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Author Topic: Corruption Watch  (Read 4267 times)
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Steve
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« on: May 02, 2007, 01:23:35 PM »

Yes even Vets can be corrupted by the smell of money. How bout this from an investors message board.

"I'm a vet. We got a fax from ____ a few weeks ago that lab results might be slower getting back cause of the increase testing due to the food recall. I've been doing alot of increased testing, with the lab and with their consumables because of the increased demand from clients. Many clients who would have refused testing before are gung ho for tests if they're pet has been on any of the recalled food, and even if the food hasn't been recalled, they're worrried and are relieved when i suggest testing."
« Last Edit: May 16, 2007, 02:14:33 PM by Steve » Logged
Steve
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2007, 12:41:32 PM »

And whatever happened to this?

On March 23, researchers at Cornell announced that aminopterin, a substance used outside of the U.S. in rat poisons, was found in samples of Menu Foods products. The chemical is suspected as the cause of kidney failures affecting test animals.
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~Martha~
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2007, 06:44:52 PM »

And whatever happened to this?

On March 23, researchers at Cornell announced that aminopterin, a substance used outside of the U.S. in rat poisons, was found in samples of Menu Foods products. The chemical is suspected as the cause of kidney failures affecting test animals.


I'm glad you brought that up. I'm sure "they" expect that the general public will have forgotten all about it by now.
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JJ
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2007, 10:55:20 PM »

And whatever happened to this?

On March 23, researchers at Cornell announced that aminopterin, a substance used outside of the U.S. in rat poisons, was found in samples of Menu Foods products. The chemical is suspected as the cause of kidney failures affecting test animals.


I'm glad you brought that up. I'm sure "they" expect that the general public will have forgotten all about it by now.

So true Martha but how many of the general public own or love animals? Those of us will not forget and we will be sure to tell others who might not know or be informed as well. Glad we can all help each other out.
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May your troubles be less,
Your blessings be more,
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door
Steve
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2007, 12:48:22 PM »

Pet food recall: Liveblogging the 5/8 FDA/USDA media conference
May 8, 2007

Present:

* David Acheson, M.D., assistant commissioner for food protection, Office of the Commissioner, FDA
* Kenneth Petersen, D.V.M., M.P.H., assistant administrator for field operations, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA
* Stephen Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA
Re* Julie Zawisza, assistant commissioner for public affairs, Office of the Commissioner, FDA
* Captain David Elder, director, Office of Enforcement, Office of Regulatory Affairs, FDA
* Michael Rogers, director, Division of Field Investigations, Office of Regulatory Affairs, FDA * Vera Adams, Executive Director, Commercial Targeting and Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection



Dr. David Acheson opens.

Wants to address two issues: First is related to a misrepresentation of the wheat gluten and RPC.

As you are all aware, we have been following wheat gluten and RPC from two sources from China, and have done many tests with those. As part of our strategy “just to ensure we are following this in all possible directions,” they are further analyzing those samples and have discovered these products were mislabled, and actually contain wheat flour contaminated with melamine and related compounds.

None of these products have been used directly as ingredients in human food. These are the same ingredients we’ve been tracking all along, not new.

These are wheat flour, not wheat gluten or RPC.

None of this changes risk assessment re: feeding to animals.

Second point is fish and fish meal.

Where did contaminated wheat gluten go? A portion of the mislabled wheat gluten went to Canada, and was used to manufacture fish meal. Which was then imported to the US to feed fish in certain industrial aquaculture situations.

This fish meal was made in Canada, Canadian authorities are aware.

As with the situation with the poultry and the hogs, levels in fish meal are comparable so they don’t believe this is a human health risk in eating these fish. Investigation is active.

A number of firms have rec’d the fish meal and investigators have so far been to one, and confirmed the findings. “Very small fish,” fry or tiny fish not yet ready for human consumption anyway. That is the current state of the investigation, these are new findings linking this to the fish meal. Following pattern of other investigation. We’ll find out what’s going on with the fish facilities and follow up as appropriate.

[The rest is after the jump]

Dr. Petersen from USDA.

Risk assessment on humans and melamine and “melamine compounds.” Low risk to humans. USDA and FDA “initiating the appropriate course of action” for hogs and poultry that consumed contaminated feed.

