20 Million Chickens Free To Go

The USDA has lifted the quarantine on the 20 million chickens they detained on Friday that may have eaten tainted pet food in their feed. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said that “testing found that the contaminant, the industrial chemical melamine, was so diluted that any human exposure from the meat or eggs of the animals would be thousands of times lower than the level considered safe.” So, now these chickens will be released into our food supply.

This is in stark contrast to the announcement by the FDA and USDA earlier today about the need to still investigate the chickens for a week.

(Thanks Monika)

116 Responses to “20 Million Chickens Free To Go”

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  1. susanUnPC says:

    So much for the recent opinions that food safety should be monitored by the USDA. I just knew that wouldn’t be good since the USDA is as much in bed with big business as is the FDA.

    This decision to release the 20 million chickens is all about money.

    QUESTION for all of you: Has there been any advocacy for conducting testing to determine if melamine, etc., even in minute quantities, is harmful to humans over a period of time?

  2. TC says:

    We were running the same numbers game here - what if we ate the freezer chicken, and got more now before the 20 mill hits the market.

    And when we do eat it, make sure the chicken is the smallest part of our dinner, in case dilution is an end run around later permanent kidney damage. And no more than X times per week, pick your favorite guesstimate of a safety margin on that.

    And realize that no matter what we do, we have NO way of knowing for certain what the odds are, and whether or not we are beating them.

  3. susanUnPC says:

    TC, a fellow at Daily Kos wrote a well-researched article about eggs:

    “The ominous silence about eggs from gluten-fed chickens”

  4. susanUnPC says:

    You’ll recall that there were chickens given melamine-tainted grain and slaughtered and sold in supermarkets in February … so they’re already in our food supply.

    And I’d be willing to make a stout wager that chickens have been fed adulterated grain for probably years and years, so anyone who eats commercial, factory-farm-raised chicken has already been exposed.

  5. 5CatMom says:


    Thanks for the Eberly chicken info. I’ll check it out.

  6. Gerry says:

    How can they say that the levels of melamine in the chicken is lower than what they consider safe when they dont know what the safe level is! I called Foster Farm and left a message to call me back and by George they called me back. They do claim that their chicken is safe from the melamine. I dont know who to trust so I dont know why I asked!

  7. Steve says:

    So who will the farmers sell this toxic to? Safeway?

  8. Steve says:

    On December 2, 2004, Johanns was nominated by President George W. Bush to replace outgoing Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venema.


  9. TC says:

    Garyn - sorry to be the messenger re the alfalfa. Not that I have any clue as to exactly how much is out there already. I would hope that it was just planted - as I recall, an alfalfa stand takes sometime to be established when first seeded. If that is correct, and no one used those seeds until recently, then roundup ready plants haven’t been harvested or processed into anything. But like the tainted chickens, no, there is no way to ever be certain. How can I tell for sure for my horses? Yes, I can ask. No, I may not get the truth. And further - what if the courts just say no to these Monsanto seeds? Somebody tell that to the birds that might transfer seeds from the roundup ready alfalfa already planted to god knows where. This is NOT just an issue for alfalfa crops - it is much bigger.

    This weekly paper is The Capital Press, and some days I dread reading it. I am not always happy about the direction of agriculture today.

  10. Eric says:

    Anyone know anything about MBA Brand Smart Chicken?

  11. Cynthia says:

    Bell & Evans is factory farmed, just check their web site. They really try to make it sound so wonderful, but fact is these chickens never are allowed out of their “chicken condos” as they like to call it. Good grief!

    We keep our chickens comfortable at all times, in more than 150 spacious and environmentally-controlled houses. Unlike other growers, we don’t subject our chickens to the stresses of overcrowding or to wide variations in temperature. For example, our newest chicken house features windows that open and close automatically. The system provides year-round fresh air and climate control, and it lets our chickens bask in the warm light of the sun.

    Wow, they get fresh air because they have windows!

    Buy Eberlys. It’s a much healthier, bird.

  12. TC says:

    SusanUnPC - thanks for that article and that site, am settling down to read it. You are likely correct re how long melamine has been in the food supply.

    Lately it isn’t even the melamine giving me the biggest headache; it is whatever else is potentially in the food supply that has all the various agencies freaking out and trying to get their stories straight.

  13. ally says:

    susanUnPC Says: at 5:40 pm
    “QUESTION …Has there been any advocacy for conducting testing to determine if melamine, etc., even in minute quantities, is harmful to humans over a period of time?”

