Saturday, November 15, 2008

FDA Orders: Chinese milk products, milk derived ingredients and finishied food products to be detained due to melamine contamination

Earlier this week, the FDA issued an import alert detaining all milk products, milk derived ingredients and finished food products containing milk from China due to the presence of melamine. This chemical became really “famous” just about 2 years ago. Unfortunately no glorious fame, it simply is a poison. It caused history’s largest recall of pet food. Melamine tainted wheat, rice and corn protein additives were the cause for illness in thousand of pets all across the United States. Even deaths were reported. To this day the chemical Melamine still continues to make news around the world. And these news always can be back tracked to originate in China. The latest ones were about melamine contaminated baby foods in China, causing illness and death in countless human infants (wrote about this in one of my earlier comments: .
The FDA orders all milk products, all milk derived ingredients, and all finished food products containing milk imported from China are being detained nationwide without physical examination. While many types of human food are impacted by this measurement, it also affects pet nutrition.
Pet products on the alert list include pet cat and dog foods, other pet foods, laboratory animal feeds, pet and laboratory animal foods, by-products for animals, dairy by-products for animals, and animal waste feed products imported from China. The alert includes milk derived pet food ingredients shipped to the U.S. from China.
According to the alert the problem is specified as melamine being an “Unsafe Food Additive, Poisonous or Deleterious Substance Unfit For Food”. As reason for the alert, the FDA cites:
“In September, 2008, FDA became aware of thousands of infant illnesses in China due to the consumption of infant formula reported to contain melamine. Reports indicated over 53,000 illnesses, including almost 13,000 hospitalizations, and at least four deaths of infants. The illnesses involved the formation of kidney stones and crystals and related complications. The milk used in the infant formula has been implicated as the source of the melamine contamination. According to sources, at a bulk fluid milk collection point, water is added to the bulk fluid milk to increase the apparent volume of product. Melamine is added to the water/milk mixture to increase the nitrogen content in order to inflate the apparent protein content found in the product. Milk is transported from the collection centers to milk processing facilities. The problem of melamine contamination is not limited to infant formula products. Chinese government sources indicate contamination of milk components, especially dried milk powder, which are used in the manufacture of a variety of finished foods. These contaminated milk components appear to have been dispersed throughout the Chinese food supply chain. FDA analyses have detected melamine and cyanuric acid in a number of products that contain milk or milk-derived ingredients, including candy and beverages. In addition, information received from government sources in a number of countries indicates a wide range and variety of products from a variety of manufacturers have been manufactured using melamine contaminated milk or milk derived ingredients, including: fluid and powdered milk, yogurt, frozen desserts, biscuits, cakes and cookies, taffy-like soft candy products, chocolates, and beverages. These products appear to contain at least one milk-derived ingredient and they are of Chinese origin. Reports of contamination have come from more than thirteen countries in Asia, Europe, and Australia, in addition to the United States. Additional products from various manufacturers continue to be found to be contaminated with melamine. The problem of melamine contamination in Chinese food products is a recurring one. In 2007, bulk vegetable protein products imported from China were contaminated with melamine and melamine analogs, apparently from deliberate contamination.”
Granted, this all, at the first glance may sound the FDA’s order is only concerned about human food, it does however in the last sentence address the pet food problem 2 years ago. It also makes important statements which apply to human food and pet food alike. Example: “Melamine is added to the water/milk mixture to increase the nitrogen content in order to inflate the apparent protein content found in the product.”
Finally, it was about time that we have some action taken here. Because the problem is serious and should have everybody on his toes. Anybody needing more reasons? How about these, all detected by Susan Thixton:
Time Magazine wrote in it’s 11/04/08 issue: “the Chinese government continues to downgrade the severity of the melamine problem. Melamine tainted pet food in 2007; baby formulas, candy, and fish feed to mention a few in 2008. Experts state “If those lessons don’t sink in, then expect a Chinese Product Safety Scandal of 2009.”
