FDA: Pet Food is Safe, Just Days After More Recalls

FDA’s newly appointed “food safety czar” says that our imported food supply is safe, just days after the latest round of recall expansions. This is the third time the FDA has announced that the pet food supply is safe to eat.

Acheson said the search for the pet food contaminant is “virtually closed” and investigators have a “very good handle” on its distribution. Government officials say the threat to humans is extremely low.

The last 2 times the FDA called the pet food supply safe to eat, they were followed by more recalls. Currently, 20 million chickens that have eaten tainted pet food are under quarantine by the USDA.

Also, it is unlikely that a CDC-like system for collecting pet illnesses or deaths will be run by the FDA.

Acheson said the FDA wasn’t planning to establish a database for collecting reports of injuries to pets, a demand of pet owners that Acheson said veterinarians are considering.

Acheson also believes increasing inspections will not solve the problem due to the vast amounts of imported foods and the manpower required to inspect all of them.

P.S. Overnight, Iams has also removed recall information from their US homepage.

(Thanks Pet Connection)

69 Responses to “FDA: Pet Food is Safe, Just Days After More Recalls”

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  1. colin says:

    sorry for 3 posts in a row. i should think first and make sure i am done before i submit.

    was spending about $50 a month of dog food - natural balance. with this one customer they have lost $600+ a year :)

    NO commercial dog food maker will EVER get my money again. if i want my pets to die, i could easily do it for FREE - instead of paying for a long slow miserable death - if you catch my drift. i so wanna start screaming all kinds of nasty stuff - as i am sure you do too. however cool heads will prevail.

  2. siameezer says:

    Helen, thanks for that link to Sen. Durbin’s email form. I printed out the form letter and then summarised the main points, in my own words and order, and added a few other comments. I appreciate having it made so easy as I’m caretaker for not only a number of furkids but also my elderly mother.

  3. T. Eric says:

    Could it be that China is pissed now that Panama has FREE TRADE as well.

    Report traces tainted medicine to China
    The Associated Press
    NEW YORK — A Chinese factory was the source of a counterfeit chemical that killed dozens of people in Panama after it was used in human medications, a newspaper reported.

    The New York Times reported in its Sunday editions that records and interviews revealed the poison was first sold by Chinese companies that exported it as 99.5 percent pure glycerin. The source of the chemical was then obscured as middlemen in Spain and Panama removed the names of their suppliers from shipping documents - a practice used by distributors to ensure continued business.

    Panama’s government health agency used the substance to produce medicines, not realizing that it was diethylene glycol, a chemical cousin of antifreeze that can cause kidney and neurological damage if ingested.

    The Times said investigators in four countries identified Taixing Glycerine Factory as the maker of the poison. That company’s certificate of analysis said the shipment was 99.5 percent pure, the Times reported.

    The sale of the syrup was brokered by a unit of a state-owned business in Beijing, the article said. From there, it went to a distributor in Barcelona, Spain, and on to a dealer in Panama.

    No one in China has been charged with causing the Panamanian deaths. An unidentified Chinese drug official told the Times that investigators tested the Taixing Glycerine Factory’s product and found it contained no glycerine. But a spokeswoman for the drug agency said the company had not broken any laws.

    Wan Qigang, the legal representative for the factory, told the Times last year that the company made only industrial-grade glycerin. But more recently it has been advertising 99.5 percent pure glycerine on the Internet, the Times said. Wan declined to answer further questions.

    Concerns about the safety of imports from China rose in the U.S. after pet food containing a Chinese ingredient was found to be tainted with another industrial chemical, melamine. The poison has killed or sickened an unknown number of dogs and cats and led to the recall of more than 100 brands of pet food.

  4. T. Eric says:

    Dee Says:

    STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP! STOP BUYING ANYTHING FROM CHINA. Hound all companies you buy ANY food from and insist that they tell you whether any of it comes from China, directly or indirectly. If it does, let them know you won’t be buying it anymore.

    God posting Dee!!!!!!

  5. T. Eric says:

    I mean GOOD POSTING DEE. My fingers are tired tonight……

  6. Kathy Thompson says:

    So I guess they think they can smokescreen with the antifreeze thing, and the melamine will just go away???? Just stick our heads back in the sand?????

    Or is it that the melamine was a false trail, and it was all due to fake glycerine?

