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Criminal Probe Opened in Pet Food Scare
The Food and Drug Administration has opened a criminal investigation in the widening pet food contamination scandal, officials said yesterday, as it was confirmed that tainted pork might have made its way onto human dinner plates in California.

More than 100 hogs that ate contaminated food at a custom slaughterhouse in California's Central Valley were sold to private individuals and to an unnamed licensed facility in Northern California during the past 2 1/2 weeks. The hogs consumed feed that contained rice protein tainted with melamine, the industrial chemical that has sickened and killed dogs and cats around the world.[/b]
Howl 911's comments:
The FDA has finally opened a criminal investigation, but only after learning that some of the melamine-laced rice protein concentrate was sold to a commercial hog farm in Northern California, and that some of the meat from hogs which were fed the RPC have been sold for human consumption. The tainted RPC was sold to the hog farm by Diamond Pet Foods, Inc., the manufacturer of the recalled Natural Balance products. One would think, with this latest development, the FDA would now identify the remaining two pet food manucturers who bought the tainted RPC from Wilbur-Ellis, so that other meat farming operations could be on the alert for any RPC these as-yet-unnamed pet food companies might be attempting to sell off ... or have already sold.[/b]
Also, additional contaminants have been identified in pet food, stated to be metabolites of melamine.
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...

All three are by-products of melamine, which researchers said they believe were formed as the animals metabolized the melamine.

Finding cyanuric acid is the more significant finding, Hoff, Goldstein and Mullaney said, although they are not yet certain how toxic it is to animals[/b]
 

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Good. About time.

There's also a recall on beef, due to e coli, for anyone who's recently bought beef for hamburgers and homemade food. The recall is for five states, but I only know about California and Pennsylvania.

Every day that goes by, I'm more and more glad I personally know the chickens where my eggs come from ...
 

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Today's FDA update.

FDA's Update on Tainted Pet Food
April 22, 2007

FDA’s Update on Tainted Pet Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating an imported shipment of rice protein concentrate which has been found to contain melamine. The rice protein concentrate may have been used as an ingredient in some pet foods. FDA’s investigation of the rice protein is being carried out by specialists in FDA headquarters and in eight FDA district offices. Thus far, the following has been established:

The suspect shipment of rice protein concentrate was imported and offloaded during the week of April 2, 2007 by Wilbur-Ellis, an importer and distributor of agricultural products, including rice protein concentrate, with headquarters in San Francisco, CA. The source of the product is identified as Binzhou Futian Biological Technology in China.
The shipment consisted primarily of rice protein concentrate in white bags, but also included one pink bag that was labeled, in part, with the word “melamine.”
On April 15, Wilbur-Ellis notified FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine about the suspect shipment. On April 16, FDA launched a nationwide investigation tracing eight import entries identified as being shipped from the Chinese firm since July 2006. FDA testing revealed melamine in both the white and pink bags.
Wilbur-Ellis has initiated a recall of all suspect rice protein concentrate it had imported and distributed; see http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/wilburellis04_07.html.
FDA investigators have obtained records showing distribution to five pet food manufacturers in seven locations. Investigators are currently inspecting all five manufacturers and collecting additional samples, as appropriate.

FDA initiated inspections at Royal Canin USA and C.J. Foods and, as a result, both companies have voluntarily recalled certain products; see http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/royalcanin04_07.html and http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/bluebuffalo04_07.html.
FDA also has confirmed the presence of melamine in finished pet food products containing rice protein concentrate. Those products, and others within the same product line, are currently under recall by Natural Balance Pet Foods and are labeled as: Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods; Venison and Brown Rice dog treats; and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food; see http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/natur...lance04_07.html.
If FDA’s investigation determines that additional pet food products have been manufactured from the suspect rice protein concentrate, FDA will expect manufacturers to initiate voluntary actions to remove these products from the marketplace. FDA will continue to communicate its findings promptly.

In a related development, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) issued a press release on April 19, 2007, stating that CDFA laboratory testing had detected melamine in urine from hogs at the American Hog Farm in Ceres, CA. For further information, see: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/exec/pa/pressreleas...Rnum=CDFA07-038.
Due to the involvement of animal feed, FDA is working with CDFA on this development.