The Epoch Times, a world-wide newspaper reported on November 6, 2008 of Lin He, a geneticist and member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences speech to the Summit Medical Academy; believing melamine contaminated foods to be “one of the most important factors resulting in the soaring number of birth defects in China.” The Ministry of Consumer Affairs in Trinidad & Tobago posted a full page advertisement in the 11/08/08 newspaper warning consumers about food products from China and Japan. “The ad mentioned ham and sausages were under suspicion of Cyanide contamination. In addition, it noted that certain products suspected of being tainted with Melamine, the industrial chemical at the heart of the Chinese milk scandal.” The ad mentioned specifically named products and manufacturers.
Hong Kong reported on 11/12/08 of “food inspectors having found fish feed imported from China contaminated with high levels of melamine.”
As if that all wouldn’t be enough: The FDA announced on 11/06/08 it seized 11 lots of contaminated heparin from Celsus Laboratories in Cincinnati, Ohio; all imported from China. The FDA has notified Japanese, Canadian, Australian, European Union, and other international authorities of shipments of contaminated heparin from Celsus.
Susan Thixton, always trying to figure ways how we best can protect ourselves, in her newsletter complains: “The threat of melamine continues worldwide. Consumers are left with few options to protect their families from contaminated Chinese imports.” She figured out that “While it’s only a partial help, the UPC or Bar Code number listed on product labels gives consumers limited Country of Origin information. The first three digits of a bar code indicates the location country of the company which produces the product; not necessarily the country where the product was manufactured. As an example, products that are manufactured by a Chinese company in China have a bar code that begins with 690 thru 695. However, a US company whose products are manufactured in China would have a bar code that begins with 000 – 019; the codes for the US and Canada. The first three digits of the bar code number indicate the country location of the company headquarters. Also, foods that would contain ingredients from China would not be noted by the bar code.” Thank you Susan, I was wondering about that in the past quite a few times myself. Maybe it is time for someone to restructure the UPC codes. And I am convinced that we all would be in for a big surprise. Is it even possible these days to buy anything what has clearly nothing to do with China?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Canine Protein Requirements Part 3: Evaluating Protein sources

From previous parts of this little series on protein we remember that a protein molecule is made up of chains of amino acids. Different sources of protein contain different combinations of the 22 or so amino acids. Of these amino acids, 10 are considered “essential” amino acids. “Essential” in this case means that animals cannot produce these amino acids on their own, they must be a nutrient in the diet. During the digestive process proteins are broken down into their individual amino acids. These in turn are then reassembled into the building blocks of body tissues such as skin, hair, muscles, and organs. Amino acids are also utilized to produce metabolic enzymes. Enzymes are necessary for many bodily functions including the regulation of antibodies within the immune system and the transfer of nerve impulses.The most complete and most easily digested and assimilated amino acids for cats and dogs are found in protein deriving from animal sources. Besides being more bio available and containing a wider array of amino acids, both essential and non essential, these proteins are also more palatable. The biological value of a protein is determined by how readily the amino acids broken down and used by the body. For dogs and cats, egg whites are at the top of the list with a biological value of 100, followed by muscle meat like beef, chicken or lamb at 92, and organ meats at 90. Wheat and corn are populating the bottom of the list with biological values of 60 and 54. Cooking meat at the high temperatures as it is required for canned foods and dry kibble reduces it’s biological value. This is one of the main reasons why raw or less processed foods in animal’s diet such as freeze dried or dehydrated meals are top food alternatives.When evaluating the protein source on a bag of kibble, we need to keep in mind that whole meats, such as an ingredient listed as “chicken” or “beef,” contain 75% water. If a whole meat is listed first, the next ingredient should be a specific meat meal to insure the protein in the food is from animal sources, not grains. These are for example chicken meal or beef meal, but never generic “meat meal” or by-product meals. A high quality pet food is made with USDA or human grade sources for meat meals. If the ingredient lists “chicken” first followed by grains or grain by-products, it is an indication that much of the protein in the food comes from the grains and is less bio available. Trying to force carnivores to derive their amino acid requirements from grain sources is one of the main contributors to pet obesity. Remember, our companion animals being carnivores means they are mainly meat and not plant based protein eaters.