    Either makes sense to me, but guess what?? I pulled my head out a long time ago. I don’t believe anything they say!!! Guess I’ll be up for a few hours writing letters now. Please join me, all of you!

  7. Nanci says:

    I found this a few minutes ago at:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....34_pf.html

    The very last paragraph says it all!!!

    How Two Innocuous Compounds Combined to Kill Pets

    By David Brown
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, May 7, 2007; A08

    What do a dead cat in Ontario and a motel swimming pool in Phoenix have in common?

    In certain circumstances, they both contain melamine-cyanuric acid crystals.

    Scientists seeking the chemical culprits in the widening pet food scare have come across some unusual chemistry that may help them understand how two largely nontoxic compounds ended up killing an unknown number of cats and dogs.

    At the end of March, investigators detected a man-made compound called melamine in wheat gluten produced in China and sold to U.S. manufacturers as a pet food thickener. The contaminated samples contained various amounts — from 0.2 percent to 8 percent — of the chemical.

    Melamine has been used for decades in manufacturing. In its chainlike “polymerized” form, it is used to make dishes, flame-retardant fibers and industrial coatings.

    Also found in the gluten in smaller concentrations was cyanuric acid. The man-made chemical is used to stabilize chlorine in outdoor swimming pools, especially in regions such as the American Southwest where the sun’s rays are quick to dissipate that disinfectant. Two other compounds, ammeline and ammelide, were present in even smaller amounts.

    The four compounds have similar chemical structures. One can easily be made into another with the right chemical reaction. All contain relatively large amounts of the element nitrogen. Of the 15 atoms in a molecule of melamine, six are nitrogen. It also has three atoms of carbon and six of hydrogen. Ammeline has five nitrogen atoms, ammelide has four, and cyanuric acid has three.

    All living things need nitrogen. The element is an essential ingredient of proteins, which make up most of the human body that isn’t bone or water. It is an essential ingredient of DNA as well.

    Organisms can survive for short periods on carbon, oxygen and hydrogen — sugar. But if they want to grow or reproduce, they need nitrogen. Plants can get nitrogen out of the soil or the air, but animals have a harder time. They must take in protein already made by plants or other animals. That’s what the female mosquito is seeking when she’s out for blood — a source of abundant nitrogen with which to make the protein and DNA in her eggs.

    If you add melamine to almost anything, the amount of nitrogen in the final mixture will rise simply because, gram for gram, melamine contains so much of the element. Since the food industry generally measures total “nitrogen content” and equates it with “protein content,” a few shovelfuls of melamine can appear to turn a low-protein meal into a high-protein one.

    And what’s wrong with that? Can’t the body use the nitrogen in melamine?

    Actually, it can’t.

    Melamine is an extremely small molecule, and most of it is absorbed through the intestinal tract before it is digested. It circulates in the bloodstream until it gets to the kidneys, where it slips easily into the fluid that eventually becomes urine. Melamine can also enter other organs. That is how it could have ended up in the tissue of farm animals that ate scraps of melamine-laced pet food — as apparently was the case in 2.7 million chickens and 345 pigs slaughtered and consumed in recent months.

    (Late last week, the federal government identified another 20 million chickens that had eaten tainted feed and took steps to keep them off the market.)

    As a practical matter, though, only a small amount of melamine would ever end up in Buffalo wings or pulled pork. Melamine’s chemical structure makes it water-soluble, and it doesn’t accumulate in fat. After an oral dose of melamine, more than half is out of the bloodstream and into the urine in three hours.

    The purpose of urine is to concentrate water-soluble waste products and to keep them dissolved. But water’s dissolving power has its limits. Melamine and other chemicals can reach concentrations that exceed those limits. When the water can’t hold any more, the chemical substance begins to form crystals.

    Studies done decades ago found that rats fed melamine for two years developed stones in their urine, which led to bladder cancer in some. When rats were fed in one serving a large amount of melamine — the equivalent of a 150-pound person eating a pound — about half died.

    At low doses, however, melamine is nontoxic. In fact, microcapsules and chains made of melamine have been used experimentally in animals as vehicles for delivering long-acting drugs.

    Veterinarians investigating the mysterious pet deaths realized that most of the animals died of kidney failure and had kidney stones containing melamine. Although little is known about melamine toxicity in cats and dogs, it seems unlikely, based on the rat studies, that the pets could have consumed fatal amounts of the chemical.