    Susan, that’s exactly what I’d like to know. As I mentioned earlier at PC, I can’t believe they are using data from rat studies to base their “assumption” the melamine toxicity levels found in the chickens are safe:

    “DR. ACHESON: Clearly there are no melamine-toxicity studies that have been undertaken in humans that we are aware of. The studies that we are working from are studies that have been done in rats…”

    How do we REALLY know it is safe for humans?

    Humans vary considerably in size, health and age. What are going to be the cumulative effects on children, frail elderly or people like myself with a compromised immune system? Think the rat studies will cover this? Say WHAT?

  14. Donna says:

    So I finally concocted a homemade food my cats really like, and since it’s main ingredient is chicken, I guess I’m back to square 1. Because we won’t be buying any chicken in my house for a while.

  15. Marilyn says:

    Just saw this on ConsumerAffairs.com.

    Former FDA Chief Says Agency is “Broken”

    “May 7, 2007
    Another food safety expert is questioning the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to provide safeguards for the nation’s food supply. This time the criticism is coming from the man who used to head the agency, Dr. David Kessler.

    “Simply put, our food safety system is broken,” Kessler told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    My own opinion is that Dr. Kessler is absolutely correct.

  16. Carol says:

    My freezer is so full of poisoned cat food—-now I have to find room for all my chicken–I’ll cook it if the FDA takes me up on my dinner invite!

  17. Carol says:

    Both my father in law and sister in law are kidney transplant recipients so I hope for their sake the FDA is 100% accurate—

  18. flyinaspiderwebnowayout says:

    imported feed has been coming into the country for a long time.

    It is used to feed everything…..cattle, pigs, chickens, fish and our pets, oh and us….take a look at some of the products available.

    So if you think chicken and pork is the only affected meat…….I’d bet otherwise. This has been going on for years.

    The page is not the same as it was several weeks ago, wherein they listed the animals that benefit and grow strong and fast from their feed.

    Check out the mixed preservative mix, familiar?…………….

    There is no law that says a company must divulge the source of their ingredients…..that has been discussed.

    We have no choice, we will never know……..it so sucks.

  19. ally says:

    I HOPE somebody has the cajones to ask one of the FDA mucky-mucks at their next press conference to eat live and ON CAMERA, a combo plate of all this so-called SAFE mela-food.

    Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall…….

  20. spocko says:

    I can’t tell you how much this depresses me.

    The USDA doesn’t have the same goals as the FDA.
    The also are supposed to support the industry. They cut a deal with ConAgra to make sure that ConAgra didn’t have to name the names of the companies that bought contaminated meat. This happened after an e.coli outbreak. When you hear that info is proprietary that is based on the deal that USDA cut with ConAgra. (This is from John Staubers book, MadCowUSA)

    Well we know how this works right? When they have a conclusion they want the “facts are being fixed around the policy.”

    I’m sure that this is all for the good of our health. Thanks for looking out for us!

  21. Me says:

    People, please stop!!!!!!!!!!!! You are out of control. This is nothing new, what about Mad cow disease? This sort of thing has been going on for years, there will always be something. Now you all can do one of two things.

    1. Grow your old vegetables and raise your own foul & beef or,
    2. Eat what’s available for you to buy and enjoy life…

  22. 5CatMom says:


    Smart Chicken has a website:


    I sent them an email about their chicken feed.

  23. kristy says:

    Thank God I am a vegetarian! No more chicken for my living babies. I am going to have to give the the Canidae Lamb and Rice formula.

  24. Steve says:

    Eat, drink, and be merry!

  25. Bridget says:

    Just hypothetically, say that they are right that humans wouldn’t be harmed, **BUT** these same chickens will make their way in to the PET FOOD SUPPLY and I want to know what pets’ reactions to this will be. Humans are bigger than pets so maybe humans can handle this poison better, but pets are small and I am really angry.

    Further, I DO NOT believe the FDA that this poison is ok for me to eat anyway! I am disgusted and SCARED.

  26. Bridget says:

    Further, I never have trusted the FDA or the USDA. Not when they said aspartame was safe, not when they said that MSG was safe, not when they said certain drugs were safe only to recall them later. Why the heck would I trust them now about a known POISON?

    If I eat any chicken I will have to buy the expensive stuff from the health food store; they carry Amish chicken and I’m assuming the Amish don’t feed their chickens cat/dog food. But jsut in case I’ll ask since I pretty much don’t trust anything at all.

  27. Steve says:

    Must have been some hefty incentives and “bonuses” changing hands since this morning to “perform” as expected.

  28. Pit Bull Lover says:

    “Mengele-mine…” That’s hilarious, Anonymous (whoever you are)!


