By Gina Spadafori
April 2, 2007
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From USA Today, still at the forefront on reporting this story nationally:
China denied Monday that pet food ingredients exported to the United States are to blame for the recall of more than 60 million cans of cat and dog food and the deaths of 14 animals.
Even so, Mao Liju, managing director of Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. of Peixian, China, says his company is investigating the possibility that its wheat gluten â€” an ingredient in commercial pet foods â€” was contaminated with the chemical melamine, used in the manufacture of plastics and as a slow-release fertilizer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert Friday authorizing the detention of any wheat gluten imports from the Chinese firm. All the samples of wheat gluten from this supplier have tested positive for melamine, says Ellen Morrison, director of the FDA’s Office of Crisis Management.
Chinese officials said Monday that an initial investigation by the government’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine found that China has not exported tainted pet-food ingredients to the USA and Canada. “The poisoning of American pets has nothing to do with China,” said the report, published in the official People’s Daily website.
OK, good enough and here’s the rest, but what’s with the 14 pets killed? Geez, the Oregon state public health veterinarian puts the number at
17 35 dead in that state alone, and Oregon has 1.2 percent of the U.S. population (correcting with current info, thanks to reader Mike for the pointer). What do we have to do to get the numbers real?
Update (or should that be Backdate?): I forgot to blog the earlier piece from the Associated Press, expanding on reader Joy’s lovely little find on the FDA Web site. Geez, at least the AP is no longer suggest there are only 14-16 dead pets (and most of those in a feeding trial!):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is blocking imports of wheat gluten from a company in China, acting after an investigation implicated the contaminated ingredient in the recent pet-food deaths of cats and dogs.
The Food and Drug Administration took action against wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. in Wangdien, China, after the U.S. recall of nearly 100 brands of pet food made with the chemically contaminated ingredient. The pet food, tainted with the chemical melamine, apparently has resulted in kidney failure in an unknown number of animals across the country.
Wheat gluten from China has been suspected in the outbreak since the first of multiple recalls was announced in mid-March. Even more pet food could be recalled in the next few days, though there probably has been no contamination of human food, FDA officials said Monday.
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