YES, we are what we eat.

We just love Saturday Night Love’s *ads*. Funny, how they are picking up on the sad state of our food supply. So, before getting the true scoop on nutrition and diet, check out this poignant video on what NOT TO BE SERVING TO OUR DOGS (initially posted in Oct 2009)!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is closer to the truth than you can imagine.

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Check out lots of incredible information on diet plans, some from veterinarians (
Dr. Gregory Ogilvie and Dr. Demian Dressler) and Cornell University. There are 3 SUPER PDF documents for you to print out, with over 100 pages of material in fact. Just click here.

I home cook an organic diet and have done so for several years now. I add all organic ingredients to an organic pre-mix that is actually used for dogs with cancer. I feel it is a good preventative to use this formula as I really like the amount of antioxidants. I do not sell the food (I do not sell any food at my store) but know the person who developed it, and she does extensive work with veterinarians and dogs with chronic health issues.

The CANINE LIFE PRE-MIX FORMULATION FOR CANCER contains: Organic milled whole brown rice, Organic chick peas, Organic whole oats, calcium, carob, Acadian sea kelp, green tea, turmeric, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, ginger, and garlic.

Canine Life: Home-Baked & Organic

Canine Life: Home-Baked & Organic

This is a true home-cooked diet, each recipe making muffins or squares. The baking time is extremely short as there is nothing to rise here, it is merely to cook together so that any bacteria is removed from the raw ingredients. Three cups of this purchased pre-mix (above) is added to the following ingredients that I provide from home: organic broccoli, organic egg with shell, organic red apple, organic blueberries, organic pure cranberry juice, organic safflower oil, organic ground chicken with skin, and organic chicken livers. The ingredients, such as the organic chicken livers, organic red apple and organic broccoli, are pureed or chopped fine via a (Cuisinart) food processor. And, the organic chicken (I use organic thighs) with skin (no bones) is ground up via a meat grinder attachment on my food processor. You can learn about it here at my foundation’s site.

SNL’s “Mostly Garbage Dog Food” (…but not for my Golden Retriever)

Vodpod videos no longer available.This is closer to the truth than you can imagine.

I home cook an organic diet and have done so for several years now. I add all organic ingredients to an organic pre-mix that is actually used for dogs with cancer. I feel it is a good preventative to use this formula as I really like the amount of antioxidants.

I do not sell the food (I do not sell any food at my store) but know the person who developed it, and she does extensive work with veterinarians and dogs with chronic health issues.

The CANINE LIFE PRE-MIX FORMULATION FOR CANCER contains: Organic milled whole brown rice, Organic chick peas, Organic whole oats, calcium, carob, Acadian sea kelp, green tea, turmeric, oregano, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, ginger, and garlic.

Canine Life: Home-Baked & Organic

Canine Life: Home-Baked & Organic

This is a true home-cooked diet, each recipe making muffins or squares. The baking time is extremely short as there is nothing to rise here, it is merely to cook together so that any bacteria is removed from the raw ingredients.

Three cups of this purchased pre-mix (above) is added to the following ingredients that I provide from home: organic broccoli, organic egg with shell, organic red apple, organic blueberries, organic pure cranberry juice, organic safflower oil, organic ground chicken with skin, and organic chicken livers.

The ingredients, such as the organic chicken livers, organic red apple and organic broccoli, are pureed or chopped fine via a (Cuisinart) food processor. And, the organic chicken (I use organic thighs) with skin (no bones) is ground up via a meat grinder attachment on my food processor.

You can learn about it here at my foundation’s site.

Why am I not surprised?

Pet food settlement stalled by appeals
By Edie Lau, for the VIN News Service, May 26, 2009

Payments in a $24-million settlement of claims spurred by the largest pet food recall in U.S. history remain hung up in court.Although the settlement was approved last November by U.S. District Court Judge Noel Hillman in New Jersey, two separate parties have appealed the settlement, effectively blocking payments indefinitely.

“This is holding it up for everybody,” said Lisa Rodriguez, a lawyer serving as liaison counsel for the 100-plus class action suits covered by the settlement.

Rodriguez said the appeals have barely advanced. “We’re just in a holding pattern right now. I don’t think there’s been a briefing scheduled yet. We’re still some time away from having the Third Circuit (Court of Appeals) even address it unless they try to deal with it summarily,” she said, referring to a quick dismissal.

A total 24,950 pet owners in the United States and Canada have applied for compensation under the settlement, according to Russell Paul, co-lead counsel for the class. Those claims are being evaluated by the accounting and consulting firm Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP in Philadelphia.

The claims arose from the widespread contamination of pet food by melamine and cyanuric acid, which was discovered in 2007. Investigators traced the problem to wheat gluten and rice protein made in China. Unscrupulous suppliers spiked their products with nitrogen-rich melamine, an industrial chemical not approved for consumption, in an attempt to boost apparent protein levels.

The tainted product was imported by the U.S. companies ChemNutra Inc. and Wilbur Ellis and supplied to numerous pet food makers.

The melamine, along with the chemical byproduct cyanuric acid, together formed crystals in the kidneys of dogs and cats that ate the tainted food, leading in some cases to renal failure and death.

The contamination forced the recall of more than 180 brands of pet foods and treats involving 12 different manufacturers and dozens of retailers. In all, more than 60-million containers of pet food products were recalled.

