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Author Topic: Synopsis Largest Pet Food Recall Ever -- What toxins PART2  (Read 1926 times)
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« on: June 24, 2007, 12:39:16 PM »

The FDA's Dr. Stephen Sundlof, Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, (CVM) told a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on April 11 that the FDA had 16 reported deaths and some 9,000 complaints of adverse reactions. This figure of 16 deaths is curiously low since I have 25 reported deaths---14 dogs and 11 cats--- from readers of my syndicated newspaper column 'Animal Doctor' that is far from being in every city across the US. Now surely the FDA & CVM have better communication networks with consumers and veterinarians than I. And if not, then why not?

Or is the FDA downplaying the severity of this nation-wide pet food poisoning scandal? One major question has not yet been answered---why was the imported wheat gluten not intended for human consumption?

What is the pet food industry doing to compensate people for their veterinary expenses? Evidently nothing. They are just setting up yet another expert committee.

Duane Ekedahl, head of the Pet Food Institute (PFI) that represents the pet food industry, told the senators at this hearing that the Institute had set up a National Pet Food Commission, as he held up a full page ad that the PFI had placed that day in major newspapers. He asserted that "Pet foods are perhaps the most regulated product on market shelves."

When challenged by Sen. Richard Durbin, representatives for the PFI and the American Association of Feed Control Officials, whose AFCO labeling is standardized on most processed pet foods but can give no valid guarantees on quality or safety, became extremely defensive and contradicted themselves when it came to actual inspection and testing of ingredients. Dr. Sundlof cited a Federal inspection rate frequency of only 30% for the last 3 years for pet food processing facilities that was actually more than usual because of the mad cow disease issue.

The testimony of Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, a feline specialist in private practice in California who had served as Director of Technical Affairs at Hill’s Pet Food Nutrition was the one clear voice of reason and truth. Her testimony cut through all the cross-talk and obfuscation, to document the pet food industry’s lack of effective regulation, oversight, quality and safety controls, adequacy and accuracy of labeling, and verifiability of claimed nutritional value. She made it quite clear that cats especially were becoming ill and dying well before the melamine scare because of some of the ingredients and formulations US pet food manufacturers were marketing to a trusting public: And which far too many veterinarians still believe are scientifically formulated, balanced and in accord with the claims on the AFCO standardized label.

This pet food recall is a wake-up call to every consumer as well as every pet owner. The FDA has questions to answer (go to Surely it is now incumbent upon the Pet Food Institute in Washington DC ( to coordinate with all the pet food manufacturers involved, and with agribusiness pet food subsidiaries for which it lobbies and represents, an emergency fund to compensate people for all veterinary expenses resulting from their animal companions becoming sick and even dying, and requiring life-long care as a consequence of this largest pet food recall in recent history.

On April 18, 2007, Wilbur Ellis Co. of San Francisco, that imported rice protein from China, voluntarily recalled all lots distributed to date to pet food manufacturers, because of melamine contamination, and is urging all pet food manufacturers who have used this rice protein to recall any pet food that may be on supermarket shelves.

Natural Balance was the first company to respond to this concern, recalling two of their dry foods for cats and dogs on April 18.

This second recall epidemic spread as more pet food brands like Blue Buffalo dry kitten food, SmartPak Co. dry dog food, and several cat and dog dry foods manufactured by Royal Canin USA were hastily were hastily recalled when found to contain contaminated rice protein. The rice protein was also found to contain a breakdown product of melamine, highly toxic cyanuric acid.

This same batch of rice protein contaminated Chenango Valley Pet Foods manufactured cat and dog food that went out under contact labels that included SmartPak, and Lick Your Chops, and two of catalog mail order Doctors Foster and Smith cat and dog foods.

Corn gluten was recently found contaminated with melamine in S. Africa where Royal Canin withdrew its dog foods from the market.

A hog farm in California was under quarantine because, although the pigs were healthy, melamine was found in their urine. Their feed was suspect since Diamond Pet Food’s Lathrop CA facility that produces Natural Balance pet food had bought contaminated rice protein from China and had sold ‘salvage pet food’ to the farm for pig feed. Curiously, a pink bag labeled ‘Melamine’ was found in a shipment of imported rice protein. On April 26 Diamond Pet Foods recalled three canned varieties of dog, puppy and kitten food manufactured by American Nutrition Inc. Then on April 26 two more pet food recalls were announced by Costco Wholesale Corp. for its Kirkland Signature pet food, made also by American Nutrition, and Chenango Valley Pet Foods who had used rice protein supplied by Wilbur-Ellis.

