FDA Still Evaluating Safety of Contaminated Chickens

The fate of the 20 million chickens that may have eaten tainted pet food won’t be decided today. According to a new FDA and USDA release, the decision to cull or release the chickens has not yet been made. The risk assessment decision is expected in one week. Meanwhile, the FDA maintains that those products are safe for human consumption.

(Thanks Pat)

60 Responses to “FDA Still Evaluating Safety of Contaminated Chickens”

  1. catherine pierson says:

    haven’t they ever heard–when in doubt, throw it out–as a guideline for spoiled food. also, wish they would get off the dilution bandwagon–that line of thinking is absurd.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The FDA still works for industry.

  3. Steve says:

    Whats changed since March 16, 2007? Would the Pet Food Industry like to tell America?

  4. redmal says:

    It’s all about the risk analysis. There is no consideration of whether it’s simply right or wrong, it’s only about how much money is at stake measured against the costs of potential harm. The column with the higest dollars wins. Along this route (it won’t hurt you at xx ppm, so therefore it’s OK at these levels), eventually, this could become an accepted ingredient in food items, because, gosh darn, it’s just too expensive (insert whine) not to allow it. Bad for the economy & all that cr%p. It’s thoroughly disgusting the bend over backwards & … that is being shown for business at our and our pets’ expense.

  5. Garyn says:

    I am sick to learn that I live in a society where my inalienable and absolute constitutional right to life is in fact measured by whether it costs a company too much of a monetary loss.

    I guess the FDA folks don’t watch much Suze Orman. It is PEOPLE first, THEN money, then things. I would like to see all of these government people making this decision on TV every night for two months eating these chickens and hogs.

    Does it matter to anyone that we don’t want to eat it. Will you at least tell us what brands they are so we can not eat it. Or are you going to shackle us and shove this poison down our throat.

    The rich and informed won’t be hurt because they have the wherewithal to find non poisonous chickens and hogs. But what about the poor and less fortunate whose diets and those of their children consist largely of chicken *nuggets. What about those who can’t afford to buy organic and vegetable only fed chickens. What about the school children who are served chicken for lunch. What about those that are physically and mentally incapacitated and are institutionalized who can’t make the decision. What about those people who are in hospitals. What about those that are in prisons where diets are all poultry based. Is that not cruel and inhuman punishment to systematically poison them.

    Shame on you FDA and USDA for even thinking that money is more important than even the slightest risk to humans. That is amoral and contrary to the Constitution of the United States of America.

  6. Eric says:

    Let me get this straight: There’s no real health concern from eating melamine contaminated meat, but they still aren’t releasing the 20 million contaminated chickens because of possible health concerns? What the f***?!? The FDA is possibly the most turned around, backward talking agency in the history of mankind. And they’re supposed to be the ones keeping the food supply safe? I’d feel safer with trained monkeys at the helm…

  7. Steve says:

    “1. What procedures you plan to put in place to test food and feed products coming in from overseas, especially countries with lax food safety standards;

    “2. How you can improve the monitoring and tracking of products once they enter into the United States; and

    “3. How you will alert the public to these problems in the future.”

    Hold Breath. . . . Prepare for hell to freeze over.

  8. Abby Kelleyite says:

    Not being released? Ami reading the following wrong?

    From the release

    USDA Releases Some Swine and Poultry for Processing
    In several cases, feed samples have tested negative for melamine and related compounds. These tests were conducted by federal laboratories or state laboratories using approved methods. It is assumed that because only small amounts of the contaminated feed were mixed with other rations, the melamine and related compounds were no longer detectable. USDA has concluded that, based on the human risk assessment and the inability to detect melamine in the feed samples, these animals no longer need to be quarantined or withheld from processing. (emphasis added)

  9. CathyA says:

    Maybe they’re hoping the scientists identify the other 7 compounds they found in the wheat gluten/pet food. They’re probably also looking at cyanuric acid. But most of all they know there’s already melamine in our food. Go back and read the April 26 press conference with the FDA. If it was just a matter of melamine they’d wait 3 days then release the chickens/pork.