Pet owners whose claims are judged eligible may be reimbursed for expenses such as the cost of veterinary treatment, the cost of carpeting ruined by a sick animal, the cost of a dead pet or its fair market value and the cost of a new pet.

The plaintiffs who are appealing the settlement are Margaret Picus and Daniel Kaffer in one case and Jim W. Johnson and Dustin Turner in the second case.

Picus and Kaffer’s objection stems from separate legal suits involving the use of the phrase “Made in the USA” by pet food manufacturers who obtain ingredients from China.

According to court documents, Picus and Kaffer are concerned that the pet food settlement will release the manufacturers from the mislabeling claims.

Their lawyer, Kyle Nordrehaug of La Jolla, Calif., said he would not comment on pending litigation.

In the second case, the lawyer for Johnson and Turner, Jeffrey Weinstein of Tyler, Tex., reportedly contends that the settlement is not fair, reasonable or adequate.

Weinstein did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages requesting comment. However, he told the Malakoff News, a weekly newspaper in Texas, that the situation should not be handled in a one-size-fits-all manner. “Tainted pet food cannot be settled as a nationwide class because every state has different laws,” he was quoted as saying.

Because of variations in state law, he argued, plaintiffs should receive settlements based on their states’ laws. “It wouldn’t be everybody just gets the same thing,” he said.

Weinstein also said $24 million may not be enough to adequately compensate all individuals with valid claims.

Details of the settlement are posted at http://www.petfoodsettlement.com

UT OH, all bets are off.

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Industrial chemicals such as melamine may actually be able to cross from the feed to the food chain. Truly, that is too scary to even imagine. And, it exemplifies why organic standards must not be altered or loosened, as such standards really provide the safety we all need.

An incredible diary from “Deep Harm” at Daily Kos revealed the following:

A blockbuster revelation in the melamine scandal arrived today in the form of a little-noticed statement by the world’s largest food company, Nestle, which announced that melamine discovered in its baby formula in South Africa was caused by “contaminated animal feed” fed to dairy animals.  In a May 7, 2007 diary, I  had warned about such a problem and urged FDA officials to test U.S. milk supplies after melamine was discovered here in corn gluten that is sometimes fed to dairy cows.

Today’s news follows an Associated Press report, on Wednesday, that the FDA had found traces of melamine or cyanuric acid had been found in U.S.-produced infant formula, prompting demands for a recall.

Melamine causes kidney stones and kidney failure. The Chinese babies who recently died all died of kidney and organ failure. So it comes as no surprise that doctors are now seeing a rise in kidney stones in US children as young as 5.

Can we really believe huge companies like Nestle as well as the FDA when they tell us that we all are safe? I certainly don’t. We need to be testing US dairy products for potential melamine contamination. And, we need to question the strength of the previous interim risk assessments issued by US food safety officials.  Public comments on the most recent assessment will be accepted through January 12, 2009.

Melamine contamination of human food is real. Its in (non-U.S.) coffee, Snickers, KitKat, M&Ms and Heinz products such as baby cereals and crackers. There is also contamination in eggs, which got there via tainted animal feed. This has caused United Nations officials to worry that it is also in chicken, pork, farmed fish and other meats.

Organic or bust

People get on my case given my insistence on all things organic for both us and our furry companions. And, at our foundation store, I have loads of links about organic products, from meat and chicken to toys.

But, if you really want to understand how serious our food inspection problems are, and if you have the stomach to bear it, please take the time to read this article from Kirk James Murphy, M.D.: DROP THAT PATTY! (before it drops you).

He will tell you about the recent recall of 21.7 million pounds of ground beef, which is equal to an entire year’s worth of production.

And, if you thought you were safe if you ate only poultry and not meat, please please think again, as Consumer Reports’ “analysis of fresh, whole broilers bought nationwide revealed that 83 percent harbored campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease.”

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The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American PowerDr. Murphy is hosting a very special session this coming weekend (Sunday October 7th Book Salon: 5pm ET /2pm PT) at the Firedoglake Blog on the new and very important book (just published 2 weeks ago), Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power.

The book’s author, Mark Schapiro, will be present during this session and I will definition be there getting the scoop.

Americans’ confidence in their government-sanctioned environmental and consumer protections receives another blow in investigative reporter Schapiro’s exposé, which explores such discomforting information as the 2005 U.S. Centers for Disease Control tests that found 148 toxic chemicals “in the bodies of ‘Americans of all ages.'” The U.S.’s unique tendency to take no action against businesses and their products until a disaster occurs keeps them tied to 1970s standards-“exposed to substances from which increasing numbers of people around the world are being protected”-while “the principle of preventing harm before it happens, even in the face of imperfect scientific certainty,” guides an increasing number of countries; by “creating legal and financial incentives,” governments in Europe and Japan have kept citizens relatively safe from what contributes to the deaths “of at least 5 million people a year,” according to the World Health Organization. Schapiro (co-author, with David Weir, of Circle of Poison: Pesticides and People in a Hungry World) discovers toxins in personal care products, toys, electronics and foods which are, in some cases, manufactured solely for U.S. consumption, and traces them to the people and events responsible.

