Tag Archive | "pet food"

China: Exporting Old Fashioned Fraud


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China has 1.3 billion people.  The country now looks outward rather than inward as in the past, and
has titanic effects on the smaller countries in the world… in other
words all other countries.

I grew up with an admiration for
Chinese culture, and still have it.  The saga of Tiananmen Square,
forced abortions, government confiscation of farmland, bureaucratic
corruption certainly tainted my views.  Now we see the fraud and
corruption exported to U.S. shores.  China has dominated the news
since the melamine-in-the-pet-food incident that began in February.

It
may be risky to say, but there is an absurdity that past people
poisonings did not prompt this outcry.  Owners of poisoned pets
did.  I like my dogs (I have two collies), but I just "like" them.  God help you if you mess with my
kids. 

The Pet Connection
website, heretofore existing in anonymity among non-pet lovers, has
become a focal point for China.  The site promotes "pet gear" like
this.

However odd, we now have a torrent of factual revelations from
Chinese international commerce.  It is plain, old fashioned
fraud… dangerous fraud.  Fraud is "intentional deception
resulting in injury to another person.
"  Here is a sample of the fraud.

1.   6,000 tubes of toothpaste in Panama, under brand names Excel and Mr. Cool,
contained the antifreeze component diethylene glycol.  The
toothpaste slipped ino to Panama without health certificates, and was
mixed, upon import, with products intended for animal consumption.

2.   46 barrels of syrup
in Panama was mixed into 260,000 bottles of cold medicine.  The
syrup contained diethylene glycol, which apparently is as popular as
melamine in China – buy it cheap and mix it with whatever you like, and
sell it.  The syrup was mis- labeled as 99.5% pure glycerin. 
Glycerin does not kill you.  Diethylene glycol does – 100 people
in Panama died from it.  Chinese have mixed so-called low levels
of diethylene glycol into Chinese toothpaste, commonly, for
years.  According to a Wall Street Journal (no link because
subscription needed) article today.  Just like the "common
practice" of adding melamine to gluten.

3.   Harmful bacteria in Vitamin A from Chinal nearly made it into European infant formula.  An astounding portion of our U.S. vitamin ingredients come from China.

4.   Chinese honey tainted with harmful antibiotics was found by FDA.

5.   Chinese candy was tainted with sulfites that can cause fatal allergic reactions.

6.   Chinese infant formula, sold in China, was missing vital nutrients, leaving a dozen babies dead in 2004.

7.  Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical.

8.   Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics.

9.   Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria

10.   Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

11.    Juices and fruits rejected by FDA as "fithy."

12.    Prunes tinted with chemical dyes not approved for human consumption.

13.   Frozen breaded shrimp preserved with nitrofuran, an antibacterial that can cause cancer.

14.   Swordfish rejected by FDA as poisonous.

15.   Prohibited imports of Chinese poultry products enclosed in crates mislabeled "dried lily flower," "prune slices" and "vegetables"

And of course, melamine and cyanuric acid in rice, wheat and corn gluten from China.

The
only folks defending China these days are the Wall Street Journal
editorial board – a certifiably insane group of insular New York types
- and the United States Department of Agriculture – another certifiably
insane group of insular Washington, DC types that is now working to
speed the approval of poultry imports from China.

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Chinese feed manufacturing destroyed before investigation


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The Chinese animal feed production facilities were shut down before FDA investigators, arriving in the country, could get there to investigate.

 "There is nothing to be found. They are essentially shut
down and not operating," said Walter Batts, deputy director of the Food
and Drug Administration’s office of international programs.

This occurred as the U.S. found that at least 198 U.S. fish farms
and hatcheries may have received melamine-laced fish feed.  But
Washington FDA bureaucrats say – not to worry, Chinese are cooperating.

David Acheson, FDA’s assistant commissioner for food protection,
said that despite appearances, U.S. investigators in China "have
received good cooperation and support" from Chinese authorities. 

As Groucho Marx said, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? 

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Food, Faith and the FDA


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FDA and USDA have comforting words for us.  They "believe" but do not "know."

"FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating such pork is extremely low."
USDA/FDA, 4/26/2007

"We have no reason to believe that anything other than the rice protein
concentrate or the wheat gluten have been a problem in the United
States recently."
USDA/FDA, 4/26/2007

"But overall, we believe the risk to be extremely low to humans."
USDA/FDA, 4/26/2007

"We believe that the likelihood of illness from such exposure is extremely low."
USDA/FDA, 5/1/2007

"We do not believe that there is any significant threat of human illness from consuming poultry."
USDA/FDA, 5/1/2007

"We believe the likelihood of illness to humans, including infants, is extremely small."
USDA/FDA, 5/3/2007

"We have no reason to believe those animals are any risk to the public."
USDA/FDA, 5/3/2007

Every so often, "belief" is not enough.