  10. Eric says:

    I think I read it wrong to begin with. So they are releasing the chickens? The headline of the post on Itchmo says they are still evaluating.

  11. Abby Kelleyite says:

    Just to clarify. I read that they are releasing some in “several cases” where the magnitude of several is not defined, and they are doing so based on not detecting melamine in the feed. No mention is made whether they have tested for melamine in the meat in those cases. If they found it in the meat, USDA would not be allowed by law to release such meat.

  12. Cheryl Hansen says:

    Suppose that the FDA is right…our exposure to little bits of melamine is “safe.” Who is going to study the cumulative effects of melamine in combination with the “safe” levels of arsenic in the chickens, the irradiation of the chickens, the “safe” levels of antibiotics, the “safe” levels of hormones in the chickens, the “safe” amounts of pesticides in the chickens, and the “save” amounts of goodness knows what else? When you add up all the “safe” levels of these contaminants and mix them all up into one meal, then what is the chemistry of all of these combined, and the “risk assessment of that”?”

  13. Ann H says:

    I’ve started sending out to everybody this, including letters to editors: (if you want to use it, please do)

    Subject: Melamine Contaminated Chicken & Pork - Another Pet Food Tragedy in the Making?

    We must acknowledge that allowing minimal toxicity into our foods carries the weight of responsibility for causing such ingredients to collide with other toxins. To not be aware of the implications of those toxins we have allowed already into our system is criminal negligence. Common sense can not belong to a political party, but Common Sense must be a character trait of those who are put into the positions of responsibility to protect our food and drugs.

    To release the melamine contaminated swine & poultry back into the recycle process to pet foods would be negligent, foolish and criminal cruelty to animals.

    Melamine was found by scientists at the University of Guelpf to form crystals when cyanuric acid and melamine were combined in feline urine and formed the crystals implicated in the illness and deaths of companion animals.

    The fact is that cyanuric acid, triuret, mineral oil, urea, biuret are allowable in animal water & feed supplies.


    It is not beyond reason to be more concerned than our newly dubbed Food Czar, aka Brownie Jr, David Acherson. To not comprehend more than dilution theories truly insults the American people.

    Stop the cycle NOW.

    The Pet Food Industry did not exercise common sense nor show concern for the livestock & poultry destined for human consumption. Now, do you trust them to not take the byproducts, offal, and muscle meat from those melamine contaminated animals back into the pet foods?

    Will we go through this scandal once again when the salvage pet food is sold once again from contaminated pet foods?

    Unless our “risk assessment” is inclusive of the entire cycle of those swine & poultry - YES.

    Please do not let those 20 million melamine contaminated chickens to return to the pet food recycle circle.

  14. pat says:

    i think this “risk assessment” thing is a move toward making melamine an allowable substance in food. i imagine the reasoning is that it’s probably been in the food chain for quite awhile, there’s no way to track what possible effects it might have had, and no one would even know if those bloody pets hadn’t died, so we should just make it officially ok and close the door on any more speculation about it. the lunatic fringe (that’s us) will get tired of banging their heads against the wall and go away soon.

  15. Cheryl Hansen says:

    According to the FDA Legislation, the FDA is charged with the “honest and fair dealings with consumers.” WHOOPS!

  16. Karen says:

    One comment — if they want to release the contaminated chickens, how about giving all of the chicken to all of the FDA and USDA employees and their families. They can all have BIG cookouts and we can monitor their health to see how they react to this contaminated food!

  17. Debbie4747 says:

    Anyone know what they’re serving at the White House tonight in honor of the Queen of England? *snort*, since Europe has a higher standard of imported food than we do, I’ll bet she brought her own grub.

