account the income needed in California to pay for other necessities such as housing, food, child care, and the risk of extraordinary health care costs. The report suggests placing limits on out-of-pocket costs as well as full subsidies up to 200 percent of the poverty line and partial subsidies “well above” 300 percent of the poverty line. AB 8 does not do this.

AB 8 will place many individuals and families in harm’s way.

(***ADDED 7/12/07: Looks like Michael may WILL be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight on MSNBC at 8PM EST, with a replay 4 hours later.***)

Have to say that anticipating a television show is not something I’ve done in a long time (okay, I was curious about The Sopranos finale ;)), but waiting for the promised “Unedited Part II” of Michael Moore and Wolf Blitzer’s firework-laced gabfest on The Situation Room definitely had me sitting on the edge of my seat. I’ll include both videos here (even though Part I was included in this blog posting) since seeing them one right after the other keeps the continuity of Michael’s outrage much more so than the 24 hour time lapse given to us courtesy of CNN.

A huge thank you to those who take the time to upload these videos to YouTube so the rest of us can view them! 🙂

Part I-CNN Gets Blitzed by Michael Moore

Part II-Michael Moore/Wolf Blitzer

And speaking of CNN, when are they going to catch a clue that Larry King’s time has come and gone–long ago? It was truly painful to watch him attempt to have anything to do with the serious debate that Dr. Gupta and Michael should have been having on their differences regarding where health care system facts came from. I felt Dr. Gupta was attempting to have some sort of dialogue with Michael, but Larry kept trying to play referee when one wasn’t really needed. It seemed that the majority of times when Michael was attempting to set the record straight and explain where/why/how SiCKO came up with facts for the film, his turn to talk was cut short. It would be nice to see CNN actually allow Dr. Gupta and Michael the opportunity Larry King “claims” they will to actually have a serious and much-needed hour of (hopefully non-Larry King interrupted!) discourse on this crucial topic.

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 1 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 2 of 3

Larry King Live/Michael Moore & Dr. Gupta-Part 3 of 3

 

Here is Keith Olbermann’s take on the Michael-vs-Wolf/CNN episode, with input from Rachel Maddow. I would include the video here, but the page is taking a long time to load due to all the other videos. And here is one I would NOT bother to include since Joe Scarborough is showing what a moron he can be (I’ve actually agreed with him on a few–very few-occasions) by attacking Michael’s weight issue instead of discussing the important arguments Michael brings up. Way to deal with the topic at hand, Joe.

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I haven’t touched base with the pet food recall story in a bit so thought I’d check into what the latest news has been. The head of China’s version of our FDA was executed yesterday for his part in the horrific “lethally tainted products” fiasco from which people and pets around the world have been suffering. An owner who truly believes her pet died from tainted food, albeit 10 months prior to the initial Menu Foods pet food recall, is denied her claim by Nutro Products, Inc. And while this Opinion posting on USA Today barely mentions the pet food recall, it does a good job of enlightening the reader on how it is that so many tainted products have come to the USA from China (such as the Thomas the Tank Engine toys), and that consumers MUST continue to put pressure on our own government in order to have them place equal pressure on China.

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.

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.

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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

####

ARGH!!! Seriously, what the ever-loving HELL is wrong with Menu Foods, the FDA, and ANY other company or agency involved with this disaster?!?! Sorry, but my frustration level has truly reached an all-time high after reading this most disturbing opening line in Menu Foods THIRD, yes THIRD recall list:

Prompted by reports from the US Food and Drug Administration as to the presence of melamine in cans of cuts and gravy pet food produced in Menu Foods’ Canadian production facility, Menu Foods undertook an accounting of all recalled wheat gluten supplied by ChemNutra Inc. to Menu Foods in the United States.

In this day and age with technological advancements running rampant, there is no, and I mean NO excuse for not being able to track anything at the drop of a hat. In this case that would mean Menu Foods should have done this “accounting” ages ago, along with the tracking of the tainted wheat gluten and ANY company affected by it being notified and recalling ALL their affected foods off the shelves—not days or weeks later.

And here is today’s Nutro press release recalling ALL wet pouched and canned foods made with wheat gluten.

Undoubtedly there is more to the story, but sorry folks, I have a raging toothache (so not fun) so I will research and post more later. I did want to make sure to at least get the latest Menu Foods and Nutro recall lists mentioned and posted for those who may not have heard about them. Click here for the most recent updates. (Well, as quickly as I can catch up with the never-ending stream of them.)

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POSTS for 3/17-8/22:

  • 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.

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Sniffin’ out the info

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