Pet Food Hearing Transcript

Here is our live transcript after the jump. It’s not the full transcript and rough around the edges, but very extensive.

UPDATE: Sen. Durbin’s office issues their recommendations to change the system.


Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI): every American household and many are extremely concerned

FDA still say 16 animal deaths- other reports are more troubling- Banfield (largest animal hospital) say 39,000 others say 3500

FDA has received 13,000 complaints (more than double than they receive on all topics all year) - people are worried

FDA website has exacerbated the confusion- on Monday, all contaminated wheat gluten has been traced. but then the FDA is quoted “we are still tracing the contaminated wheat gluten”- pet owners get different stories.

Each time recall is expanded, people wonder what is next. when will we get the all clear signal? and what assurances the FDA can give to us with a 100% confidence

Pets are members of the family- buy the most expensive food and when they do this and their pet gets sick, people are sad and are rightfully angry and are fearful and feel betrayed that their pets are not safe.

Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT):

Says that it is only 1% of pet food that is recalled, but still is significant- wonder how lethal it is. pet is an important part of the family. He said “the FDA has reacted swiftly to this incident and we are glad of that” (oh really?)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Why he called the hearing:
1) he knows what pets means to family - 68 mil households own pets- “we owe them loving care in return”- numbers in dispute
State Vet association record more deaths than the FDA has stated.
many unknowns: # of deaths, and the source, and why a batch of Chinese wheat gluten was contaminated and why the recall went so slowly.
2) what is the connection in e.coli in spinach and contaminated pet food? Same broken food safety system- too many agencies, too many laws up to 30 different laws, too many committees on Capitol Hill, too many special interest groups– want one single food safety agency- driven by science and not by politics
continue to examine”
Priorities:
1) limit risk to pets and remove contaminated pet food and alert pet owners.
“It disturbs me that human food is also at risk.” Wants to look at three areas: 1) Timing- menu foods : how long did they wait to notify FDA? notified on march 5 and knew on Feb 20. why did it take so long? companies that delay safety recalls should face penalties; 2) the products have never been inspected– there is limited federal presence- does FDA need to standardize? need more better data and reporting? “Blogs of non-profit websites have sprouted as the best way to share info on this contamination- a voluntary effort of pet owners is spreading more info than the govt” If sites like petconnection.com can do this, so can our govt.

Dr Stephen Sundlof:
As a pet owner and vet, recognize the importance and offers sympathy to affected pet owners. hit close to home because he was feeding one of the products on the recall list to one of his dogs.
No evidence that any of the wheat gluten has gotten into the food supply. within 24 hours of learning about Menu foods, FDA agents were at the Emporia Kansas plant searching for wheat gluten- and using adv tech, scientists discovered melamine within 24 hours and discovered importer then discovered Chinese supplier and asked Chinese govt to participate in invest. — sampling 100% of wheat gluten from China and Netherlands. 10 FDA districts and 5 field offices have examined wheat gluten and pet food supplies. These events show the FDA thoroughness- we have id’d the source, the importer and supplier and the parties received the suspect material. to ensure success of pet food recall, we are comm with state authorities of agriculture- also recalling all products from the pet food supply chains and that retailers removed food from shelves.
The pet food institute- the product recall rep only 1% of pet food in market. so there are many choices for pet owners to choose from.

Q&A:

Kohl: FDA put a press release that there is contaminated food on shelves and that the retailers have not removed it. What should consumers do?
Sundlof: we know that all audits have not been completed- we have FDA agents working on this process. we urge consumers to go on our website to check the list and not feed their pets with this food.

