Monday, March 26, 2007

Aminopterin update: isolating the source and it's not the FBI's job ...

Aminopterin poisoning of the feline and canine foodstream has fallen off the mainstream news radar, but Google has an answer to that. Here's today's update:
Helena Independent Record

... The laboratory that identified the poison believed to be responsible for the death of pets around the country has started testing individual components of the tainted pet food to determine which ingredient was contaminated, officials said Monday.

Scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory on Friday identified aminopterin as the likely culprit in a poisoning scare that prompted the recall of 95 brands of "cuts and gravy" style dog and cat food.

Department of Agriculture and Markets spokeswoman Jessica Chittenden did not know when the lab would have results from the new tests.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has said the investigation into the pet deaths was focused on wheat gluten. Stephen Sundlof, the federal agency's top veterinarian, said Friday it remains the suspected source of the contamination...

... Cornell University's veterinary school also is testing the food. Dr. Donald Smith, dean of the school, said the tests of the individual food components would likely take days.

"It's a very challenging set of procedures," he said. "We have to keep in mind there are other things out there that could potentially be hazardous. We are working very hard to confirm it was aminopterin."

... FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak said the agency is "not involved in any way, shape, or form." He said the FBI would likely only get involved if evidence pointed to the products being tampered with while on store shelves.

Chittenden said any criminal investigation would have to be initiated by the FDA...
Interesting that the FBI's responsibilities do not extend to products tampered with outside of store shelves. I wonder who handles those? Homeland security to be sure, but they don't launch criminal prosecutions ...

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