Pet Food Recall: Was Some Human Food Tainted?

According to the Boston Globe, it’s possible that some of the tainted wheat from China that is suspected to have caused the massive pet food recall ended up in human food (emphasis added):

According to import records, the wheat gluten was shipped to the United States from Nov. 3, 2006 to Jan. 23 of this year and contained “minimal labeling” to indicate whether it was intended for humans or animals. The vast majority went to pet food manufacturers and distributors, according to the FDA. But some of the processing plants that remain under FDA scrutiny make both human and pet food.

“To date, we have nothing that indicates it’s gone into human food,” said Dorothy Miller , director of the FDA’s Office of Emergency Operations . “We have a bit more investigation to do.”

Yep, lots more investigating. —MEGHANN MARCO

Was human food tainted too? [Boston Globe] (Thanks, Mitchell!)
(Photo: Hector Garcia)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Oh for f—‘s sake people!

    You know what? Forget trying to diet. If something I eat’s going to kill me anyway I may as well have ice cream in the mean time.

  2. Rahnee says:

    This is just one more example of why America should try to be more self-supportive. If the gluten had been manufactured in the US then we would know where it came from and where it went. American farmers would have benefited and everyone would be happy. Even the cats!

  3. NeoteriX says:


    There was the Spinach bacterial contamination, peanut butter, and the Taco Bell fiasco that didn’t happen all too long ago. It took officials a very long time to establish the extent and true scope of the damage. Foods in America might offer a marginal improvement, but certainly there are issues in food manufacturing, period.

  4. Tallanvor says:

    @Rahnee: But the FDA already knows where the wheat gluten went. It’s just that under the current rules, the food industry is able to exert a lot of pressure to keep the information from being released. The food industry wrote the rules so that customers couldn’t find out about this sort of thing unless there was absolutely no other way around it. One of the problem with food recalls is that by the time they get around to recalling food, much of it may already have been consumed (companies do that on purpose, unfortunately, to limit the money they have to give back).

  5. Terminixsux says:

    Next we’ll be hearing about the soylen green. “IT’S PEOPLE!!!”

  6. sifr says:

    @Rahnee: You see, the US would love to produce its own wheat gluten, but we’re too busy propping up the corn industry. In fact, I’m rather surprised pet foods aren’t chock-full of all sorts of corn-related fillers.

    Guess they haven’t figured out yet how to make 99% high-fructose corn syrup-based pet food.

  7. jamier says:

    This is just one more example of why America should try to be more self-supportive. If the gluten had been manufactured in the US then we would know where it came from and where it went.

    I don’t think that’s true. We may have been able to pin down the source to “somewhere in the midwest.” Foods like wheat and wheat gluten are commodities and once they enter the supply chain, nobody knows or cares where it came from and it’s usually mixed. Tracking down the source of a food commodity is as difficult as tracking down where the 24 gallons of gas you put in your SUV came from.

    I’m surprised the FDA was able to track this gluten down to China. My suspicion is that either the pet food companies made it easier by solely buying wheat gluten from China — which sounds unusual but I don’t know about the specific market for gluten — or China is a scapegoat.

  8. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Right, which is why everyone should just go on Atkins like God intended. :-p

    I barely eat wheat because we live on rice and rice-flour, but then I think that if wheat is in beer, this might cause a nationwide crisis.

  9. Mauvaise says:

    @sifr: “In fact, I’m rather surprised pet foods aren’t chock-full of all sorts of corn-related fillers.”

    Actually, a lot of pet foods are full of corn & corn-related fillers. Such as:

    Corn: unspecified corn product. Not a complete AAFCO definition.

    Corn Bran: the outer coating of the corn kernel, with little or none of the starchy part of the germ.

    Corn Germ Meal (Dry Milled): ground corn germ which consists of corn germ with other parts of the corn kernel from which part of the oil has been removed and is the product obtained in the dry milling process of manufacture of corn meal, corn grits, hominy feed and other corn products.

    Corn Gluten: that part of the commercial shelled corn that remains after the extraction of the larger portion of the starch, gluten, and term by the processes employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup.

    Corn Gluten Meal: the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.

    Corn Syrup: concentrated juice derived from corn.

    What makes it really bad is that dogs (and probably cats as well) can not digest corn.

    Corn, as “bad” as it is, is the the least of your worries in most commercial pet foods:

  10. madktdisease says:


    I’ve read that article. After that, we stopped buying our two dogs regular food.

    I said this yesterday, but I can’t recommend Canidae enough.

    All Natural Ingredients
    Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, White Rice, Lamb Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Herring Meal, Flax Seed, Sun Cured Alfalfa Meal, Sunflower Oil, Chicken, Lecithin, Monocalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Linoleic Acid, Rosemary Extract, Sage Extract, Dried Enterococcus Faecium, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract, Inulin (from Chicory root), Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Fermentation Solubles, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols (source of Vitamin E), Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (source of B2), Beta Carotene, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, D-Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Papaya, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

    And it’s the same price as most of the higher-end stuff . $35 for a $40 lb bag saves a lot of vet bills and heartache.

  11. ConsumptionJunkie says:


    What’s your beef with “tainted” meat?

    I ain’t got sick off the “seafood medley” I been eatin’.

  12. jaewon223 says:

    This reminds me of that mad cow incident where we blamed Canada because if it was from within the U.S. then our meat industry would practically collapse because no country would import beef from the states.

    Canada denied it was from them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the tainted wheat wasn’t from China.

  13. John Markos O'Neill says:

    Human food again? Oh, boy!