    *Though it’s not really funny at all.

  29. Donna says:

    I think Rosa DeLauro, and Dick Durbin are the only ones in Washington who are doing anything. Below, their new food safety bill.


    For Immediate Release

    May 1, 2007

    Contact: Sandra Abrevaya (Durbin), 202-224-7115
    Adriana Surfas (DeLauro), 202-225-3661

    [ WASHINGTON , DC ] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today introduced legislation that will revise and upgrade the nation’s food safety system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one of the federal agencies charged with safeguarding the U.S. food supply, has come under fire recently in the wake of nationwide recalls and/or quarantines of tainted pork, spinach, peanut butter and pet food.

    Durbin and DeLauro’s legislation would give the FDA the power to order mandatory recalls of adulterated food products, establish an early warning and notification system for human food, as well as pet food, and establish fines for companies that don’t promptly report contaminated products.

    “The product recalls that we have seen in the past few weeks – first with pet food and then with food intended for human consumption – have shown us that food-borne illness is a dangerous and real threat in this country,” Durbin said. “There are gaps in the inspection, monitoring, notification and enforcement elements of our food system and we must act now to address them. We simply cannot afford to let consumers continue to be the guinea pigs in our food safety system.”

    “After the countless recalls, alerts and advisories from the past year, along with the latest CDC numbers showing increases in various food-borne illnesses, the evidence is clear our food safety system is collapsing and one of the main agencies charged with protecting it, is asleep,” stated DeLauro. “This needs to change immediately – it is time to transform the FDA from the toothless agency it has become to one that takes the proactive steps necessary to protect our food supply and the public health.”

    Durbin and DeLauro said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that as many as 76 million people suffer from food poisoning each year. Of those individuals, approximately 325,000 will be hospitalized, and more than 5,000 will die. With emerging pathogens, a population at high risk for food-borne illnesses and an increasing volume of food imports, this situation is unlikely to improve without decisive action.

    Some of the new responsibilities given to the FDA under Durbin and DeLauro’s new legislation include:

    Providing the FDA the authority for mandatory recalls of contaminated or dangerous food. The FDA currently has no authority to order food recalls, but must rely on the industry to voluntarily pull products from store shelves.
    Establishing an early warning and notification system for human food as well as pet food products. The legislation directs the FDA to work with professional organizations, veterinarians, and others to disseminate information about pet food contamination and in cases of both pet and human food, to keep up to date, comprehensive, searchable recall lists on their website.
    Establishing uniform federal standards and better labeling of pet food. The guidances and practices that today govern the pet food industry are implemented on a voluntary basis by manufacturers and state departments of agriculture. However, there is no requirement for states to adopt these practices and they don’t have the force of federal guidelines. Inspections are not coordinated state to state and some states have different standards than others.
    Improving FDA’s ability to regulate imported food products. The sources of the recent human and pet food contamination were wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that originated in China . Neither shipment was inspected by FDA; in fact, FDA inspects fewer than 1.5% of imports. FDA does not currently certify that trading partners have food safety standards that are at least equivalent to those of the United States . This bill would direct FDA to establish a certification program with trading partners interested in exporting food products to the United States . Foreign food safety systems and plants would be inspected by FDA prior to certification and the Secretary would have the authority to revoke certifications and deny importation of food if it presented a public health risk
    Requiring companies to maintain records and make them accessible to FDA as part of an investigation. This provision would prevent delays that could keep contaminations from being traced as quickly as possible. In the case of the recalled peanut butter this past winter, an FDA report showed that inspectors were denied documents when they requested them. The bill would clarify that when FDA conducts inspections, it will have access to those documents needed for purposes of safeguarding the food supply.
    Durbin and DeLauro have been actively engaged on food safety issues for over a decade. This Congress they introduced legislation that calls for the development of a single food safety agency and the implementation of a food safety program to standardize American food safety activities (The Safe Food Act – S. 654 and H.R. 1148 in the Senate and House respectively). Currently, there are at least 12 different federal agencies and 35 different laws governing food safety. With overlapping jurisdictions, federal agencies often lack accountability on food safety-related issues.


  30. Moony says:

    I agree with Me.

    At this point, it doesn’t do any good whatsoever to panic, or otherwise raise the stress levels in your home. While the official ‘organic’ label isn’t going to guarantee that you have no poisons in the food, it IS going to guarantee that you have LESS CHANCE of poisons in the food, so for people who cannot raise their own meat and veggies or join a co-op or buy direct from farmers -basically most people in the cities- it is the better choice.

