By the time you read this, we hope that the problem of tainted pet food and the supply of toxic ingredients should be front-page news. Everywhere. If it’s not, it should be.
The New York Times (and the International Herald Tribune) is reporting that melamine spiking of ingredients in China has been “going on for years”. And that it’s such a widespread problem a few reporters have been able to get the participants to talk to them in the open. It’s what we’ve feared, but suspected all along.
The practice is widespread in China. For years animal feed sellers have been able to cheat buyers by blending the powder into feed with little regulatory supervision, according to interviews with melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.
No one knows how long we have been feeding our pets such tainted foods, and how long it has been in the human food supply. We hope someone — FDA or not — will find out everything we need to know.
Despite the apparent magnitude of the problem, the FDA and the USDA continues to wish us good eating.
To follow up on the recalls from last week:
American Nutrition says there was no deliberate deception. Says they were following customer requests. Full release after the jump.
In other recall news:
- Menu Foods got 80 tons of wheat gluten a month from another source.
- Report from Pets Need a Voice Too march.
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American Nutrition Responds to Criticism
American Nutrition Inc.â€˜s announcement yesterday of its voluntary recall of certain products that contain rice protein has prompted questions concerning the labeling of those products, and about whether or not American Nutrition engaged in deliberate wrong-doing. A complete list of the products subject to the voluntary recall can be found at www.americannutritioninc.com.
To set the record straight, American Nutrition did not engage in any deliberate or intentionally wrongful conduct relative to the inclusion of rice protein in certain products it manufactures.
Rice protein is an ingredient commonly used in pet products to fortify protein content and provide proper texture and consistency of canned pet products. It is not harmful to animals. To the contrary, it is believed to be a healthy additive that assists in providing appropriately high protein levels without creating unacceptable levels of fat associated with meat products.
Concern exists about rice protein not because of its inherent qualities, but rather because rice protein shipped from Wilbur-Ellis to American Nutrition was found to contain concentrations of melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers that may be harmful to animals if consumed. To be clear, the possible existence of melamine Å“ not the inclusion of rice protein in pet products Å“ is the root source of recall concerns. The melamine in this instance unfortunately happens to have been found in the rice protein used by American Nutrition and other manufacturers.
While rice protein was used to fortify products involved in the recall, many other pet foods manufactured by American Nutrition (including their own house brands and products manufactured for several other companies) were not affected. The unaffected products rely instead on soy, corn and wheat as their primary non-meat protein sources. Conversely, the products affected by the contaminated rice protein recall had customer-driven formula specifications for non-soy, non-corn, and non-wheat ingredients. Those customers specifically required rice-based formulations, which necessitated certain fortifications to meet label guarantees. As such, American Nutrition selected a fortification source from the same family of ingredients already incorporated into the formulation (in this instance, rice).
The products subject to the American Nutrition voluntary recall are contract manufactured for other companies. American Nutrition is investigating the circumstances surrounding labeling, formulation and related inter-company communications, but it is simply false to state that American Nutrition was engaged in any deliberately deceitful and/or unlawful conduct. Labeling responsibility is a cooperative effort between American Nutrition and its customers. American Nutrition believes, for their part, that they were compliant with all applicable label regulations. Additional information will be released as American Nutrition completes its own investigation and as they continue to cooperate fully with ongoing FDA and other governmental agency inquiries.
â€”We want to express our deep concern over this situation. American Nutrition places a tremendous emphasis on honesty and integrity in every aspect of our business. Our utmost concern is for the health of the pets that consume our productsâ€œ, said Bill Behnken, CEO of American Nutrition, Inc.
ABOUT AMERICAN NUTRITION, INC.
Ogden, Utah based American Nutrition, Inc. manufactures pet foods under its own name and for many other companies. American Nutrition has 150 employees.