Liveblogging FDA Press Conference

Itchmo is liveblogging the 4pm Eastern FDA press conference. We will correct spelling and grammar errors after the live event concludes. This is not a transcript, but a report of the event.

Conference has ended. See our report after the jump. Or read our summary.

At the FDA Press Conference will be:

  • David Acheson, M.D., assistant commissioner for food protection, Office of the Commissioner, FDA
  • Captain David Elder, U.S. Public Health Service, director, Office of Enforcement, Office of Regulatory Affairs, FDA
  • Julie Zawisza, assistant commissioner for public affairs, Office of the Commissioner, FDA
  • Kenneth Petersen, D.V.M., M.P.H., assistant administrator for field operations, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA
  • Sundlof

    Julie Zawisza introduces speakers

    Turns over to Acheson. wants to go over old ground to make sure we are on the same page– covers 5 topics
    1) reiterate the whole story over wheat gluten
    2) talk about expanded recall of Menu foods
    3) human health impact
    4) discover a strategy
    5) mention where we are in investigation in China

    1) when wheat gluten comes in, it can either end up in pet food or human food system. all of the contaminated products ended up in pet food system. this situation come to our attention with sick and dying pets. the problem was identified as wheat gluten and the wheat gluten was found to have melamine and the melamine related compound. once we found that melamine was found, we investigated the human food supply. and we have found no evidence and there has been none of that in the human food chain or as an ingredient in the human food chain. none of the cont. wheat gluten ended up in the human supply.
    -portion went into hog and poultry feed- but none of this entered in the human food supply
    -all of wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate has been in the pet food track and there has been no cross contamination

    2) Menu foods has expanded their recall- belief is that there is a cross-contamination- check their website

    3) human health impact: only connection with human food when some of the pet food has been used as human food. our current belief that threat to humans is extremely low and it is unlikely
    low because: levels of melamine and dilution effect (when the cont. wheat gluten comes in the country, only small prop contains melamine — 5-8% is wheat gluten and wheat gluten is not sole ingredient in pet food so it is further diluted) when feeding to hogs and chickens, only a small part is fed to those animals
    -the small portion of the meat that is on the market will potentially carry low levels of melamine and pork and poultry only is a small portion of a human’s diet.
    results in a dramatic dilution of human contamination– highly unlikely that there will be a human illness
    Clarification of 1st point: pet food being used as human food– not saying that pet foods is part of human diet– where it ended up in poultry and hogs and that’s how it became human food.

    4) proactive strategy: 2 key elements: 1. what we are doing with imports: FDA is working with customs and has an import alert that focuses on protein concentrate of vegetable origin from China- held at the border and must be considered to be safe to proceed- preventing any further imports of cont. protein concentrate of veg. origin
    2. domestic front: govts and agencies are investigating industries- raising the awareness of manuf. of their supply chain and if they have received ingred. from China and haven’t been used, they have been tested. this just begin this week. to date, there have been no results from that.
    tested 700 samples that were either finished pet food or ingredients– of 700, approx. 400 samples tested positive for melamine. some were same samples from multiple lots- 300 have been negative. all positive came from the 2 companies we know about it. we have tracked all of the positive samples and we already been getting negative results. those numbers will continue to expand with the coming weeks.

    5) where we are in China: the HHS/FDA team is on the ground in China and working with the govt for the invest. doesn’t want to go into specifics.

    Back to Julie: Q and A period:

    1) Abigail Goldman- LA Times
    Q:Can you confirm an arrest in China? And also if ingredients are mislabeled when coming across?
    A: question should be directed to Chinese authorities
    Michael rogers answers if fraudulently labeled, we are not going to know about it- but if we find out, we will investigate.
    Q:is that the situation that happened here?
    A: No evidence that that is going on.

    2) Boston Globe
    Q: are other industries affected and what has been found with invest.
    A: we are not in position to answer anything with investigation

    3) CNN
    Q: can you say that for sure that all melamine has been found and that it has reached the end of the supply?
    A: confident that invest of pet food has been exhausted and we have the domestic assignment- getting out ahead of the curve and looking in other areas even though there is no evidence
    Q: the wheat gluten went into baby food? have you been looking into baby food?
    A: wheat gluten and rice protein goes in many foods but we have traced and there is no evidence that it went in baby food or other food and the only way was with animals

    4) AP
    Q: when sending out invest. out for manufacturers that are invest for cont wheat gluten, where are they going to?
    A: we are going to pet food manuf and human food manuf.