Kohl: is the FDA confident that this will not grow to any more products?
Sundlof: we are deep into the invest- we continue to id small shipments of wheat gluten that may have gotten into pet food- we know where all of the shipments went but we are trying to account for it on a pound by pound basis- we are trying to reconcile all the products
K: you’re not at the point yet? so it is possible that there may be additional recalls?
Sundlof: no, we are not at that point yet. yes, it is possible.
K: when will we get the all clear?
Dr. Steven Solomon (another witness with Sundlof): this is an active and ongoing invest. we are following leads and testing products. when we find positive samples, we conduct the firm and work to get the product off the shelves.
K: if consumers want to do recalled food, they can check your website for up to date info?
Sundlof: yes
K: if consumers are concerned, should they check with retailers to see what is not on the banned list?
Sundlof: they can but should check the website
Solomon: we did a blitz activity of 400 audits and most are in compliance and we have asked state reg counterparts to use the same procedures to make sure that these are off the market
K: are you confident that you are over 90% that you are identifying all contaminated product?
Sundlof: yes- we are only finding issues of individual shipments that are being diverted to other places- we look at Banfield data and they say that it has peaked and we are certain that the recall has been effective in preventing any other illness and death and that we haven’t gotten the vast majority of the products off the shelves

Sen. Robert Bennett: inspections of animal feed manufacturers including firms that manufacture pet food- are you satisfied that the div of the responsibility of the FDA and states will ensure the safety of the pet food supply
Sundlof: Yes, this relationship has been effective:
Solomon: We work directly with the state agencies- some are direct contractors, some we have partnerships and others we enhance our activities- they are following the same procedures- products and inspections are reviewed by the government
Bennett: what is the tipping point that one state you use contracts and the other you use FDA agents?
Solomon: we solicit states and offer them the opp to work under contract so they can increase their revenue and help their infrastructure- we avoid redundancy and that they follow the same standards.
Bennett: you’ve hear the comment that there needs to be an organization like CDC to monitor the health of the animal population
Sundlof: we’ve been in touch with the CDC and have been in contact with them. there is a society with the vet comm that deals with the same issues (like the CDC)- they rep the scientific experts in the diagnostic labs that deal with animals- we are working with them to determine if the illness is related to the pet food. how many animals have been impacted? we need to define the criteria
Bennett: is the CDC a good idea?
Sundof: it certainly is something we should consider. i don’t see a downside to it. this is the first time that we needed fire power to deal with something this great. it is something we will look into it.
Bennett: the CDC has a fairly wide public relations program- both Sundlof and Solomon has said that there has been diff with the public relations aspect with the food recall. how has the FDA managed making info available to pet owners?
Sundlof: we made the decision that we were going to get info out as soon as possible. we felt that it was important to let the public know that we didn’t know the full extent of the recall and that we recognize that there was a lot of confusion and that we didn’t have all of the info at the time. we decided to let the public know whenever we had any new info
Bennett: are the pet companies required to let you know when they run into safety problems?
Sundlof: Yes they are

Dick Durbin
Durbin: you said that there is no contaminated wheat gluten in human food supply? there was a report that a batch was intro in the human food supply but was then pulled after it was processed in retail items
Solomon: the agency is committing a lot of resources to this- tracing back and forward. we id’d gluten shipments coming in- the wheat gluten came from the same comp and we have looked at other importers with the same lot # and tested those products and all tests were negative
Durbin: requirement for companies to report to the FDA– what is their timeline?
Sundlof: immediately. it is up to the company to determine it is significant.
Durbin: what is the penalty for failure to report on a timely basis
Sundlof: I will have to get back to you on that
Durbin: I wish you would. Would you consider reporting three weeks after the discovery of contaminated food timely?
Sundlof: i can’t answer for the pet food company. i just don’t know as soon as they know, I would hope that they would discover it, they would notify it immediately
Durbin: would you agree their delay led to increased illness and death?
Sundlof: yes
Durbin: does the FDA have the legal authority to mandatory recall of a product?
Sundlof: we don’t have the legal authority- we have other measures that we use such as use seizure of product- but in this case, they all voluntarily recalled their product
Durbin: is the FDA established basic standards for the state inspections?
Solomon: when they are done under contract agreement, they are following the same procedures and standards.
Durbin: i worked in a meat packing factory- and the USDA inspectors were on there everyday every minute when the plant was open-
- taking into account the frequency of the FDA inspects- it leaves something to be desired- how often does the FDA inspect pet food processing facilities in US?
Sundlof: i can’t give you a stats- i can tell you how many we’ve inspected since 2004- 661 pet food establishments. most of those were for mad cow inspections but there have been many for other reasons- routine inspections- for the past 3 1/2 years, we have inspected 30% of all of the pet food manufacturers in the US
Durbin: less than 1/3 of the pet food manufacturers have been inspected once in the last 3 1/2 years- do you think that is adequate inspect to ensure the quality of pet food?
Sundlof: we try to get to the risky products first- we were concerned with mad cow disease- pet food is generally have been a safe product and have found few problems. this is so unusual and we are dealing with a substance we have not used before. we have tried to hit those plants that have the greatest risk. when we did inspect menu foods after the recall, they passed the FDA regulation
Durbin: FDA is imp agency with limited resources– what has happened with the pet food recall, we are not dedicating to the most basic resources to this endeavor- have you gone to your website to try and find what pet food has been contaminated?
Sundlof: Yes
Durbin: Did you have any difficulties?
Sundlof: I admit I did.
Durbin: I did too. This is hard to follow. you have to work your way through every single press release. you are adding contaminted products to this everyday. can i suggest that the FDA put it in a user friendly format?

