The Palm Beach Post today reported from Shanghai, China, that regulators over there said over the weekend they had confiscated and destroyed more than 3,600 tons of animal feed tainted with melamine. If you recall, melamine is an industrial chemical that has contaminated food supplies in China and led to global recalls of Chinese dairy products. Here in the United States we were confronted last year with melamine contaminated pet food, which has led to US history’s largest pet food recall ever. According to the Post, in what appeared to be China’s biggest food safety crackdown in years, the Chinese government also indicated that it had closed 238 feed makers in a series of nationwide sweeps.
I wonder finally triggering all this action was the fact that China itself was just recently in the news for melamine baby food contaminations, which has led to serious health problems. According to a Chinese government statement issued on 10/25/08, more than 3,600 babies remained in hospital in China after drinking tainted milk products that have sickened more than 53,000 children. Of the 3,654 infants still in hospital, three remained in serious condition, while 46,700 children had recovered and been released from medical clinics as of October 22, the health ministry said in its statement.
Regardless of what called the action abroad, finally a step in the right direction was taken. This brings up another, related issue I found out last week
The Philippines Bureau of Customs began on 10/24/08 testing all pet food and animal feed imports originating in China; as well as testing milk and dairy products and meat imported from China. The Philippine Government reacted in response to the many recent products that have been discovered to contain melamine. The Philippines is holding all products from sale until they have been tested clean of melamine. So far, six milk products were found to contain, according to Philippine custom officials "alarming levels of melamine." That’s in the Philippines. But how about here on our own shores? Why does our government not take similar action and test every single Chinese imported drug, food, regardless of whether it is for humans or pets, or imported ingredient? As far as I have learned (thank you Susan Thixton), the FDA inspects only 1% to 3% of all food and drug imports into the United States.
I find it interesting. We are the Number One country on this planet. We tell everybody what has to be done and how they have to do it. Aren’t we supposed to set an example for everybody else? How comes a country like the Philippines, a country everybody here is laughing and making jokes about, has to set an example? All I learned here lately is about a recent advisory from the US Food and Drug Administration said around 1,500 dogs in Beijing have died from eating pet food tainted with melamine. So again, we criticize what’s wrong abroad. And I haven’t seen too many changes with regards to the pet food problems we have to be worried about following last year’s recall. (See some of my recently posted comments and watch for more to follow). Ooops, I almost forgot, we have become a country rather reacting to problems (typically after disaster strikes and when it is too late) than taking a proactive role. Well, that explains everything and I shall rest my case. Though, I am glad that at least a great number of pet owners don’t follow that lead, have taken things under their own control and are doing the right thing for the sake of our beloved companion animals.