What are the best protein sources? Is chicken the best protein for cats? And is beef best for dogs, or is lamb better? There are strong opinions among pet enthusiasts about the answers to these questions. The real answer is that it completely depends on the individual animal. Some research suggests that dogs do better on a diet and protein source that most closely matches that of their ancestors: the food that was available in the region in which the breed developed. Border Collies would eat lamb, fish and poultry as they originated in Scotland where these were staples in the diet. The Greyhound, originating in Egypt, would eat rabbit, pork, poultry and goat. German Shepherds would be fed beef, as they were originally bred in the Alsatian Region of Germany.Breed specific guidelines may be helpful for some dogs. However, for many dogs their heritage is pretty much unknown. For another large group of dogs and cats, food allergies will determine which protein sources are best. Cats are assumed to have all developed on a similar diet of rodents, specifically mice, birds and the occasional rabbit. But to answer the question which meat is best: In the absence of food sensitivities or allergies, I suggest the answer should be “at least three different ones.” Putting your pet on a rotation diet insures a broader nutritional base over time and helps reduce the incidence of food sensitivities and allergies. Many dogs and cats fed the same food for years on end will develop signs of intolerance such as itchy skin or paws, or chronic digestive problems such as gas, loose stools or frequent vomiting. Rotating between at least three or four different foods with different protein sources, and preferably from a variety of manufactures, provides the ideal answer to “Which food is the best for my companion.” Only you and your companion can really and have to determine what is best by trying various high quality foods and choosing those that your dog or cat thrives on.With the growing popularity of grain free and low carbohydrate foods in recent years I find that many pet owners are concerned about feeding not enough or too much protein. One reason for this question is the lingering myth that too much protein in the diet can cause kidney disease, especially in older animals. In the upcoming follow up articles on this topic I will address this issue further. For now let’s just say that nutritional research has shown this is not true. However, as usual, the myth continues to live on. It originated when veterinarians began to put animals with kidney disease on low protein diets to minimize nitrogen levels. Today, holistic veterinarians, and increasingly even traditional veterinarians, are suggesting a diet for animals with kidney disease containing higher quality protein that is more digestible rather than low protein foods. The better quality the protein, the less waste produced through digestion creating less work for the kidneys and lower nitrogen levels in the body.Excess protein in a healthy animal’s diet would typically be either excreted in the urine, used as energy, or converted to fat. An important precaution when feeding a higher protein food is watching how much you feed so as not to allow your pet to gain weight. The answer to “How much protein is too much?” is dependent on the individual animal, it’s metabolism, activity level and lifestyle. If a cat spends most of the day napping and watching its surrounding world without too much of moving around, feed her less of the same food you would feed her if she would be extremely active. Both ways she can thrive on a high quality, high protein diet, the different activity levels are accommodated with different volume of food.Growing puppies and kittens as well as pregnant or nursing mothers and working animals require more protein than normal adult animals. Most of the premium pet foods provide adequate fat and protein levels for their needs provided they are fed larger portions for their size. Adding fresh meat or grain free canned foods to some meals is a great way to provide extra protein.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Legal protection: Warnings at the wrong and right places

This following e-mail correspondence recently took place between a customer of mine and myself:
My customer inquired as follows:
Subject: Ark Naturals Gentle Digest with Prebiotics and Probiotics for Cats & Dogs
I wanted to order Ark Naturals Gentle Digest with Prebiotics and Probiotics for Cats & Dogs for my dog, but am concerned about the below 'caution' statement on your website.
Caution: Consult your veterinarian before using this product in animals with clotting disorders, being treated with anticoagulant medications, diabetes or any metabolic disorder causing hypoglycemia, history of urinary tract stones, known allergies to shell fish. Always consult your vet if you suspect your animal is ill. If your vet is not familiar with this product please contact us or the manufacturer for clinical information.
