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mattel.jpgYesterday Mattel announced it’s THIRD recall in just over one month (8/2/07: Fisher-Price Recall Notice (Lead Poisoning)/Links to info/China involved AGAIN!, 8/14/07:Another Mattel recall: lead paint and powerful, loose magnets) due to “violation of lead paint standard”. The whole recall/China/lead scenario kind of makes you want to get back to having the kids play with your empty cardboard boxes and creating parades with pots and lids as musical instruments, eh?

News Articles

Important Web Sites

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Added 9/6/07: Here’s the video clip I mention in my comment (3rd one below). Quite telling in regard to how the bottom line ($$$) is ALWAYS going to outweigh health and safety…sigh.

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mattel.jpgWill 2007 forever be remembered as “The Year of the Recalls”, with overwhelming numbers of them traced back to China? First the never-ending melamine-tainted pet food scandal, then diethylene glycol-laced toothpaste and cough syrup, and for this month of August lead paint showing up in the worst place: children’s toys. It is the lead paint scare that is striking at the heart of Mattel, once again, and this time powerful, loose magnets (if swallowed they can cause intestinal blockage) are added to the toy giant’s woes.

Here are some links to stories covering the issue, along with news of a law suit being filed in the case of the previous lead paint recall by Mattel’s Fisher-Price unit a couple weeks ago, and news of the suicide of a Chinese executive involved with the Fisher-Price recall.

Here are recall information links:

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Here we go again, folks! We are now facing ANOTHER Chinese-manufactured items recall due to a lead poisoning hazard, this time nearly one million Fisher-Price toys. Below is a copy of the recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This recall comes on the heels of the Thomas the Tank Engine recall, also due to lead poisoning items manufactured in China. Here is an interesting read from early July where China says the entire safety issue is being “hyped” by the media, and it seems they are parroting the same “Chinese exports are safe” line in this article posted today, yet softening their stance in this one. Here’s hoping that the US team currently in Beijing for talks regarding more stringent regulations with the food and drug trade between our country and China, will be able to come home with rules in place which will have us all breathing a bit easier regarding the safety of products we use for ourselves and our pets.

UPDATES:

Here are a couple of links to Mattel pages:
8/1/07 Fisher-Price Toys with Lead Paint Hazard Recall
ALL Mattel recalls

 

 

NEWS from CPSC

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2007
Release #07-257
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (800) 916-4498
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908


Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children’s toys

Units: About 967,000

Importer: Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y.

Hazard: Surface paints on the toys could contain excessive levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recalled involves various figures and toys that were manufactured between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007 and were sold alone or as part of sets. The model names and product numbers for the recalled toys, which are all marked with “Fisher-Price,” are listed below. The toys may have a date code between 109-7LF and 187-7LF marked on the product or packaging.

Sold at: Retail stores nationwide from May 2007 through August 2007 for between $5 and $40.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price. Consumers will need to return the product and will receive a voucher for a replacement toy of the consumer’s choice (up to the value of the returned product).

Consumer Contact: For additional information contact Fisher-Price at (800) 916-4498 anytime or visit the firm’s Web site at www.service.mattel.com

(PRODUCT LISTED REMOVED DUE TO FORMATTING ISSUES: please click link above for entire list.)

Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

I was getting some information from folks about the FDA possibly holding out on who the wheat gluten supplier to Menu Foods was (we already know that Menu Foods, Nestle Purina PetCare Co. were holding out the info), and wouldn’t you know that when I did a search on the FDA site with the terms “wheat gluten” to verify the information being given to me, THIS popped up (will copy below)! If it was dated 3/30/07 WHY WASN’T IT RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC SOONER???

Mind you, the supplier mentioned at the bottom of the FDA document, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd, may in fact NOT be the one who supplied the wheat gluten to Menu Foods (sorry, but the notice gets a tad confusing…will refer to those of you with more knowledge on this subject to offer up some insight, please!), but it is, at the very least, one which has tainted wheat gluten. And this information posted by the FDA is a somewhat good sign that they seem to be checking supplies at some point. I would like to hear, though, why the FDA didn’t bother putting a link to this information on the page they’ve been posting all other pet food recall press releases. Oh wait, silly me, a press release means RELEASE (publicly) of information through the press and that is NOT what it seems they wanted to do with THIS particular information.