What else are they going to find in pet food?

teacher.gifWhile many folks have moved on, falsely believing that the food crisis for both people and companion animals has ended or is being addressed, please think again. It has been brushed off of the front pages and people’s minds simply because there is too much in our world to actually grab a hold of these days. With so many scandals and injustices bombarding us daily, many have reached their saturation point. And, that is when our brains say we need to take a break so that our sanity is preserved.

But, chemicals that are not allowed to be used for items that are ingested continue to be found in pet food, animal feed for human consumption, tooth paste, exotic fish food . . . you name it. And, now even the medication acetaminophen (which is deadly to cats) has been found in pet food samples.

Sadly, we have not gotten to the bottom of this crisis and its ugly tendrils keep growing. I am not trusting any processed food, for myself or my Golden guy Alfie. I am only trusting organic products but even that standard is being weakened by our government’s caring more about corporate interests than ours.

Check out the latest about this mess here:

Texas lab finds pain medicine in pet food

Trashing Organic Standards (series of articles from Kirk James Murphy, M.D.)

Lucky for our FDA Chief that he’s not working in China

Well, for all those dog and cat folks who have lost their beloved companion animals to this hideous situation, that just keeps on and on …. check it out! I think even baby Hunter is surprised by this one!

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China ex-food and drug safety chief sentenced to death
By Lindsay Beck, Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – China sentenced the former head of its food and drugs agency to death for corruption on Tuesday in a surprise judgment as the government sought to contain a wave of scandals over health safety.

Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of the State Food and Drug Administration, was convicted on charges of taking bribes and dereliction of duty, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Beijing Municipal No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.

There’s more to the story . . .

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And, just in case you thought the scare was over with the recalled pet foods, please think again. They are still finding problems and melamine in unrecalled foods.

Veterinarian Dr. Matt Humason says “We began asking questions…we found the dogs all ate the same food from the same store at the same time… so we sent a sample to get it tested and it came back positive with melamine.”

All four dogs ate Nutra Nuggets brand food.

A sample was sent to a lab at UC Davis and [the pet owner’s] fears were confirmed. “All I’m trying to get people to do is notify the people and let them know we may have problem. Unfortunately I feel Costco has been very hesitant to do that.”

And, if you thought that the human food supply was okay, please please please think again, as it is not. Melamine is not an approved additive for feed and now we learn that US companies (just like those in China) are adding melamine to their feed products for foods for our consumption. Just look at this FDA release.

And, catfish meant for human consumption submitted by Arkansas to the FDA tested positive for melamine as well.

Read this Associated Press article about safety problems extending beyond pet food to tainted toothpaste and deadly fish …. and weep.

But, we should trust the pet food companies to self-monitor and we should trust the government to get moving on making our food supply safe for us. Sure, we should. It’s just more of that …. move along, there’s nothing to see here.

Food Crisis — an evolving, very serious story

teacher.gifBracing for Bioterror – A major biological attack could kill or injure millions. We can and should do more to protect our food supplies and distribution systems This Business Week article by Greg Blonder is a must-read. It will really put things into perspective and help folks understand why this issue has got so many folks up in arms.

I also discovered an incredible blog, Eating Liberally. One discussion is better than the next. It is a place I wish everyone would pay more attention to, as being better informed is the first step in us taking back control of our country. Be sure to see the importance in not letting conservation buy the farm.

A Serious and Scary Sunday

Ahh, don’t you yearn for those easier times, when a little pacifier was all it took to produce calm? I know I do … especially when I have to consider how much our world seems to be falling apart at the seams.

It is just really scary reading these articles about the food crisis, as the crisis is really one for us all and not just that of our beloved animals. The problem is, we are lazy and used to having certain products, or believing certain foods are necessary for our happiness. While it would be smarter to merely eat to live, we instead, live to eat. The fact that the following article is on page 1 of the Washington Post should be an alert to the seriousness of this dilemma.

Tainted Chinese Imports Common – In Four Months, FDA Refused 298 Shipments
By Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer, May 20, 2007

Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical. Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics. Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria. Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

These were among the 107 food imports from China that the Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.

For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught — many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.

Now the confluence of two events — the highly publicized contamination of U.S. chicken, pork and fish with tainted Chinese pet food ingredients and this week’s resumption of high-level economic and trade talks with China — has activists and members of Congress demanding that the United States tell China it is fed up.

Dead pets and melamine-tainted food notwithstanding, change will prove difficult, policy experts say, in large part because U.S. companies have become so dependent on the Chinese economy that tighter rules on imports stand to harm the U.S. economy, too.

“So many U.S. companies are directly or indirectly involved in China now, the commercial interest of the United States these days has become to allow imports to come in as quickly and smoothly as possible,” said Robert B. Cassidy, a former assistant U.S. trade representative for China and now director of international trade and services for Kelley Drye Collier Shannon, a Washington law firm. As a result, the United States finds itself “kowtowing to China,” Cassidy said, even as that country keeps sending American consumers adulterated and mislabeled foods.

It’s not just about cheap imports, added Carol Tucker Foreman, a former assistant secretary of agriculture now at the Consumer Federation of America. Our farmers and food processors have drooled for years to be able to sell their food to that massive market,” Foreman said. “The Chinese counterfeit. They have a serious piracy problem. But we put up with it because we want to sell to them.”

And, there’s more to the story . . .
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Of course, just when you think that maybe they have a handle on what caused the thousands of dog and death deaths, you see an article like this one from Animal Wellness.