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) (pet owner - dog’s name is Trouble)
Byrd: can we now be certain that all of the tainted product are on the recall list? are you under oath? would you mind putting him under the oath? (they put Sundlof under oath)
Sundlof: the way that we have added products when we trace the contaminated wheat gluten, those products go on the recall list- when we have heard from a vet in a specific pet food, we investigate and it comes in pieces and we put them on the recall list- we think we have accounted for just about all of it but we can definitely say that we have found everything- we will be analyzing product and will then be recalling it
Byrd: can you explain the diff of your reported fatalities and other organizations?
Sundlof: we don’t have a good # of how many pets have been affected. we have over 15,000 phone calls by the FDA- at this point, we are just trying to make sure other pets are affected. once we know that all of the contaminated product is off the shelves, then we will go back and sort through all of the report.
Byrd: do we know for certain how long tainted food product to the public?
Sundlof: we know when it come to the US- it come in November 19,2006
Byrd: can you explain what screening systems that are deployed by the FDA that harmful substances do not poison pet food products?
Sundlof: manufacturing companies are required to produce safe and wholesome food- the pet food manufacturers are responsible of ensuring that the ingredients are free of contaminants and we inspect the comp on occasion and they are required to have records- the system works that the manufacturer is supposed to produce a safe product and have records to show us that it is safe.

Durbin: what is the involvement of the CDC was?
Sundlof: when we learned that the gluten was the cause, we asked the CDC to look into renal failure in humans.
Durbin: any evidence of increase renal failure?
Sundlof: we will need to check with CDC
Durbin: you said “there is no requirement pet food products have pre-market approval by the FDA, but the FDA ensures that the ingredients are safe and have appropriate function in pet food” it is clear that you did not inspect the wheat gluten so when you make that statement, it is a general statement that wheat gluten should be a safe ingredient
Sundlof: yes- wheat gluten is safe

2nd Panel:

Dr Claudia Kirk, U of TN- Vet Med Professor

Kirk: wants to focus on: 1) Safety and testing, 2) Pet food manufacturer oversight 3) Tracking adverse health events in animals

1) safety and testing: poor tracking in marketplace. can we prevent future food contaminations? i doubt that. our ability is infeasible. global suppliers are not under the same scrutiny. we screen for the expected and that did not include melamine. research into more effective tools are warranted. can we limit the exposure?
2) self monitoring is not uniformed. inspections could have prevent food contamination. could more vigilance help? if companies were mandated to report immediately
3) there are no so such surveillance in companion animals like the CDC does for humans. scattered reports and no clear causes made it seem that there was not a significant problem at hand. the official reports are unrealistically low. one solution is to have a central organization to report illnesses and info- tracking pet health is a sentinel to our food supply