I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this entry as information comes along, and I sure as heck hope main media sources are working on this development, too. If you’d like to read more about the conversation we’ve been having here about wheat gluten, click here. Some great information by some fabulous posters in the comment section…many thanks to them! Please note that I had to adjust some formatting of the FDA notice below so that it would fit, but HOPEFULLY I didn’t delete anything except a bunch of spaces. For the EXACT document, click the link here. Also, I could NOT find the attachments mentioned in the document anywhere on the site. That, of course, does not mean they weren’t right in front of me. 😉

Added 4/2/07: Just found this page on the FDA site that shows the process of their “Pet Food Contamination Response” and have to say the typos on that page astounded me. 😉

From the US Food and Drug Administration, Office of Regulatory Affairs:IA #99-26, IMPORT ALERT #99-26, “DETENTION WITHOUT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND

INTENSIFIED COVERAGE OF WHEAT GLUTEN DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF MELAMINE”

TYPE OF ALERT: Detention Without Physical Examination

(Note: This import alert represents the Agency’s current guidance to FDA field personnel

regarding the manufacturer(s) and/or products(s) at issue. It does not create or confer any

rights for or on any person, and does not operate to bind FDA or the public).

PRODUCT: Wheat Gluten

PRODUCT CODES:

02F[][]08 Wheat gluten

02E[][]06 – Wheat flour gluten

71M[][]01 wheat gluten

PROBLEMS: Poisonous or deleterious substance

Unsafe food additive

PAF: PES FAD

PAC FOR COLLECTION: 71003A 09006A

COUNTRY: See Attachment

MANUFACTURER/FEI#: See Attachment

CHARGES: The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to

section 801(a)(3)in that it appears to bear or contain a poisonous or

deleterious substance, which may render it injurious to health

[Adulteration, section 402(a)(1)]” (Oasis Charge Code; POISONOUS)

and/or

The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to section

801(a)(3)in that it appears to bear or contain a food additive that

is unsafe within the meaning of section 409

[Adulteration, section 402(a)(2)(C)(i)]”

(Oasis Charge Code: UNSAFE ADD)

RECOMMENDING OFFICE: Division of Compliance, CVM (HFV-230)

REASON FOR ALERT:

In March 2007, FDA became aware of the illness and death of cats and

dogs associated with certain pet food. Subsequently, samples of the

implicated pet food were analyzed and found to contain melamine.

The consumption of pet food containing melamine may be

associated with acute renal failure in cats. Investigations have revealed

that the source of the melamine was wheat gluten which is an

ingredient in the pet food. The attachment to this alert includes

manufacturers whose wheat gluten products have been found to

contain melamine.

GUIDANCE: Districts may detain without physical examination,

products offered for importation from manufacturers and shippers

listed in the Attachment to this import alert. Report wheat gluten

samples found positive for melamine to Cathie Marshall, CVM,

Division of Compliance, HFV-232, at (240) 276-9217.

 

Appropriate screening criteria have been set for wheat gluten from

China and the Netherlands, as a country through which transshipping

of Chinese wheat gluten may occur. Sampling has been recommended.

Recommendations for detention without physical examination of firms

with violative product should be forwarded to DIOP, HFC-170.

For questions or issues concerning science, science policy, sample collection,

analysis, preparation, or analytical methodology, contact Tom Savage,

Division of Field Science, at 301-827-1026.

To enable the agency to assess whether the firm has identified the

source of the problem, and has taken the appropriate steps to correct

and prevent future occurrences, FDA recommends that a firm

requesting removal from detention without physical examination

provide the following information:

1. a. Results of the firm’s investigation(s) into the problem of

melamine contamination

b. Documentation showing corrective action(s)such as:

i. a description of the process(es) currently being used

ii. verification that the process is adequate

iii. measures that have been taken to prevent recontamination

c. Copies of three (3) production records showing the process, quantities

processed, lot numbers and dates of processing.

AND

d. Documentation showing that a minimum of five (5) consecutive

entries have been released by FDA based on third party

laboratory analyses that show the shipments of wheat gluten

do not contain melamine.

