Another reason to use RAW and NOT COMMERCIAL PET FOOD
here's the latest update on the commercial pet food scare...from MSNBC website...
FDA: Pet food might have been spiked with plastics chemical to appear more protein-rich -- Associated Press April 20, 2007
Imported ingredients used in recalled pet food may have been intentionally spiked with an industrial chemical to boost their apparent protein content, federal health officials suspect.
That’s one theory being pursued by the Food and Drug Administration as it investigates how the chemical, melamine, contaminated at least two ingredients used to make more than 100 brands of dog and cat foods.
In California, state agriculture officials placed a hog farm under quarantine after melamine was found in pig urine there. Additional testing was under way to determine whether the chemical was present in the meat produced by American Hog Farm in Ceres since April 3, the state Department of Food and Agriculture said.
So far, melamine’s been found in both wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China. Media reports from South Africa, where 30 dogs died, suggest a third pet food ingredient, corn gluten, used in that country also was contaminated with melamine. That tainted ingredient has not been found in the United States, the FDA said.
FDA investigators were awaiting visas that would allow them to visit the Chinese plants where the vegetable protein ingredients were produced.
Heading to China
“Melamine was found in all three of those — it would certainly lend credibility to the theory that it may be intentional. That will be one of the theories we will pursue when we get into the plants in China,” Stephen Sundlof, the FDA’s chief veterinarian, told reporters. Chinese authorities have told the FDA that the wheat gluten was an industrial product not meant for pet food, Sundlof said. Still, melamine can skew test results to make a product appear more protein-rich than it really is, he added. That raises the possibility the contamination was deliberate.
“What we expect to do with our inspections in China will answer some of those questions,” said Michael Rogers, director of the division of field investigations within the FDA’s office of regulatory affairs.
Wilbur-Ellis Co., the U.S. importer of the tainted rice protein, said Thursday it was recalling all the ingredient it had distributed to five U.S. pet food manufacturers. The San Francisco company in turn urged its customers to recall any products that may be on store shelves.
So far, three of those companies have done so: Natural Balance Pet Foods, Blue Buffalo Co. and Royal Canin USA. Natural Balance, of Pacoima, Calif., announced a limited recall Monday of its Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.
Blue Buffalo, of Wilton, Conn., followed Thursday by recalling 5,044 bags of its Spa Select Kitten dry food. The company intercepted most of the kitten food before it reached distribution centers, company co-founder Billy Bishop said. On Friday, Royal Canin USA said it was recalling some of its dry dog and cat foods made with tainted rice protein concentrate.
FDA officials would not release the names of the other manufacturers that Wilbur-Ellis supplied, citing its ongoing investigation. The FDA could not provide updated numbers of pet deaths or injuries due to the contaminated pet food. The agency has received more than 15,000 calls since the first recall was announced more than a month ago.
Diverted to hog feed
The FDA and Agriculture Department also were investigating whether some pet food made by one of the five companies supplied by Wilbur-Ellis was diverted for use as hog feed after it was found unsuitable for pet consumption. “We understand it did make it into some hog feed and we are following up on that as well,” Sundlof said.
Later Thursday, California officials said they believe the melamine at the quarantined hog farm 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.
“Although all animals appear healthy, we are taking this action out of an abundance of caution,” State Veterinarian Richard Breitmeyer said in a statement. “It is unknown if the chemical will be detected in meat.”
Officials were investigating American Hog Farm’s sales records to determine who may be affected by the quarantine, said Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The 1,500-animal farm operates as a “custom slaughterhouse,” which means it generally does not supply meat to commercial outlets.
“Mostly it is not so-called mainstream pork. This is an operation that sells to folks who come in and want a whole pig,” said Lyle said.
Officials urged those who purchased pigs from American Hog Farm since April 3 to not consume the product until further notice. Dr. Mark Horton, state public health officer, said so far “evidence suggests a minimal health risk to persons who may have consumed pork” from the farm.
A man who answered the phone for American Hog Farm late Thursday declined to comment and referred calls to state officials. Phone calls to Diamond Pet Food’s Lathrop facility and Meta, Mo., headquarters were not immediately returned.
Re: Another reason to use RAW and NOT COMMERCIAL PET FOOD
BIZ Pet Food Recall -- Associated Press April 27, 2007
WASHINGTON -- ChemNutra, the US company that imported the suspect ingredient in the contaminated pet food recall, says the US Food and Drug Administration executed a search warrant at its Las Vegas offices today. ChemNutra says it has been informed the company could be held accountable because it imported the melamine-adulterated wheat gluten used in the tainted pet food, even though it didn't know its imports from China were tainted.
A spokeswoman for the FDA would neither confirm nor deny a search warrant was executed. An affiliate of Menu Foods Limited of Streetsville, Ontario, the company that recalled 60 million cans of pet food, has filed a lawsuit seeking to force ChemNutra to pay the costs of the recall and damages.
ChemNutra says Menu Foods waited several weeks before notifying it about the problem. ChemNutra also says Menu Foods had other suppliers of wheat gluten. Menu Foods says it faces more than 50 lawsuits.
Re: Another reason to use RAW and NOT COMMERCIAL PET FOOD
Tainted poultry has entered food supply; Millions of chickens ate feed containing melamine, government officials say -- NBC News and news services, Updated: 2:25 p.m. PT May 1, 2007
WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Adminstration said Tuesday that as many as 3 million chickens that may have been given contaminated feed containing melamine have already been eaten by consumers, according to NBC News.
Although the chickens, which came from 38 poultry farms in Indiana, have already made their way into the food supply, there appears to be minimal or no health risk to humans, the government said.
The Agriculture Department and the FDA said in a joint statement Monday that officials learned of the link between the chicken feed and tainted pet food as part of the investigation into imported rice protein concentrate and wheat gluten that have been found to contain the industrial chemical melamine and related compounds.
The affected poultry farms and breeder poultry farms fed the contaminated feed to poultry within days of receiving it, the agencies said. Other farms will probably be identified as having received tainted feed, they added.
All the broilers believed to have been fed contaminated products have been processed, while the breeders are under voluntary hold by flock owners, the agencies said. The farms were given the contaminated feed in early February.
Birds that were given the contaminated feed will not be allowed to enter the U.S. food supply. Farmers will be compensated if they destroy the birds that consume the feed.
The agencies also said there was a “low-risk” to humans and no food recalls were expected at this time. They are uncertain how many chickens were involved, how many entered the food supply or where they went.
“We haven’t completed counting yet,” said USDA spokesman Keith Williams.
Pet food tainted with melamine was also found in feed given to hogs. Last week, the USDA said about 6,000 hogs in six states — California, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah — may have been given the contaminated feed. On Saturday, the agencies cited similar reasons for not issuing a recall.
More than 100 brands of pet food have been recalled since March 16 because they were contaminated with melamine. An unknown number of dogs and cats have been sickened or died after eating chemical-laced pet food.