"There’s no tolerance for any of these compounds, either melamine
or cyanuric acid. [...] We just don’t know when we get these mixtures
together. So there is no, really no acceptable level." USDA/FDA,
4/26/2007 

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Chinese gluten factory sickened people/plants for years


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This is where our food is coming from (Gluten factory had a toxic history). 
But the U.S. food industry fights country of origin labeling. 
We’ll never know exactly how some of the poisonous food ingredients
were made because the evidence was literally bulldozed in the middle of
the night.

Before Mao Lijun’s business exported tainted wheat products that
may have killed American pets, his factory sickened people and plants
around here for years. … since 2004 …Mao’s factory was spewing
noxious fumes that made their eyes tear up and the poplar trees nearby
shed their leaves prematurely.

The Chinese government denied a problem existed, and if a problem
existed, denied the source of the problem was their country.  The
FDA was denied access for a time, after the pet deaths became
apparent.  But then the FDA was allowed to enter China and track
down the source of the tainted ingredients.  What happened then?
 

…one day last month when, in the middle of the night, bulldozers arrived and tore down the facility.  It
wasn’t authorities that finally acted: Mao himself razed the brick
factory — days before the investigators from the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration arrived in China on a mission to track down the source
of the tainted pet food ingredients. 

This is the new, anonymous global food system. 

 

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Cyanuric acid was in the Chinese feed ingredients


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Melamine scrap alone could not have been the likely cause of the pet
food deaths.  Cyanuric acid scrap was also added in China to the
wheat and other gluten products that ended up in pet food, chicken
feed, and hog feed in the U.S.  The New York Times’ David Barboza reported this, in depth, today.

Chemical producers said that it was common knowledge that for
years cyanuric acid was used in animal and fish feed in China. In the
United States, cyanuric acid is often used as a disinfectant in
swimming pools.

It is not the pure version that is added by Chinese, but the
industrial byproduct scrap version of these adulterants. 
Why?  Because the "scrap" versions are even cheaper than the pure
chemicals. 

Melamine scrap or cyanuric acid scrap often costs one quarter of
the price of pure melamine or cyanuric acid and is much cheaper per
protein count than wheat or corn meal.

Representative DeLauro (CT) and Senator Durbin (IL) are trying to
tighten up the FDA through greater funding.  But the systemic
fraud, such as labeling these items as "nonfood" in shipping
containers, is unlikely to be discovered.  Consumers also need
labeling of products as to country of origin so they can decide at the
retail counter. 

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USDA: A little bit of melamine is ok


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Before the discovery of mad cow disease in Canada, the U.S.
government blocked all imports from countries with one or more
cases.  But Tyson and Cargill own Canadian packing plants, and
import large volumes of meat into the U.S.  The USDA worked hard
to please its packing plant masters, and devised a minimum risk rule to
open up the border.

Now USDA is doing the same for China in the
melamine case – changing from a "no tolerance" policy to a "a little
bit is ok" policy.  In China melamine is made from coal and
ammonia.  The productobtained is a hard off-white mass about 70%
melamine which is purified and ground into a power for use.

That was then – From the official transcript, FDA-USDA Update on Recall of Pet Foods, April 26, 2007: 

REPORTER:
Could I follow up that question? The parts per billion that you found
in the urine, is there an acceptable level? You told me what the level
is. But how much higher is that than what’s acceptable, or is there no
acceptable level?

DR. MCCHESNEY: This is Dan McChesney. I’ll try that one. Currently
there’s no tolerance for any of these compounds, either melamine or
cyanuric acid. So because of that we really cannot, the likelihood of
this leads from very low likelihood of any problems resulting in food
that contained these as Dr. Acheson said is really extremely low.
However, we just don’t know when we get these mixtures together. So
there is no acceptable level.

This is now – the USDA/FDA press today that says "Scientists Conclude Very Low Risk to Humans from Food Containing Melamine: USDA Releases Some Swine and Poultry for Processing." 

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Fertilizer common in Chinese feed/industry continues opposing labeling


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The Chinese wheat gluten/pet food scandal has heated up yet another
notch.  I complained early on that the main stream media (MSM) was
ignoring this story.  That has not been true for several weeks, as
the MSM have reporters assigned to the story.  It has been a good
business decision for them.

The focus on the global food supply is now unprecedented.  The New York Times today reported this:

For
years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly
supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap
additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not
provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders
and agricultural workers here.