  18. 4lgdfriend says:

    Along with keeping the pressure on the FDA, I think we need to hit producers in the pocketbook: don’t buy it, don’t eat it.
    Are there enough petowners who are mad enough to do this? Money is all they care about. Money talks, nobody walks.

  19. Anonymous says:

    is chicken on the menu for tonights state dinner? :)

  20. e wem says:

    The FDA has proven with this incident that it has no interest in public opinion and every interest in the financial welfare of the companies involved.

    If this was a free market system in a society that responds to the wishes of the citizens, with ‘Liberty and Justice for All’ it is possible the chicken would be approved for sale but with this caveat - it should be fairly labeled:

    ‘This chicken was raised in a flock that was fed salvaged dog or cat food that had been recalled from market because it contained scrap melamine, a plastics precursor mixed with cyanuric acid, a common pool chemical and other possible trace compounds.

    Testing has shown that melamine and cyanuric acid form insoluble salts in the urine of cats

    A recent test performed by a major pet food manufacturer on thousands of household pets across America has shown renal failure in a high percentage of cats and dogs who consumed pet food containing scrap melamine and cyanuric acid

    While extensive studies have not been performed concerning safety to humans humans, anecdotal evidence concerning exposure of workers to melamine without cyanuric acid in the plastics industry have convinced the FDA that consuming melamine by itself is reasonably non-toxic to humans.

    There are no studies concerning health risk to people who consume chicken given feed laced with melamine and cyanuric acid.

    The FDA draws no conclusions between the consumption of melamine mixed with cyanuric acids by cats and dogs and the consumption of melamine mixed with cyanuric acids by humans.

    The FDA draws no conclusions concerning the consumption of chickens who were fed melamine mixed with cyanuric acids

    The FDA therefore advises that pregnant women, small children, persons taking medications, those with kidney ailments, renal failure or undergoing dialysis consult with their doctors before
    consuming any of this chicken”

    That would be true free market with liberty and justice for all. I am libertarian enough to say - let them sell it but tell the truth about what is in the package. I can choose not to buy.

    The FDA is forcing me to buy this chicken, or no chicken at all.

    Liberty to sell. And liberty to buy sonething fairly labeled for its content or condition

  21. Shawn says:

    Re:Please do not let those 20 million melamine contaminated chickens to return to the pet food recycle circle.

    Amen! The news release says nothing about our pets. They have said that the reason our pets got sick was that this was all that they ate. So shouldn’t they at the very least restrict these chickens from sale to anyone that might resell them to the pet food industry???

  22. JanC says:

    Choices at the White House dinner:

    Melapork chops
    Ecoli Spinach Salad
    Tainted Spring water

    (Yeah……coffee & wine are ok……so far…..wine, anyone?)

  23. Anonymous says:

    “I’d feel safer with trained monkeys at the helm…”

    I thought we already had a trained monkey at the helm since 2000???

  24. pat says:

    karen, at least the fda-usda family barbecue could be construed as some kind of science. i’m not sure this risk assessment can. did you read the usda thing about assumptions made in the absence of data? yeah, good science there. this is what’s known in the biz as the swag method… scientific wild-a**ed guess.

  25. Ann H says:

    Go to the Meat & poultry Hot line on-line and call, write, use the icon in the lower right corner.

    Protest the recycling back to pet foods of the contaminated swine & poultry which is being ignored in the “risk assessment”


  26. Eric says:

    “‘I’d feel safer with trained monkeys at the helm…’

    I thought we already had a trained monkey at the helm since 2000???”

    Now that’s an insult to monkeys everywhere.

  27. Joan says:

    The USA government can not afford the chickens that consumed melamine to be NOT okay for us. That would cost $$$$$ and more for us to consider how really safe is our food chain

    Don’t panic we are slowly poisoning you all

    I wonder what else has melamine in our food chain?

  28. DonnaD says:

    From what I’ve read it probably won’t kill people, at least not right away. It may make us sick with kidney ailments. And the way the collective “the” have kept the entire fiasco under wraps, it’s highly unlikely that the average person would connect their illness to the chickens. I talk to my husband and parents about this, they know nothing about it because there’s nothing on the news.

    I feel like someone who should be wearing a tin foil hat and hiding from the aliens in a trash can.

  29. DonnaD says:

    that should be the collective “they”

  30. Pit Bull Lover says:



    18 “nominees” - 6 of them have obvious industry ties, others (a dietician in private practice, a professor who lives in Puerto Rico) seem like odd choices to me

  31. denni says:

    how do we go about organizing a massive protest and descend on D.C….
    heck if the illegals are doing it why can’t we..at least we’re legal.

  32. pat says:

    pit bull lover, before long tin foil hats and trash cans will be considered safe for human consumption. they’re forming a committee to assess the risk

  33. straybaby says:

    so if Melamine is ok in our food, does it need to be added to the label as an ingredient? Would they need to re-analyze the protien content of foods to let us know how much *real* protein is in the food vs unnatural empty protein?

  34. Debbie4747 says:

    Questions still unanswered…I think…really I am losing count though, but
    1. Who was the other(s) mfgs or suppliers of the melamine wheat gluten…and any more rpc suppliers?
    2. That group of vets that were testing the food….have we ever heard any more on that?
    3. That lady in Canada that ate the dog food and got sick, any follow up?
    4. Was there ever really rat poison in the inital batch of recalls?
    5. What happened to HOWL911, last update was 4/27?

    Any more?

  35. Eric says:

    I don’t think the second supplier will ever be revealed. And I’ve wondered about those food testing vets myself. They seem to have disappeared.

  36. Ann H says:

    Straybaby, I received a reply from our State Agriculture Department.
    Apparently their is melamine in other items and the levels were established by the EPA in the 90’s.

    That is why I made the comment about toxins colliding.

    This is what I have been told in response to some of my emails & faxes:

    “These type of assessments are complicated by the presence of minute background levels of melamine in our other foods, (just as there are small quantities of a multitude of other toxins both natural and man-made) and the needed assessment of toxic levels.

    EPA set maximum levels of melamine exposure back in the 1990’s, but the risk assessment will need to determine how close to those consumption of an animal who consumed melamine would bring a person. Risk assessments for animals are being concurrently performed. “

  37. JanC says:

    I have little doubt that the dry foods not recalled that were being tested by those vets tested positive for who knows what…..bet me these foods were from the huge PF companies with the most clout. Those seem to be the dry foods making animals sick (still)…..so if I were to make an educated guess, I would say IF the tests were positive, these corporations stopped them from going public. On the other side of the coin, IF the results were negative, why are they not shouting it from the highest hill? I think enough said.

  38. straybaby says:

    i’ve been wondering about the collisions also. my above comment was basically me just being a brat! i’m envisioning the neww product labels to cover nutritional values regarding protein/fats/sodium/vitamins/minerals/various toxins listed either individually or as a percentage . . . . after all, they are in the food with the governments blesssing . . .

  39. straybaby says:

    “these corporations stopped them from going public”

    yeah, they seem to have that power, don’t they . . .

  40. LorieVA says:

    Nestle-Purina won another one.

    Hershey executives are closing plants in the US, laying off hundreds of

    people, and destroying Mr. Hershey’s dream, all to cut labor and material

    costs. The company will save about $170 million a year, all on the backs

    of the American people. The top executives will still make their mega

    bucks and the laid off workers will have to find other jobs, some probably

    at minimum wage due to their age. All this to take their jobs to India,

    China and Mexico. These countries are no doubt laughing at the Americans,

    who they don’t like anyway. How long are the American people going to sit

    around and let big corporations do this to us.

    We must all stand together and let them know we won’t take it any longer!

    Please, do not buy any Hershey product!

    If the company wants to take the work to these countries, then let those

    countries buy the product. We don’t need it!

