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)


Edit Your Comment

  1. nweaver says:

    Lets face it, not enough toxin to kill a pig, therefore eating 1/500th of the amount still IN the pig is not going to be enough to kill you.

  2. indianaguy says:


    thank you, this story is media sensationalism at its best

    news @ 11

  3. CatLady says:

    It’s not about fearing everything… it’s about knowing that when there’s a problem, no one can figure it out until it spins out of control. Ingredients are moving through the food chain, and when the FDA comes in to take a look, everyone shrugs and says, “I don’t know where it went. We think we maybe got it all.”

    Thanks to Consumerist for covering this story. The fact that thousands of pets are dying has been terribly unerreported (stories in newspapers today are still quoting numbers under 20). I’m afraid that the bad ingredients making into the human food supply is the only way the media will wake up and notice that this is a story. Meanwhile your grandma, who doesn’t see news except between 6 and 7 pm, is lovingly feeding her little poodle toxic chow because the mainstream media didn’t bother to mention that her Fido’s favorite brand of kibbles was the most recent to be recalled.

  4. The Bigger Unit says:

    Well, I guess now I’ll go grow a vegetable garden to subsist.

    And live in a hermetically sealed plastic suit.

  5. thegirls says:

    We should all WANT to be aware of this…even though these small amounts may not be enough to “kill” us, that doesn’t mean that it’s okay for humans or even their pets to consume even small amounts of toxic substances.

    Often, a small amount of something here and there don’t hurt. Yet for all we know, if we regularly consume those small amounts, it can build up in our bodies and then possibly cause or contribute to some major harm or cancer. Especially to those most at risk, children, elderly, etc.

  6. indianaguy says:


    are you serious?

    This is very much so about fear. the media knows that fear sells. We’ve all heard ( I don’t know why you think it has been underreported ) ad nauseum about the pet food contamination, it was only a matter of time until we hear about “THIS IS COMING TO YOUR DINNER TABLE”. Which is exactly what this is. The media (in this case the boston globe) just wants you to read because you could be next

  7. Mr_Human says:

    Hmm, I know that I would like to know when purposefully tainted food hits my table, even if the danger is minimal. There are reports that the melamine may have been intentionally added to the gluten to boost the appearance of protein: Wash Post, Criminal Probe Opened in Pet Food Scare: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/

  8. Spider Jerusalem says:

    so…I win because I can’t have pets and don’t eat swine? Yay!

  9. Framling says:

    So what’s the Petmate Fresh Flow water fountain thing doing up there? Are the filters contaminated or something? Because I can’t think of how, and the FDA page doesn’t mention them so far as I can determine, but they seem to be even more the focus of the picture than the natural balance cat food.

  10. Gasface says:

    If the traces of the chemical were found in the pig’s urine instead of their kidney then humans have even less risk of being at risk than the pigs do. You read read more about this here, it’s called biological magnification, but in this case it wouldn’t seem to apply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_magnification

  11. B says:

    Thank god I finally quit my pig-urine drinking addiction.

  12. paco says:

    I’m with Mr_Human. Even if it’s a small amount, I want to know it. And I’ll be sitting under the bed with White Noise and The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

  13. Bourque77 says:

    Im pretty sure we all knew that eventually there would be reports of this stuff in human food. So the media is simply overstating the obvious, wow what i a suprise.

  14. faust1200 says:

    Man, all the sudden that hog I ate for breakfast isn’t going down.

  15. MercuryPDX says:

    @CatLady: Not sure which news outlet you’re watching, but this has been a major story out by me.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard “Yet another recall of tainted pet food, is it the brand you’re feeding your pet? When will it end and what’s being done about it? Tune it to the news at 6 and 11 for more details!”

  16. indianaguy says:


    here’s the thing, this doens’t constitute contamination.

    Anyways you probably eat food that is much closer to some kind of contamination everyday

  17. CapnMarrrrk says:

    While it’s true you “can’t win friends with salad.” I’m glad I’ve added a great deal of greens to my diet.

    I’m just waiting for the next e coli contaminant.

    Question. What happens when hog by-products get shuttled back into the pet food supply chain?

  18. FLConsumer says:

    Thank god I finally quit my pig-urine drinking addiction.

    I vote this for quote of the week!

  19. Solo says:

    And I feel much better after learning that a house subcommitee is looking into the issue.
    Nothing to see, move along.

  20. Mr. Gunn says:

    Just hold off eating the chitterlings and bachoy for a while and you should be OK. ;-)

  21. ConsumptionJunkie says:


    Baby-cakes, what’s your beef w/ “tainted” meat?

  22. Jamez1957 says:

    Dear People:
    After reading about the contaminated pet food and
    the tragic stories told by pet owners I did some
    research and I would like to tell you what I found.
    Everyone at one time or another has been bitten
    by a dog or cat. Last week, my sister`s little dog gave
    me a nip and I jumped(she laughed). It’s
    no big deal where we live. But, if you live in China,
    get bitten by a dog, you could become one of the 200
    people that die every month from rabies.
    It seems the Chinese have been breeding dogs and cats for a
    long time for their skins. I guess they make fur hats
    or something that they sell and export and the dog
    population is out of control like a 150 million dogs.
    And so rabies has proliferated to the point where 80%
    of all world human rabies cases occurs in China.
    Last summer the authorities started a campaign to
    kill all dogs, usually by clubbing them to death even
    in front of their owners.
    Now maybe someone got a little tired of swinging clubs
    and opted for a more efficient approach to the culling
    of the dogs. Maybe poison bait.
    The pet food poison.
    I hear a lot about melamine, but after reading the MSDS
    sheet on melamine it looks like it is not anything more
    than an irritant and carcinogen. It certainly does not
    block an enzyme necessary for protein synthesis upon
    which kidney function depends but Aminopterin(the rat
    poison) sure does.(It used to be used as a chemo
    drug but was discontinued because it was too toxic.)
    The 2008 Summer Olympics will be held in Bejing China.
    If people find out about the rabies epidemic they
    might think twice about attending, investors might think
    twice about investing in a would-be profittable venue.
    I`m not aware of how Menu Foods got the poisoned wheat
    gluten – maybe it was thought to be a very economic
    purchase or the supplier was having a going-out-of-business
    sale or you got our gluten we got yours by mistake.
    My heart goes out to the owners of the pets that
    are sick and dying. The only thing sicker is that
    when the slime and destruction is finally scraped away,
    there`s the dollar.