Tainted Pet Food Hits Human Food Supply

Tainted Pet Food has finally hit the human food supply by way of hogs who ate pet food laced with melamine, a rodenticide banned in the US but in use in China. The hogs, unlike pets affected by the poison did not suffer kidney-failure. Instead, the chemical was excreted in their urine. Why? Oh, we don’t know. From the Boston Globe:

California officials quarantined 1,500 animals at the American Hog Farm and are tracking who purchased nearly 100 hogs from the farm this month, when the animals’ feed included pet food that had been tainted with melamine.

In addition, 26 hogs were sold and slaughtered at an unnamed processing plant in northern California . Federal authorities quarantined those unprocessed carcasses at that plant, but state officials expect to identify more California processing plants that purchased the hogs.

Not much is known about melamine, but it’s thought that humans who ate the hogs are at very little risk.

Tuesday , a US House of Representatives subcommittee will examine the Food and Drug Administration’s “diminished capacity” to assure American food safety. Rosa L. DeLauro , Democrat of Connecticut , promises to hold additional hearings.

“The pet food recall is turning into a real crisis,” DeLauro said . “FDA initially assured us that the concerns about the pet food supply was a separate issue and that the human food supply would not be threatened. However, recent reports noting that the melamine has been found in hog urine which, if verified, has the potential of contaminating human food.”

The pet food entered the food supply through a deal between Natural Balance’s manufacturer and a nearby hog farm.

“The arrangement was for the farm to pick up 25,000 pounds of salvage food from the pet food manufacturer every 10 days or so. The farm mixed that with other salvage resources” to make the pig feed, said Steve Lyle , a California Department of Food and Agriculture spokesman.

If anyone needs us we’ll be under our bed rereading White Noise.—MEGHANN MARCO

Tainted pet food reaches human fare [Boston Globe]
(Photo:Ben Popken)