Friday, August 17, 2007

Bone Meal contaminated with Melamine recalled months ago - with no public notice

So now we find out that a quiet, unannounced recall of bone meal contaminated with melamine happened back in APRIL. Yeah, that April, the month right after March - when the recall was first announced. Wonder what they're hiding?

This from the FDA Enforcement Report in July, as far as I can tell this is the *only* place this information has been reported.

FDA Enforcement Report July 2007


Dry rendered tankage (DRT), also known as Crax, Recall # V-047-2007
23899, 23911, and 544044;
Recalling Firm: Darling International, Inc., Irving, TX, by telephone on April 20, 2007, e-mail dated April 23, 2007, and by letter dated April 24, 2007.
Manufacturer: Darling National LLC, Wichita, KS. Firm initiated recall is complete.
Product contains melamine.
682,600 lbs.
KS and NE


Dry rendered tankage (DRT), also known as Crax, Recall # V-048-2007
23897, 23953, 23973, and 23937
Recalling Firm: Darling International, Inc., Irving, TX, by telephone on April 20, 2007, e-mail dated April 23, 2007, and by letter dated April 24, 2007.
Manufacturer: Darling National LLC, Wichita, KS. Firm initiated recall is complete.
Product contains melamine.
682,600 lbs.
KS and NE

What exactly is "Dry-Rendered Tankage"?

From Wiki under Rendering

Materials that for aesthetic or sanitary reasons are not suitable for human food are the feedstocks for inedible rendering processes. Much of the inedible raw material is rendered using the "dry" method. This may be a batch or a continuous process in which the material is heated in a steam jacketed vessel to drive off the moisture and simultaneously release the fat from the fat cells. The material is first ground, then heated to release the fat and drive off the moisture, percolated to drain off the free fat, and then more fat is pressed out of the solids, which at this stage are called "cracklings" or "dry-rendered tankage". The cracklings are further ground to make meat and bone meal.

A variation on a dry process involves finely chopping the material, fluidizing it with hot fat, and then evaporating the mixture in one or more evaporator stages. Some inedible rendering is done using a wet process, which is generally a continuous process similar in some ways to that used for edible materials. The material is heated with added steam and then pressed to remove a water-fat mixture which is then separated into fat, water and fine solids by stages of centrifuging and/or evaporation. The solids from the press are dried and then ground into meat and bone meal. Most independent renderers process only inedible material.

Bone meal is a mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones that is used as an organic fertilizer for plants and in animal feed. As a fertilizer, bone meal is primarily used as a source of phosphorus.

Bone meal once was often used as a dietary calcium supplement. Research in the 1980s found that many bone meal preparations were contaminated with lead and other toxic metals, and it is no longer recommended as a calcium source.

In the 1990s, bone meal was identified as a vector for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow disease") among livestock. It is believed that bone meal produced in the 1970s from the corpses of sheep bearing scrapie caused BSE in cattle when it was fed to them.

As Don Earl points out on,
Darling International recalled 1.4 million pounds of meat and bone meal adulterated with melamine at the end of April 2007. As most of us will remember, this was at the height of the melamine from China hype. So, why did the FDA wait over 3 months to add the recall to its site? Also, if melamine in pet food is a Class I recall, why is melamine in the meat and bone meal used for pet food a Class III recall? Inquiring minds would like to know. (37)
I'd like to know too Don.

Strangely, the FDA CVM (Center for Veterinary Medicine) newsletter mentions the Darling recall, but makes no mention of melamine.
A Class II recall is ongoing by Darling National LLC of Omaha, NE, involving 1.36 million pounds of its Bulk Darling’s 85% Blood Meal, Flash Dried, distributed in totes and 1-lb. bags. Distribution took place in Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Nebraska, Colorado, and Minnesota. The product is being recalled because some of the exempt bovine blood meal was cross-contaminated with prohibited bovine meat and bone meal that had been manufactured on common equipment, and the labeling did not bear the cautionary BSE statement that it should not be fed to ruminants.

Again, all of this begs the question... what don't we know that we should know? What else is out there killing our pets?

