Pet food scare – When will it stop?

08-05-2007 | |
Koeleman
Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor

Everyday I receive around 50 news alerts about the massive pet food recall in my email box. Most of them are the same though, but it is obvious that this subject is currently the hottest item in the North American online commodities. Although it is getting more complex each day, the details are starting to come to the surface.

Everyday I receive around 50 news alerts about the massive pet food recall in my email box. Most of them are the same though, but it is obvious that this subject is currently the hottest item in the North American online commodities. Although it is getting more complex each day, the details are starting to come to the surface.

The whole pet food scare doesn’t include only pets anymore, it has spread to pigs and poultry and who knows what more! And when will it stop?

China: the source of the contamination
I try to browse through all the pet food news items, but I must say it is hard to keep up. As more brands are being recalled and more contaminated ingredients are found also more questions rise. When US officials visited the source of the contamination –China- it was concluded that the use of melamine in raw materials (intended for animal feed and pet food) was normal. How can the use of a toxic ingredient for live animals be normal? I would like to know if these ingredients are tested or certified and if so, who checks it. Obviously, there is a huge gap in the chain here.

Recalled petfood sold as livestock feed
But what hits me most is that after all the panic, pet food companies did not destroy the pet food. No, that would be a waste! They sold it to companies that make pig and poultry feed . Is it just me that is missing an important part here?

The conclusion is that the toxic melamine entered the human food chain not by accident, but deliberately. Dogs and cats die from eating the product, but apparently it is ok to give it to livestock and humans.

The recalled products have been used in pig and poultry feed because officials did not see any risks in mixing the pet food in animal feed. For me, this is a bit strange.

Contamined feed enters human food chain
The huge panic still fresh in my memory, I now realise that US health officials do not mind that the contaminated feed enters the human food chain. They say the health risks are minimal , but how do they know and where is the real data backing up this statement? In all the news items that I see, I miss the part when they talk about how the toxic compound behaves in the animal’s body. Does it deposit in meat and eggs and what is the real risk of eating these animals?

I must confess, I am starting to worry about my own cats as well. Although I buy food for my pets in Dutch stores, I know that anything can happen, especially because ingredients for feed and food are shipped around the world. Maybe I have to start delving into culinary pet recipes , to make at home before the same happens in Europe.

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