Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Industrial food part XVI: your melamine update

I'm in the small minority group that thinks we have significant issues with our food chain. So I'll keep posting about interesting discoveries, such as the use of melamine (melamime is a common but incorrect variant spelling) by a US company as a "binder" in animal food:
Problem Pet Food Ingredient in US Feed:

...The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration was the first indication that a U.S. company had used melamine as an animal feed ingredient. Agency officials said that melamine and related compounds were used to bind feed for cattle, sheep and goats, or fish and shrimp.

...The FDA alerted feed manufacturers that ingredients containing melamine and related compounds were found in products made by Tembec BTLSR Inc. of Toledo, Ohio, and used by Uniscope Inc. of Johnstown, Colo.

Tembec makes two products, AquaBond and Aqua-Tec II, which it distributes for Uniscope. The products are used in fish feed.

Uniscope also makes a product for livestock feed called Xtra-Bond, and it uses ingredients produced by Tembec. The FDA advised feed manufacturers and others not to use the products and to contact the two manufacturers...
I'm sure Tembec and Uniscope are unique. (joke)

Meanwhile Wikipedia has assembled two good articles on melamine and on the 2007 pet food crisis. The researchers think there's something lethal in the toxic stew other than melamine and cyanuric acid, but they can't identify it. The melamine/cyanuric acid combo is still a suspect though:
... a study by USSR researchers in the 1980s suggested melamine cyanurate (a salt formed between melamine and cyanuric acid, commonly used as a fire retardant ...) could be more toxic than either melamine or cyanuric acid alone...
Fragments of information, presumably coming from pet centric community sites continue to show up in obscure publications. The Catoosa County news, for example, reports on relatively stringent measures taken in South Africa.

I continue to look for pet food manufacturers who make measurable safety claims. Eukanuba doesn't certify their food as melanine free, but they are marketing their advantages including buying Google AdWords (emphasis mine, I'm surprised they don't use farmed fish.)
...* Eukanuba dog and cat dry foods DO NOT include wheat gluten, corn gluten or rice protein concentrate..
* All Eukanuba dog and cat dry foods are manufactured in our own facilities in Nebraska, Ohio and North Carolina...

... Eukanuba dog and cat foods are made with our own exclusive formulas, unique recipes and high-quality ingredients.

* Eukanuba diets are natural with added vitamins and minerals and DO NOT contain fillers or artificial preservatives.
* All Eukanuba dog and cat dry foods are made with natural chicken, lamb or ocean fish.
Not perfect of course, but better than average. Our mongrel has been on Eukanuba for over a year, so we're lazily stayed with them rather than preparing our own food.

Lastly, the ASPCA continues to disappoint. This was their big chance to identify manufacturers with better practices, but they chose to play it safe with their donors. Shame.

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