Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pet Food Contaminant Melamine Ascending Up The Food Chain

As of April 20, the FDA has recalled 5576 discrete dog and cat food products:

FDA Pet Food Recall Comprehensive List (Opens in Excel)

That's a lot of pet food. As unfortunate as this is for the thousands of dogs and cats that were fed the tainted food, for the owners of those sickened animals, and for the animals' secret in-species amours, I was breathing a sigh of tentative relief that Americans, well, most Americans, aren't in the habit of fattening their felines for future consumption. Food chain disconnect there. Whew.

It dawned on me that if one company could be responsible for supplying a contaminated ingredient to so many dog and cat food manufacturers, maybe they could be supplying it to poultry food manufacturers too, and cattle food manufacturers, and the pigs, and oh, the farmed salmon, not the salmon. People eat chicken in this country. If the toxic melamine is in the chicken, why wouldn't it be in my eggs-over-easy? I had to stop thinking about it.

Today I read...
It's in the pigs:
"Hogs were quarantined at farms in California, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and possibly Ohio after their urine tested positive for the chemical melamine. ... Food and Drug Administration officials are unsure if any entered the human food supply chain."
- Hogs Quarantined Following Pet Food Recall
It might be in the chickens:
"A poultry farm in Missouri also may have received tainted feed, officials added."
- US Examines If Pet Food Contaminant In Human Food
It might be in lots of other foods:
"FDA officials said they would inspect imports of six grain products used in foods [wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice bran and rice protein] ranging from bread to baby formula for traces of melamine."
- US Examines If Pet Food Contaminant In Human Food
I'm going to have to come to terms with the fact that I've probably eaten melamine. As I'm still alive and blogging, I probably haven't eaten enough yet to impair my cognitive function. But the combined toxic load from acrylamide in bread and chips; mercury, PCB's, and flame retardants in fish, carrageenan in soymilk and buttermilk, and now melamine is surely going to jam the works at some point.

Photo of Dick Van Patten, National Spokesman for "Dine With Your Dog Day" by

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