    Last month, however, toxicologists at the University of Guelph in Ontario detected another compound in the stones from cats suffering kidney failure — cyanuric acid. Initially, the ratio was thought to be about two parts melamine to one part cyanuric acid. More recent and more precise measurements suggest an even split.

    Ten days ago, Guelph scientists Brent Hoff and Grant Maxie combined melamine and cyanuric acid in a sample of cat urine. They produced crystals that, when examined for their chemical and physical properties, were virtually identical to the stones taken from the ill or dead cats.

    The crystals are a lattice of six molecules — three of melamine and three of cyanuric acid — held together by weak links called hydrogen bonds.

    When melamine is added to water that contains cyanuric acid, the reaction clouds the solution. It’s that reaction — and the degree of cloudiness — that tells pool maintenance workers how much cyanuric acid is in the water, and whether more is needed. When the reaction occurs in a pet’s kidneys, however, it can have altogether different and deadly effects.

    So how might a plastic and a pool chemical (and their cousins, ammeline and ammelide) have gotten into pet food?

    Nobody knows.

    But one theory is that they were leftovers from a chemical company’s production of something else. In an act of fraud that substituted cheap scrap for more expensive protein, someone put the compounds into the wheat gluten, thinking they would never be discovered and never cause a problem.

  8. menusux says:

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/a.....006/SPORTS

    Here’s a link to a very detailed account of the tainted glycerin:

    “When at least 88 children died in Haiti a decade ago, F.D.A. investigators traced the poison to the Manchurian city of Dalian, but their attempts to visit the suspected manufacturer were repeatedly blocked by Chinese officials, according to internal State Department records. Permission was granted more than a year later, but by then the plant had moved and its records had been destroyed.

    “Chinese officials we contacted on this matter were all reluctant to become involved,” the American Embassy in Beijing wrote in a confidential cable. “We cannot be optimistic about our chances for success in tracking down the other possible glycerine shipments.”

    In fact, The Times found records showing that the same Chinese company implicated in the Haiti poisoning also shipped about 50 tons of counterfeit glycerin to the United States in 1995. Some of it was later resold to another American customer, Avatar Corporation, before the deception was discovered.

    “Thank God we caught it when we did,” said Phil Ternes, chief operating officer of Avatar, a Chicago-area supplier of bulk pharmaceuticals and nonmedicinal products. The F.D.A. said it was unaware of the shipment.”"

    The story goes on to detail how people get into the chemical business in China, what their “qualifications” are (in this case it was by reading a chemistry book). You’ll also see how no one really does anything about any of this in China.

    Just before we learned about melamine-tainted wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate and South Africa learned about melamine-tainted corn gluten in pet food, there was a wave of pet food problems in South Africa–these foods were tainted with ethylene glycol. Here are links to the stories:

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php.....694C511463

    Pet food scare: more tests for boy

    Visser, of Shelly Beach, suspects her child may have eaten catfood that tested positive for the toxin ethylene glycol.

    Dog and cat pellets from petfood supplier Aquanutro, which also makes the Woolworths brand that Visser bought, were withdrawn after toxins were found in random batches.

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php.....645C824818

    Food poisoning now killing cats

    AquaNutro Managing Director Dirk van der Linde said that extensive tests had been conducted and some products had tested positive for ethylene-glycol. He said AquaNutro had informed its distributors and other interested parties that tests were being conducted even before the substance was discovered.

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php.....302C581958

    Pet food kills dozens

    The pet food maker, Aquanutro, warned last week that a small number of dog food batches had been contaminated by ethylene glycol. The substance is a type of coolant, popularly known as anti-freeze.

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php.....387C715322

    Contaminated pet food fears continue

    Rick Last, a pathologist at Veterinary Diagnostix in Pietermaritzburg, said there had been at least three deaths in KZN. His laboratories had found ethylene-glycol in specimens from a dog and two cats.

    AquaNutro said it had traced the ethylene-glycol contamination back to one of the ingredients used in the manufacture of some of its pet foods.

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php.....924C439583

    Anxious pet owners wait for results

    Eleven Woolworths customers have reported the deaths of their pets and are waiting for test results to confirm the presence of a contaminant, ethylene glycol, detected in the dry pet food.

    It emerged this week that a dog food producer in Malmesbury, Aquanutro, supplied the tainted food.

    Bear in mind these South African stories begin in February of this year–before the melamine contamination was known of in the corn gluten there and the wheat gluten & rice protein concentrate here.