I said last week
that lab tests for protein look for nitrogen only, a major component of
protein.  Once isolating the quantity of nitrogen, a mathematical
calculation is performed to estimate the protein levels of the
ingredient.  In the marketplace, high protein contains a higher
price.  Cattle feed, hog feed, and pet food must contain protein
to maintain or grow the body.

This is not an isolated practice in China.  The New York Times said:

Many animal feed operators here advertise on the Internet, seeking to purchase melamine scrap.

And the dangerous food safety practices are not confined to wheat gluten:

In
recent years, for instance, China’s food safety scandals have involved
everything from fake baby milk formulas and soy sauce made from human
hair to instances where cuttlefish were soaked in calligraphy ink to
improve their color and eels were fed contraceptive pills to make them
grow long and slim.

 Seventy percent of the wheat gluten the U.S. consumes is
imported.  SEVENTY PERCENT.  The food and meat packing
industry have set up a website to fight the requirement to label food as to country of origin.  Here is the core of their increasingly absurd position:

Much like other claims unrelated to food safety, country-of-origin
claims should be determined in the marketplace and driven by consumers’
willingness to pay for perceived added or discounted value.  

FDA and USDA say, not to worry:

even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet.  

By the way, this is what melamine looks like.  Remember, it’s in Fluffy’s food, Spot’s food, and maybe your food.

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Oh good… China bans melamine in food


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China just banned
the inclusion of melamine – used in fertilizer and plastics – in food.
Great.  You mean it was not illegal before?  What else is not
illegal?

But the country’s government still denies it caused the pet deaths,
and does not mention the human food chain.  The current China
argument – "kitty cats could have died, our fertilizer in their food
did not do it, we don’t know what did, and we didn’t hear anything
about the people food chain."

”At present, there is no clear evidence showing that melamine is
the direct cause of the poisoning or death of the pets,” the statement
said. ”China is willing to strengthen cooperation with the U.S. side
… to find out the real cause leading to the pet deaths in order to
protect the health of the pets of the two countries.”

The real cause?  This is truly absurd.  The spotlight on
the international food chain makes Upton Sinclair’s "The Jungle" look
like a happy Winnie the Pooh tale.

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FDA: No intention to ban ingredient imports from China


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The FDA truly is in denial.   The agency expanded its ingredient target list from China today.

The FDA named the six grain products to be inspected as wheat
gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice bran and rice protein.

But "believes" the import food safety system works: 

"We believe the safety net is in place to make sure that no
additional products are going to get into the commerce of the United
States," said David Elder, director of FDA’s enforcement office.

Faith based regulation, I guess. 

UPDATE:  FDA now says perhaps "thousands" of hogs in North Carolina, South Carolina, California, New York, Utah and Ohio have been quarantined because of melamine found in their urine.

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Tainted Chinese wheat implicated in human food chain


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FDA said there was "no evidence" of contamination of the human food
chain.  I said before it was merely wishful thinking. Their wish did not come true.

Hog farms in three states have been quarantined
for feeding the ingredient to pigs.  A Missouri poultry farm is
being investigated now for feeding the product to chickens.  The
human food chain is now involved.  FDA has not gotten around to
point out the vast quantities of wheat gluten in our bread… when will
this shoe drop?

 About 70% of wheat gluten used in the U.S. is imported, not all of it from China.  The melamine, a
fertilizer, is now thought to have been intentionally added to ramp up
the protein content of the gluten.  Why?  Because protein
content must be on the label.  Protein is a major product
specification for animal feed ingredients to price them… in other words, higher protein products command a higher price.

Lab
testing for protein
isolates and quantifies nitrogen, a major component of protein. 
Once the lab techs have the nitrogen content of an ingredient sample
quantified, they perform a mathematical calculation to estimate the
full protein percentage of the sample, and thus of the batch of
ingredients. 

Poisoned wheat and rice gluten from China are not the only problem ingredients.  The FDA, in the last month, found other poisoned food from China:

Consider this list of Chinese products detained by the FDA just in
the last month: frozen catfish tainted with illegal veterinary drugs,
fresh ginger polluted with pesticides, melon seeds contaminated with a
cancer-causing toxin and filthy dried dates.

The Food Industry Cartel does not want us to know the origin of our
food.  But Country of Origin Labeling is more necessary than
ever.  This is the position of the food ingredients lobby.

"The public at large is not at any increased risk," said Craig
Henry, senior vice president and chief operating officer for scientific
and regulatory affairs of the Grocery Manufacturers-Food Products
Association, an industry group.

Feel better?

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