Pet Food Recall leaves bitter taste – What they’re not telling you
Animal Wellness Magazine, June/July 2007 Issue

While obviously of grave concern, many experts don’t feel that melamine is responsible for the acute renal failure animals experienced after eating the recalled foods.

“Neither melamine nor aminopterin are likely to be the real cause of the illness – the symptoms of toxicity don’t match either one,” says Dr. Hofve. “Toxicology data on melamine suggests that it can cause kidney stones and other chronic effects, but acute renal failure does not really accord with that. Some are calling melamine a ‘marker’ for something else that hasn’t yet been determined.” Theories abound as to how melamine got into the wheat gluten. Federal Drug Administration veterinarian Stephen Sundlof told CNN that it could have been added as a “cheap filler”. But according to Michael W. Fox, B. Vet. Med, Ph.D., D.Sc., M.R.C.V.S, melamine is “not cheap” and costs about 50% more than wheat gluten. “I believe the China contaminant is the tip of the iceberg, and could become the scapegoat,” says Dr. Fox. In fact, he speculates that the Chinese wheat was genetically engineered or modified (GMO), and this is the source of the problem.

“It most probably was,” he states, “since it was not imported for human consumption, and was possibly an experimental crop with anti-fungus blight and viral disease genetic insertions that could have gone haywire as a result of ‘overexpression’. Melamine, the parent chemical for a potent insecticide cyromazine, could possibly have been manufactured within the wheat plants themselves as a genetically engineered pesticide.” Alternatively, the culprit could be glyphosate, says Dr. Fox, an herbicide that is absorbed by crops that are genetically engineered so that they escape harm while the weeds in the field around them die.

To date, the FDA has not stated whether or not the wheat is GMO. Mark Ullman, legal counsel for ChemNutra, the company that imported the wheat gluten told Animal Wellness that the wheat gluten “was not supposed to be [genetically modified] but that ChemNutra did not specify non-GMO on its order” so in fact it may well have received a genetically engineered product. Thus far, GMO wheat has been frowned upon for human consumption in North America, but the FDA does not regulate its presence in pet food or animal feed. Furthermore, as with human products, genetically engineered foods do not have to declare their “altered” status on North American labels.

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Please, please, please . . . think about what you are putting into your mouths and your beloved dogs’ mouths. Read the labels and remember that the fewer the ingredients, the better. Massive amounts of chemicals, preservatives and vitamins only need to be added when the ingredients are so poor and lacking in nutritional value.

Think about the years of ingesting so much of this stuff and then relate it to the compromised immune systems of us all that ultimately lead to the development of disease and dysfunction. And, then consider the virtues of going organic and living more healthy lives.

I have only recently expanded the foundation’s store and I have worked hard to find the best and safest products for both us and our animals. I have provided powerful facts that explain just how dangerous many of our crops are due to pesticides. We all need to work hard at staying informed.

We are a small mom & pop operation with just 2 folks trying to get out a huge array of wonderful products. Honestly, very little is made monetarily for all the effort. The real reward comes from knowing that more folks are doing better for themselves and their furry companions. And, the hope is that such changes can take a bite out of the high cancer rates. Please take some time to check out the . . .

1. Organic meats and poultry from Blackwing (for you & your dog)
2. Chemical-free, grass-fed, free-range Bison (Dr. Becker’s) ; Venison Treats
3. Organic Plato Chicken Dog Treats
4. Organic Sweet Potato Chews and Chips
5. Organic Canine Life dog food pre-mix
6. Organic and dye-free Plush dog toys
7. Organic and dye-free Tugs

teacher.gifThese are ALL items that we use ourselves and that we DEPEND on. But, I can’t tell you how distressing it is to realize that one of the most popular dog treats in the country is one filled with the most questionable, poor and unhealthy ingredients. Look at the following list and marvel at the number of ingredients. Check out all the chemicals, check out the looooooong listing of vitamins that need to be added to provide nutritional value because there is absolutely nothing there of merit that has any value.

If you can’t pronounce an ingredient in a product, your dog shouldn’t be eating it. Also realize that manufacturers use unfamiliar terms to disguise unsavory ingredients. For instance, if MSG wasn’t harmful, it wouldn’t be hidden. And, it is hidden in many of the ingredients listed below. You can learn more about MSG in this GReat PDF on Excitotoxins

Okay, so here are the 34 ingredients of that HIGHLY POPULAR dog treat:

Gelatin, Wheat Protein Isolate, Glycerin, Soy Protein Isolate, Sodium Caseinate, Natural Poultry Flavor, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Vegetable Oil (Preserved with Propyl Gallate), Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Lecithin, Ground Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Monostearate, Monoglycerides of Edible Fatty Acids, Choline Chloride, Potassium Sorbate (A Preservative), Minerals (Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Vitamins (dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate , Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Folic Acid), Chlorophyll.

I will be back with a post identifying the product and the scary information about many of the ingredients. So do stay tuned . . . if you dare. In the meantime, check out the healthy, organic treats I listed above or go to my foundation’s site and try making treats on your own from healthy and whole ingredients

Suzi Beber’s Homemade Recipes
Assorted Homemade Recipes

Time to write to the FDA Commissioner von Eschenbach

As we continue to read articles such as this one, China grapples with food contamination credibility crisis, think about Senator Durbin’s request for us dog folks to email FDA commissioner.

