Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pet food recall again expands, and now there's a motive

Another Chinese source with melanine contamination, this time in rice. Most interestingly, we now have a motive for melanin contamination.

Spiking food with melanine elevates measured protein levels, making the food worth more. This suggests the contamination was deliberate, but the intent was not to kill animals. Indeed, the renal toxicity of melanine appears to be a new discovery. The intent was mere fraud.
Pet food recall expanded; industrial chemical found in second ingredient - International Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON: An industrial chemical that led to the nationwide recall of more than 100 brands of cat and dog food has turned up in a second pet food ingredient imported from China.

The discovery expands the monthlong cascade of recalls to include more brands and varieties of pet foods and treats tainted by the chemical....

...The chemical, melamine, is believed to have contaminated rice protein concentrate used to make a variety of Natural Balance Pet Foods products for both dogs and cats, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday...

...Previously, the chemical was found to contaminate wheat gluten used by at least six other pet food and pet treat manufacturers.

Both ingredients were imported from China, though by different companies and from different manufacturers.

The FDA on Wednesday began reviewing and sampling all rice protein concentrate imported from China, much as the agency has been doing for wheat gluten, Rogers said.

A lawmaker said Wednesday the Chinese have refused to grant visas to FDA inspectors seeking to visit the plants where the ingredients were made. An FDA spokesman later said the visas were not refused, but the agency had not received the necessary invitation letter to get visas.

"It troubles me greatly the Chinese are making it more difficult to understand what led to this pet food crisis," Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin told The Associated Press after meeting with the FDA commissioner, Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.

A message left Wednesday with the Chinese Embassy in Washington was not immediately returned.

Natural Balance said it was recalling all its Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, its Venison and Brown Rice dog treats and its Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.

The recalls now include products made by at least seven companies and sold under more than 100 brands.

The California company said recent laboratory tests showed its recalled products contain melamine. Natural Balance believes the source of the contaminant was rice protein concentrate, which the company recently added to the dry venison formulas.

A San Francisco company, Wilbur-Ellis Co., began importing the ingredient in July from a Chinese company, Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd., according to Wilbur-Ellis president and chief executive John Thacher.

It resold the ingredient to five pet food manufacturers, including Diamond Pet Foods Inc. Diamond manufactured the dry dog and cat foods recalled by Natural Balance, Diamond Pet Foods spokesman Jim Fallon said....

...The source of the melamine remains unclear. It may have contaminated the rice protein through the reuse of dirty bags used to ship the products...

...The Las Vegas importer of the contaminated Chinese wheat gluten, ChemNutra Inc., that led to the original pet food recall has suggested that spiking a product with melamine can make it appear to be richer in protein during tests, thus increasing its value.

ChemNutra also imported rice protein concentrate from China, although from another source. Spokesman Steve Stern said the company is testing those shipments...

... A committee of the House of Representatives is holding a food safety hearing Tuesday and is expected to discuss the pet food recall.
Does anyone believe similar fraud would not be perpetrated on food consumed by humans? China has been remarkable uncooperative, and American consumers have been remarkably complacent.


Maureen K. said...

I am furious about this! I have been feeding my three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Royal Canin Early Cardiac EC dry food for years! One of my vet's offices just called with the information. Poisoning my own dogs! My oldest girl is 9 and has been somewhat lethargic. I am naturally scared to death! I may have killed my own sweet dog who is my heartbeat at my feet! This "no regulation" of pet food has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

The cat food recall is a tragedy. So far the FDA has received reports of 1,950 cat deaths. This is a lot of dead cats, and the companies that sold this food should be punished.