Food consumed by the animals had low levels that became so diluted that any tests no longer detected the presence of melamine and its compounds. In those cases, poultry was released.

If feed tested positive, or there was no feed available to test, those swine and poultry are still being held, pending animal exposure risk assessment.

Animal exposure risk assessment will provide them with scientific data on how animals excrete melamine and related compounds, which will provide scientific data. They believe that data will support their human risk assessment, but investigation is ongoing.

They expect to have animal exposure assessment by the end of this week.

Ms. Vera Adams, Customs and Border Patrol:

Testing additional ingredients from all countries destined for human and animal consumption. Sending samples to laboratories to determine there is no further risk. There is no evidence of risk or further contamination, but are conducting tests as a precautionary step.

We do routinely test products entering the US, and have seven regional labs that mirror FDA procedures. Sampling for RPC, wheat and corn gluten began last week. Are getting those samples back for testing ASAP.

Open to questions.

NYT Times: You’re testing wheat, corn gluten and RPC. But you say it’s wheat flour. Are you testing the wrong thing? And how did you determine this wasn’t RPC and wheat gluten?

Vera Adams: If it’s misrepresented it’s wheat gluten, it’s important we target wheat gluten. We are in touch with FDA and USDA to see if what we’re targeting needs to be changed.

David Acheson: To clarify. This product was LABELED wheat gluten and RPC. So that’s what we’re targeting. Assays were done that determined it, using light microscopy. That is followed by a type of chromatography that is looking at levels of starch.

(NOTE FROM ME: But if it’s the wheat flour that WAS contaminated, isn’t that what should be tested, not just things labeled gluten?)

NY Times: Will you now be looking at wheat flour?

Acheson: Focus is on things labeled as RPC and wheat gluten. We plan on expanding the assignment as we learn more and get the ingredient side of things figured out. I don’t exclude it, but right now this is not the top priority.

Reporter: Shouldn’t you expand investigation to cover everything from China at this point?

Acheson: Trying to expand our investigation based on where we see the risk. This is shifting constantly. From one company, to two, to import alert on all Chinese protein concentrates, now to also to pet food and animal food (Huh) coming in. Border Protection also expanding it.

“You have to put your resources where you believe the risk to be greatest.”

Reporter: What don’t we know is in Chinese products that’s being shipped to the US?

Acheson: If I could tell you what I don’t know, I’d know. This is not a melamine investigation only. We are looking more broadly. We’re keeping our eyes open. If we start to see unusual spikes of inexplicable illness, we’ll ask those questions. We’re making maximum use of resources.

Reporter: Following up on antibiotics found in imported Chinese catfish, are you testing US catfish for melamine?

Acheson: Yes. We are focused on testing a range of different fish samples. We have validated an assay for melamine in fish, which we did not have a week ago. We can add it to antibiotic screening. Will test any remaining fish samples in the lab, and as fish samples come in, we’ll test for melamine related compounds.

If we find levels, particularly if they’re signficant, we’ll focus where the risks are likely to be.

David Curley, ABC News: Chinese news agencies are saying the two companies added the melamine illegally. Is that your understanding?

Acheson: Our investigators are on the ground in China. We’re working closely with investigators. Will have more answers as to what happened in China.

Curley: Which story should we believe? Have Chinese accepted this has happened?

Acheson: Why this happened in China, that is a Chinese investigation, with our investigators. We want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s still ongoing, they’re out there, they’re getting to the establishments, I don’t have any more specifics I can share.

Washington Post: Noted many of the reporters missed the beginning of the media conference. Asked for a recap. What flour, not wheat gluten, so is this about flour instead of gluten? Does this add to the possibility this entered the human food supply instead of just pet food?

Julie Z says Dr. Acheson will recap. (FROM ME: I’ll cover this only if it differs from, or adds on to, what he said before. Resting my wrists.)

He did call this “a perfect storm for total confusion.”

(NOTE FROM ME: I find it interesting that these two different companies - ChemNutra and Wilbur-Ellis - sold different ingredients - wheat gluten vs RPC - from two DIFFERENT sources in China, that both turn out to be contaminated, mislabled wheat FLOUR.)

Back to liveblogging after recap.

WaPo revised question: Did something get done to the fish meal in Canada?

Acheson: No, no, it was contaminated wheat gluten was imported to Canada just as the US.

WaPo: How many fish ate it?

Acheson: We don’t know. Investigating.

Karen Roebuck: It’s not expected people would get sick in the short term. Are you ruling out the possiblity of long term health effects from consuming the products over time. And Dr. Petersen said pigs who ate the contaminated food could not LEGALLY be put onto the market because they ate adulterated food, but now they are. How is that legal?

Dr. Acheson: Long term exposure consequences. We don’t know for a fact yet that there’s been long term exposure or that melamine has gone into the human food supply other than the poultry and hogs. We’re working with the CDC looking for a shift in trends. We can’t rule it out. At this point I can’t rule anything in or out other than to say there’s absolutely no evidence that has happened.

Dr. Petersen: The initial discussion was about the swine, we had very little info. Some level of contaminated food had been fed to swine. We took the most aggressive approach to protect public health. Subsequently there has been significant additional info. Low amount of melamine in pet food, then low amount went into animal feed, exposure was brief, no reason to believe concentration of melamine in meat. Our initial scicentific judgment was applied to risk assessment, risk is 2500 times or so below any known possible risk. At the time, the appropriate decision was not to apply the mark of inspection. But given all the new info, and farms where feed tested negative, we can apply the mark of inspection to these animals. With some animals we’re still missing info, either no feed or it tested positive, we’re still waiting for more facts. Position has shifted as facts were put on the table. We want to make sure the public is well-served.

Acheson wanted to clarify about wheat flour vs wheat gluten. “Because it’s complicated.” Wheat gluten is a component of wheat flour. To make gluten, you wash the starch away. It’s the protein part. Wheat gluten is a component of overall wheat flour. This is the point at which we become speculative. It’s a simpler process in which a manufacturer would take wheat flour or whole wheat, simply grind it up, and it would still have a low level of wheat gluten. The starch is still there. It’s total protein content would appear low.

If you add melamine to that, you’re adding a source of nitrogen, you’re measure of protein (or actually nitrogen) gives you a wheat based product with an artificially high level of protein because of the melamine. Speculates that if you avoid the whole process of refining to get the wheat gluten, you just add melamine to get the higher level of protein. May explain what’s going on.

Reuters: 6000 hogs, how many chickens? Indiana? Missouri?

Petersen: Last Friday we asked that 20 million chickens be voluntarily held so we could do the risk assessment. Most of those - half - have begun to move into slaughter channels. Those were associated with a negative feed test. The other ones in Indiana are still, approximately 100K of the breeder birds are still on hold, don’t remember if it’s voluntary or not. “Don’t quite have a negative test” on those.

Reuters: What about the 3 million in Indiana, and the other 10 million birds? And the hogs.

Petersen: Other 10 million are eligible and are queuing up for slaughter facility. Others had already made their way into commerce. Slaughtered in March, we believe. One other piece of info on animals on hold. There are some on hold in Illinois, three facilities. Approx 50,000 swine on hold. (NOTE: THIS IS NEW INFO.)

“That’s pretty much what we have in total.” The broilers (chickens) are moving to market today.

CNN: How do you know the wheat flour in the fish meal was contaminated? Are there samples?

Acheson: Yes, the fish meal was positive.

CNN: Now that risk assessment is low, will you allow the pet food companies to sell all the recalled foods to the livestock companies for feed, as long as it’s used in small quantities?

Sundloff: The answer is no. Any food that tests positive is considered adulterated and can’t be processed into animal feed.

Japanese reporter: How long investigators going to be in China?

Acheson: Will return early next week.

Abigail Goldman, LA Times: You said you don’t know how many fish, how many farms or aquaculture establishments, and what kind of fish. Also, doesn’t this alert you that wheat flour has been adulterated and that all wheat flour should be investigated?

Acheson: We do have a preliminary list of places to follow up on, and we’re trying to confirm it. We don’t have a definitive list to share with you. With regards to wheat flour, it came into the US labeled as wheat gluten or RPC. We don’t have any indications that anything else coming into the US labeled as wheat flour is anything other than wheat flour. We have no reason to believe wheat flour being imported as wheat flour is contaminated.

Andrew Bridges, AP: Who exported the wheat gluten to the Canadians, and why did you only learn this now? Are you looking at fish meal that could have been contaminated?

Acheson: It came from the Chinese firms.

AP: Who imported it and re-exported it?

Acheson: ChemNutra. Brokered through ChemNutra direct to Canada. That wheat gluten never came to the US. Went directly to Canada. Whe they dug into the ChemNutra records, this came to light.

AP: Why didn’t ChemNutra disclose this? Does that disturb you?

Acheson: I’d have to talk to our investigators and see what questions they actually asked. I’m not aware that ChemNutra were withholding information deliberately.

AP: Were fish in China fed contaminated feeds since birth?

Acheson: Looking at a lot of feeds.

Rogers: (Very hard to hear him.) All vegetable protein concentrates from China. Using risk based approach on other products. (May have missed something.)

Julie Schmitt from USA Today: Dr. A, is it reasonable some company along the supply chain could have discovered the product was not a protein concentrate but a wheat flour, or do they only test for protein levels?

Acheson: Different companies have different degrees of quality control. If it fails their testing, they’ll just reject it, they wont’ dig into why. Don’t have an obligation to tell anyone.

USA Today: The companies all along said they used it.

Acheson: They assumed it was wheat gluten.

USA Today: With average due diligence, shouldn’t they have discovered it?

Acheson: Depends on level of quality control. Doesn’t really know.

USA Today: It’s easier to see wheat flour is a step to wheat gluten, but you’re saying the RPC wasn’t rice at all?

Acheson: That’s my understanding.

Wall Street Journal: Is FDA or USDA or other agencies thinking about broad changes in regulations? Seems there is a pattern here…hogs, chicken, fish.

Dr. Sundloff: Yes, we have been working on some comprehensive animal feed safety systems. Working on for years. Our previous food safety programs have been targeted at specific issues such as mad cow disease or medicated feed or e. coli. We have not had an overall comprehensive program that looks at safety from a broader perspective such that it would catch problems like melamine.

Baltimore Sun reporter, didn’t catch name: Asks if the process being simpler also means it’s cheaper.

Acheson: Don’t have a specific analysis of that.

I missed something here, sorry.

Reporter: How long have these companies been exporting to America? What states (?) are under investigation?

Acheson: Won’t name states under investigation. How long, I know back to 2006. David Elder?

David Elder: Investigation is ongoing. Will be confirming details. At this point in time we don’t have anything.

Acheson: Working closely with Canadian government?

Reporter: Are fish fed 100 percent fish meal?

Sundloff: No, but can’t tell you proportion. Probably less than half.

Conference ends.
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Steve
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 08:45:32 AM »

Let me tell you browsing through this is enough to make any responsible pet parent permanently switch their pets over to a home cooked diet.

Bio-Fuel Co-Products in Pet Food? Pg 40

http://tinyurl.com/37kbns
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Steve
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2007, 06:52:05 AM »

As commentators note, "Why even cover-up a crime if the cover-up is going to make things worse?" There are reasons:

    * As noted earlier, some cover-ups are successful. Those are the ones we never hear about, or are left to conspiracy theory advocates who find that without evidence their theories can be ignored by the mainstream.
    * The people committing the crime and/or subsequent cover-up can be operating on the assumptions that "We're too smart to get caught," or otherwise believe in an arrogant fashion they are above the law.
    * The people committing the cover-up may think, or hope, that they can control the investigation in some way. This can shade into …
    * … sheer irrational panic and fear of revealing unpalatable information, A common example is the embezzler who loses money he intended to "borrow" by gambling or speculating (e.g., Nick Leeson). He or she then covers up by "borrowing" more and more money to cover ever-increasing losses, instead of making a clean breast of matters when they are relatively small.
    * The misdeed committed may be linked somehow to other misdeeds, and the cover-up occurs in order to keep all those others from being known. The attempted Watergate cover-up was partly to hide other covert illegal activities.




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CodyBear
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2007, 11:45:00 AM »

As commentators note, "Why even cover-up a crime if the cover-up is going to make things worse?" There are reasons:
    * The people committing the crime and/or subsequent cover-up can be operating on the assumptions that "We're too smart to get caught," or otherwise believe in an arrogant fashion they are above the law.


I'd just add that they aren't above the law, they BUY the law.
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Steve
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2007, 11:59:41 AM »

That or try to buy their way out of the news.

http://www.levick.com/expertise/out/
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