Many Itchmo readers immediately noticed when the information about a recall from a rendering plant came up on the FDA’s website in July.
Darling International, a rendering plant in Texas recalled more than one million pounds of melamine-tainted meat and bone meal products in April. The company issued two separate recalls on April 20 of 682,600 pounds of dry rendered tankage (meat and bone meal products) because they contained melamine.
But the FDA did not post information about the recall until July.
The FDA listed the move as a Class III enforcement action, which means â€œuse of or exposure to a violative product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.â€
The FDA said Darling International processed the tainted bone meal products at its Wichita, Kansas plant and distributed them in Kansas and Nebraska.
When Itchmo readers and many pet owners saw this recall, they were scared that more poison had gotten its way into pet food.
Another big question was why the FDA didn’t post the recall in April and instead waited until July 25.
A spokesman for Darling International, Ross Hamilton, said he understands why pet owners are worried. But he added that none of the melamine-tainted meat and bone meal products ended up in pet food.
The tainted product did get into commercial feed for pigs and chickens.
â€œThe loads that were recalled did go into to animal feedâ€¦commercial animal feed,â€ Hamilton said. â€œBut after it left our facility, it was blended with other feeds, and at that point, the FDA said the melamine wasnâ€™t detectable in the food. It was diluted down through normal procedures and by the time it got into commercial feed, it was so diluted that you couldnâ€™t detect the melamine.â€
The FDA and the USDA tested animals that ate the tainted feed. Their tests concluded that meat from these animals was safe for humans to consume. FDA’s website said there is very low risk of human illness from eating the meat.
The melamine-tainted meat and bone meal products ended up at Darling International because one of their facilities inadvertently received it from Menu Foods’ Emporia, Kansas plant. The company did not find out about the contaminated product until after the pet food recalls started.
Hamilton said Darling International has manufacturing hazardous plans in place for risks and dangers they are conscious of. But melamine was something they were not aware of and it was a complete surprise for them.
He also said the FDA did not cover up the recall as many pet owners have thought. Hamilton said they didn’t want to make the recall public until the investigation was finished.
â€œWe worked with them on this recall,â€ Hamilton said. â€œTheyâ€™re pretty meticulous and delayed posting this until they had closed out their investigation.â€