***The most telling incitement of the pet food industry (for additional details about the sins of omission and commission of agribusiness’ multi-billion dollar pet food subsidiary, (see the review entitled ‘Manufactured and Processed Pet Foods: a Veterinary and Ethical Evaluation’ on my web site ). Blue Buffalo Co. issued a press release on April 26. They alleged product tampering by the contracted manufacturer of their canned formulas and biscuits, namely American Nutrition Inc., that had been "adding rice protein (supplied by Wilbur-Ellis) without our knowledge or approval". This press release reveals how dysfunctional the profit-driven pet food industry has become, where the bottom line is still finding the lowest cost ingredients to meet the quasi-scientific pet food industry nutrient values (where poultry feathers and hooves and horns can pass as animal protein), regardless of the source, true bio-nutrient value/availability, and possible contamination with toxic contaminants.****

What this means, as at the beginning of this debacle with Menu Foods that delayed for weeks before informing the FDA, is that the main stream pet food industry is like the Emperor with new clothes. It can no longer hide behind the labels on its products anymore, because pet food labels can no longer be trusted. Nor, as the FDA is re-discovering in the process, can we rely on the labels of assurance most human food manufacturers and processors are applying to their products without the rigorous compliance of Organic Certification.

According to an AP news release on April 20, the Chinese authorities had told the FDA that the wheat gluten was an industrial product not meant for pet food. In another release on April 26, AP reported "The (Chinese) ministry said the contaminated vegetable protein managed to get through customs without inspection because it had not been declared for use in pet food.

The FDA’s Dr. Sundlof stated at the onset of this debacle that melamine is used in the manufacture of plastics and may have been deliberately added as a cheap fake protein supplement to inflate the protein content. But gluten, be it of corn, wheat or rice origin, is used in the manufacture of new generation biodegradable plastic utensils, grocery bags etc. Melamine may be used in the process, (but carbon monoxide and cyanide-compounds are released when melamine is heated!).

FDA scientists informed the press on April 20 that they had identified three other contaminants in the urine and kidneys of animals sickened or killed after eating the recalled pet foods. These three chemicals were metabolized (breakdown) products of melamine, more toxic than the parent chemical, namely amilorine, amiloride, and cyanuric acid (a chemical used to chlorinate swimming pools). This kind of poisoning, by a metabolite or other contaminant, was suspect all along because melamine is not all that toxic at the dose-levels found in contaminated pet foods.

However, further research into the relationship between melamine and urea discloses a significant connection with a widely used product called Feed Grade Biuret, a non-protein nitrogen ‘protein booster’, marketed as ‘Pseudo Rice Protein’ from China, and approved by the FDA for use by Archer Daniel Midland Co. for inclusion in America’s dairy cow feed. Some of the ingredients in Biuret (carbamyl urea) include urea, cyanuric acid, triuret and other homologs of urea. Urea compounds in the diet of dogs and cats are likely to bring on acute renal failure in animals whose kidneys are already compromised. These urea-related chemicals could be more toxic for those dogs, and particular breeds, and especially cats, who had been fed certain brands of pet food that are associated with renal, hepatic, pancreatic and other health problems even when there are probably no melamine and other urea-pseudo-protein nitrogenous additives.

US and Canadian toxicologists now believe that when melamine combines with another contaminant in the pet food called cyanuric acid to form crystals in the urine and kidneys, that’s when the animals become seriously ill and may even die from acute renal failure.

As for the amilorine and amiloride found by the FDA in the ‘contaminated’ vegetable protein, amiloride is another chemical feed additive given to dairy cattle developed by Japanese scientists and patented by Mitsubishi and Monsanto that has patent # 3985472 for isobutylidine diurea for use as a livestock feed additive for monogastric animals (i.e. pigs). In other words, the inclusion of melamine-related urea-based additives to livestock feed is not unique to China, nor is it illegal in the US.

The Washington Post, on April 30, quoted a Chinese food and feed processor as asserting that for several years urea was added as cheap filler that would pass as protein under the crude ingredient and quality tests done on food commodities by other countries. But when they mixed in too much urea into the vegetable protein/gluten livestock feed and made animals sick, they switched to melamine. So it is quite probable that, because of this adulteration that has been going on for years, importers of vegetable protein from China have been putting US consumers and their animal companions at risk for some time.

But why import? Because it is cheaper than buying from home. So local farmers go under, or raise more GM corn for biomass fuel, GM canola and soy for oil and animal feed.

Why put wheat gluten and vegetable protein into cat food except as a cheap filler that equates with poor nutrition for obligate carnivores like the cat; and health problems of many dogs, who often mirror the gluten-sensitivities of their human companions, with skin problems, allergies, colitis etc. Many epileptic dogs have recovered when there is no wheat gluten or other wheat product in their diet, or corn. Putting corn and other cereal byproducts, and low value vegetable protein/gluten into cat food in the quantities that they do, most US pet food manufacturers DO NO LESS HARM to America’s pets than do these Chinese entrepreneurs.

There is purportedly a World Appeals Court within the World Trade Organization (WTO) (that the US put on a fast-track to establish in the 1980s, and that China and India are now beginning to control), that could effectively accomplish what is called for in this instance: Namely, full compensation for veterinary costs, including long-term care, and including emotional compensation for the veterinary-certified death of any cat or dog that was confirmed as being caused by the contaminated pet food involved in this largest ever pet food recall.
(Remainder of article at the following URL, too long to post on Itchomo:

« Last Edit: June 24, 2007, 12:42:16 PM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
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