Dr Elizabeth Hodgkins

in the past 18 months, there were no fewer than 3 national recalls. it is clear that breaches of the FDA requirement are occurring- there is a systemic breakdown. no human food is able to be labeled with such broad labels that they carry safe and wholesome guarantees. since these food labels are ubiquitous, no company has any incentive to test for just the bare minimums. the fed govt can not keep up with the increasing size of the industry. what we need is stronger adherence to the act- the FDA to adhere to the act that pet food labels can not be false and misleading and that all safety and nutrition claims are not allowed. no implicit claims can be made without rigorous testing and long term clinical studies. the consumer would have a more informed choice with truthful labels. wants a Truth in pet food labeling reform

Eric Nelson- American Assoc of Feed Control Officials- President

He went off on what AAFCO does.

Duane Ekedahl- Pet Food Institute - Executive Director
- recognizes the pet food companies
- he started with the fact that he has pets (wow.. you’re on our side, then, huh?)

- we have announced the formation of the Pet Food Commission - brings vets, govt regulations and toxicology experts to make sure it doesn’t happen it again (Dr. Thompson will serve on the chair)
- pet foods are a highly regulated product- more info on the package than any other package and this is required by law
pet food plants are inspected by some of the same agents that inspect human food plants.- it is a highly regulated product. there is no confusion on labels- it is specific
we are working with the WHO to work on international standards for feed supply
the numbers of fatalities are all over- w/Banfield reports, they saw 237,000 cats and dogs and in that group there have been 5 cats and 1 dog that have been affected- but it does suggest that the industry acted responsibly– wheat gluten is not the issue- this contamination is the issue- the companies acted promptly- we think that we are hearing from the FDA that the products out of the system and then we will figure out the cause- and to report to the industry what the steps that should be taken

Kohl: how long has AAFO been working?
Nelson: we started the process in 2001- there has been some adoption of that and clearly not enough

Kohl: you worked as a rep for Menu Foods, how do all the plants work?
Kirk: the products can be the same- can be contracted to menu labs and the nutritionists are providing their formulas
Kohl: pet owners are not feeling safe about the pet food on the market
Kirk: i don’t normally rec that people cook for pets because the consistency of the product and a balanced diet over a prolonged time seems to wane. the products are generally safe in the market. rec the consumer check the actual label to determine if wheat gluten has been used

Kohl: please expand on AAFCO label
Hodgkins: ingredients are not being tested individually- every ingredient that comes from overseas is not tested. my concern is that pet owners feel that all the ingredient is safe- there is an unwarranted feeling of safety with the AAFCO guarantee. people are feeling that their pet food is safer than it is
Kohl: how could the situation could have been prevented because melamine was not being tested?
Hodgkins: a list can be more safe and complete over time. melamine has not been checked- but a pet label that ids that the ingredients are not undergoing any inspections is more fair- want to fix a sieve of safety and inadequacy

Kohl: the recall continues to expand and this shakes consumer’s confidence
Ekedahl: pet foods are safe and it’s because of the safety record. consumer has a high level of confidence in products. the industry has gotten those products out of circulation. there are many safe products out on the market.

Bennett: how do you feel about the proposal of Hodgkins labels proposal
Ekedahl: we have a remarkable system that works. manu label to the highest quality out there.
Bennett: so all the labels will be equivalent?
Ekedahl: it is a competitive field and the labels will be the same- each has their own theories and research and this is advertised in their labels
Bennett: will you walk through the process of screening
Kirk: would source ingredients that were reputable and had a history of providing high quality ingredients and have an analysis statements- an ingredient that we suspected would go through additional heavy metal inspection- test three diff lots and a large quantity and evaluation batch to batch consistency