My vet recommended a microencapsulated pre and probiotic for my dog, and this seemed like a good and healthy choice for him. However, he had calcium oxalate bladder stones, and it seems that this product might not be a good choice. I looked at the Ark Naturals website and a few others, but don't see this similar kind of warning.
Could you explain to me why this product might not be a good choice for a dog with previous calcium oxalate bladder stones?"

I responded:

"Thank you for your inquiry.
Ark Naturals, Inc. is a member of the NASC, The National Animal Supplement Council, a non-profit industry group dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals. As such it is a standard procedure for members to display the particular warning you have found on our site with every product a member sells. If you look at any other product on our site coming from Ark, you will find that they all include this particular warning. This applies even to the jerky hip and joint Sea Mobility maintenance treats.
Ark Naturals itself is currently performing web site maintenance, that is the reason why right now this message is not displayed, once they are done it will be there too.
When recommending supplements (or any other nutritional pet product) Ark Naturals as well as we ourselves do in general always recommend consultation with your vet, especially if your pet is suffering from any specific health condition. I personally do not see any reason why Gentle Digest would be causing a problem for your dog with its current condition. It is an all natural product, if I look at the ingredients, I do not see anything wrong with it or anything which possibly could cause a problem. However, we do strongly recommend that you get vet approval. This is basically just to protect ourselves for a, heaven forbid, worst case scenario and in a lawsuit friendly environment as this world has become these days precautions like this just have become standard operating procedure. Just take a look at the bottom of this e-mail, every one of any of my writings comes with a one-page disclaimer, something our lawyers and insurance companies insist upon.
As I said, I personally would not hesitate to give this supplement to my dog if it would be under the same conditions as yours are. But that's me. Your vet is most likely going to agree with me. Just think about it, the warning makes a disclaimer about "allergies to shell fish", there is nothing like that even contained in this particular product. If your vet needs any more technical information please let us know and we will attempt to get more scientific literature.
Now, since you probably have become a little hesitant about the product, if it makes you feel more comfortable, you may want to take a look at other options and Wysong Biotics, Wysong is a company providing a variety of biotic supplements including lots of technical information and is a company I personally "blindly" trust. If you read up a little on the company on our site, I am sure you are going to agree with me.
Thank you and please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you or about any other questions you may have.
Kind regards, Paul Richey, General Manager e-mail: Disclaimer: This e-mail, our website and newsletters, our blogs, forums and any other published form of discussion and all other materials contained herein are intended for general consumer informational purposes only. They reflect our very own opinion only or opinions and information we have collected from other sources we deem knowledgeable on the subject matter. Neither our website and newsletters nor any other materials are intended to constitute, and do not constitute, the practice or furnishing of medical or professional health care advice, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, content, data, software, information, products and or services. Always consult with your qualified provider for medical or health care advice, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, content, data, software, information, products and or services. Any medical or health care provider or other directories or locators including, without limitation, their contents and results, contained on or provided through our website or newsletters or e-mails are intended for general consumer informational purposes only, and do not imply our endorsement of, or that we have any association whatsoever with, such providers."

For the time being the conversation we had was concluded with:
“Hi, Paul,
Thanks so much for your email back. I really do appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. Based on your reply, I feel much better about the product and will bring it up as an option for Fido during his next appointment. I'll also take a look into the Wysong products to see their offerings. I am still trying to educate myself on what he needs to make his diet nutritionally sound.
Thanks, again, for your help.”

Looking at this I wonder and believe there is something fundamentally wrong with the entire picture. There is nothing wrong with the very good question, one the customer was definitely entitled to and rightfully did ask. I greatly appreciate pet owners that really care and want to make sure they do the best they can do for their pets. Neither do I believe there is anything wrong with my answer (of course not, did you expect any different?). What’s wrong is the paradox situation in itself. Look at some prescription drugs not just available and prescribed to ourselves, humans, but also more and more the stuff our vets order to be given to our pets. In those cases I agree, the warnings can’t be big and loud enough. Many of those drugs very often have more negative and quite drastic side affects than positive curing benefits. Yet the warnings are usually in very small and almost unreadable print. But issuing over cautious warnings for treats? Or an all natural supplement not containing any chemicals? I don’t know. I would say that’s definitely overkill. I guess we all became victim of the great scare that we have to worry about being sued. Especially small companies are paranoid about it. Understandably so, a major law suit simply could wipe them out before it even gets rolling. While other, big players for instance in the commercial pet food mass manufacturing sector don’t seem to worry too much about what they are selling us for pets and if or if not our companion animals get ill by taking in their problem products.
