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FDA, ChemNutra, Menu Foods

Welcome to Pet Cemetery 2007

By Judi McLeod

Friday, May 4, 2007

When the latest contaminated pet food scare is over, thousands of hearts will have been broken. Pet people love their pets. What could possibly be worse than knowing a pet died from the very food you have fed it?

Shame on the FDA for consistently claiming the number 16 for dead pets in the latest wave of dead pets from poison masquerading as commercial pet food; the latest because the massive Menu Food recall is only the deadliest recall to date. Some of the same pet food manufacturers whose products are on current recall have made recalls for other contaminanted products as recently as 2006.

"In the most deadly recall of 2006, 4 prescription canned dog and cat foods were recalled by Royal Canin (owned by Mars). The culprit was a serious overdose of Vitamin D that causes calcium deficiency and kidney disease." (www.api4animals.org).

"Consumers have reported the deaths of as many as 8,500 dogs and cats as a result of tainted pet food, federal officials said Thursday. (www.latimes.com, May 4, 2007) (Reuters just corrected; all editions: About 4,000 complaints of related pet deaths have been reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by Thursday, but the agency said that only 16 deaths of cats and dogs have been confirmed) "In the two months since reports of a few pet deaths led to a massive U.S. pet food recall, the Food and Drug Administration said about half of the calls to its hot line were from owners of deceased cats and dogs."

"Officials said the agency had not confirmed those reports but added that the numbers of allegations were likely to rise as it caught up with a backlog of calls reporting sick or dead animals."

Notice how quickly FDA bureaucrats resort to the use of the word "allegations".

The numbers FDA is reporting could be flawed for a couple of practical reasons. Emotionally wrought owners don't necessarily take their time from dead pet grief to check in with the FDA hotline. Countless pet owners have no confidence in the FDA as a protector of food safety in either the animal or human kind.

The long awaited statistics indicating an 8,500 dead pet toll were admitted even as the FDA tried to reassure nervous consumers that their food supply was safe, a necessity now that tainted pet food has been fed to both hogs and chickens.

Some two months after the first Menu Food recall, food safety agents are being dispatched to U.S. food manufacturers for inspections. Chinese authorities, which detained the head of a Chinese company suspected of shipping contaminated wheat gluten to U.S. pet food suppliers, were in the news.

Detaining a single shipper is not too likely to bolster public confidence when Chinese suppliers boast that melamine and other agents to boost protein levels in commercial pet food has been in use for years.

Authorities seem to have marginalized brokenhearted pet owners and only made a show of response when the contaminated pet food entered the human food chain.

"New food safety czar David Acheson said he wanted to assure consumers that the human food supply was safe. "It is very unlikely that there is a human health effect here," he said." (latimes.com).

Government agents are doing too little too late by beginning to visit domestic food makers to "raise awareness" and test Chinese ingredients.

Some of the tainted pet foods were sold as "salvage" and fed to 6,00 hogs and nearly 3 million chickens destined for human consumption.

Why are Chinese police remaining mum about confirming the arrest of Mao Lijun, the general manager of Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co--the company Las Vegas-based ChemNutra said it imported its melamine-laced wheat gluten from?

Meanwhile, just as countless pet owners suspected in the first place, the toll of dead animals in the most recent contaminated pet food tragedy is in the thousands and growing.

With apologies to author Stephen King, it's Pet Cemetery 2007.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]

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