    5) ABC News
    Q: these cont lots didn’t get in the human food chain? how long has this been going on? How do we not know that it has happened a year and a half ago? Any poultry #s? Why is melamine okay to be in human food and not pet food?
    A: We don’t have samples from last year, so we can’t rule it out. we can speculate for hours and how long this has been going on but bottom line, we don’t know. The dilution factor explains why it’s okay in the human food- the pets are eating the most contaminated part of this thing and eating the melamine and melamine compounds. only portions of pet food is being fed to the hogs and that is what is in the hog meal- hogs and chickens have been physically fine. further, if there is any in the hogs, the amount that is consumed by human is only a small portion of the daily diet. Poultry numbers — the same numbers that were outlined in Tues are the same- 2.7 million that were in Indiana and 100,000 breeder birds that are still on the farm
    -in regards to the past, we don’t know for certain. we have looked at the incoming shipments for the two importers that we have had problems and we have looked into 2006 and saw where that material went to and it all went into the pet food and not into the human
    food

    6) USA Today:
    Q: Smartpak recall? can you elaborate on that? the product doesn’t say that it has any protein concentrate from china
    A: the product did contain rice protein concentrate that did have melamine in it– there was probably cross contamination from manuf
    Q: 92 lots were negative?
    A: 394 or so positive test results- we don’t have the negative results

    7) ABC NEWS
    Q: any comments that the Chinese would label ingredients as non-food products instead of food products
    A: we need to see what the invest come up in China- clearly there are a # of reports but we need to wait until we get the facts and then respond to it. this whole episode raises questions.

    8) CNN
    Q: what does cross contamination mean? some vets have said that pets have died from cross-contamination?
    A: cross contamination with e.coli can lead to human illness — i don’t have the specific levels that they found- based on that, they decided to do a recall. how they cross-contam. i don’t know.
    Q: you are implying that it is a small amount. should we worry about human food?
    A: cross contamination doesn’t specify quantity- they may just be doing this to be proactive and cautious

    9) WSJ
    Q: any contaminated pork and poultry on market
    A: No. for the poultry, 2.7 million- chickens had gone to slaughter — speaking of the dilution factor, there is no reason to believe those animals are any danger to public– of 6,000 swines on farms- about 300, went to slaughter– no risk to public health
    Q: do you believe that there is any meat that has been contaminated with the feed?
    A: No, none on the market
    Q: no recall?
    A: yes, no recall.

    10)Chicago Tribune
    Q: levels of melamine? confident that melamine that caused pets to get sick and die?
    A: varied to 0.2-8% of the ingredient. Yes, melamine alone isn’t toxic unless you feed in high doses. The discovery is that melamine compounds (cyanuric acid) and melamine when put together- it causes crystals in the kidney and leads to kidney failure.

    11) Reuters
    Q: how many investigators in China and will you send more?
    A: no, can’t answer that
    Q: the FDA had gotten a report of about 2,000 cats and 2,000 dogs deaths. any updates on numbers?
    A: no new numbers from that- we have to tally the #s- we have more phone calls then we are able to log in the system. next press conference, we can update #s.
    Michael Rogers — agency has received more than 17,000 calls- our prelim. review of those, as many as 50% alleged pet deaths from those calls- this is not definitive proof

    12) Dow Jones
    Q: pork and poultry on the market- is it because that it is not on the market because it’s already been eaten? how about frozen products?
    A: invest is quite active- the farms that we mentioned that we are aware of and there is control- the pet food trace back is winding down- through that process, we became aware it becoming into animal food– there are still animals resident on those farms and local actions are preventing them from moving to slaughter. we have no reason to believe that there is any risk to the public.
    Q: 3 mil chicken that were slaughtered in Feb– your belief that they have already been consumed by the public?
    A: there is no evidence of any harm from chicken or pork

    13) NY Times
    Q: about proactive invest? how have you determined which manufact. facilities to visit?
    A: based on comp reg and our records, who does what and with ingredients- that is what we used to do invest- use local and state invest and they know who to visit- based on data of what ingreds go to which manu
    Q: how many? how long will it take?
    A: 100- we’ll keep on doing this until we have our arms around it.