    And for those who are religious or spiritual - this is what PRAYER is for! Ask God, in whatever form you think of Him, to make it safe for you and your pets.

  31. straybaby says:

    “Ask God, in whatever form you think of Him . . .”

    Him?! ;)

  32. ally says:

    Dang straybaby - you beat me to it!

  33. Moony says:

    “Him?! ;)”

    I grew up Catholic, tho I am not anymore, so that’s one way I refer to Our Creator. The important words were ‘YOU think of’, be it if you think of God as female, a duality, ‘the Universe’, ‘the Great Spirit’, whatever. However, if you’re not religious, or spiritual, then obviously you’re going to disregard any of that advice…or sometimes even make fun of it.

  34. upset says:

    This may not be the right blog but it’s the busiest right now, i just scrolled down the home page of itchmo, and saw a photo of a puppy and a duckling……..and I watched the video.

    It is of a LAME LIMPING puppy that appears to be in pain…….in CHINA
    that has a duck as a friend, and the duck does not look very healthy either…….I could puke. Look close at the puppy……..it’s in terrible condition…..limping eyes squinting……I am so upset!

  35. ally says:

    Moony - I wasn’t making fun of you. But straybaby did make me laugh & was thinking along the same lines re: “Him?! ;) ” as I was.

    This has been such an emotional and exhausting ordeal for many of us. Some take their does of humor wherever they can get it. Not to belittle the situation but rather, to survive it.

    Hope that makes some kind of sense.

  36. ally says:

    sorry - typosRus…
    “does of humor” above = “dose of humor”

  37. Moony says:

    Well, I didn’t take particular offense, but sometimes on that particular subject its even harder to tell if its meant as a joke or its a snide comment, so I erred on the side that someone reading it might get confused between them. Okay?

  38. straybaby says:

    Hey Moony,

    sorry, it was more just a cheeky remark not meant offend or to be snide :) my idea of poke in the rib PC humor :-/

  39. Ann H says:

    Act (EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031, et seq.). These statutes provide that FSIS
    is to protect the public by verifying that meat, poultry, and egg
    products are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and properly labeled and

    Well, I guess we need to challenge this - unadulterated. So labeling should include minimally adulterated with melamine?

  40. Pit Bull Lover says:

    I believe I’ve found the reason for the rushed decision on those 20 million chickens. I guess there’s no time to worry about the health of the nation when you’re struggling to tie your bowtie.


    State Dinner Guests List
    May 7 06:19 PM US/Eastern
    By The Associated Press

    The guest list for Monday night’s state dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, as released by the White House (includes)…

    Agriculture Secretary Michael O. Johanns and Stephanie Johanns


  41. johnypaycut says:

    Mela chickens free to go? free to go where, back to communist china?
    (not likely , they’l be in the pot of every replublican/democratic alike)
    wise up people! they lie.. we put these smucks in power , we can remove ‘em..
    i’d like a honest independent study ? mela foods are either
    dangerous (obviously) or safe.. lets get a university to take a look?
    don’t let the warped goverment sell you death!
    i’l guarentee if you blindly accept this you’l be dead in a decade..
    maybe it’s time we excersized our consitutional obligation, if nesescary
    litterly throw liers out? if the situation goes unanswered it’l grow worse.l
    we have 300million people in america, we have numbers, we are america.
    get in there faces..get nasty!

  42. ally says:

    Moony - no worries and thanks for the reply. :)

  43. Anonymous says:

    Pilgrim’s poultry
    Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, the chairman of Texas-based Pilgrim’s Pride, is adamant that his fund-raising activities aren’t done for “selfish reasons.”

    “I do it, first of all, for what I believe is right and people I contribute to have the same philosophy I have,” said Mr. Pilgrim, a Bush Pioneer. “You know, I’m a conservative. I believe in integrity. I believe in a minimum of regulations. I don’t believe in high taxes.”

    Mr. Pilgrim, who founded his company 60 years ago, has seen it grow into the nation’s second-largest poultry producer. Last year, the company posted more than $5 billion in sales.

    Since President Bush took office in 2001, Mr. Pilgrim’s business collected nearly $60 million from the federal government for selling poultry to the Agricultural Marketing Service, a government agency that assists farmers and provides food for the poor.

    Mr. Pilgrim said he didn’t know that his company had received federal money, but he characterized the federal payments as a “small number,” considering his business does “$20 million a day.”

    He said he’s only asked President Bush once for a favor - that he speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin about stopping Russia’s ban on the import of U.S. chickens. In May, 2002, President Bush spoke with Mr. Putin about the so-called “chicken war” - and the Russians eventually allowed the import of the U.S. products.