All requests for removal from DWPE should be forwarded to

DIOP,(HFC-170) which in turn will forward the requests to CVM

(HFV-230) for evaluation.

PRIORITIZATION GUIDANCE: I

FOI: No purging required

KEYWORDS: Feed, pet food, melamine, wheat gluten

PREPARED BY: Cathie Marshall, CVM, HFV-232, 240-276-9217 and

Linda Wisniowski, DIOP, HFC-172, 301-443-6553

DATE LOADED INTO FIARS: March 30, 2007

ATTACHMENT 3/30/07

Firms and products currently under detention without physical examination

CHINA (CN)

Firm: Date 3/30/07 DWPE Wheat gluten

Product /Code: 02F[][]08

Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology

Development Company Ltd.

Wangdian Industrial Zone,

Peixian, CN-32, China 221623

FEI# 2000023594

Yesterday (3/30/07) found the Menu Foods pet food recall being expanded to include Science Diet dry feline m/d, scaring the beejeebers out of everyone since this is the first time dry food has been included in the recall. In addition to that item being recalled, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company added ALPO® Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food to the recall list.

Today (3/31/07) Del Monte has issued a release recalling some pet treats AND some wet food (Jerky Treats®, Gravy Train® Beef Sticks and Pounce Meaty Morsels® Ol’ Roy, Happy Tails, and Dollar General).

PLEASE read the press releases by clicking on the links above, and check those codes/dates VERY carefully. In my opinion (especially considering how this situation is constantly changing), I feel that it’s better to be safe than to be sorry, so I would probably just toss the items (making sure no animals can get into your trash!) even if they don’t have the recalled code on them. But that’s just me.

I am so peeved right now! Maybe I’m just cranky from trying to update a list I compiled of where folks can register their complaints regarding the Menu Foods recall (btw, new recalls of Science Diet dry feline m/d AND ALPO Prime Cuts in gravy wet food) the deaths and the illnesses, or maybe I’m just UNBELIEVABLY annoyed and saddened that it seems we are NEVER going to get solid answers to why in the heck so many things seem to be showing up in the recalled pet food (today the FDA said melamine was found in the wheat gluten used to make the food…let’s see, that makes rat poison AND an Asian fertilizer in the food!), or maybe I’m just disappointed in two kids that apparently set that fire in my neighboring county of LA today. Who knows what it is that’s really got my goat, but regardless, I am peeved to the nth degree, and can only imagine the incredible frustrations pet owners with sick or even worse, dead pets, are feeling. Why on EARTH are we not getting conclusive answers to all of this Menu Foods recall chaos?

I read someone else say (sorry, don’t remember where) that the lab which first discovered the aminopterin (rat poison) in samples of the recalled food (btw, the FDA and Menu Foods are now saying aminopterin was NOT found in the food after all…the lab who found it is sticking by their findings), is one of the labs set up as part of Homeland Security after 9/11, and SHOULD have been able to diagnose what was in the food MUCH sooner than it did since this IS a lab that is suppose to be on the cutting-edge and front line of OUR protection against possible acts of terrorism with our food supply. If anyone thinks that our government is always looking out for OUR best interests, you really need to take a hard look at why it is that we STILL haven’t been given the name of the company that provided the wheat gluten to Menu Foods, and now are we going to find out how melamine got into the products? Not holding my breath. Just look at the slow response with Katrina. Disgraceful. And since this recall (at THIS point) was not with the human food supply it doesn’t seem that anyone is in any huge rush to discover the real causes. Although I suppose if our government wasn’t too interested in helping our own citizens during Katrina, they aren’t going to be in a huge rush to help our pets. Sorry, but I’m obviously still pretty bitter about Katrina.

So why IS it that we are not being told which company gave Menu Foods the wheat gluten, which is OBVIOUSLY the lead suspect in all the deaths? Comment posters on this blog did a lot of detective work and discovered that the offending company is “more than likely” ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), yet no “official” word one way or the other. Hmmm… Make no mistake pet food companies, big business, media, and our government, animal lovers are getting pretty fed up with your lack of answers, your excuses, and what seems to be a concerted effort to NOT let us know what’s really going on. We consider our pets to be members of our family and when you mess with a member of our family you are in for a big fight. Trust me. Pet owners are not about to let this disgusting situation be swept under the carpet, and there are far too many interested parties out there who will continue to push into the reasons behind this recall and the subsequent deaths. We do not want to have to constantly worry if the food we give our pets out of love and care, is in fact turning around and being what kills them. Yes, we can make our own food at home, but if these dangerous items can find their way into the animal food industry, is there really ANYONE that thinks they won’t find their way into the human food industry?