    No idea of the ingredients AquaNutro uses in its foods, whether they are made for Woolworth’s or not–glycerin may or may not be part of them. We know the melamine-tainted corn gluten found in South Africa traces back to China, just as the wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate used in North America did. We can also see that the glycerin used in Panama and other countries also originated in the same country. We also see that there certainly WAS counterfeit glycerin shipped to the US in 1995–from the SAME company who shipped their c**p to Haiti.

    Because there are no laws in China which will, there’s only one way to stop it and that is to stop Chinese food and pharmaceutical imports across the board–unless/until China does something other than deny the truth about what’s produced in their country. We’re not safe with their products, nor is anyone else–not even their own citizens–until this happens.

    Back in the 1960’s, the big fear regarding Mainland China was whether they would use nuclear weapons against the rest of the world–I’d rather go back to the days when “the bomb” was our biggest worry.

  9. Donna says:

    Purina,has purchases a dog food plant in china.Planing to use local chinese grown products.What can I say ? God bye Purina. I will NOT be buying any of your products ! We are NOT going through this again.U.S products only. LIVES,BEFORE PROFITS !

  10. YaYa says:

    A couple of weeks ago with a few of my first posting here, I recommended Boycotting All things from China.

    I also mentioned how Much the Chinese government is banking on a “good face” for the 2008 Olympics.

    At the same time {now} they are finishing up things For the Olympics, they are Courting Tons of Corporate Business from around the World; and hoping they stick around After the Olympics.

    It’s Booming over there faster than they know {have the Knowledge} or Learned how to handle World Trade in decency. All they care about is Money.
    The weeds that sprouted out of communist China, the secrecy, back alley deals etc., Continue on.
    It’s all happened too fast.

    So many US companies are building over there and ones that we’ve know since before many here were born.

    Boycotting China methods and products is one of the Best ways to make Changes.

    So Yes, boycotting China products here is One BIG Tool. Use it.

    I am also going to write NBC network and tell them I am NOT, watching the 2008 Olympics, which will be broadcast on their network. As I feel it FEEDS this out of control China Monster. It’s giving China what it wants and not what *I* want. Honesty and Accountability. {I’m sorry for the Olympians, but that’s how it goes this time.}
    I hope we Win plenty. But I’m not watching. I’m Not feeding the advertisers who pay NBC for the broadcasting of the Olympics.

    {and I sure as heck don’t want to see those “stories” they will tell/show, of just how Great China is. It won’t be Totally true, as the Government won’t let the Negatives SHOW! How they Really treat their people. And Us through Trade.}
    {I Sure Hope, they check Our Olympians out good for “strange” contaminants while they are on Chinese soil! And isn’t that just awful to have to think that Way?}

    It’s due to the fact that, Illegal, underhanded disrespectful activites, have harmed my Beloved Pets, possibly me, and others I know, over the last couple of years. AND those to Come. That includes ALL of You too.
    There are plenty of other reasons to boycott China and it’s goods. I won’t go into them here tho.

    We’ve got about a year before the Olympics, maybe it won’t change NBC, but other folks Will, follow. I won’t be alone. But Numbers do Count.

    A Great thing I think that will put a dent into this Illegal practices is, this COOL issue. Pushing for it HARD.

    The “Country of Origins Labeling” will MAKE Countries Accountable and give US Choices. To Buy or Not.

    If you are in a store ASK where is this products Origins. If they don’t know, as them to provide the answers. If they can’t or won’t: Walk away.
    Walk away if it is China.
    {you’ll be doing plenty of walking :-D}

    On the Phone: Ask. You know the rest.

    Now on the COOL issue, I think here are several Links places to sign-up for it or whatever. One I can think of is at: The Food and Water Saftey Watch Organization. http://www.fwwatch.org

    If you know of others Post the links.

    Be creative right now and think of ways to hit China and other illegit exporter and their methods.

    Hold them Accountable.

    China needs to *Learn*, perhaps *We* can begin to Teach them?
    Rock their Boat!

    I dont know, maybe we should send Lots of Letter to the Chinese Consulate? in NY?
    And I’m talking HARDCOPY Letters. Flood them. We could send Emails Too. But hardcopy hit folks harder.

    Be brief and polite cover THE Topic and finish.
    Put it in the Mail.

    What do You All think of the *Newer* Ideas, I’ve thought of?? Opinions?