    The discussions came after the two presidents signed a historic nuclear arms treaty at the Kremlin.

    “President Putin and I also agree that we’ll work to resolve disputed areas of trading, such as poultry or steel, in a spirit of mutual respect and trust,” President Bush said at a news conference after the signing of the joint declaration.

    Mr. Pilgrim, who said he requested Mr. Bush’s intervention on behalf of the chicken industry, called the process “slow and even discouraging” at times.

    “I think President Putin didn’t have total control of many things down there in Russia, just like politicians here in America don’t have total control,” said Mr. Pilgrim, who added that Mr. Bush, his wife, Laura, and his two daughters, Jenna and Barbara, spent a night at his home while Mr. Bush was running for governor in Texas.

  44. Sylvia says:

    Pit Bull Lover,

    Let those Globalists eat chicken, wheat gluten and cake!


    “This is not a clash between civilisations. It is a clash about civilisation. It is the age-old battle between progress and reaction, between those who embrace and see opportunity in the modern world and those who reject its existence; between optimism and hope on the one hand; and pessimism and fear on the other.”

    They just don’t get it. We are just regular folks. All we want is safe food.

  45. Sylvia says:

    I just realized that they can’t even spell the word “civilization”! That was not my mistake. It is in the original. Twice!


    No wonder we are all f***ed up!!!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Administration Addresses Wheat Gluten Issue

    June 4, 2001

    The Bush Administration has decided that instead of extending the safeguard, which would have triggered the continuation of European Union (EU) tariffs on corn gluten exports to Europe, US officials will end the safeguard but provide the wheat gluten industry $40 million over two years to complete its transition to competitiveness. For the past three years, the wheat gluten industry has benefitted from a safeguard quota under Section 201.

    As the International Trade Commission (ITC) has determined, the wheat gluten industry has used the opportunity to return to competitiveness, but it needs more time. To avoid trade retaliation against the United States under WTO rules, the administration is substituting financial support for the quota.

    The assistance program, to be administered and funded by USDA, will provide funding for marketing, product development, and capital expenditures over a two-year period. Wheat gluten producers may submit requests for funding early next week. The assistance will be provided immediately following USDA approval of the requests.

    U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick said, “By providing this assistance, we promote the recovery of a U.S. industry and its transition into new product lines without exposing our exporters to trade retaliation. This is an example of how we can use our trade laws to help industries meet import competition, without risks to American exporters.”

    In effect, this approach has monetized a possible extension of the quota and enabled the wheat gluten industry to move forward without triggering foreign retaliation against another industry. It also makes clear the nature of U.S. support. Extension of the 201 safeguard measure beyond the existing three-year period would have exposed U.S. exporters (particularly its corn gluten exporters) to approximately $50 million in trade retaliation over two years, Zoellick added.

    The United States imposed a quota on wheat gluten for a three-year period beginning on June 1, 1998. The quota was imposed based on a finding by the ITC that imported wheat gluten was causing serious injury to domestic wheat gluten producers. The producers indicated that, if granted relief from increased imports, they would invest in production facilities to produce modified wheat gluten for use as a protein supplement, in plastics, and in cosmetics, among other purposes.

    The European Union challenged the quota before the World Trade Organization (WTO). As a result of this action, the WTO Appellate Body decided in December 2000 that the wheat gluten quota was inconsistent with WTO rules. In response to this finding, the EU imposed a special duty on a portion of imports of corn gluten from the United States, which are worth approximately $400 million annually. It is understood the EU will remove this duty when the safeguard expires.

    In November 2000, U.S. producers of wheat gluten filed a request with the ITC for a two-year extension of the quota on wheat gluten, to June 1, 2003. In its investigation, the ITC found that while the quota was in effect, the domestic producers made substantial new investments in plant and equipment, product development and marketing. As a result, sales of modified wheat gluten and wheat starch increased. However, the ITC also found that the wheat gluten industry needed to make additional expenditures on facilities and marketing to reach its goals.

    Wheat gluten is the concentrated form of the protein contained in wheat flour. It is traditionally used to make baked goods and pet food. In modified form, it may be used as a meat extender, egg substitute, or an ingredient in the production of biodegradable plastics. In 2000, The U.S. wheat gluten industry operated facilities in Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa, and produced 176 million pounds of wheat gluten.

  47. Sylvia says:


    Looks like a slow train wreck and We the American People were in the caboose!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Very well said Sylvia.

  49. straybaby says:

    how many more train wrecks can we handle . . .


  50. Anonymous says:

    As long as we dont eat chicken we should be able to handle a few more.

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