Durbin: who funds the AAFCO?
Nelson: self funded-
D: who pays for the publications
Nelson: industries, state officials
D: some of your funding comes from the industry that you are involved with
N: it’s an open process- the industry does provide advisers to regulate- we want to develop regulations
D: so what % of your budget comes from the industry that you are overseeing
N: I would have to get back to you- the assoc have several meetings a year we have one employee (she is the Asst Sec Treasury)
D: and that one employee is determining the safety of the pet food in America?
N: all done on a volunteer basis of committees
D: holds up ALPO can and reads the AAFCO required label - so when you talk about safety you mean, nutritional safety- so this doesn’t mean that any ingredient in this can is not contaminated - not necessarily safe
N: when I talk about safety, I talk about prevention of contamination
D: but AAFCO doesn’t inspect?
N: not my association
D: I’m challenging your term that pet food is highly regulated- there is no AFFCO regulation, no pre-market approval, no regular inspection, only 30% of these plants will be inspected, no penalty if they don’t report, no govt authority to recall a contaminated product, no mandatory standards, - it’s hard to conclude that this is a highly regulated product
E: AAFCO has responsibility in each state- each state inspections should be FDA inspections- there are very specific rules and guidelines in inspecting plants
d: but they don’t show up
E: the system insists that you don’t have to have cop standing there watching your shoulder- the marketplace will deal with it
the marketplace deals with it because no one will buy Menu foods and animals died
D: all regulation will not have captured because it was from a foreign substance- do you have confidence that the next shipment of wheat gluten won’t be contaminated?
E: 100% of wheat gluten is being tested. it is just the contaminant
D: is menu one of your clients? do you think they met the standard of care and waiting for 3 weeks?
E: i have no knowledge of the timing.
D: reads the timeline - do you think that is the standard of the care?
E: I don’t know if that’s a standard. I don’t know the facts in the case. those products were recalled at once and it was responsible.
D: menu waited 3 weeks before reporting to the FDA and the FDA recalled 95 products within 48 hours- and Menu waited 3 weeks.
E: i don’t have the facts- we don’t have the direct knowledge of the timeliness

Kohl: can you explain how cross contamination can be prevented?
Kirk: a line would be hand cleaned between different ingredients and products being bagged
Kohl: is it your expectation that it is being cleaned in the same manner
Kirk: no, i have found kibbles in my dog food but it is usually done before diff products
N: no current requirement for clean up between different feeds other than medicated feeds

33 Responses to “Pet Food Hearing Transcript”

  1. teric says:

    I was impressed with Sen. Dick Durbin.

  2. Lynette says:

    Senator Durbin kicked butt!!!

    Dr. Hodgkins rocks!

    Article on Dr. H here:

    http://www.ocregister.com/ocre.....650154.php

  3. Mark says:

    Sen. Durbin was terrific. I loved the way he admonished (and demolished) that awful white-haired (pr rep) representing the “Pet Food Industry”. Also Elizabeth Hodgkins was wonderful — very clear and forceful about the need for more regulation on pet foods. All in all, a good hearing. Let’s hope something comes from it, especially better labelling (as E. Hodgkins suggested) and a lot more oversight.

  4. Barbara says:

    In contrast to what she says today, it’s interesting to re-read the false claims stated by Dr. Claudia Kirk DVM that appeared just yesterday 4/11/07 at this URL: http://www.rctimes.com/apps/pb.....7/MTCN0305

    How can this woman make such outrageous claims and continue to mislead the public from a position of “authority” by presumptuously asking people not to regard this as a pet-food industry crisis? She makes bold assertions as to what happened “in reality” with regard to recoveries and actual deaths, when there are still so many unknowns. Today her concerns appear to be slightly different and I think we all need to be wary of these authorities who are talking out both sides of their mouths. Much better to listen to Senator Dick Durbin who raises some vital points.

    Authorities such as this “nutritional specialist” are aggravating the situation by misleading the public and therefore causing more suffering and death when asking the public to

  5. Lynette says:

    PLEASE - write the Senators to thank them! I hope we can all urge them forward so they keep PUSHING this issue!

    PLEASE thank Senator Durbin for fighting so hard for us on this!!!

    http://durbin.senate.gov/contact.cfm

    Thank Senators Kohl, Bennett, and Byrd as well!!! Don’t let this end here!!!

    Contact Senator Kohl: http://kohl.senate.gov/gen_contact.html

    Bennett: http://bennett.senate.gov/contact/emailmain.html

    Byrd: http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_email.html

  6. susanUnPC says:

    Thank you for all your hard work on this, Ben, and for your wonderful reminders to make sure that many people got to tune in today.