    {and as usual, I’m sorry for the typos}

  11. Ruth says:

    Boy, this is getting more and more INSANE as the days go by. On Sat. my local paper had a small article in the Business section, page 3 about the pet recalls. But Yet, front page and front section coverage of a socialite going to jail: BIG news.
    Then Sun. another article “Home Cooking Can Be Bad for Pets” about pet food recalls, saying that VETS do not recomend people making their own pet food. BAD for dogs and cats because people are getting the wrong information from the internet. And it quoted senior medical adviser to
    Banfield. But it did interview a couple of people who are feeding their pets with homemade food.

    What I really like was the part saying how “Large pet food companies usually invest time and money into researching pet nutrition and creating foods appropriate for different types of animals” quoted by a Vet.

    So what is it now, are Vets now siding with the pet food companies?? Because the pet food companies say its safe. Or is it because they (Vets) don’t want to lose their kickbacks on products they sell at their office??

    If pet food companies had done their homework or better yet not bought this stuff from China, but they were greedy wanting to make more money,people wouldn’t have to turn to homemade to save the pets they have left.

    And now the FDA czar is on board saying its all safe.( Go back to your life. Bury your pet, forget about them. Go back and eat this crap, feed it to your pets….. they will die sooner or later…….get another animal since they under the law are just property)…..all is safe because I say so….

    The man is an idiot….who is completely backing up big business….gee does this remind anyone else we know….

    And as for IAM’s they sure are spending a lot of web space doing big PR image clean up on how they treat their test animals.
    Guess they got a lot of angry customers complaining about it. So arrogant with their fact after fact….
    They did remove the recall spot but now you have to hunt for it to find out any information. So nice of them…

    It still doesn’t change how I feel about them. My little dog ate the mini chunks and she died… I will always believe it was the food even though its not on the recall list.

    Sorry for the ranting but I am just sick and tired of all this B…S… On Friday will be 2 months since I lost my pet baby dog she just wasn’t a piece of property………still grieving

  12. Sylvia says:

    Late Breaking Update Heard on BSS Live!!!

    New Food Safety CZAR urges uges caution regarding NEWLY FOUND HEALTH THREAT….

    “The public must be made aware of the dangers lurking in high bacteria counts accumulating in kitchen sponges. We recommend that they use disposable dish wipes or change sponges frequently, at least once per week!”

    (Acheson wipes brow and thinks, “Whew. That’ll get their minds off that scary melamine and diethylene glycol stuff.)

  13. pat says:

    and here comes the whitewash:

    http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/.....01629.html

    FDA/USDA Joint News Release: Scientists Conclude Very Low Risk to Humans
    from Food Containing Melamine
    USDA Releases Some Swine and Poultry for Processing

    and:

    http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal.....5/0129.xml

    bon appetit

  14. Anonymous says:

    We will not purchase their petfood. We will not purchase any food product that ate their petfood.
    We will boycott imported products.
    We don’t buy, they don’t get paid.

  15. LorieVA says:

    I am personally done with all wet pet food. Even though trying to keep my cats happy without it is hard at lest I know their not being poisoned.

  16. migrainechow.com » Blog Archive » i don’t know a single sane adult says:

    […] Poisoning our pets and poisoning our people around the world. Wtf? How does this really help anyone. I can only even work as a business tactic if no one ever finds out. And people always find out. […]

  17. Ruth says:

    So whatever happened with the FDA saying it would check corn and soy proteins? Its all safe now?
    And also what about the other supplier company or companies the FDA wouldn’t name? All this kinda went by the wayside.

    Still so many unanswered questions…what about the people who have lost a pet who ate dry food that wasn’t on the recall list. These companies are keeping quite. But what about us. Are we supposed to wonder forever why our pets died? Not even my Vet would touch this issue either. I need closure.

  18. Judy says:

    It’s a sad & sorry world that we live in. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated like puppets for too long. WHEN will everyone get fed up enough to put a stop to it? We have lost our “gumption” as my mother used to say. We have allowed it to happen & by standing together only WE can turn it around. We elect these people, for Godsakes! Can’t we DEMAND that these imports be stopped? Is it ALWAYS about money? This country used to be a proud & mighty force & dependent upon no one. Now we are no better than a third world country. And who will pay the price? WE WILL! Our precious pets will! But certainly not the business & government fat cats.

  19. Ruth says:

    Good one,Sylvia Says, we need a little relief…..lol…..

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