Cat Owner Files Legal Action Against FDA in Pet Food Deaths

Thanks to Therese at for letting us know about this, it's one of the most important things that has happened in this pet food fiasco. I've included most of the article below because it's so important, to read the rest of it go to Don Earl's website is at Emphasis below is mine.
A grieving cat owner has filed action in federal court to force the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “perform its duty” and investigate other toxins -- besides melamine -- as the culprit in this year’s massive pet food recall.

Don Earl of Port Townsend, Washington, also wants the court to order the FDA to stop what he considers “all activities (by the agency) involving the destruction of critical pet food evidence.”


Earl says he’s exhausted all other avenues to make the FDA investigate contaminates besides melamine for the kidney problems and deaths of thousands of pets nationwide that ate the tainted food.

In March, Menu Foods recalled 60 million containers of pet food. The FDA said the imported ingredients used to make the food -- wheat gluten and rice protein -- were tainted with the chemical melamine.

FDA officials said they traced the source of that melamine-contamination to two now-defunct companies in China.

But Earl, whose cat died in January after eating some of Menu’s pet food, says the FDA has ignored other likely causes for the pet food contamination.

“The five-month investigation by the FDA into circumstances surrounding the March 16, 2007 pet food recall, to date, may only be described as whimsical,” Earl writes in his petition. He is representing himself in this action.

“From the beginning, the FDA appears to be following a predetermined script, which is based exclusively on unsupportable theories related to melamine from China. Not only does the ‘melamine from China’ theory fail in the face of all available evidence, the FDA has moved aggressively to discount credible evidence which not only refutes the ‘melamine from China’ theories, but which have every indication, if properly investigated, of uncovering the true source of toxins responsible for the deaths of thousands of companion animals across the entire United States,” he argued.

One of those toxins is acetaminophen, Earl says.

And he has lab reports that support his conviction.

In May, Earl hired a private laboratory in Texas, ExperTox, to analyze samples of Menu’s Pet Pride “Turkey and Giblets” and “Mixed Grill” cat food. That’s the brand of food his beloved cat, Chuckles, ate before she suffered kidney problems and died.

Earl says he took this action because the FDA refused to accept samples of Chuckles pet food.

“Based upon the FDA’s refusal to investigate and apparent dereliction of its investigative duties…the Petitioner began an effort to independently investigate the matter,” he states in his petition.

Earl said ExperTox tested the same styles and lot numbers of Pet Pride cat food that he fed Chuckles.

And those tests detected the popular pain killer, acetaminophen, in the food, confirmed.

The tests also uncovered another chemical in the food: cyanuric acid, which is commonly used in pool chlorination.

No Melamine

But they did not detect the chemical that triggered the largest pet food recall in U.S. history – melamine.

That didn’t surprise Earl.

“Melamine has impressed me as being a red herring since day one,” he said. “The substance has been the subject of credible scientific tests and studies for decades. Nothing supports the theory it could be lethal even in amounts 10 times the highest reported to be present in the food.”

Earl says the FDA has turned a blind eye to those scientific facts -- even ones reported by the agency’s experts -- and made contradictory statements about the source of the contamination.

The agency, he says, also disregarded scientific reports that revealed other toxins contaminated the pet food.

Earl cites several examples in his petition, including:

• This comment made by the FDA’s expert, Dr. Donald Smith, during a March 30 press conference: “We have not been able to match melamine or the crystals of melamine in terms of the morphology with the identification we’re seeing visually in the clinically affected cat. I want to state once again that there’s no evidence yet to tie in the melamine;”

• This statement made by the FDA’s Dr. Steven Sundlof during the March 30 press conference that contradicts Dr. Smith: “. . . at this time, none of the independent laboratories, whether it’s the Cornell laboratory or the FDA laboratory -- have been able to confirm the presence of aminopterin (a rat poison and cancer drug) in those samples. And therefore, we are focusing now on melamine;”

• The FDA’s repeated denials of the presence of acetaminophen in samples of Pet Pride’s food, which refute ExperTox’s findings. Earl quotes FDA spokespersons who said: “We cannot validate their (ExperTox’s) findings,” and “At this point, the FDA sees no compelling need to analyze anymore samples of acetaminophen.” Earl’s petitions also points out that learned the FDA only tested a handful of samples for acetaminophen and could not confirm it analyzed the same samples in which ExperTox detected the pain killer.