FDA continues to work comprehensively to protect the nation’s pet food as well as to conduct a full investigation to determine any impact on the human food supply. The agency is now sampling all rice protein concentrate from China and continues to sample all wheat gluten imported from China, and it is ready to increase its surveillance of other products, if necessary.

To search for the latest list of recalled products, which will be updated when new information is received, please see: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/petfoodrecall/ .[/b]
 

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From the Sacramento Bee, (subscription required), on the sources and uses of rice protein powder...

Rice protein is an insoluble, talcum powderlike substance that is refined from a rice byproduct. California Natural Products, in Lathrop, is the only U.S. producer, according to John Ashby, the company's general manager for ingredients.

Rice protein is not just a pet food additive. It is used in many grocery food items marketed as "wheat-free" or "gluten-free," Ashby said, and demand from U.S. companies exceeds his firm's ability to produce it. As a result, Ashby said many firms "without question" import rice protein from China. His company once considered importing rice protein but felt it could not count on the China-sourced product to be reliably pure.[/b]
(emphasis added)
 

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Yikes! I avoid gluten - wheat gives me migraines and makes my GI system go nuts :eek: :eek: :eek: - but this makes me *very* VERY grateful I've never liked those gluten free products and have always just used buckwheat - or substituted a nice baked potato! The gluten free products are overpriced and really lousy, imo, anyway.
 

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:angry: Why is this contaminated product still getting into the country? I would think the pet food manufacturers would do what ever needs to be done to make sure the ingredients thay're using aren't contaminated before they make their food.

Maybe I should plant a garden and buy a fishing pole.
 

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:angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: I don't know what else to say, except I'll certainly be watching how this unfolds.
 

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Well, although it might not seem like it initially, there is one good thing that's come out of this, and that's that the woeful lack of regulation for our food supply, thanks to tax cuts for Paris Hilton, a philosophy of drowning government in the bathtub and the agribusiness lobby, is finally busting into the public eye - from today's Washington Post, FDA Was Aware of Dangers To Food:

The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that led to disease outbreaks that killed three people, sickened hundreds, and forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show.

Overwhelmed by huge growth in the number of food processors and imports, however, the agency took only limited steps to address the problems and relied on producers to police themselves, according to agency documents.

[...]

In the peanut butter case, an agency report shows that FDA inspectors checked into complaints about salmonella contamination in a ConAgra Foods factory in Georgia in 2005. But when company managers refused to provide documents the inspectors requested, the inspectors left and did not follow up.

A salmonella outbreak that began last August and was traced to the plant's Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter brands sickened more than 400 people in 44 states. The likely cause, ConAgra said, was moisture from a roof leak and a malfunctioning sprinkler system that activated dormant salmonella. The plant has since been closed.

[...]

The FDA has known even longer about illnesses among people who ate spinach and other greens from California's Salinas Valley, the source of outbreaks over the past six months that have killed three people and sickened more than 200 in 26 states. The subsequent recall was the largest ever for leafy vegetables.

In a letter sent to California growers in late 2005, Brackett wrote, "FDA is aware of 18 outbreaks of foodborne illness since 1995 caused by [E. coli bacteria] for which fresh or fresh-cut lettuce was implicated. . . . In one additional case, fresh-cut spinach was implicated. These 19 outbreaks account for approximately 409 reported cases of illness and two deaths."

"We know that there are still problems out in those fields," Brackett said in an interview last week. "We knew there had been a problem, but we never and probably still could not pinpoint where the problem was. We could have that capability, but not at this point."[/b]
Not to beat the same drum over and over again, but I've known about all this for several years and have been working with others to get someone to pay attention to it. It's a pity it's taken how many innocent critters' lives? but at least now, maybe things will change

Y'know, it didn't used to be this way way back in 1999. :angry: :angry: :angry:
 

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but at least now, maybe things will change[/b]
Well, I hope you're right, but I'm not holding my breath.

Around 1968 or so I started taking alot of what government agencies tell us with a grain of salt.

I'm lucky to live in an area of Lancaster County with lots of farmers markets so that we can buy stuff raised locally.

And as far as commercial dog food, I guess I'm jumping ship. Murray's been getting 1/2 homemade anyway for a long time; it's not going to be that hard to switch.
 