    14) Balt Sun
    Q: found any melamine or related compounds in other veg products? and whether you have id’d any other importers that have received cont.
    A: in US, we have only found in wheat gluten and in rice protein conct. We only have 2. Corn gluten was found in S. Africa. Can we rule any ingreds out? No. But, we haven’t found in other ingreds. To date, all of the positive results have been linked to the 2 companies

    15) Japan
    Q: import alert? looking at the documents, there were 3 separate import alerts (2 were for the 2 Chinese companies)– when I called the FDA, there was an ban on those 2 Chinese companies) but then they were saying that they were detained and not banned
    A: initially, we were just focused on 2 suspects and now, the agency has taken a more widespread approach- these products are stopped at the border for 100% review- the present import alert (the company wide alert) is posted on the FDA website of what firms need to do to go through this process
    Q: wheat gluten was labeled was wheat gluten- but there are reports that it wasn’t labeled as wheat gluten and that it went through a textile company
    A: as we aware, it was labeled as wheat gluten- part of the confusion is because the Chinese exporter exports other things besides wheat gluten and they also do export textile company- but the wheat gluten was labeled as wheat gluten- we don’t have records of what ingredients are labeled

    16) Tribune Media Services
    Q: going back to 2006, it was said that melamine was found in pet food supply. then has this been affecting our pets for a very long time? if there is any question or doubt, why isn’t there a ban on all of these products?
    A: to clarify the 2006, our invests of imported product involved 2 aspects: testing and tracing in where that product can be used. Testing: some of the product in 2007 and later 2006 was positive for mela and mel compounds. with records we trace back, where did that product go? it went into pet food and not human food. and if there were positive before late 2006, we don’t know because we don’t have samples. it didn’t make pets as sick before late 2006.
    Q: so pets have been affected by this in an undescribed way for a long time?
    A: certainly possible. in regards to the ban, many exporters do not have melamine in their product. we want to stop those that have contaminated ingredients- we want to filter, examine and invest everything.
    Q: are you confident that it is 100% fool proof
    A: nothing is 100% fool proof

    17) PA
    Q: did any of the contaminated feed go to any other animals besides chickens and swines? # of Farms? once the pet food is recalled many owners started cooking with chicken and they are worried that they are feeding cont. chicken?
    A: no evidence that it went anywhere else. # of farms- 30 poultry related farms, 8 swine related farms. concerns of pet owners that are preparing food at home — there is no indication that more pets are susceptible to melamine- we still don’t understand how this syndrome is affecting animals. we don’t recommend pet owners prepare their own pet foods at least over a long time. pet food meets nutritional needs and are balanced. if just feeding one ingredient is not in the best interest of the pet.

    18) Washington Post
    Q: if this had occurred in human food, there would be a case control study early on how strong the relationship would have been between the illness? has there been any log in the vet world so we can get some sense of how much the dosage and other effects?
    A: no equivalent to the EIS in the vet world. we have been in contact with the AVMA and lab diagnosticians that have seen a lot of these cases. the correlation was so strong that it doesn’t require a case controlled study. we know what products were causing illnesses and deaths. we are trying to understand the dosage. Some of the cases varied and the highest i heard was 9%. colleges are trying to conduct studies and understand better the melamine and cyanuric acid and some of the other components that we have found in the wheat gluten and rice protein.

    19)
    Q: having a hard time understanding that such a small amount can cause so much damage?
    A: in a sample of wheat gluten, in some there were cases of 8% melamine and some had .2%- the contaminated wheat gluten was used in varying portions to make pet food. it varied in portions. 5-10% of pet food is wheat gluten. no specific number
    Q: are you looking at other poss. contaminants? is there something else that caused this.
    A: no, there is no evidence of other contaminants. we don’t believe the melamine alone caused this- it was the mel and the mel compound that forms crystals in kidneys. a lot of questions that we don’t have answers to.