Evidence Destroyed

Earl’s petition also alleges the FDA “systematically destroyed” crucial evidence during the pet food investigation.

“In this case destruction would be the appropriate disposition,” he quotes the FDA’s Dr. David Elder as saying when asked about the destruction of the recalled food.

The FDA’s Web site also stated “all tainted pet food…continues to be recalled and destroyed,” Earl writes in his petition.

He adds: “That critical evidence is being systematically destroyed in an investigation of this nature and scope is unheard of.”

It’s also illegal, Earl alleges.

“…with pending civil litigation and an ongoing federal investigation in progress, this spoliation of critical evidence is a criminal offense,” his petition states. “A court order is required before such destruction may be commenced.”

Earl’s petition further alleges that the FDA’s derelict actions have failed to ensure “foods are safe, wholesome and sanitary” and protect pets and their grieving owners.

“In addition to public safety issues, the deceptive manner in which the FDA has controlled, withheld, and otherwise manipulated critical information, and destroyed essential evidence, is to the detriment of a large class of pet owners who suffered damages caused by the poisoned pet food epidemic,” his petition states.

No Comment contacted the FDA about Earl’s petition. The agency, however, did not respond.

This is the second legal action Earl has taken in the wake of the pet food recall.

In July, he filed a $72,000 lawsuit against Menu Foods and Kroger for emotional and financial damages.

The lawsuit, filed in Washington Superior Court, alleges his cat died because her food contained acetaminophen.

“According to documents and studies published by the (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) ASPCA, due to their body chemistries, cats are unable to tolerate acetaminophen and no amount of acetaminophen is safe for cats,” the lawsuit states.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tainted Treats from Walmart Suspected in Dog's Death - NOT Recalled , FDA Unaware

I've got a lot of posts started but not finished, this one can't wait. My heartfelt apologies for not posting much lately - reading thousands of your stories of sick and dying pets finally got to me, and I had to take an unplanned break. Now I'm right back into it, and with this article we see again that it's like it never happened, and it's like nothing has changed.

Thanks to ABC Action News out of Philadelphia for this... as always, the emphasis is mine. The product involved is Bestro Chicken Jerky Strips.

- A Delaware County woman says her dog died after eating dog treats made in China.

Wal-Mart has quietly pulled a made in China dog treat from its shelves. However, there has been no public announcement, and there's no telling how many contaminated bags of treats may still be out there.

Kate Collins of Aston still finds it hard to talk about. She loves her Chihuahuas. She has two now, but her youngest is gone. Two-year-old Bella died suddenly last month after eating Bestro Chicken Jerky Strips.

Bella was dead within a week. The other dogs didn't get the same treats and they're fine.

The animal hospital did an autopsy and found that Bella died of an infection caused by toxic bacteria.

Kate bought the treats at the Wal-Mart store in Boothwyn. She said it took her days to find a manager willing to talk to her.

Wal-Mart would not say how many complaints it has gotten, but an Internet search shows similar incidents across the country.

The company has issued a statement saying it cares about people and their pets, and ordered the treats removed from the shelves of all stores. Wal-Mart has since offered to reimburse Collins for up to $2,000, which, she said, doesn't come close to covering her loss. She also said it's not about the money. She just wants to get the word out.

The Food and Drug Administration is apparently unaware of this latest problem with pet food from China. A recall has not been issued. They failed to respond to our inquiries. Wal-Mart said if you have the Bestro Chicken Jerky Strips at home, you can return them for a full refund.

More on this, and other things, soon. Very soon.

Volunteers Needed! Get food off shelves...,,,, and 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

Printing Information:
1. Print the main FDA Pet Food Recall page – 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: