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Tainted Pet Food Went To Hog Farms

  1. Apr 25, 2007 #1
    Better hold the bacon on that BLT.

    http://www.thestar.com/article/205623

    On another side of the situation the FDA is wondering if the Chinese companies involved may have added the melamine intentionally. Apparently it makes protein content appear higher. it has also shown up in rice protein additives.

    http://news.aol.com/topnews/articles/_a/pet-food-may-have-been-intentionally/20070412155809990001
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 25, 2007 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Also, there appears to be no reasonble explanation for how the melamine might have gotten into the gluten accidentally. I did hear something about the possibility that melamine was thought to quickly convert to protein once in the body, and that this may be what the manufacturer expected.
     
  4. Apr 25, 2007 #3

    Moonbear

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    As for the feed contamination at the hog farm, I actually heard this news a while ago (last week perhaps). The most recent I had read on it this week was that all of the meat potentially tainted was recalled and testing to determine if the melamine actually got into the meat was being done (I don't know what happens to it once in the body, and what organs it might accumulate in, if any).

    As for the not-necessarily-accidental contamination angle, it's not that it converts to protein, but that it can give a false positive on tests of protein content to make it appear there is more protein in the gluten than there really is. In other words, it's a way to cheat and make a low protein, poor quality product appear as though it is a better quality, higher protein product. At least, that's the version I've heard in the news.

    The other possibility fell somewhere between accidental and intentional, and more in the area of negligence in trying to cut costs by reusing bags to package the gluten that had previously contained melamine (similar to the bag found containing the rice protein that has also been a source of additional recalls...the bag was marked melamine and a different color from all the others in that shipment, which got that entire shipment quarantined and tested by the shipper/distributor, and led to further testing of rice protein already distributed to pet food manufacturers).

    I'm still wondering if any of this wound up in the human food supply? Wheat gluten is commonly added to baked goods to add elasticity to the dough (such as in bread baking). I don't know what else rice protein would be used for outside of animal feed manufacture, but I could imagine it might be added to something like vegetarian or vegan products in place of meat products to balance proteins. And until the results are back from the meat from those hogs, we don't know if there is potential for contamination from products from livestock fed contaminated feeds if that turns out to be more widespread.

    Some pet food manufacturers are responding with statements that they either have never obtained any ingredients from China or that they have ceased obtaining ingredients from China, in order to ensure confidence in their products considering this is not an isolated incident with only one ingredient from one supplier.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  5. Apr 25, 2007 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    I realize that, but apparently some people either think or thought that it might readily convert to a usable protein. Whether or not this makes any sense is beyond the scope of this author. :biggrin: Nor was it known if this motivated the actions of the manufacturer, but it was suggested as a possible explanation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  6. Apr 25, 2007 #5

    Moonbear

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    Okay...I hadn't heard that angle and thought you may have been confused on the point yourself. :uhh: So, that theory is that they still intentionally "spiked" the gluten with melamine, but for the wrong reasons (thinking they were cheating at increasing protein, not cheating at increasing apparent protein).
     
  7. Apr 25, 2007 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    That was the suggestion. It was made during a discussion with "experts" on CNN.
     
  8. Apr 25, 2007 #7
    Beyond my scope too Ivan. I just read that South Africa is having a similar problem with corn gluten from China.

    I also read a rather speculative article on another forum that said China has been experimenting with GM crops. The idea being to create a higher protein grain crop. According to the writer the crops contained melamine and were banned from sale in China.:surprised

    A more realistic scenario is that melamine is cheap, about 60 cents per pound. The Chinese companies can purchase grain from the USA, add the melamine and sell the high protein gluten back to us.:rolleyes:

    Regardless the melamine has been found in corn gluten , wheat gluten , and rice protein concentrate, which all ended up in animal foods.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  9. Apr 25, 2007 #8

    Moonbear

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    When it's multiple products, multiple crops, multiple suppliers, multiple importers (even different countries receiving the products) all destined for food products (doesn't matter to me if it's human or animal, both are supposed to meet the same food safety requirements...people have been known to eat pet foods before) especially when it continued AFTER the first case of contamination was identified, and last I heard, China STILL hadn't provided the official letters of invitation to allow FDA inspectors to see the plant conditions for themselves, I think it's time to stop all imports of food products from China. We have to be able to trust imports as much as we can trust our own food supply, and it must be as open to inspection as our own plants. Until they clean up the food supply and have a completely open-door policy for inspections, why should we or anyone else trust them and allow any food products to be imported? Other countries have prohited US imports of food based on mere suspicion (i.e., mad cow disease) without any evidence of actual contaminated food ever being sent there, so when there are multiple incidences of contamination identified, then that seems good grounds to refuse their exports. I think any country would be wise to follow suit; this isn't just the US that has been affected, it has been Canada and South Africa as well (at least as far as we know). That's not a minor, isolated incident or something that we can expect to be quickly remedied. We're not talking defective electronic components in stereos that cost money but not lives, we're talking food supply.
     
  10. Apr 25, 2007 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    I have a buddy who has been warning about the dangers of wheat gluten for some time now. The claim is that all sorts of problems can be traced back to this, and gluten is now being dumped into our food in large quantities as filler or whatnot.