    20) Bloomberg
    Q: since you’ve put the import restrictions, you’ve done 700 tests and 394 positive?
    A: 700 samples are not from the import alone- they are the total # of tests we have done. that’s everything. all of the positive has been related.
    q: is this a limited problem?
    A: we would be complacent if we didn’t further investigate

    21) USA Today
    Q: Can FDA rule out other cross-contamination?
    A: I don’t quite understand the ?.
    Q: If other products were cross-contaminated- can we rule that out in other foods?
    A: all of the cont wheat gluten and rice protein cont has only gone into pet food and not into the human food. even if there was cross-contamination, it would be mute because there was no cont. wheat gluten/rice protein in human food supply. we can’t rule out cross- cont.- we are always on the look out for cross cont- nothing has entered into the human food supply as we know it.
    everything that we have investigated, we have not found any cont in human food supply.

    End of Press Conference

    41 Responses to “Liveblogging FDA Press Conference”

    1. Steve says:

      Wow, the FDA is actually having to work. How ya like that.

    2. melachicken says:

      “The discovery is that melamine compounds (cyuanric acid) and melamine when put together” - was thinking about this today. The acid is used as a pool cleaning chemical. So if you drink pool water and eat mela-chicken does that provide enough catalyst for a reaction in humans? Only being half-facetious here, it seems like they are getting better each conf. call in discussing some issues but the big unanswered questions are:

      1) did any human in the U.S. eat a mela-chicken?
      2) how many mela-chickens eaten?
      3) if Cyanuric acid is the catalyst along with melamine for the problems in animals does a similar mechanism exist for humans?

    3. Carol says:

      Did he just say not to home cook as pet food is balanced?? Desn’t he mean laced?? I still have great concern about the chicken in the pet food now—no one seems to “know how this is hurting the animals” but it’s safe to feed the , just don’t home cook?? I’m actually sorry I read that…..

    4. E. Hamilton says:

      In the best interests of my pets, how MUCH melamine, or associated poisons SHOULD I be adding, per the FDA?

    5. Carol says:

      Whoever answered #18 can come get my Special Kitty in my frezzer–I bet it’s way way over 8% based on what it’s done here to my cats.

    6. Carol says:

      Different Carol here

      The only reason they dont want you to home cook is it’s taking away from there profits..its called gread!! pure and simple!

    7. catherine pierson says:

      bet this extends to turkey and duck as well

    8. Carol says:

      THANKS for the great typing!!

      Great questions, lousy answers!

    9. 5CatMom says:

      Note to FDA: So the melamine contaminated chicken and pork is safe for human consumption?

      Aren’t you the same group of MORONS who told US weeks ago that the existing pet food supply was safe, but you told FDA employees to “feed natural” pet foods?

      Why should we believe ANYTHING you say? Are you STUPID or just INCOMPETANT?

    10. ally says:

      E. Hamilton Says:
      May 3rd, 2007 at 5:10 pm

      ……adn cyanuric acid. don’t forget to ask about that. after all, it IS on their FDA gubermatt website (http://tinyurl.com/2ntkwz) as an approved food additive!

    11. Deb G. says:

      I have a hard time believing anything they say at this point. Don’t home cook for our pets???? What, are they crazy. No, the truth be told they are all in this together for the $$$$. Today I read an article on a site I just subscribed to for feed manufacturers. I couldn’t believe the 1st article they emailed to me had to do with the US shipping GM corn to the Dutch. The Dutch are not very happy as they believe the corn to be pure until they tested it. This corn was for animal feed. What’s the US doing sending genetically modified corn to a country that wants pure corn. They are not happy and neither im I. I will probably post the article in one of the forums so everyone can check it out. Bottom line, they might not be telling the whole store on anything. At this point I will home cook and do more growing my own and they can eat the melamine, and all the rest of the stuff they say is “OK” to eat.

    12. E. Hamilton says:

      Got the pool chemicals right here. And I bet I detect the “crystals” in human urine before the FDA announces they have!

      Having some fun now , aren’t we?