Ever since this law suit crazy environment became part of our society, in its early beginnings starting out with unbelievable amounts of penalties being placed on companies, we also hear from our government that they are going to take care of it and try to get rid of the problem. But, it doesn’t matter which political side the government in charge is on, so far that hasn’t happen. Seems as if it is, at least for some people, a pretty lucrative side affect of our daily lives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Arthritic symptoms in dogs often hidden by survival instinct

In medical terms arthritis means "inflammation of the joint" and osteoarthritis is the most common. This progressive condition causes cartilage covering the ends of bones in the pet's joints to deteriorate and the resulting pain and loss of movement arise as bones begin to rub together. Interesting enough, many dog owners may not detect their pet is suffering from arthritis because most animals have evolved to hide symptoms of pain as it marks them out as weakened and therefore a target.
Dr. Mike Small, DVM at the Forrest Hill Vet Clinic in NZ says this survival instinct makes it very difficult for dog owners to detect a problem with arthritis. He adds, by the time a dog is limping it may mean it is in a lot of pain and advises pet owners to look for changes in their dog's behavior, either physically or in their demeanor.
"Your pet may have trouble getting up from resting and will often start off with a limp. But, as the joints warm up and the dog gets going, the limp can sometimes disappear, so don't be fooled. Your dog may also lie down more often, be reluctant to walk, climb stairs, jump or play. Temperamentally they may become withdrawn, sensitive and guarded."
Arthritis is common, especially in aging and larger dogs. Overweight dogs are also prone to arthritis as joints wear out faster because of excess weight bearing down on them.
Dr. Small also says it is important with the onset of warmer spring weather and pet owners themselves coming out of winter hibernation they should ease their dog into an increased exercise regime. If a dog is prone to or has arthritis, symptoms may be triggered by sudden activity.
One year of human life is equivalent to six or seven years of a dog's life. Older dogs, aged six to eight years onward, commonly start showing symptoms of the disease, but dogs as young as a few months of age can start suffering symptoms due to degenerative joint disease. Make sure your vet always looks for signs of arthritis when you go in for your routine check up.
Like most vets, Dr. Small recommends bi-annual health examinations. During those they examine all the joints and see if they can detect any pain or discomfort. They also gather information from the owner and discuss with them any changes they may have noticed in their dog's behavior.
Dr. Karen Johnston, D.V.M. (since we don’t do any advertising here I am not going to say for whom she works, but it is a pet food manufacturer) says following a diagnosis of arthritis by a veterinarian, small changes to the way a pet is treated can make a huge difference in alleviating the painful symptoms of the condition.
She points out: "Even though arthritis is degenerative, progression can be slowed with proper care, including adequate nutrition. Symptoms can be eased with the help of observant and caring owners. By talking to a vet, you can determine how to best help the dog stay active for as long as possible. A soft, comfortable sleeping place is important for all dogs, but especially an arthritic dog. An old mattress or soft couch is ideal because it'll prevent your dog's limbs from coming into contact with the cold, hard ground."
She also advises pet owners to take their dogs on limited, gentle exercise like regular walks around the block, while physical therapy such as swimming can also be very beneficial.
"Not only does exercise keep your dog's joints active, but it assists in weight control, which means fewer kilos for your pet to lug around on sore limbs," says Dr Johnston.
As well as exercising a dog, proper nutrition is an essential component for their health. Medications, including anti inflammatories used in conjunction with animal physiotherapy can also aid in treatment.