    Sen. Durbin was great — his questions were punchy and powerful — as was Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins. Her definitive must-read article on cat nutrition is here:
    http://www.catnutrition.org/diabetes.html

    And I poked all around the Senate’s Web sites but can’t find the text of the submitted statements by the witnesses. Those statements should be posted for our reference. Maybe one of us (me?) can call Durbin’s office tomorrow and ask them to do so.

    When I covered the Valerie Plame Wilson hearing recently, conducted by the great Henry Waxman, his committee’s site had the written statements up promptly, very handy for quoting and referencing.

  7. 4lgdfriend says:

    terrific - but let’s not let the pet food inst be in charge of “the Pet Food Commission to brings vets, govt regulations and toxicology experts to make sure it doesn’t happen it again (Dr. Thompson will serve on the chair) ” fox in the henhouse duh!

    Go Durbin!

  8. susanUnPC says:

    Head’s up: Lou Dobbs/CNN is just starting and he announced he’s going to cover the Senate hearing today! WTG, Lou!

  9. Debbie says:

    Sen. Durbin and Eliz. Hodgkins, DVM, were fantastic!
    I also applaud Sen. Kohl, and as always, the compassionate Sen. Robert Byrd, who has been outspoken about animals’ rights for years. His passionate feelings and words brought tears to my eyes.

    Sen. Durbin DEFINITELY kicked butt, especially with Duane Ekedahl (Pet Food Inst. Exec. Dir.) Too bad he wasn’t under oath. He dished out enough toxins to poison all of us! Sen. Durbin questioned him TWICE about only 30% of the pet food industries being majorly inspected only once or twice every three years!
    Sen. Durbin had the AAFCO Pres. admit that “safe” on the products has nothing at all to do with the foods’ manufacturing and so-called inspections. (deceptive)

    Eliz. Hodgkins pointed out that the pet food industry deceptively labels pet food products “guaranteeing your pet’s health”…which is no where to be found even on foods for people.

    Lots of great stuff, but in summary: it was clear as day to see who was either pro or con with the poison pet food industry. The ones making the big bucks were pro…the honest ones had nothing financial to gain…or to maintain any grand lifestyles!

    As I have been saying all along, the pet food companies have been duping us for YEARS…not just with the recent recall.

  10. Pet Connection Blog » Pet food recall: Hearing is over says:

    […] The Senate hearing on the pet food recall is was held earlier today, and the Webcast is here – one reader gave this as an alternate link: webcast. I  liveblogged it on my personal blog, and so did itchmo. […]

  11. spocko says:

    I put up some video of the hearing.
    http://www.spockosbrain.com/20.....-nelson-of

    Check it out.

  12. TerryR says:

    I was very impressed with Senator Durbin and his questioning. He obviously spent some time on the issues prior to this hearing. Senator Durbin asked pointed questions and left them squirming at times. Dr. Hodgkins was also impressive and makes suggestions for change. Dr Kirk was a waste of time and basically says we are too dumb or lazy to make pet food. I say we force change and start by e-mailing each member. Tell them where we stand on this issue and we are not going away. Senator Durbin came to this hearing prepared, lets give him the rest of the story so he can get the job done. Please e-mail them and lets get this moving.

  13. CathyA says:

    Q & A of Sundlof: Sundlof: we are deep into the invest- we continue to id small shipments of wheat gluten that may have gotten into pet food- we know where all of the shipments went but we are trying to account for it on a town by town basis- we are trying to reconcile all the products

    Itchmo - I think that’s pound by pound. He said there are always a few discrepancies in issues like this, but I think they’re trying to make sure they’ve located each pound of the entire shipment. Hey your notes are much better than mine!

    ITCHMO ADMIN: Thanks! It’s corrected.

  14. The Alphabet Soup That Should Be Recalled: FDA & AFFCO · Elaine Vigneault says:

    […] to Itchmo for providing a transcript/notes. More on this […]

  15. Elaine Vigneault says:

    Thank you for doing this. I just posted my commentary in my blog. I was also impressed with Durbin. He asked the right questions. The answers are scary.