    13. stickdog says:

      What a bunch of double talk by the FDA. Why are they quarantining all Chinese vegetable protein if all of the positive samples came from one company’s wheat gluten and another company’s rice protein concentrate?

      They continue to mislead the public and the press about the scope of this crisis, and it’s been going on for well over 3 months now!

    14. Amalthea says:

      Can I ask a question and get a definitive answer? It seems they are avoiding the direct questions. Can I cook melamine contaminated chicken for my cats? I just bought a bag of frozen chicken to prepare, but now I don’t know. He just keeps saying it is safe for humans and not to cook for your pets period. If such a small amount of melamine is causing problems then it would be plausible to think that if the metabolized by products of melamine are in the chicken meat it could harm pets. Thank goodness I had lots of frozen fish to cook.

      Another thing, he keeps saying melamine product for cyanuric acid. Does he mean metabolite perhaps? That has never been clearly explained. So was there cyanuric acid and melamine in the food or just melamine? If cyanuric acid is indeed a metabolite then the same crystallization reaction could happen in people, I would think, if enough was consumed. Note how he was saying with the chicken and pork it makes up so little of a persons daily diet. Does that mean if we ate enough cont. chicken or pork we would get sick?

    15. Garyn says:

      That was very painful to read. But thank you for bringing it to us.

      The answers were so evasive.

      How does this man know what my diet consists of or that chicken and pork are not a large part. He is wrong. Chicken was a HUGE part of my diet, a constant part until last week. We ate it almost every day in every form. So am I going to die because i don’t fit in with his dilution theory. What about it?

      And is there not one can of something with wheat gluten from early 2006 anywhere in the entire United States. If everyone checked their pantries I think we could come up with one can of something from early 2006 they could test. He says there are no samples from early 2006 because he doesn’t want there to be samples. Have you asked anyone to look for samples?

      His answer regarding whether it is safe to feed pets the meat made me boil. He skirted the issue so obviously. No one asked him about balance. We want to know, if we feed our pets a mela- chicken breast will it cause them death. Yes or no.

      And the standard answer, there is no evidence to suggest… well of course not. Unless you live in a bubble and eat only contaminated food how would one prove that kidney disease, cancer, diabetis or any symptom was related to eating a particular thing. You have to conduct tests not just wait for people to drop dead.

      I don’t believe a word of this propoganda and I do not feel better about anything at all.

    16. Lady says:

      I know UC Davis is testing for melamine in pet food. I think you send them a sample and $100-200 and you get results. Maybe we should send them some chicken to test. I have some frozen chicken and chicken liver that I bought just the other day. A side, before the chicken story broke, I bought some ground turkey meat for my cats. I have four cats and none of them would eat it. They love turkey too and have had the same thing same brand before and ate it up. It didn’t smell spoiled or anything. Kinda strange

    17. Linda says:

      I’ve lost all desire to eat - time to lose weight.

    18. High Note says:

      I want everyone to go to this sight www.peteducation.com/article.c.....cleid=2653 It will tell everyone about how pet food is made. This is important for all of us to understand. Everyone is blaming Menu Foods and they do not realize that most places get their ingredients shipped in from other places. read it everyone..
      for instance… say your pet eats Alpo. WEll Menu foods is the canner. But say a place in Kansas like Emporia has a meat packing place and all the left over non human consumption meat would be put in large cans and shipped to menu foods. In turn Menu foods orders other ingredients from other places. Like Wheat gluten and rice filler, corn filler, and chemicals. Menu foods does not make any of this stuff. It comes from else where. Just like any pet food you may get. None of these places makes the chemicals. Now American Nutrition makes people food too so some of their ingredients are from their own plant but the chemicals and by products and grains come from outside their place and I am sure some raw goods do too. There is no sure way that when they say something is natural that it truly is. When they say it is made in the USA that does not mean that all the ingredients are made here. Go to the sight and read for yourself how dry and fresh ingredients are made. This sight will explain where it all starts and where it goes and what is in our pet food and where they may get it and all the things that a person really needs to know about what their pet is eating. Please go to the sight and really truly understand.