Just click here to send a letter. It’s a cinch and takes less than a minute to do so, as the letter is already written and all you need to do is enter your name and email address. And, there is also a way to email friends to get them to send in letters.

I feel like digging a hole big enough to hide in, just like Golden Amber

I feel like digging a hole and hiding just like Golden Amber when I read articles such as this, Lax FDA allows us to be food guinea pigs.

It lets us know we now need to add another ingredient to be on the lookout for with respect to avoiding: milk protein concentrate And, until we get Country of Origin Labeling, we are at the mercy of the many self-serving corporations out there controlling all that we eat.

Pet Food Crisis: Senator Durbin and the ‘food czar’

Durbin and the ‘food czar’
Chicago Tribune Editorial, Published May 12, 2007

Used to be that the word “czar” conjured up images of dashing Russian royals and their glamorous trappings — Faberge eggs and glittering jewels. These days, though, “czar” has morphed into Washington shorthand for a government job with a flashy title but little authority.

There’s much more . . . . . 

Very mysterious …. but way cool pet food crisis posting

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Result of food crisis: my niece’s baby Hunter off the wagon & drinking again

I do not know who the dude or dude-ess is that runs the Lethal Dose Blog, but s/he sure does come up with some cool discoveries with respect to the pet food crisis. Just check out the latest Lethal Dose post below.

No wonder the pesticide people say pesticides are safe. To them it all looks like rice.

And, if you want some GReat links and info on the whole mess, just go to my FDA category listing.

It just never ends

As Pet Food Recall Expands, ASPCA Warns Crisis Not Over: More Cases May Be Seen

NEW YORK, May 3, 2007—With Menu Foods yesterday greatly expanding its recall of pet food products due to new evidence of cross-contamination, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today warned pet parents that this crisis is far from over, and urged them to watch their pets closely for any symptoms that may be related to the recall.

“Given the fact that there is new evidence of cross-contamination in ingredients that may have been considered safe prior to this news, we need to be much more aware of where the ingredients in our pets’ food are coming from,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, a board-certified toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), located in its Midwest Office in Urbana, Ill.

“We are strongly recommending that pet parents immediately investigate, via their pet food manufacturer’s Web site or by calling them directly, where the ingredients—specifically protein supplements—are sourced from.”

Given the current situation and until this crisis is resolved, the ASPCA is recommending pets be fed products containing U. S. -sourced protein supplements only.

Can someone explain this? It is downright hideous.

We have all seen the articles talking about the relationship between melamine and cyanuric acid (Scientists track chemical reactions in pet food).

And, I’ve learned that Feed Grade Biuret, which is allowed in feed, is a non-protein nitrogen “protein booster” for use in cattle feed. It is produced by the partial hydrolysis of urea and consists of a mixture of: Biuret, Urea, Cyanuric acid and Triuret. Like Wheat Gluten and Rice Protein Concentrate, Feed Grade Biuret is a white powder. It was implicated in this April, 2005 Chinese Gluten Importer website as being sold as a “Pseudo Rice Protein”.

Well, with the FDA allowing biuret, cyanuric acid and triuret (April 2006 update) as food additives in feed and the water of animals, we are all in big trouble.

Percent
Biuret — 55 minimum
Urea — 15 maximum
Cyanuric acid and triuret — 30 maximum
Mineral oil — 0.5 maximum
Total nitrogen (equivalent to 218.75 pct 35 minimum crude protein)
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Check out this part of the federal register about all of the additives allowed.

PART 573 Food Additives Permitted in Feed and Drinking Water of Animals

§ 573.120 – Acrylamide-acrylic acid resin.
§ 573.130 – Aminoglycoside 3′-phospho- transferase II.
§ 573.140 – Ammoniated cottonseed meal.
§ 573.160 – Ammoniated rice hulls.
§ 573.180 – Anhydrous ammonia.
§ 573.200 – Condensed animal protein hydrolysate.
§ 573.220 – Feed-grade biuret.
§ 573.225 – 1,3-Butylene glycol.
§ 573.240 – Calcium periodate.
§ 573.260 – Calcium silicate.
§ 573.280 – Feed-grade calcium stearate and sodium stearate.
§ 573.300 – Choline xanthate.
§ 573.310 – Crambe meal, heat toasted.
§ 573.320 – Diammonium phosphate.
§ 573.340 – Diatomaceous earth.
§ 573.360 – Disodium EDTA.
§ 573.380 – Ethoxyquin in animal feeds.
§ 573.400 – Ethoxyquin in certain dehydrated forage crops.
§ 573.420 – Ethyl cellulose.
§ 573.440 – Ethylene dichloride.
§ 573.450 – Fermented ammoniated condensed whey.
§ 573.460 – Formaldehyde.
§ 573.480 – Formic acid.
§ 573.500 – Condensed, extracted glutamic acid fermentation product.
§ 573.520 – Hemicellulose extract.
§ 573.530 – Hydrogenated corn syrup.
§ 573.540 – Hydrolyzed leather meal.
§ 573.560 – Iron ammonium citrate.
§ 573.580 – Iron-choline citrate complex.
§ 573.600 – Lignin sulfonates.
§ 573.620 – Menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite.
§ 573.625 – Menadione nicotinamide bisulfite.
§ 573.640 – Methyl esters of higher fatty acids.
§ 573.660 – Methyl glucoside-coconut oil ester.
§ 573.680 – Mineral oil.
§ 573.685 – Natamycin.
§ 573.700 – Sodium nitrite.
§ 573.720 – Petrolatum.
§ 573.740 – Odorless light petroleum hydrocarbons.
§ 573.750 – Pichia pastoris dried yeast.
§ 573.760 – Poloxalene.
§ 573.780 – Polyethylene.
§ 573.800 – Polyethylene glycol (400) mono- and dioleate.
§ 573.820 – Polyoxyethylene glycol (400) mono- and dioleates.
§ 573.840 – Polysorbate 60.
§ 573.860 – Polysorbate 80.
§ 573.870 – Poly(2-vinylpyridine-co-styrene).
§ 573.880 – Normal propyl alcohol.
§ 573.900 – Pyrophyllite.
§ 573.914 – Salts of volatile fatty acids.
§ 573.920 – Selenium.
§ 573.940 – Silicon dioxide.
§ 573.960 – Sorbitan monostearate.
§ 573.980 – Taurine.
§ 573.1000 – Verxite.
§ 573.1010 – Xanthan gum.
§ 573.1020 – Yellow prussiate of soda.