And since I haven’t contributed too much of knowledge today, if you need help on proper nutrition for your dog under this condition, e-mail me. Scoop Culture Independent News, a New Zealand Independent News Media inspired me to today’s comment.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Labrador Retriever Most Popular Breed with Insurance companies and AKC

According to a statistic released by the Brea, California based Veterinary Pet Insurance, it is the Labrador breed, which came out as the most popular medical insured dog breed for 2007. The company analyzed its database to find the top 10 insured breeds during the last year.38,591 insured Labs were followed by 19,313 Golden Retrievers and 14,074 Yorkshire Terriers. The remaining seven spots were filled by 13,149 Shih Tzu’s, 10,281 Boxers, 8,829 German Shepherds, 8,581 Chihuahua’s, 8,064 Maltese, 7,404 Pugs and finally 7,187 Cocker Spaniels.
The company also calculated the average amount its policyholders spent on non routine veterinary care for each of the top insured breeds in 2007. The medical care costs, the average annual submitted claim amount, appear directly related to the size of the breed, with larger breeds costing more than smaller ones. The disparity of expense is most likely due to the fact that larger breeds can require larger doses of medication, according to the insurer.
These cost range from $296 being the highest and was spent for a German Shepherd, followed by $295 for Boxers and $287 for a Lab. Ranked 4($279) to 10 were Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Pug’s, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Chihuahua and the Shih Tzu’s being the lowest one with $207.
Labs have also been the most commonly registered breed with the American Kennel Club for the past 17 years. The breed is the only one to occupy the same number one position on both the Veterinary Pet Insurance and AKC lists. Although the AKC’s registration numbers indicate a large amount of registered Beagles, Dachshunds, Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers, none of these breeds was among insurance’s most commonly insured breeds. The AKC ranking is as follows (from top to bottom): Labrador Retrievers, Yorkshire Terriers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Boxers, Dachshunds, Poodles, ShihTzu’s and Bulldogs. The complete AKC listing is available online. Interesting enough is also that when looking at the AKC list is the fact that there has been very little change in the within the top ten ranking since 1997. Most breeds listed in the top ten in 2007 were already listed as such 10 years earlier.
To me personally, I really don’t care too much about such rankings. They are interesting, but at the end of the day, regardless what breed of dog we have, they are all OUR most popular ones.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Change has come...??? True for Pet Food?

Nobody can say I didn’t try. Trying to keep politics out of this blog as much as possible is not so easy. This business evolves a lot around governmental institutions such as food regulating agencies. But that’s not what I am talking about here, I mean big time Washington politics. I just can’t help it, there is no way around it anymore. Especially not since Susan Thixton brought to my attention, that with a new president automatically comes along a new head of the FDA. According to her, there are rumors out there as to who that may be, but as she stresses, more importantly, what actually is going to change?
Susan through Bloomberg found out that Janet Woodcock, “a 22 year insider at the Food and Drug Administration is the top choice of drug makers who are lobbying for her to be named the agency's chief by President-elect Barack Obama, according to people associated with the industry.” The article continues “Representatives of drug makers are advocating to lawmakers that Woodcock, 60, be chosen to serve as commissioner on either an acting or permanent basis, according to two people associated with the industry who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a drug makers' trade association in Washington declined to discuss individual candidates.”
Susan says, the Bloomberg article shares that consumer advocacy groups are supporting cardiologist Steven Nissen and Baltimore City’s health commissioner, Joshua Sharfstein. “Both doctors have pressed the FDA for changes on drug safety.”
Susan researched cardiologist Steven Nissen and found “reveals a history of Dr. Nissen standing up to the FDA when science has proven them neglectful. A 2005 article on refers to Dr. Nissen as a ‘whistle blower’. “In 2001 he was the first physician to link Vioxx (rofecoxib) to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Three years later Merck pulled Vioxx from the market when additional studies confirmed that daily, long term use of the drug could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.” also reports that in 2005, after the FDA approved the diabetes drug Pargluva, Dr. Nissen’s research proved the drug was risky and “Bristol-Myers Squibb announced that it would terminate its Pargluva development agreement with Merck. Bristol-Myers Squibb”.