    19. High Note says:

      I must also state that Menu foods is not truly totally at fault. They are only one of the responsible parties. There are many of them. And for all of the people that have lost their loving pets I feel for them. But this is going to be drug out in the courts forever. WE all will be lucky to get any thing from any of them. Menu foods will only turn around and sue someone else. this could go on and on forever. I am sad to say the truth. WE all will be very lucky to be compensated for our vet bills and our loved ones.

    20. Carol says:

      5Cat Mom- is it somewhere in print about the FDA’s employees? I’d love to add this to my portfolio!

    21. Beth says:

      Tell me about the CYUNARIC ACID, please. Is this an added “ingredient” that the Chinese added? or is it a naturally occuring “poison”? What is the purpose of this acid anyway?

    22. Carol says:

      In response to HighNote: I think that the reason for anger at Menu is with their delay in “outing” the problem and they were made to by IAM’s. I think alot of us know that detecting this was difficult but knowing of “something really wrong” and not telling is shameful and inexcusable and shoud be illegal.

    23. ally says:

      Beth Says:
      May 3rd, 2007 at 6:17 pm

      In a nutshell, cyanuric acid is pool cleaner.

      David posted the following over at PC:
      “cyanuric acid is an intermediate product in synthesis of melamine from urea. So it is easy to see how it could be present as an impurity in “melamine scrap” before it was ground into a powder and added to gluten.”

    24. Anonymous says:

      Wow. It sounds like Karl Rove wrote the script for this conference. Pretty soon we will be hearing the melamine is actaully good for us. Perhaps they’ll start calling it Vitamin M.

    25. Momto6Cats says:

      Why can’t we get simple, straight answers from anyone “in authority”?

      It is obvious that we are being lied to, obfuscated, and patted on the head as though we were brainless idiots.

      Now, its “don’t even think of home cooking for your pet”….I sincerely believe I could do better than the pet food companies with a food processor and some real meat from the store (that I would eat myself). Such is in the works, as soon as I can get the $$$.

      Dodge and duck, don’t answer any questions, really reminds me of other sticky situations that no one wants to own up to.

      My cats are okay for now, thank God, and I am giving them lots of fresh meats and people food. (Happy can’t figure out why all of a sudden his food has become so tasty and interesting!) 8) He nearly starved to death as a kitten, and would have if I hadn’t taken him from the girl who couldn’t feed him (she asked me if I wanted him, and YES I did). He ate three cans of food that night. Now he is about 12 years old and beautiful. The color of honey in the sunshine….

      Regarding Menu–IF they are still producing cat and dog food at this time, after all this–WHO do they think is going to buy it from now on?

      Sure, there will be some who are indifferent as to what they throw into their shopping cart, but the majority of pet owners are not going to buy it.

      The FDA is useless, or nearly so. The basic function of the Federal Government is to protect the citizens of the country. Total failure on this. Now that it has become obvious to all the world that our food supply is an open target, don’t be suprised at anything that might happen.

      Again, all the finger pointing and blame passing reminds me of a bunch of six year olds: “I don’t know”, “I didn’t do it”, and so on.

      Thanks to everyone for all the hard work and dedication. I’ve given links to lots of folks, including the vet’s office, this morning.

    26. ~Martha~ says:

      That post would be just too funny, about the Vitamin M, if it wasn’t so damn true!
      [Couldn’t help it, I LOL anyway]

    27. Zeth says:

      Nothing seems to indicate that the melamine is absorbed directly by the animals, but that crystals form in an organ designed to remove impurities from the system, causing kidney failure. Other than that, no one has stated that the animal’s flesh contains the impurities.

      So unless you are eating the contents of the guts, or the kidneys of effected animals, you should not - nor your pets - be exposed to the melamine. Possibly further investigation will show otherwise.

      Cats and dogs eat dog/cat food almost exclusively, and in my experience, often from just one or two companies. So any contamination in a company will increase in concentration rapidly. An animal fed from many companies may never be affected, even if it eats food with the melamine in it. Even for the very few humans who eat pet food out of necessity, they probably also eat other things, and thus never reach the concentrations shown to be a problem.