Rant done…for now. Who knows, maybe I’ll just end up deleting this post because when I’m not so upset it won’t make much sense. But for now I’m using this blog to unload and vent. Still peeved, though. Sigh.

***Added 8PM: Here’s a link to the Menu Foods conference today about melamine. Sorry, but all I hear when the President of Menu Foods opens his mouth is that Charlie Brown teacher sound, “Waa-waa-waa-waa, waa-waa-waa-waawaa!”***

Looks like someone has finally found a common thread with some of the pet food samples from food involved in Menu Foods pet food recall of March 16, 2007: aminopterin (rat poison) “possibly” found on wheat imported from China(click on the “Rat Poison in Pet Food” link for an informative video). Here is the press release issued today from New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets (it’s also copied below). I’m sure a lot more information will be forthcoming today…thankfully! (Thanks for the heads up, Connie VC!)

Here’s my INITIAL POST on the pet food recall which contains many links, including the recall lists.

UPDATE 3/23/07 2:15 PST: Menu Foods held a media teleconference today. Here is a raw video link of it from WSYR (they also have video of the NY State Dept. of Agriculture and Markets conference) which I was able to open using Firefox, and here is a link to CTV’s article which has a link to their broadcast of the conference which I had to open using Internet Explorer. I’m interested in hearing what everyone’s response is to what Menu Foods had to say during their news conference.

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New York Department of Agriculture and Markets press release:

NEW YORK LABORATORIES IDENTIFY TOXIN IN RECALLED PET FOOD

Aminopterin Confirmed in Recalled Pet Food and Implicated Tissue Samples

Aminopterin Confirmed in Recalled Pet Food and Implicated Tissue Samples

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Donald F. Smith announced today that scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified Aminopterin as a toxin present in cat food samples from Menu Foods, the manufacturer of the many brands of dog and cat food that are currently the subject of a nationwide recall.

The Food Laboratory received the pet food samples from a toxicologist at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University, where testing has been underway to try to identify the cause of kidney failure in dogs and cats that consumed the recalled brands of pet food. At Cornell’s request, the Food Laboratory tested the samples for poisons and toxins, and identified Aminopterin in the pet food samples at a level of at least 40 parts per million.

“We are pleased that the expertise of our New York State Food Laboratory was able to contribute to identifying the agent that caused numerous illnesses and deaths in dogs and cats across the nation,” the Commissioner said. “New Yorkers can be assured that we have two of the nation’s leading laboratory programs in food safety and animal health working on this problem.”

The Dean of the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine Donald F. Smith concurred by saying, “The close partnership between the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University and the Department of Agriculture and Markets was key to this finding.”

Aminopterin, a derivative of folic acid, can cause cancer and birth defects in humans and can cause kidney damage in dogs and cats. Aminopterin is not permitted for use in the United States.

On March 16, 2007, Menu Foods initiated a recall of numerous varieties of dog and cat food that were manufactured at two of its plants in the United States between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007. The products are both manufactured and sold under private-label and are contract-manufactured for several national brands. Information on the specific brands of pet food subject to the recall can be found at <a href=www.menufoods.com/recall >www.menufoods.com/recall</a>.

Since the recall, Department food inspectors have contacted all of the organizations that represent retail food and pet food stores to ensure that the stores were aware of the recall and that the recalled products had been removed from store shelves in New York State.

New York State is home to two laboratories that are part of federal emergency lab networks, created through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after 9-11 to keep the nation’s animals and food supply safe. The New York State Food Laboratory is part of the Federal Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and as such, is capable of running a number of unique poison/toxin tests on food, including the test that identified Aminopterin. The New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University is a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and thus, is uniquely qualified to investigate the causes of animal health emergencies, like the sudden deaths of dogs and cats from the recently recalled pet food.

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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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