  16. AZSue says:

    I listened to the web cast and when it was over I immediately called Senator Durbin’s DC office with my congratulations on a job VERY well done. I was really impressed with his preparation and questions.
    Sue

  17. elizabeth says:

    Spocko, I keep checking your website for more video. We Want Duane! We Want Duane!

  18. Debbie says:

    Since we’re on the political point of view, a few titles back, someone wondered why Pres. Bush doesn’t have anything to say about this disastrous issue. (maybe he will yet, who knows)
    Anyway, even though he has a dog, he is not particularly animal-friendly.
    I could go into some detail, but let it suffice to say that he is not known for defending animal issues. For example, he did nothing to stop the importation of exotic animals for canned hunts. For those who are not familiar with what canned hunts are, the animals are in an enclosed area to be shot and killed, and only VERY wealthy people can afford participate. Yes, his wealthy friends. So for now, perhaps he has to review if any of his wealthy friends are involved with the pet food industry.

  19. E P says:

    I think all of Senator Durbin’s recommendations should be implemented to all these useless regulatory organizations. Why the hell do we need AAFCO and FDA, if they are not regulating the pet food industry’s unethical practices. What that Isn’t it common sense to analyze and test products that come from foreign countries like China where pseudo-capitalism is out of control?

    This is just my fantasy:
    Senator Durbin should have handed over the can of Alpo to Duane Ekedahl and asked him to devore it to prove that it’s a “highly regulated and safe product”

  20. Debbie says:

    Well, gosh, EP, we need as much govt. agencies as possible…even though most of them don’t do much of anything like the AAFCO and the FDA. After all, somebody has to get rich with our tax money…and get perks from big companies who have special interests! ; )
    Anyway, I think Sen. Durbin was absolutely dynamic in getting some truth out of both agencies to the effect that they are lax and lame…and agree with you that they are basically useless since they are obviously incapable of doing their jobs. I mean, come on, how many decades does it take to do it right?????

  21. Mary says:

    This may not be the proper forum for this comment but here goes, I am still concerned about what is the actual toxin in the wheat gluten. No doubt the melamine should not be present in the wheat gluten but I have read the MSDS for melamine and I agree with several comments I have read that melamine is not particularly toxic. If the actual toxin is not melamine then all this emphasic on melamine may be diverting attention from establishing what the real toxin is, how widespread it is, what it is present in beside wheat gluten and the mechanism by which it poisons out pets. This information is the key and I am not hearing much about it nor am I convinced the FDA is pursuing it.

  22. CathyA says:

    Mary,
    FDA is still pursuing this. There is the issue of human food safety here too, so I doubt they’re putting it on a back burner. They don’t think melamine is the problem either, just a marker for something else. The FDA now has press conference transcripts on their pet food recall site. I read the Ap 5 one and I think they addressed this issue there. A better place to get info - not filtered through the press.

  23. Sharon says:

    I agree with Mary. My confidence in commercial pet food will not return until we are told the truth in what the contamination is.

  24. Mary says:

    I just checked the FDA website and that press conference is one of the things that has me concerned that the FDA is not pursuing the real toxin agressively enough. Mr. Sundloff says

    “We are focusing on the melamine right now because we believe that even if the melamine is not the causative agent it is somehow associated with the causative agent an so it serves as a marker. Yeah, you know, we will as time allows look for additional toxic substances. We are analyzing dried dog food and cat food because we have heard from a number of callers and consumers that they believe their pet may have been affected by that. To date we have not found any melamine in those samples.”

    Lets hope whatever the toxin is does not get mixed into some other food product destined for the US and we do not know what to look for when the product is sampled if it is sampled for verification. As long as the toxin remains unidentified we will be unable to test for its presence becaused we will not know what to look for.

  25. Lynette says:

    PLEASE email the Senators to encourage them to keep pushing forward!!! They need to hear from you!