    Blackball Hershey

    Blackball Hershey

    Blackball Hershey

    Please pass this to everyone on your email list so it gets all across the

    United States. Show big corporations we are United!!!!


  41. Mandy says:

    All this makes me want to move in with my friend who lives in New Zealand… Hey do you think if a bunch of us move to another country they’ll get the message? Ha!

  42. Ann H says:

    Well, Europe got the rice protein concentrate & GM rice, used our pet food industry as an example of cheaper is not necessarily cheaper :) I shared that with Duane @ PFI.


    “China has since banned its food exporters from using melamine. As an emerging powerhouse supplier to the world, the country will surely have to ensure its products are not just cheap, but also meet standards set by other countries.

    Unfortunately for the country, one or more of its exporters also caused a problem in Europe last week. The UK reported that unauthorised genetically modified rice intended for animal feed had entered the market from China via the Netherlands.

    The alert was sparked off after regulators found that an unapproved GM line had been found in rice protein concentrate imported to Cyprus from China via the Netherlands.

    Businesses in Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain were also named as receiving consignments of the rice protein concentrate.

    While such contamination incidents initially dealt with pets and animal feed, they highlight the potential for disaster in the human food supply chain.”

  43. Anonymous says:

    From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine
    By Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker
    The New York Times

  44. CathyA says:

    ERic, no they haven’t forgotten about it. About the time they were ready to take samples to UC Davis, the lab there got flooded with pork samples. The may 3 update on the VIN site says they’re awaiting results. And as for the pork samples, I’d like to know how much melamine was in the MEAT, not the blood or urine like FDA reported on.

  45. Itchmo » Blog Archive » 20 Million Chickens Free To Go says:

    […] See all latest news, recalls, entertainment, and local info. « FDA Still Evaluating Safety of Contaminated Chickens […]

  46. Anonymous says:

    HERSHEY joins my list of FOREIGN brands as of today.
    HERSHEY joins my list of bloodsucking scumbag carpetbagging corporate profiteers out to kill America.

  47. 4lgdfriend says:

    Been waiting for this to show up: “The UK reported that unauthorised genetically modified rice intended for animal feed had entered the market from China via the Netherlands. ”

    “Businesses in Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain were also named as receiving consignments of the rice protein concentrate. ”


  48. johnypaycut says:

    Xuzdinghow anyway fluffy foods&belly lint fund tecnologic company ltd.

    offers fine line of products>> >anti-biotic fish, fluro-catfish,
    mela-cakes, mela-corn,favorite standards mela chicken, fluorscent orange rice protein concentrate, pure gylcol cough syrup, amiopterin wheat and glutens, sianara susprise (cyanuric sprinkles for additive/flavor enhancer)

  49. Anonymous says:

    Melamine-spiking “widespread” in China; human food broadly contaminated

    “Despite FDA and USDA efforts to allay concerns about consuming melamine-tainted meat, the health effects are unstudied…

    I just bought a case of Organic Chiken.

  50. Cynthia says:

    Melamine-spiking “widespread” in China; human food broadly contaminated

    “Despite FDA and USDA efforts to allay concerns about consuming melamine-tainted meat, the health effects are unstudied…

    NO WAY FDA! I just bought a case of Organic Chiken.

  51. menusux says:


    These are tough times for U.S. gluten makers
    Industry worn down by less-expensive imports can’t meet domestic demand anymore.
    The Associated Press
    WICHITA | One might think that growing concern over contaminated imported wheat gluten in recalled pet food might be good news for U.S. gluten producers.

    But U.S. production has been so eroded by low-cost imports that it can no longer supply domestic demand, domestic gluten makers say.

    Only four domestic gluten manufacturers, including two in Kansas, have survived the flood of foreign wheat gluten bought here in the last decade at prices cheaper than U.S. producers can make it.

    When the United States removed quotas on gluten imports in 2000, prices plummeted by about half, said John Neufeld, chief operating officer for Dallas-based White Energy.

