CAUSE AND EFFECT


Cutest,  "The Cutest Kitty"
died 3/29/07
16 yrs old

Class Action Law Firm:
Blim & Edelson LLC, Chicago
www.blimlaw.com




"The death toll is expected to eventually reach 14,000."

IT STARTS WITH THE PETS AND ENDS WITH US

The National Pet Food Recall has brought to the public eye the poor regulations on our food products.  This may involve companion animals at first, but in the long run this will involve EVERYONE. 

KLF has been following the recall closely.  There has been activity, albeit very slow, on coming forth with products that also contain Melamine.  Initially it was reported that it was all "China's fault".  That China knowingly used cheap fillers to keep costs down.  But it has since been released that US companies used Melamine as a "filler" as well.  (see more-affected)

The general public believed that the FDA and other organizations were enforcing "product labeling".  We put our trust in the government, and continue our day to day lives.  Our companion animals put their trust in us to feed and care for them - do we shrug off that responsibility as the government has apparently theirs? 

We need labeling to tell us exactly what is in animal feed products, what is "nutritional" and what is "not fit for consumption".

There has been many articles and editorials written about the recall, legislation, food additives, food contaminants, etc.  We have listed just a few here (and will continue to add them as we find them):

FDA Tests Imported Wheat Gluten, Corn Gluten, Corn Meal, Soy Protein and Rice Bran
 Everything from pizza dough to infant formula, protein shakes and energy bars
could contain ingredients now under scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration.

You Are What They Eat - ConsumerReports   (Jan 2005)
Ongoing recall investigation unraveling the facts - American Veterinary Medical Association, IL - (Jun 5, 2007)
Gluten scandal proves danger in food system - NewsObserver   (May 18)

The melamine scandal demonstrates what happens when we leave food safety in the hands of industry and federal agencies such as USDA with mandates to support and protect American agriculture. A few key questions underscore the issues:

* Exactly what happened to all of that recalled pet food? After pets began dying, the government pulled the food from pet store shelves. Where did it go? Was it resold to be fed to pigs and chickens?

* Why wasn't the recalled pet food quarantined to prevent it from being resold? Are criminal charges being sought for those responsible for reselling the contaminated feed?

* What is the magnitude of the problem? Despite reports of thousands of pet deaths, the government still has no official number. Like mad cow disease, we're not counting. Such behavior would knock your grade down a notch in Policy Development 101: You have to measure a problem if you want to define it, find a solution and evaluate whether the solution is working. It seems clear that our federal agencies don't want to document the extent of these problems.

Bad Drugs and Worse Health Policy - Lynchburg News and Advance, VA - May 14, 2007

For our peace of mind - no compromise on safety of food - HTRNEWS.COM - May 09, 2007

Thought for Food (May 8)
A recall of contaminated human food containing melamine has not yet been done as of this writing, presumably to prevent a public panic and financial ruin for the companies using these ubiquitous food additives

What seems especially troubling, however, is the lack of discussion about other possible contaminants in our food, and how they would be discovered. Without a tip off as with the melamine, a chemical can go unsuspected in the food supply for years.

Our food supply comes largely from other countries where food safety is worse than in our pre-FDA days.

Can the FDA get us out of this mess? Of course, not. They cannot inspect all of the food that comes into the US. And the foods they do inspect can only be inspected for known contaminants.

It's a good time to start growing your own food, or finding local sources of food that you can trust.

By Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer are a husband-and-wife, medical anthropologist team internationally recognized for their research into the cultural causes of disease.
 

It's not just about the pet food - a local expert's take (May 6)
It's not just pet owners who should be worried. The uncontrolled distribution of low-quality imported food ingredients, mainly from China, poses a grave threat to public health worldwide
.
Essential ingredients, such as vitamins used in many packaged foods, arrive at U.S. ports from China and, as recent news reports have underscored, are shipped without inspection to food and beverage distributors and manufacturers. Although they are used in relatively small quantities, these ingredients carry enormous risks for American consumers. One pound of tainted wheat gluten could, if undetected, contaminate as much as a thousand pounds of food.

Unlike imported beef, which is inspected at the point of processing by the U.S. Agriculture Department, few practical safeguards have been established to ensure the quality of food ingredients from China.

Often, U.S. officials don't know where or how such ingredients were produced. We know, however, that alarms have been raised about hygiene and labor standards at many Chinese manufacturing facilities. In China, municipal water used in the manufacturing process is often contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals. Food ingredient production is particularly susceptible to environmental contamination.

Equally worrisome, U.S. officials often lack the capability to trace foreign-produced food ingredients to their source of manufacture. In theory, the Bioterrorism Prevention Act of 2001 provides some measure of traceability. In practice, the act is ineffective and was not designed for this challenge. Its enforcement is also shrouded in secrecy by the Department of Homeland Security.

Even if Food and Drug Administration regulators wanted to crack down on products emanating from the riskiest foreign facilities, they couldn't, because they have no way of knowing which ingredients come from which plant. This is why officials have spent weeks searching for the original Chinese source of the contaminated wheat gluten that triggered the pet food crisis.


How the pet food scare affects global health  (May 2)
China is decades behind Japan in quality control, and if the current situation involving tainted food additives is any indication, global consumers of Chinese products, particularly food products, should be aware of what they're buying for many years to come.

Pet Food Recall Leads to Testing of Vegetable Proteins
The list of ingredients to be tested includes wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein and rice bran.

How To Protect Yourself From Contaminated Food  
Experts say there are three ways you can protect yourself against possible contaminated food. You can avoid pork products for the next several weeks, replace energy bars with alternative sources of protein, and avoid products with vegetable protein.

Eat at your own risk -- US safety rules weak (Apr 25)
The uncontrolled distribution of low-quality imported food ingredients, mainly from China, poses a grave threat to public health worldwide.  80 percent of the world's vitamin C is now manufactured in China -- much of it unregulated and some of it of questionable quality. The last U.S. plant making vitamin C closed a year ago.  Europe is ahead of the United States in seeking greater accountability and traceability in food safety and importation. But even the European Union's "rapid alert system" is imperfect.
 

When Fakery Turns Fatal By DAVID BARBOZA (June 01)
Melamine From U.S. Put in Feed By ANDREW MARTIN By ANDREW MARTIN
(May 31)
Food safety worries mount (April 29)
Pet food concerns could become public health scare (April 28)
Will food ever be safe?   (April 28)
Stephanie Esworthy: A trust betrayed (April 9)