    For the record, he was also warning about the dangers of prions long before it became an issue.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  11. Apr 25, 2007 #10
    If we die from this stuff will we be buried in a Pet Sematary?:surprised

     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
  12. Apr 25, 2007 #11
    Yipes, speaking of prions the link below presents a theory on mad cow disease. it suggests cattle food in England may have contined contaminated human remains.:bugeye:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4201072.stm
     
  13. Apr 25, 2007 #12

    Moonbear

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    Some recent articles have revisited the idea of viruses being responsible for tranmissible spongiform encephalopathies (like Mad Cow).

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/112784723/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
    Manuelidis, L. 2007 A 25 nm virion is the likely cause of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 100: 897 - 915

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/104/6/1965
    Manuelidis L, Yu Z-X, Barquero N, and Mullins B. 2007 Cells infected with scrapie and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease agents produce intracellular 25-nm virus-like particles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 1965-1970.

    And if you have access to Nature, this complete news story on the controversy is worth a read:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v445/n7128/index.html
    Nature 445, 575 (8 February 2007) | doi:10.1038/445575a; Published online 7 February 2007
    Virus paper reignites prion spat
    Heidi Ledford


    There's good evidence for both sides of the argument, so it's really not resolved yet.
     
  14. Apr 26, 2007 #13
    It appears that all imported gluten is considered to be food grade.

    http://www.petfoodinstitute.org/wheatgluten_melamine_info.htm

    I had no idea that of all the gluten used in this country for both human and pet food, 70% is imported.:bugeye:

    Were our pets the proverbial canary in the coal mine?
     
  15. Apr 26, 2007 #14

    Moonbear

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    It gets worse. Turns out they DIDN'T find all the hogs before meat went to market, and the source was not direct from the wheat gluten distributor, but from the recalled pet food sent to hog farms! HOW was that allowed to happen?! :bugeye:

    http://apnews.excite.com/article/20070426/D8OOGLSG0.html
     
  16. Apr 27, 2007 #15
    They sold and shipped the tainted pet food to pig farms for pig feed? That's beyond comprehension.
     
  17. Apr 27, 2007 #16

    Moonbear

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    That's what it sounds like happened. I still can't fathom how anyone thought that was a good idea. It should have been destroyed. I wonder if knowingly selling it after a recall would count as criminal negligence? I also wonder if the hog farms knew it was the tainted feed they were getting? If so, they are just as guilty here. It's hard to imagine they didn't know, unless it was sent to them before the recalls were widely publicized.
     
  18. Apr 28, 2007 #17
    Which leads my mind to the question, then, is it normal practise to sell dog and cat food as pig feed?

    Knowingly selling and buying the products after the recall would appear to indicate foreknowledge and therefore deliberateness to their actions.

    Artificially jacking protein read-outs on pet foods isn't new to the pet food industry. What qualifies as "by products" for food for pets is beyond disgusting. There is a tiny bit of regulating of the pet food market that says the foods must meet some basic requirements, so if you read the "crude analysis" box on the label of any pet food, it will read virtually identical whether you are purchasing a low-cost garbage product or a high quality, expensive product. The industry hasn't been beyond adding parts like tumours from sick animals to the food mix because tumours are high in proteins. Animal foods are a horror.

    However, back to the idea at hand, I think that might well be a very apt comment someone made back on the previous page regarding our pets possibly being the proverbial canaries in the coalmine. What a price to pay, though. Still. The pet and human food industries aren't so far removed from each other that we can rest easy that the human supply is safe.

    This whole thing has me heartsick and boggled.
     
  19. Apr 28, 2007 #18
    Agriculture officials in Utah are taking this seriously.

    http://www.kpvi.com/Global/story.asp?S=6433693

    The FDA should have required that the pet food be buried, instead, someone tried to make a buck off of it. In addition the FDA is spending a lot of money testing the 6000 suspect hogs.:grumpy:

    Edit: Whoa

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...,1,5582245.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed

    That is going to mean a lot of big holes will be dug.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2007
  20. Apr 28, 2007 #19

    Moonbear

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    Can they just bury them, or do they need to incinerate them? I would be concerned that if they are contaminated with melamine, then burying them would lead to soil contamination for any future crops on that property.

    In answer to G's question, a lot of things are sold as hog feed. Outdated human foods, or restaurant food scraps are commonly used. It's all reprocessed to sterilize it again. It doesn't look pretty, but the hogs don't seem to care, and as long as it provides all their nutrient requirements, it's not a big deal...except when the source is known to be contaminated, of course.

    And, actually, the low cost product and the high price product will read the same in most nutrients because they ALL need to provide a balanced diet if that's what they say they are. Cost really doesn't necessarily mean it's better, though sometimes it does mean more care is taken into not just providing the nutrients, but also ensuring palatability and satiety (so the animal doesn't feel hungry and over eat even after getting all the nutrients they need for the day). Some have things like food colorings added more to please the owner's sense of taste than the pet's.
     
  21. May 1, 2007 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=6449596&nav=menu36_3

    Based on the reports coming out today, and given that even food known to be contaminated was fed to pigs, I think its likely that we have all been eating melamine for some time, and I really have to wonder now about my buddy's crusade against wheat gluten.
     
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