Pet Food & Human Food Crisis …. Saga for years to come (with continuing updates)

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If only this mess could be relieved by the calming sucks on a pacifier ….

Here are some wonderful articles and a marvelous link to an evolving page that has created a summary of the current crisis:

1. Wikipedia’s 2007 Pet Food Crisis Outline

2. The Coalition for a Stronger FDA

3. Rise and shine: the GM wake-up call

4. U.S. Contaminated Pet Food Investigation Update: Phantoms at large in the poisoned pet food tragedy

5. YOUR WHOLE PET: Is Your Pet’s Food Safe Yet? Why pet owners are worried, and why that’s not likely to change soon

6. Washington Post Article Collection: Pet Food Recall

7. Pet Deaths Spur Call for Better FDA Screening: Imports Raise Concern About Human Foods

8. Senate back tighter pet food standards

9. Hey, FDA, here’s a tip for you

10. Senator Dick Durbin on Pet Food Recall & FDA

Oversight Hearing on the FDA’s Mission: Waxman’s Opening

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing today: “The FDA’s Vital Mission and Challenges for the Future.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a large and influential role in the health and safety of the American people. The FDA is responsible for ensuring that drugs and devices are safe and effective, and that food is uncontaminated and properly labeled. This hearing marks the first of a series designed to bring competence and efficiency back to federal agencies.

Food Safety? Sorry to say but there is none …. for any of us!

FDA widens Chinese import alert
By Elizabeth Weise and Julie Schmit, USA TODAY

 

The Food and Drug Administration is enforcing a new import alert that greatly expands its curtailment of some food ingredients imported from China, authorizing border inspectors to detain ingredients used in everything from noodles to breakfast bars. The new restriction is likely to cause delays in the delivery of raw ingredients for the production of many commonly used products. …

The agency for the first time also said it has received reports, which it has yet to confirm, that approximately 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating contaminated food. The only number of pet deaths that the FDA has confirmed thus far is 14.

An import alert of this breadth is rare. Before this new FDA action, only products from two Chinese companies that exported the melamine-tainted wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate had been detained.

Now for the products to reach U.S. foodmakers, the importers will have to prove to the FDA that they are safe. The ingredients restricted include wheat gluten, rice gluten, rice protein, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, corn gluten meal, corn by-products, soy protein, soy gluten, mung-bean protein and amino acids.

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From the above article, you’d think that the FDA was finally getting to work. But, after reading the remarks below, maybe you will think again.

1. Did you know that the FDA does no testing to prevent adulterated imported food from entering the US?

2. Did you know that when food is actually denied entry it is often brought to another U.S. port and then admitted?

3. Did you know that FDA’s current practice is to tell food importers whether their shipments will be inspected even before the shipment is put on a boat or a plane for delivery to a U.S. port of entry?

4. Did you know that the FDA lacks the authority to “trace back” food borne illness beyond the border?

5. Did you know that the FDA does not have mandatory recall authority? That is, if a recall is believed appropriate, the only thing it can do is ask the states to use their recall authority to take a particular food article out of commerce.

6. Did you know we have no mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for meat, poultry, seafood and fresh produce? A voluntary program is a joke as every major packer and retailer is not participating and labeling their products.

7. Did you know that the FDA is unable to prohibit importation of food from foreign food firms or foreign governments that deny it the ability to perform an inspection there? They also are unable to prohibit importation from countries, such as China, that do not provide the same level of food safety protection as the U.S.

8. Did you know, that as of 2002, there were only 150 FDA inspectors covering the 307 ports of entry where food now enters the U.S.?
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Just read this … and weep … because our Republican congress has sat on needed food safety legislation.

 

REMARKS OF THE HONORABLE JOHN D. DINGELL
RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE
BEFORE THE CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA’S
25TH ANNUAL NATIONAL FOOD POLICY CONFERENCE 2002
“FOOD SAFETY AND THE BIOTERRORISM LEGISLATION”
APRIL 23, 2002

Thank you for inviting me to speak today before the 25th Annual National Food Policy Conference sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America. I salute the members of CFA who dedicate themselves to advocating for, and educating consumers on, a wide range of issues, both nationally and at the state level.