      As far as home cooking for pets, for a limited time, that might be fine. However, cats and dogs are nearly total carnivores, and in the wild would eat foods raw. Pets foods are heavily researched to have vitamins, etc., that have been shown to give pets longer lives. In the wild, cats and dogs live far shorter lives.

      This melamine problem IS a problem, and needs to be sorted out. But the great percentage of pets has not been affected, and the pet food companies have a vested interest in keeping pets alive and well.

      In this case, at least, I believe that the interests of the FDA, pet food companies, pets and their owners all converge: keep the pets living (and eating) as long as possible!

    28. Marcia says:

      Our poor poor little babies! It just seems like it will never end and there is nothing we can do. I know that is what they are hoping - that we will just give up and this will all be swept under the rug. We’re in some kind of stupid concentration camp in this country where we have no voice anymore. We are treated as though we are stupid and inconsequentail nothings. I have a huge migraine now. What do we do now? Do we just shut up and go away like they want us to? I am so lost and disheartened.
      I cook for my little ones now and am so worried that I am giving them something that will hurt them. If they don’t understand how contaminated chicken would effect animals maybe they should figure it out!! And we are not necessarily considering preparing our own pet food “over a long term” so isn’t it our right to be concerned about what we are giving our pets in the short term! We can’t give them pet food because it’s poisoned and now the government can’t even assure us that we can give our companions people food because “they don’t understand” how it might affect our pets!!! I CANNOT STAND ANYMORE OF THIS!!!!!!!!!

    29. stickdog says:

      But suppose the chicken kidneys were used to make chicken broth or chicken gravy or Asian food or cheap frozen McNugget crap or back into pet food (again)?

      Do you want to be the one who eats that stuff? How about your pets?

    30. stickdog says:

      Zeth, do you think they just throw out the kidneys just because you do when you buy a whole chicken? Ever heard of chicken dogs or chicken lunch meat? And for hogs, hot dogs and regular lunch meat?

      Furthermore, I am no more convinced that the pet food industry has any interest in my pets’ health than I am convinced that the FDA has any interest in my health. Anybody who reads the notes from this press conference can see that it was nothing more than a vacuous exercise in damage control double talk worthy of any tobacco or asbestos lobbyist.

    31. carol says:

      in response to high note, do you own stock in menu? lets get real open up your eyes you saw those pics of melamine in wheat gluten, do you actually think these pet food manufactures didn’t know! this has been going on for years in cattle feedstuff in one way or another. yes right here in the usa. how convenient for them that it was the chinese that did this to our pets. this country exports many of the same ingredients that they import, why greed, they can buy it cheaper from other countries leaving us open to have to deal with this mess. when this first started there was enough info on the net to make me believe this was an intentional spiking of our pets food and not by the chinese.
      God Bless all of us and our pets.

    32. YaYa says:

      Something Else, about the Conference REALLY bothers me, that noone has mentiond yet. And Yes, I realize these were mostly “Print” reporters.

      But Have you seen {on TV}, As Much *time* devoted to the story, or questions asked or answered as there was, BY these Reporters????? {ie on TV??? where Folks Will SEE and HEAR This NEWS!}

      What is going on? Why is it not being picked up in the Same manner as the Reporters seem to Show SO voraciously in their Questioning today???

      How many Publications were there asking questions today? Can we expect to see a “Report” in ALL their papers and Mags soon??

      Good Grief, even after the FDA says they’ve received Thousands more reports of Deaths and Sickness, I still heard tonite {in regard to the Menu Foods Recall “EXPANSIONS} “17″ deaths!!!!!

      Ahhhhhhh!

      And Yes, as someone mentioned this sort of: There are Millions of folks, who are *Not on the Net*. And don’t have a Clue as to What is going on STILL, if at All.

      I love the TV mentality, like when there is a Storm/tornado, they always say to check their WebSite for more UP to the Hour Reports. Hard to Do, with the Power OUT! DUH!

      I guess that’s my Rant of the Day :-P Sorry.

    33. Jillian says:

      Garyn, I have some Science Diet Savory Cuts from 2005. Who should I send it to for testing? :)

    34. Linda F says:

      I notice Itchmo’s updated recall lists Natural Balance - as a whole. Not just the specific NB items. Does this mean in the estimation of the gen pop here and those who compile the recall list, that ALL Natural Balance (I’m most concerned w/the cat canned) are to be avoided? That’s what I’m feeding my kitts now.

