Saturday, September 13, 2008

News to get used to these days: Another recall issued today

Our monthly e-newsletter is due again this coming Tuesday, so I started working on that today. In it in the past I informed our subscribers once in a while of important on-goings concerning recall happenings related to pet nutrition. I also read about an hour ago in one of my on-line news feeds that there’s again some important recall info to report about. Hence I decided to make the “recall alert” in future a permanent, shared column in our e-news, this blog and our forum.
Now to today’s news: The Associated Press reported today 09/12/08 at around 11 P.M. EST:
“Mars Petcare US announced a voluntary recall Friday of all dry pet food products produced at its plant in Everson, Pa. between Feb. 18 and July 29, citing potential contamination with salmonella. Mars, in a news release, did not say how much pet food is involved, but said the recall reaches 31 states and various brands and said the action was taken as a precaution. "Even though no direct link between products produced at the Everson plant and human or pet illness has been made, we are taking this precautionary action to protect pets and their owners," the company statement said. Mars said it stopped production at the plant July 29 when it was alerted of a possible link between dry pet food produced in Everson and two isolated cases of people infected with salmonella. Mars said salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats and, if there is cross contamination caused by handling of the pet food, in humans also.
The company said consumers should look for "17" as the first two digits of the second line on the UPC for products affected. For Pedigree products, they should look for "PAE" on the bottom line. They can also call 1-877-568-4463 or consult
The brand names include some items under the names Country Acres, Retriever, Doggy Bag, Members Mark, Natural, Ol' Roy, Special Kitty, Paws & Claws, Pedigree, Wegman's, Pet Pride, PMI Nutrition and Red Flannel.”

I hope that I am right with my assumption that nobody within our blog community has to call the toll free number listed above. After all, we all are educated, health conscious people and certainly would not feed our pets the products named in the recall. Additionally I find it very sad that some things just never seem to change. All the names listed to me sound like I’ve heard them many times before in connection to the same problem: Recalls.

Related to this, I also found other news today interesting:
According to the FDA “Chinese newspapers report that some infant formula has been linked to kidney problems and kidney stones in babies in China because the formula contains melamine, the same industrial contaminant from China that poisoned and killed thousands of U.S. dogs and cats last year. Sanlu Group, the major Chinese dairy that produced the formula, has recalled 700 tons of the product, State Xinhua News Agency reported today.
No baby formula approved for use in the USA is manufactured in China, the FDA says. "We want to reassure the public that there's no contamination in the domestic supply of infant formula," says Janice Oliver, deputy of operations at the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. In addition, no U.S. manufacturers or marketers of infant formula receive ingredients from China. "We contacted all of them," Oliver says. The FDA is concerned that illegal infant formula may be sold in Asian and ethnic markets. It happened in 2004, when fake formula from China, which killed dozens of babies there, was found in at least one U.S. store. "None of this should be in the United States. We're not aware of anyone finding it here, but knowing that it happened once before, we want to get the word out," Oliver says.”
Reports in the Chinese news media say that as many as 60 babies have been admitted to hospitals with kidney stones and that the illnesses have been linked to powdered formula made by Sanlu. At least one baby has died.
To refresh everybody’s memory: Melamine, a byproduct of plastic manufacturing, can be used to mimic high-protein additives. In 2007, the discovery that pet food was causing kidney disease and death in dogs and cats across North America led to the largest pet food recall in U.S. history. Melamine and a related chemical, cyanuric acid, had been added to grain products in China to fraudulently increase their apparent protein content, making them appear to be gluten. The products were sold as gluten to U.S. and Canadian pet food manufacturers. Veterinary pathologists established that the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid caused crystals to form in the urinary tracts of animals.
In closing I have to say: These Chinese guys are strange dudes: First they try to kill our pets, now their own babies. What’s next? And I kind of agree with a reader’s comment I found on Huliq News: “It's amazing to me that such things happen in China; apparently they don't have the sort of oversight we have here (and which, even here, sometimes fails). Yet despite this, we continue to outsource our manufacturing to China. Why? Oh, right, corporate greed as well as the need to get the lowest price at any cost. Gotcha.” I do have a problem though with his comments on “oversight”. I wouldn’t say “sometimes fails”, I’d say “too often fails”.

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