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Discussion Starter #1
Via those amazing people at The Pet Connection:

USA Today just posted this absolutely jaw-dropping development:

The Food and Drug Administration is enforcing a new import alert that greatly expands its curtailment of some food ingredients imported from China, authorizing border inspectors to detain ingredients used in everything from noodles to breakfast bars.

The new restriction is likely to cause delays in the delivery of raw ingredients for the production of many commonly used products.

[...]

An import alert of this breadth is rare. Before this new FDA action, only products from two Chinese companies that exported the melamine-tainted wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate had been detained.

Now for the products to reach U.S. foodmakers, the importers will have to prove to the FDA that they are safe. The ingredients restricted include wheat gluten, rice gluten, rice protein, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, corn gluten meal, corn by-products, soy protein, soy gluten, mung-bean protein and amino acids.

[...]

And that ain’t all. The same import alert – which must be read to be believed — notes an extremely large jump in the number of pets the FDA is willing to suggest have been killed by tainted products.

[...]

Here are numbers reported by pet owners into the Pet Connection database, updated just a few minutes ago:
Total reports of illness or death: 14,228
Total cats reported dead: 2,334 cats
Total dogs reported dead: 2,249

Back to the FDA report:
Total reports of illness or death: 17,000
Total cats reported dead: 1950
Total dogs reported dead: 2,200[/b]
Wow.
 

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Thank you for posting biscuit. The number of sick animals and deaths reported due to this ignorance and greed just leaves me speechless. This is so sad.
 

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One of the Pet Connection writers, Christie Keith, has an excellent article in SFGate about the whole mess.

link:

Consumers, at least those closely following the story, were shocked to discover that the very steps they were being advised to take to protect their pets -- read the labels and avoid certain ingredients -- weren't enough.

That's because at least two of the companies involved in the most recent recall have alleged that the manufacturer that produced their food for them was adding rice protein concentrate to the food without their knowledge -- and without that ingredient being listed on the label. This means that consumers hoping to avoid danger by reading ingredients labels can't rely on that preventive measure anymore. Nor is it enough to buy only from companies you trust; it's being alleged that some of the affected companies were lied to by their suppliers or the plants they contracted to produce their foods.

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The "worry date" of melamine contamination has been pushed back a few times, but latest reports are that contaminated ingredients were first brought into this country as long ago as last July -- Costco's recall covers a manufacture date back to August 2006. And in yesterday's New York Times, it was reported that melamine contamination of the food supply in China is widespread, openly recognized and financially motivated, and has been going on for years.

[...]

The FDA was founded in 1938 with one clear mission: "protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation."

If the organization wants to regain our trust, that's a really good place to start.[/b]
It's an excellent overview of what's happened, and offers some great suggestions. The biggest issue for me right now is potential contamination in the human food supply. For example, if I'm reading correctly, when animals eat feed with melamine in it, it's possible humans can then be contaminated. But that also suggests another pathway for pet foods to be contaminated. Plus the sheer number of foods which are now being investigated for contamination - yeesh.
 
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