    Contact Senator Durbin: http://durbin.senate.gov/contact.cfm

    Contact Senator Kohl: http://kohl.senate.gov/gen_contact.html

    Senator Bennett: http://bennett.senate.gov/contact/emailmain.html

    Senator Byrd: http://byrd.senate.gov/byrd_email.html

  26. Debbie says:

    Please tell me, I would really like to know: what is going to make any of you “returners” to the poison pet food companies believe them when this is all “supposedly” cleared up?
    Once again, you would be contributing to the same billions-of-dollars-a year food companies that have been hyping and lying to us for years, let alone this recall.
    The only confident way to go and stay with is the tried and true proven healthy/safe foods, such as “Natural Balance,” which has inspectors falling all over themselves…and Canidae, etc.

  27. Mary says:

    And Innova — ie. Natura. I have always cooked for my dogs and I mix with Innova EVO to be sure they get the proper nutrients. Pet owners have to take more responsibility for the health of their pets. In OH an alpaca farm lost 100 — one hundred!! — animals because of bad feed — they died and it took them weeks of suffering to die — and the feed manufacturer never owned up to anything until the farmer figured it out and had the feed analyzed. Diamond Pet Foods had a recall last year because of a mold/toxin that caused kindey failure. I feed my 7 horses a mix of grain that is made locally and I check it myself to be sure it is good quality. I think you are feeding your family when you feed your pets. Grrrrrrrr

  28. Mary says:

    OK — I got wound up. Good quality food for all pets is the bottom line. It is up to us to find them good quality food and being a retired chemist I understand some the the “stuff” these people are saying and I am not satisfied that they have a handle on this problem. A list I am a member of on Yahoo had a test last week that had a test to determine the quality of you dog food. If I can copy and paste it to here I will and everyone can judge score the quality of the dog food you are using.

  29. Maureen says:

    I’m feeding my dogs and cat 1/2 kibble and 1/2 organic meat (+small amt. of finely chopped steamed veggies). Does anyone know if I should be adding additional nutrients or will this amt. of kibble provide enough? (Wellness dry for dogs, Innova/EVO dry for cat) I hope to get them to 100% homecooked gradually as their intestinal tracks adjust. Any comments about Wellness dry? I know about their wet food manufactured by MenuFoods.

  30. Maureen says:

    Someone asked what Pres. Bush is doing. He’s obstructing implementation of a law that would at least make it mandatory for “countries of origin labeling” for foods. This article indicates that the climate might be right to extend to pet food.

    http://www.farmandranchguide.c.....tter01.txt

    Friday, April 13, 2007 8:58 AM CDT

    Country of Origin Labeling passed several years ago but USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has yet to implement the law.

    Now, it looks like the United States may accept this legislation. Unfortunately, that acceptance may come about because of what happened to some family pets. (…)

    President Bush signed a public law on Jan. 27, 2004, that called for a delay in implementing COOL for all commodities except wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish until Sept. 30, 2006.

    Then on Nov. 10, 2005, the President signed another public law delaying the implementation until Sept. 30, 2008. (…)

  31. Mary says:

    This website has a test on how to “Grade Your Dogs Food” with the grades for some foods that have already been calculated.

    http://www.oes.org/page2/9674~....._Food.html

  32. sandi says:

    My dog is dead and her only change in her life was the food she trusted me to feed her… please help these animals who can not speak for themselves…

  33. Carolyn says:

    Sandi, I cry with you. My dog is dead too for the same reason, two months ago, before anybody recalled anything and from eating a prescribed dog food that is still on the market - Hills Prescription Diet. I feel so.o.o guilty. I should have known what was making her sick. Then one of my cats got sick. Luckily he got better, but I will never buy pet food again. They eat what I eat, so they’ll have to kill us all; two-leggeds and four-leggeds.

    There is a very interesting webpage at http://leda.law.harvard.edu/le.....ick06.html that I recommend everybody read concerning not only how pet food is “regulated” but how it is made and the money involved in this industry. I’d like to be represented by the author of that page but cannot get ahold of her.


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