This is the largest group of food safety advocates I have ever had the opportunity to address, and for that I want to sincerely thank you. For the past five years, I have had the pleasure of working with Carol Tucker Foreman, Caroline Smith DeWaal and other consumer food safety advocates on improving the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) inspection and regulation of imported food.

This conference is particularly relevant to the current work of Congress, in particular defending our Nation’s food supply against threat of terrorist attack. Important work is being done in the House-Senate conference on bioterrorism, and I hope that you will lend your voice to the urgent need for additional resources to improve the safety of our food system.

We knew that something as important as strengthening the Nation’s food safety system would not be an easy task. But the difference now is that the issue is finally getting attention, from the public, the press, from government, and from both proponents and opponents of strong food safety measures. My hope is that this attention will translate to action.

All the past work done by this great organization of consumer advocates, and by all those represented here today, is now paying off. You have an audience that is listening. Much more will be demanded of you in the future as we fight to keep food safety at the forefront of public attention.

In each of the past two congresses, most of my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Energy and Commerce have joined me in sponsoring legislation aimed at improving the safety of imported food that Americans eat.

Unfortunately, few others have shared our enthusiasm for acknowledging and taking steps to address the threats to food safety generally, and in particular threats to the safety of imported food. The legislation I have introduced in this and past Congresses has not received so much as a hearing. Then came September 11th, and instantly our vulnerabilities as a Nation were exposed to the alarm of everyone. For the first time, we had a Secretary of Health and Human Services say there is a need to take steps to detect the intentional adulteration of food coming into the United States and to prevent entry of food which presents risk of injury to American consumers.

From that came the bioterrorism bills that passed both the House and the Senate. The bioterrorism legislation is clearly the most important food safety legislation to be considered by the Congress in years. It has new money and much needed new authorities for FDA to improve its regulation of imported food. This legislation, for the first time, gives FDA authority to act independently at the border. FDA would no longer need to rely on the Department of the Treasury either for information about food at the border or for the ability to detain shipments it suspects are adulterated.

For those of us who advocate stronger food safety protections, our first and most important challenge is to make sure Congress passes the bioterrorism bill with the strongest possible food safety provisions. Although I am generally pleased with the work the conference is doing, I would be less than candid if I did not say I’m more than a little concerned at how long the conference is taking. And the longer it is before agreement is reached, the more opportunity there is for those who don’t want a strong food safety bill to undermine our work.

Furthermore, it should be remembered that the bioterrorism legislation is a big bill. Food safety is only one of several titles in the legislation. While the conference is closer to agreement on food safety than on some other titles of the bill, agreement on the whole bill must be reached before the food safety provisions can be enacted into law.

All who care about food safety should now be making your voices heard. The conferees need to know that you have high expectations for the work they are doing and very long memories should they fail. American consumers have for too long been treated like guinea pigs. A successful bioterrorism conference is critical to defending our food supply.

But, the bioterrorism legislation is only one step in the right direction. Once the bioterrorism legislation becomes law, and I am hopeful it will become law, much will still need to be done on food safety. A high priority for all food safety advocates must be building on and sustaining the concern about food safety that last year’s horrific events created. Active grassroots support will be needed to maintain the momentum for greater food safety.

This afternoon, I want to give you an overview of my food safety goals in the bioterrorism conference. Before I do, however, it’s important to understand what the regulation of imported food looks like today. And I know you will not be surprised that it is not a pretty picture.

As bad as you may believe FDA controls are at the border, the reality is they are much worse than you think. As a result, imported food that is intentionally or unintentionally adulterated is much more likely to end up on America’s dinner table than it is to be detected and held at the border. This is true largely because FDA doesn’t have enough inspectors at ports of entry, but FDA’s own practices and lack of authority make matters worse.

FDA does no testing to prevent adulterated imported food from entering the United States. It should. And when food is actually denied entry it is often brought to another U.S. port and admitted.

FDA’s current practice is to tell food importers whether their shipments will be inspected even before the shipment is put on a boat or a plane for delivery to a U.S. port of entry. This must stop.

FDA lacks authority to “trace back” food borne illness beyond the border. Congress must provide that authority.

And FDA often lacks timely information. Consider this: 54 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables that come into the U.S. enter at either the Canadian or Mexican border. Yet FDA gets no documentation on more than 10 percent of all food imports entering the United States from Mexico or Canada until 10 days after the food arrives in this country. By then, the food very likely has been eaten. That is almost certainly true in the case of fresh fruit and vegetable imports. We must do better.

But the most pressing problem is straightforward — resources. Currently, there are only 150 FDA inspectors to cover the 307 ports of entry where food now enters the U.S. If there is no FDA inspector present when imported food arrives at a U.S. port, that food is allowed into the U.S. and is eaten by American consumers without FDA so much as reviewing its paperwork.

It would take six times the current number of inspectors just to put one FDA inspector at each port on a full-time basis. It is clear that we cannot detect adulterated imported food at the border unless we have inspectors at the border to inspect and examine shipments of food coming into the United States. More inspectors are needed, and they are needed now.

