MORE ON THE PET FOOD RECALL:
STATEMENTS, RESOURCES AND NEWS:
In response to the latest enlargement of the Menu Foods recall list (at 100 items as of yesterday) a number of companies and other organizations have issued recent public statements. The statement from Royal Canin is here. They express their dismay at discovering that despite Menu Food's repeated assurances that none of the contaminated gluten had made its way to Canada that they found out that some indeed had and that they were forced to recall their Feline Dissolution diet. According to Menu Foods spokesman Sam Bornstein this was due to a "clerical error". An article in USA Today quotes other food making consultants as being "surprised" that such an error could be made.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has also prepared an expanded list of recalled products that is far more detailed than that on the Menu Foods site and includes products from companies other than Menu Foods. The list goes into complete detail about not just the brand names but also the flavours,etc..The US FDA has also issued a public statement detailing the course of their investigations as of yesterday. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has also released a public statement on their response to the recall. Finally Hill's Pet Nutrition Canada has made an offer of reimbursement of up to $100 for any extra expenses involved in the recall of their M/D diet for diabetic cats.
Meanwhile, in addition to the excellent Pet Connection site that features breaking news each day an informal coalition of bloggers has got together to try and mount a national campaign to have all the recalled foods removed from the store shelves. Yes, a lot of them are still there ! Here are some interesting sites that are part of this coalition. The Pet Food List provides a list of foods that are not on the recall list. The Itchmo site has an interesting report on an NBC report on how this event underlines deficiencies in the human food safety system in the USA. Over at Howl911 there is a report on a planned April 28th national march for 'Keep Our Pets Safe' and a link to a recent article in the British Harold Tribune about events in China surrounding this recall (more on this later on Molly's Blog). The Pet Food Tracker keeps an updated list of recalled food and Spocko's Brain also contains updated news on the recall.
Finally the news. As mentioned above the British International Harold Tribune has published an article on what is or isn't happening in China surrounding this recall. Go to the link provided for full gory details. The main "office" of the Chinese company involved consists of two rooms and an adjoining warehouse, somewhat reminiscent of ChemNutra in the USA. The Harold Tribune found that this claimed trading rather than manufacturing company has made several online posts in recent months seeking to purchase large amounts of melamine. These were found on Chinese sites such as Sohu.net and ChemAbc.net. The company left posts saying that they "buy large quantities of melamine scrap all year around". Spokesmen for Xuzhou Anying still claim that they have no idea of how the melamine got in their product and that they make no direct shipments to the USA. Local Chinese people interviewed by reporters working for the Harold Tribune confirmed that Xuzhou Anying does manufacture wheat gluten amongst other products despite the company's denials.
Chinese officials "claim" that they are conducting a nationwide inspection of wheat gluten, but people in the industry in Xuzhou city said they were unaware of any new inspections and even of the fact of the recall. The news director of the city's City Morning Post was quoted as saying, "I didn't know this news about Xuzhou Anying, and even if we had heard about the news, we wouldn't be able to report on it because it's negative news". Having looked at the chemical structure of melamine Molly can see how it might be used to adulterate a product and increase the "apparent" protein content if the assay used is solely based on nitrogen content. Melamine is a very nitrogen rich compound.
The Harold Tribune story also has an interesting sidebar about how 203 people in Heilongjiang Province were sickened (one died) after eating breakfast cereal laced with rat poison two days ago. In China it has been known that commercial rivals sometimes deliberately poison the products of their competitors.