      When I originally spoke w/a sales rep at NB, Todd Weigert, (very nice, helpful and even called me back twice) he reassured me only those recalled items listed on their website contained the rice protein that was tainted. The canned cat food varieties (other than the Ocean Fish) were okay.

      As w/hundreds of thousands of other pet persons, I’m beyond confused as to what the hell to feed my kitts now.

      I’m considering going back to Flint River dry. The only way they liked it is if I moistened it enough to soften it. But, didn’t I read somewhere that adding water to dried food is contraindicated unless the food is consumed immediately? It ferments or starts going bad rather quickly…or something? My head is spinning. Help!

      ITCHMO ADMIN: Linda, not all NB items were recalled. However, due to the overwhelming amount of recalled products, we are providing the list as a shorthand for those searching — complete itemized list of products exceeded 100 printed pages. You can always search our site for Natural Balance to see the exact recalled items.

    35. Linda F says:

      You ARE on your toes! :) Thanks for the super prompt reply. Yes, I know not all NB’s were in the recall, which is why I was confused seeing just the name “Natural Balance” listed. I certainly understand the need for brevity in compiling such a (sadly) enormous list. So I thank you again for the further clarification.

      BTW: Just did a quick search and found the answer to my own question about why water (or any liquid) shouldn’t be added to dry food.

      [URL=http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=library&act=show&item=whycatsneedcannedfood]HERE[/URL]
      [Quote]
      ” Caution: adding water or milk to dry food does not solve the problem; and the fact that there are always bacteria on the surface of dry food means that adding moisture can result in massive bacterial growth–and a very upset tummy.”
      [/QUOTE]

      A problem that, apparently, is exacerbated when food is left (even covered) for any period of time at room temp.

      Guess I’m hitting the stores again tomorrow to see what else is acceptable. I’ve heard some good things about Eagle Rock? Anyone know anyting about them?

    36. Linda F says:

      Sorry for the pathetic attempt at anchored linking. Here’s the (hopefully) correct direct link for the above info on not moistening dry food:

      http://www.littlebigcat.com/?a.....cannedfood

    37. For The Love of the Dog » Blog Archive » FDA Finally Reporting ‘Truer’ Death Tolls for Pets Related to the Tainted Petfoods & ASPCA Warning says:

      […] - You can read the Liveblogging from Itchmo on the FDA Press Conference HERE and from Pet Connection HERE. Both of these site are fantastic for keeping informed for anything […]

    38. Stefani says:

      Is there any lab to which we can take a can of food for full analysis in the mid-atlantic region? Even this food that has not been recalled — now I want it analyzed. I will pay. I want analysis for everything we know has shown up now and before, including pentobarbitol, melamine, rat poison, toxic mold/fungus (aflotoxin?) everything –full tox panel full analysis. Where can I take a can of fancy feast and a can of merrick and a can of wellness and a can of natures variety?

    39. Kim says:

      I love the way the FDA avoids talking about cross-contamination in PET food when questioned. All the answers were about people food, but since Menu had contamination for some products, how can they be sure they didn’t cross contaminate other pet foods which have been deemed “safe”? It seems no one wants to answer that question. It was mentioned in the beginning, but all anwers about it pertained to human food and not how many other pet food brands were affected.

      Also, I’ver read in many top notch papers that the Chinese did NOT label the shipment correctly so it wouldn’t have to pass inspection, but here at this conference it was stated it was correctly marked. IF that is true, then why the hell didn’t the freaking FDA or the US catch it in our inspections? It simply does NOT add up.

      Lies, lies and more lies. It makes me sick.

    40. lynn says:

      Linda, pls. don’t feed your cats dry food……..ever. They need moist, wet food because of their kidneys.

    41. fda traceback assignment says:

      […] … that invest of pet food has been exhausted and we have the domestic assignment- getting out …http://www.itchmo.com/liveblogging-fda-press-conference-607Fresh TalkOnce the fda has a region, the additional traceback efforts to find a specific … Does […]


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