Pet owners still have good reason to be extra-cautious about what they’re feeding their animals. The raids and the recalls continue.
Latest development: FDA food cops have raided a Las Vegas pet food plant, just a few days after Chenango Valley Pet Foods of Sherburne, here in upstate New York, ordered a sweeping recall of its products. Click on the picture for the details.
The problem is rice and wheat gluten imported from China, and intentionally adulterated with melamine, a mineral derived from coal. The New York Times has a great investigative piece on this in today’s editions, filed from Zhangqiu, a city where the stuff is made:
Here at the Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group factory, huge boiler vats are turning coal into melamine, which is then used to create plastics and fertilizer.
But the leftover melamine scrap, golf ball-size chunks of white rock, is sometimes being sold to local agricultural entrepreneurs, who say they mix a powdered form of the scrap into animal feed to deceive those who raise animals into thinking they are buying feed that is high in protein.
“It just saves money if you add melamine scrap,” said the manager of an animal feed factory here.
Melamine is the new scam of choice, they say, because urea — another nitrogen-rich chemical — is illegal for use in pig and poultry feed and can be easily detected in China as well as in the United States.
“People use melamine scrap to boost nitrogen levels for the tests,” said the manager of the animal feed factory. “If you add it in small quantities, it won’t hurt the animals.”
That’s one man’s opinion- or his wishful thinking- to explain away a greedy practice that has killed or injured hundreds of pets. Here in the U.S., there’s growing criticism of the FDA for not jumping on this much sooner. After all, two newspaper reporters found out- by asking a few smart questions- what the Food and Drug Administration should have exposed and stopped months or years ago.