The Wall Street Journal has its own take and on 11/05/08 came up with its own list of possible candidates for the job available:
“FDA Commissioner: Would-be FDA reformer Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who is advising Obama folks, wants an end to the “cozy” (Sen. Chuck Grassley’s word) relationship between FDA and industry. Big Pharma would go to the mat to stop Nissen, but he has plenty of cred on Capitol Hill after raising alarms about drugs, including GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia, J&J’s Natrecor, and Pargluva, a diabetes medicine that Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb failed to bring to market.
Mike Taylor, former Deputy FDA Commissioner under Clinton, is well-liked by members of both parties but still gets knocked for the agency’s approval of a genetically engineered hormone called bST to boost milk production in cows on his watch.
Cardiologist Robert Califf of Duke, a Democrat, is OK with both sides of the aisle, but has ties to industry that could raise flags.
Mary Pendergast, was up for Commish after Bush the Elder’s appointee David Kessler left. She is admired by Sen. Ted Kennedy and his influential staffers. She’s an industry consultant, but not an industry groupie. She’s on the board at biotech Nuvelo and was EVP at Irish drug maker Elan. A drawback for her candidacy is that she is a lawyer–not a doc.
Industry’s favorite may be Janet Woodcock, head of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Her backers have been pushing talking points to the media that she would be acceptable to both parties. But Woodcock’s been involved in some FDA controversies and drug problems that blew up in the House and Senate, including delays of the Plan B morning-after birth control pill, which infuriated Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray and others on the Senate committee that will approve the new Commish. That could make for a difficult hearing.
One other thing we had to pass along is rumbling that about a move to take the ‘F’ out of FDA by switching food regulation to the Agriculture Department’s inspections unit, creating a 24/7 food agency.”
As we can clearly see, nobody really has pet food on the top of his lists, it is all more about people’s drugs, less the food and pet food isn’t mentioned by anybody.
Susan’s conclusion is: “The existing FDA has more than proven it cannot properly protect pet owners and their pets. The new commissioner of the FDA must be confirmed by the Senate; every concerned US citizens should pay close attention to who is appointed.” She also asks pet owners to let their Senator know if they approve or disapprove of the new appointment.
If you ask me, here is my take: President elect Obama certainly has plenty of very pressing issues on hand and to take care off immediately. They include as we all know our ill economy, the wars we are involved in, bad guys threatening our country, foreign politics, health care and much more. I am quite sure that pet food and the regulation of it is one of his least worries. This, while it’s bothersome and I would like to see the facts different, is in my opinion completely understandable. Therefore I believe that there are not going to be too many changes, whether positive or negative in the short term future.
There is however a small spark of hope. Obviously one couldn’t miss the fact that to the media there were a few things extremely important this week: First the historic importance of last Tuesday’s outcome. Second the expectations raised in the new man in charge, wondering how he now, after all the election talk is over, really is going to tackle the problems we are facing. Third, Michelle Obama’s wardrobe. And finally, and this is where my spark of hope comes in: The fact that he promised his daughters a puppy in the event he wins the elections. As we all know he made it very clear in his very first speech as President elect, that he will live up to his promises at least on this part. And now the media is wondering what kind of puppy is going to move into the White House in January. So much that sometimes I am wondering what’s more important to the media, world and domestic big time politics or the Obama’s new companion animal. I recall my local paper for the last 4 days having every day a full page just on that topic. My point is: If the new President indeed never had a puppy, then consequentially he doesn’t know too much about feeding it either. This is “yet”. If everything I read and heard about him is true, which seems to be the case, he is a man who thoroughly studies the issues coming up in his life. That in my mind means he is going to learn about the problems we have been and still are facing as pet owners related to feeding our animals. And maybe that makes him take a closer look as to what has to be done and what must change. Change, after all is what he promised us. So I don’t quite give up hope yet.