Tuesday, May 1, 2007

3 million melamine-fed chickens eaten by people, FDA won't release names of companies

Took me all night to get around to posting this because it just ticked me off so much. I apologize for the delay, but bloggers have emotions too. And today I am fed up.

The FDA press conference today was a joke - see the liveblogging done by Christie over at petconnection.com . (And here's the transcript)

The highlights? As Itchmo posted

3 Million Contaminated Chickens Sold, Hundreds of Plants May Have Gotten Tainted Ingredients

  • 2.5 to 3 million chickens have been fed the tainted pet food and already sold to the public.
  • “Hundreds” of plants could have received tainted vegetable protein from China.
  • Due to “low risk”, chicken and pork not recalled. Yet FDA says they lack toxicity data on melamine.
I saw earlier that USA Today had posted an article about this, but when I went back to double-check the link, I found that the title of their article has changed, from

FDA: Risk from tainted feed low

(which was bad enough) to

FDA: Feed no human threat

Here's some of it
Almost 3 million chickens may have eaten feed containing small amounts of pet food contaminated with melamine, but the health risk to consumers is minimal, federal officials said Tuesday.

The chickens, most of which were likely slaughtered in March and have already been consumed, were raised at poultry farms in Indiana. They are a tiny fraction of the 9 billion broiler chickens slaughtered every year in the USA, the Agriculture Department said.

There may be more, according to the Food and Drug Administration, as the government's investigation continues into where salvaged pet food contaminated with melamine went after it left pet-food makers. They have recalled products from about 150 brands since mid-March.

But David Acheson, FDA assistant commissioner for food protection, said there is little threat to human health because the proportion of melamine in the original pet food was less than 6%, and the re-purposed pet food made up less than 5% of the chicken feed. He also said no one eats only chicken. The FDA has received unconfirmed reports of approximately 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs dying after eating contaminated pet food. Pets typically eat only one food, day after day, which increases their exposure to toxins in foods, Acheson says.

You know what? This is all a bunch of crap. The truth is the FDA doesn't KNOW whether there's a risk. And trying to baffle us with this type of numbers bullshit is inexcusable. The fact remains that 3 million chickens that ate melamine-tainted food were eaten by people - and there are more out there. The FDA won't release the names of the companies involved. Sound familiar?

And we thought it would all change once it affected human food. What fools we were.

Christie just posted some more about this here, note this part:

The USDA website just posted a transcript of today’s FDA media conference (liveblogged here on PetConnection with a backup link here). This is a section I was particularly interested in seeing again, an exchange with Karen Roebuck (or, as the FDA calls her here, “REPORTER”) of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, who has done exemplary work on this story from the beginning:

REPORTER: Hi. Regarding the April 27 import alert, it said that about 750 samples of wheat gluten and products were tested, and 330 were positive for melamine-related compounds. Are those all pet food samples? And have any human food samples in the surveillance to date, I mean even a single one, tested positive? And also, it seems contradictory to say that you have to put down the pigs because they are not safe enough to be slaughtered now and go into the market, but yet it’s safe enough not to recall the ones that have already been slaughtered.

MODERATOR: Let’s start with Michael Rogers and then maybe we could go to Dr. Sundloff.

MR. ROGERS: I’ll comment on the first part of the question. I’m not going to get into the specific numbers. Certainly when this import alert was published those potentially represented the numbers at the time, but this is an ongoing investigation, and we continue to analyze samples and receive additional data that would alter the positives and negatives. Having said that, the import alert, which is detention without physical exam, is a proactive opportunity by the agency to take a look at these vegetable protein products. But it’s certainly important to reference that all of the positive samples for rice protein concentrate and wheat gluten have been associated to two primary sources in China.

Did anyone detect an ANSWER in that response? Back to the transcript, and a follow up question from Roebuck:

REPORTER: But were they all pet food, or were any of them in human food?

MR. ROGERS: There is no evidence to suggest that any of the bulk products went to human food manufacturers.

Again, I say, what a bunch of crap.

No comments:

Volunteers Needed! Get food off shelves...

howl911.com, itchmo.com, thepetfoodlist.com, petconnection.com, petfoodtracker.com and spockosbrain.com have joined together to ask for your help.
Update 6-10: Recalled food was purchased from a
California store on 5-29th – this stuff is still out there!
We need Volunteers to help get recalled food off store shelves. Read this post at Spocko’s Brain for instructions. Print a list (or two) on this site. Visit stores, then report safe stores here at Itchmo.com.

Printing Information:
1. Print the main FDA Pet Food Recall page http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html – this will be handy to show retailers who haven’t heard anything about the recall. (3 pages)

2. Print the list of 14 Major National Brands - it includes flavors and date information where applicable so you can tell if specific products for these brands have been recalled. The brands are: Alpo Prime Cuts, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Doctors Foster and Smith, Eukanuba, Gravy Train, Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Jerky Treats, Lick Your Chops, Mighty Dog Pouches, Natural Balance, Nutro, Pounce, Royal Canin. (It’s 7 pages and includes FDA contact information.)

3. Print the List of All Brands – it will remind you what products have been recalled - but it does not give you date and flavor information, there is just too much to put in one document. (7 pages, but the 7th page is links to more detailed information so you don’t need to print it)

If you want, and are going to a store that you know has store brands that have been recalled (such as Walmart), go to that recall information at the links on the summary or at the FDA site and print it out. Some of the information is formatted in ways that make it difficult to read (one of the main reasons for this site), but it’s better than nothing.

Note: The FDA is the official source for all recall information and recalled products. This is an unofficial volunteer effort to help get the word out and get recalled foods off of shelves. We’re doing the best we can but can’t guarantee these lists are completely accurate. Again, here is the official recall site: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html