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:( Add my vote to those not exactly impressed with the FDA's decision to investigate. For one thing, I think the investigation will be limited to the situations where pet food manufactuers and distributors foisted their recalled products onto agricultural producers. . .afterall what does it matter if a pig's kidneys go into failure from eating contaminated feed, the animal will probably be slaughtered, and turned into dinner before anyone even knows. 2nd, apparently an FDA employee, who's job it is to track and report on any adverse drugs effects, is putting his/her career in jeopardy and maybe even worse if they dare to cross a large, well funded company when one of its best selling drugs turns out to be a killer.

Watchdog risked career over pet-drug warning
 

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Discussion Starter #13
From Pet Connection, Pet-food recall: Senators say second batch of tainted rice powder imported

Just in from Reuters:

A second company likely imported rice protein from China that was contaminated with a chemical linked to a major pet food recall, two U.S. lawmakers said on Monday.

Rice protein tainted with the chemical melamine was used in pet foods from at least five manufacturers who obtained the protein from one supplier, U.S. officials have said. It also made its way into feed used at a California hog farm.

Now, another company is suspected of importing rice protein from China, Democratic Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Maria Cantwell of Washington said in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“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,” the senators wrote. “We request the FDA identify this second importer as well as those manufacturers to which it may have sold the contaminated product.”

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.[/b]
 

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My parents recently bought a cow and had it butchered after hearing all of this about the dog and cat food we went a threw out all of our pets treats food everything bones you name it. I wasnt taking any chances with there being so many different foods listed. We have taken the route of getting all of our pet food straight from the warehouse where my fiance works. They food from there we atleast know is safe because they sent the workers through the building to check all food for the contaminated products. And now after the beef recall we are worried especially living in Pa. This is unreal how bad its getting...The FDA needs to get their butts on track and start fixing this problem cuz if something happens to my cats or my dog Im going to be one pissed off person. I hope that noone here has had any problems with their pets...

Tyler
 

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:angry: Why is this contaminated product still getting into the country? I would think the pet food manufacturers would do what ever needs to be done to make sure the ingredients thay're using aren't contaminated before they make their food.

Maybe I should plant a garden and buy a fishing pole.[/b]
Yuppers. Call it the "free market". Please don't get me started.

Ernest has carrots, grape tomatoes and zuchinni seeds to plant.



lala and ernest
 

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Just for your all's info, The Pet Connection is blogging the hearings on food safety. Pretty interesting.

And honestly, given the current state of things, I don't believe anything's going to change soon, so I share the skepticism. I think there's too much money at stake.

But there are a whole lot of people (including me) who've been watching this unfold in recent years and who have been screaming - well, okay, emailing, calling, etc. - and tracking and sharing info about these problems for several years now. You all have got to let your representatives know this is *not* acceptable in any way, shape or form. Then let your pocketbook and your vote do the talking for you.

At this point, I buy so little from any large conglomerate and I try very hard to buy local and, if I can't do that, to buy American. Amd be aware that just because it's an American company doesn't mean it's American product. I think it's like only four companies now producing the majority of our food for the markets.

It's creepy stuff.
 

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Thanks for the info, biscuit!

And now this...

From Itchmo

FDA will begin testing for melamine in the human food supply after investigating chicken farms and the expansion of tainted pork. This is more than a month after the first pet food recall was announced.

In addition, the FDA on Tuesday announced plans to expand testing of the animal food supply after hogs on farms in three states were quarantined after testing positive for the substance at the center of the recall, the toxic agent melamine.

A poultry farm in Missouri is also being investigated, federal officials said.[/b]
 

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:blink:

There are a lot of poultry houses in this area, which is actually what got me "interested" (um, understatement) in this stuff. Fortunately, there are none close to me, because they really stink.

But the conditions of these places are frightening. All you have to do is drive behind a semi full of chickens stuffed into cages and covered with embedded poop or talk to people who've worked at those places who will no longer eat chicken and listen to their reasons why. There's a reason the state of Oklahoma is suing the state of Arkansas because of the pollution from the poultry industry.

Besides, put a chicken who's been raised running around outside and eating the ticks (!!) next to one of those factory chickens raised stuffed in a cage covered in poop from the chickens above it and fed antibiotics to make it grow quicker - it's like different species.
 
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