By Gina Spadafori
April 28, 2007
- If you have a sick pet or a question on your petâ€™s health, call your veterinarian.
- If youâ€™re new to the site, please check out our general information page (includes information on recalled foods).
- If you want to report a sick or deceased pet, click here.
We completely updated the recall basics page. Take a look, and let us know if we missed anything. We’re trying to get everything into a single “quick take” page for people who haven’t been following this as closely as we have.
We’ll be adding to this post with news links and more throughout the day.
Don’t forget to send your postcards today!
Update: The Chicago Tribune takes on the food-safety issue (as reader Mike points out in sending the link, “This is a universal issue, everyone’s issue: Repubs, Dems, Liberals, Conserv’s, Independents, Libertarians, Vegetarians … everyone has to eat … something. The Safe Food Act — Senate bill 654 and House bill 1148 — belong to all of us”). From the article:
The tainted pet food scare, which has swelled into a serious crisis for animal lovers, now has spread to humans.
The effects of melamine on people are thought to be minimal, but no one really knows. Its consumption by humans is considered so improbable that no one has even studied it.
But they are studying now. What last month was a limited recall of canned pet food is on the verge of becoming a full-fledged public health scare, potentially overwhelming government agencies and raising troubling questions about U.S. food safety in the global economy and in the post-Sept. 11 era.
The Food and Drug Administration, criticized by some in Congress for responding too slowly, is struggling to catch up with the implications of the spread of melamine-contaminated glutens from China to hogs, and the human food chain. The FDA is still trying to get its investigators into China, where a skeptical government only last week assented to investigators’ visa requests.
At a time when food imports are growing, and only 1 percent to 2 percent of food imports receive any government scrutiny, critics say the scare reveals the shortcomings of a weakened food safety bureaucracy, the inadequacy of existing regulations and the inability of the FDA, which has suffered significant cutbacks, to protect the food supply.
ConsumerAffairs.com has provided strong coverage throughout. From their latest:
â€œUncontrolled distribution of low-quality, imported food ingredients is a great threat to U.S. public health,â€ said Dr. Gary Weaver, Director of the Program on Agriculture and Animal Health Policy for the University of Marylandâ€™s Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy.
The problem, says Weaver, is the U.S. has very little direct, hands-on control over the pet food industry.
Incidents like pet food contamination will continue, he says, until the U.S. completes an effective overhaul of its food safety programs.
â€œFDA appears to be some 30 years behind as they use pre-global economy border food inspection strategies in our new global economy world of massive international food trade from many countries with food safety standards much lower than ours,â€ Weaver said.
Also: Before the first recall was announced, the PetConnection folks were trying to launch a couple of new Web sites. Our target date was April 1, but under the circumstances that got moved back a bit.
Anyway … both Web sites went live yesterday, thanks to the pack at Black Dog:
- CanineKisses.com is fully functional, and lets you upload your favorite picture of you and your dog together. You can vote on other pictures, too. It’s our seriously fun site, and Dr. Becker and I came up with it while decompressing over a couple of … um … adult beverages after meeting in Kansas City with our editors at Universal Press.
- DogCars.com is still having reviews moved from this blog to the new Web site, so it’ll keep growing over the next couple of weeks. We’ve developed it because we realized the reviews of dog-friendly vehicles had become extremely popular, and adding them to the blog was a terrible way to archive them, since nobody could find anything. The new site will have all the reviews, plus reviews of pet travel products and a forum for talking about dog cars, dog gear, great destinations for traveling with pets and more.
Cat-lovers, don’t feel slighted. We have more Web sites in development.
In the meantime, send us your links, your thoughts and more. Dr. Becker and I are on book deadline all weekend, and Christie is off icing her wrists, but we’ll be checking in and updating as needed.
Update 2: Remember I will delete any comments that are uncivil, racist or off-topic. You are welcome to debate the issues, but we won’t be allowing personal attacks here. Again, calling someone a “skank” is not civil discussion, and comments that do so will be deleted. We’ve let pretty much every comment go through except ad spam, porn and outright personal attacks and racism, and we’ve only had to ban one person completely from commenting. I truly appreciate your continued helpfulness in finding and posting information, and doing so in a way that shows civil discussion even on heated topics is possible.
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