Over the last five years, the volume of food imported into the U.S. has almost doubled, forcing FDA to admit it is “in danger of being overwhelmed by the volume of products reaching U.S. ports.” With more imports reaching U.S. ports, FDA’s inspection rate for imported food has fallen from eight percent in 1992 to less than one percent last year. At a minimum, FDA needs to be inspecting 10 percent of food imports, and that can only happen if FDA is given greater resources than even the bioterrorism bill envisions.

That’s what things look like today, and here are my goals for the bioterrorism conference:

FDA must have the ability to detain food, at the border and elsewhere, on its own authority. And when no inspector is present at a port of entry, FDA needs the ability to order food held until an inspector can be dispatched to the location. Before imported food can be seized now, FDA must first convince the Justice Department to initiate a case on its behalf, and then Justice has to convince a judge that the seizure is warranted. That’s unacceptable, and the bioterrorism legislation must give FDA this needed authority.

FDA needs to know in advance when food is going to be presented for importation. At the same time, notice must not be given so far in advance that shippers learn whether their shipments will be inspected even before they are ready for transport to the U.S. Unless FDA receives adequate advance notice that a shipment of food is coming to port, it faces a serious handicap in being able to determine whether that shipment should be detained. FDA needs to know what is being imported, the manufacturer and shipper of the article being imported, and if known, the grower of the article, the country of origin, the country from which the article is shipped, and the anticipated port of entry. Without this basic information submitted sufficiently in advance of the food’s arrival, FDA cannot effectively evaluate when a shipment of imported food may present a threat of serious illness or death.

FDA needs to have inspectors present when food comes through a U.S. port of entry. There is no substitute for on-site examination of product and product documentation that can only be performed effectively by a trained, inquisitive, inspection professional. The Administration says it can hire 600 new inspectors with the funds authorized by the bioterrorism legislation. That’s a big increase over the 150 FDA inspectors who must now cover 307 ports of entry. But even this sizeable increase in the inspection force will ensure that only one inspector will be on duty at all times at all 307 ports. That’s a good start, but it’s not enough. And it’s not at all clear to me that the 600 new inspectors will actually be hired. We will need to address the adequacy of FDA’s inspection force again in the future, and I hope I can count on your support for making sure FDA has the inspectors it needs to do a thorough and effective job at the borders.

FDA also needs to know who it is regulating. Today it does not know this. Sounds like a simple enough proposal, but it has caused much controversy. To remedy this deficiency, both the House and Senate bioterrorism bills provide that every food warehouse, factory, or establishment must register with the FDA and provide its name and address. Access to records gives FDA its best chance of identifying food that is adulterated, intentionally or not. For this reason, a strong recordkeeping and records access provision must be retained in the conference bill.

Other important new powers I expect the conference bill to provide include the ability for FDA to “debar” importers who are convicted of felonies in connection with the importation of food into the U.S. or who repeatedly offer adulterated food for importation. FDA also needs the authority to mark food it does not permit to be imported with a “refused entry” stamp so that if the importer tries to bring a rejected shipment of food through another U.S. port, inspectors can readily identify it as having already been “refused entry.” And to make sure food that has been refused entry stays out, such food must be deemed to be adulterated, allowing FDA to bring legal action to stop the food itself.

We must also develop rapid test technologies that will allow inspectors to detect contaminants on imported food right at the border. Currently, inspectors don’t even bother to test imported food because it can take up to two weeks to get test results back, and by that time the food has most likely already been eaten by American consumers.

These new authorities and resources that I expect to be included in the bioterrorism bill will be a great start. But in the coming years, more will be needed.

My ongoing goals for food safety include the following:

FDA needs, but does not have, mandatory recall authority. If FDA believes a recall is appropriate today, the only thing it can do is ask the states to use their recall authority to take a particular food article out of commerce. It is very interesting that all but one state has food recall authority, but FDA does not.

FDA needs a user fee to fund the additional cost of inspecting imported food. This would insure a steady revenue stream for much needed inspectors and tests to detect pathogens at the border.

Imported food regulated by the FDA should be labeled to identify its country of origin. American consumers have a right to know whether their food was grown halfway around the world or at the local farm down the street.

FDA needs, but does not have, the ability to file a seizure action without the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice does not always have the same priorities as FDA, and as a result, FDA enforcement suffers along with the safety of our food supply.

If a foreign food firm or foreign government denies FDA the ability to perform an inspection in a foreign country, or if the foreign country does not provide the same level of food safety protection as the U.S., then FDA should be able to prohibit importation of food from that country. Either FDA can establish with some certainty the safety of imported food, or it cannot. And if it cannot, the food should not be allowed into the U.S.

These deficiencies, which we were unable to resolve in the bioterrorism bill, must be addressed in the future. The legislation my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and I have introduced contains many of these additional authorities that FDA very much needs. H.R. 3075, the “Imported Food Safety Act” that so many in this room have supported, needs your help. I urge you to contact your Members of Congress and encourage them to cosponsor this important legislation.

The key to being able to do these important things in the future lies right here in this room. You must not let the American people, the Congress, or the Administration forget how vulnerable our food supply is. We must not wait for the unthinkable to happen again before we do what is needed to protect the safety of our food, both imported and domestic. Our window of opportunity to do something important is still open. Don’t let it close without getting the job done. I pledge my efforts to this cause. Together we can make it happen.

Thank you.

Prepared by the Democratic staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee
2322 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515