    The nation’s largest gluten maker, MGP Ingredients Inc., is based in Atchison. The company has the capacity to produce 120 million pounds of gluten in a year, but the plants are running at only 20 percent of that capacity, said Steve Pickman, MGP vice president for corporate relations.

    “We have been unable to compete effectively on a price basis with imported gluten,” he said.

    According to figures from the National Association of Wheat Growers, the U.S. imports roughly 80 percent of its wheat gluten from Australia, the European Union and China, where the contaminated wheat gluten behind the recent pet food recall is thought to have originated. The gluten is used primarily as an ingredient in the baking industry, in cereal and in pet food.

    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.

    On April 26, the government said several hundred of the 6,000 hogs that may have eaten contaminated pet food are thought to have entered the food supply for humans. The potential risk to human health was said to be very low.

    Neufeld’s company estimated that the U.S. consumes about 530 million pounds of wheat gluten annually. Government figures show that about 386 million pounds of that were imported, he said.

  52. Eric says:

    Re-read some of the articles. “Organic” chickens are in part of the 20 million. In other words, nothing is safe.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Is there a chicken brand that is safe?

    Does Purina raise chickens? I’m sure they will be kept out of the loop.

  54. Beth says:

    …..and one wonders why there is such an increase in cancer, both in animals & humans. Why there is such an increase in alzheimer illnesses. It is NOT ALL due to an increasingly aging population. I think it is due to all the junk that is in our foods Even foods that are healthy for you are contaminated. After years of consuming these products, disease is bound to show up & it never gets backtracked to the food supply.

  55. Debbie4747 says:

    I agree about what is in our foods may be causing us ailments such as cancer, allergies, autism, etc. The one health problem that the news does harp on is obesity and how it is so epidemic in America these days. Since I was a kid we’ve always had junk food, fast foods, etc. Now all of a sudden obesity is epidemic. Could it be from all that melamine (plastic) in our foods. We can burn off calories, but how do you burn off plastic? And who knows what else is in our foods that we don’t even know about?
    And here I thought I was so much healthier when I quit smoking.

  56. Leslie k says:

    If anyone needs a pet food tested, I would highly recommend Accutrace.[advertising on main Itchmo page]. They were extremely helpful & offering 2 discounts. The owner has 10 pets & is testing all her pet food. I got nowhere after calling all local vets,labs, the fda,health dept & state food safety dept. The only ones w/ an answer to anything were accutrace. If anyone else needs a lab try them ! Also don’t use pur 1 dog sensitive systems !

  57. Mary says:

    Whoa whoa… don’t use Purina One Sensitive Systems? How come? I just talked to them a couple of days ago and they said they were “safe.”

  58. LovingMyPets says:

    Eric Says:

    May 7th, 2007 at 4:43 pm
    “Re-read some of the articles. “Organic” chickens are in part of the 20 million. In other words, nothing is safe.”

    Organic chickens are in part of the 20 million??? I just went and bought organic chicken at Whole Foods for double the cost, and now you’re telling me that they’re included in the 20 million?????

    Whole Foods ASSURED me that, NO WAY were they selling chickens that were fed the tainted pet food. Please tell me WHERE you got that information. Thanks.

    Geeze, another night of NO SLEEP.

  59. LovingMyPets says:

    OK Eric,

    I’ve read the report at the top of this thread, and there’s no mention of ORGANIC.

    Where did you come up with this?

    You wrote: “Re-read some of the articles. “Organic” chickens are in part of the 20 million. In other words, nothing is safe.”

  60. Eric says:

    It all stems back to this quote:

    “We literally found that the dilution is so minute, in fact in some cases you can’t even test and find melamine any more in that product,” Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said during comments to the Organic Trade Association.

    It’s from this article: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/n.....191567.htm

    While we don’t know that organic chickens have been affected, it seems odd that reports about melamine chickens were be told to the Organic Trade Association. As with so much of this, make of it what you will.

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