Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Tainted Wheat Coverup at FDA, Guised as a "Pet Food Recall" - UPDATED

Update below
Apr 4, 2007

The Tainted Wheat Gluten, Are We Eating It Too?

After over 2 weeks of the Pet Food Scandal.

The horror of watching a formerly healthy pet die, or reading about perhaps hundreds of other pets dying, because of a mistake or greed or both of a pet food manufacturer is hard to bear, but many other people have been asking this question in the back of their own minds... after all, pet food is touted as being even more nutritious and tasty and carefully made than our own food... so what if....

March, 2007, in the Bush Administration. Pets are dying. Pet food is being recalled. The suspected ingredient is imported wheat gluten, contaminated with melamine.

How can this be? It sounds like a bad fiction story again. Dog food doesn't have wheat in it, does it? Cats too? Cats dying from eating formica product crystals?

Wheat Gluten, the protein extracted from the wheat kernel, is indeed used heavily by processed food manufacturers of human foods. Because I don't eat it, I'm slightly "more aware than the average bear" when it comes to having this knowlege of just how many of our American food products HAVE the stuff. Besides being used in many baked goods to add texture, and obviously bread, it's in iced tea mix, vanilla powder, cereals like honey bunches of oats, some ketchups, canned soups, beef jerkey, BBQ spice rubs, lunchmeat, processed cheese, flavored yogurts, sauces, gravies, some artificial sweeteners, flavored tofu, candy bars, it's injected into your thanksgiving turkey, it's in manufactured salad dressing, TV dinners, butter sauces at restaurants, many canned spaghetti sauces, meatloaf fillers, au jus sauce on prime rib, etc.

You're thinking of trying to gulp... avoid this stuff? Welcome to my world !

Of course, pet food manufacturers now also use many different grain byproducts left over from other uses to act as cheap filler in pet foods. Corn distiller's mash from alcohol production, rice bran from rice hulls, and wheat gluten in the form of modified food starches to give some stickiness to sauces and gravies, or gluten protein powder in jerkey chews. Oh, how we love to feed our pets little chunks of meat in gravy. Or at least the pet food advertisers try to convince us our pets would love to be eating something that had been made to have that appearance.

Now, imagine if you're the FDA, and you have an imported tainted gluten problem. Would you be eager to share that problem with the American Consumer, given that ....gulp... incomplete list I just made up off the top of my head? Or would you be feeling some Republican Reluctance to broadcast this? This could be... expensive.

After over 8000 calls about sick pets,the FDA this weekend finally issued an Import Alert, #99- 26, a stop and detention on the importation of wheat gluten from the Xuzhou Anying Biological Development Company, China, due to the presence of melamine.

The Xuzhou Anying's Bio. Dev. Company's website is here.

In case it goes down, they say they produce and export "biologic feed, feed additive, wheat gluten meal, fresh preserved vegetables and so on."

Xuzhou Anying can also be found on the giant Chinese trade listing site, alibaba.

According to their "about us" page:

"Our company specializes in the export of wheat gluten, wheat flour, cornstarch, sweet potato starch, and other agricultural and sideline products. We wish to cooperate with domestic and abroad merchants hand in hand."
"Industry Focus: Agriculture and By- product agents, agriculture product stocks, fodder, feed additives, fresh preserved vegetables"

I have been researching this gluten story heavily since yesterday. When something like this happens, everyone would immediately like to find a scapegoat to blame. Where is it from, who brought the tainted wheat into this country, and are we humans also at risk of eating it? It was speculated that ADM could be the culprit, but...
Just because Archer Daniels Midland manufactures wheat gluten domestically does not make it the importer.

Just because the wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying was contaminated with melamine does not mean it was it was "poisoned." It may, however, been accidently or purposely mismarked and sold at a discount. Melamine is not poisonous to all animals that ingest it. While it is not supposed to BE in wheat gluten, and is a harmful contaminant for pets, it could have been in this because of a manufacturing process or mixing process error on the part of the Chinese company.

This Chinese company, per their websight and a trade websight, also manufactures high protein powders from grain products that use a process that applies Non Protein Nitrogen, also known as Urea, to the grain protein to make it more soluble and stable. Urea is also used in melamine manufacturing.
Urea is also used in processing some livestock animal fodders, but if not manufactured properly, it can cause ammonia poisoning to stressed or hungry livestock such as sheep and cattle.

From wikipedia:

Melamine C3 H6 N6, ( Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen) is a organic base produced from urea by either using catalyzed gas- phase production or high pressure liquid- phase production. Melamine is used to produce melamine resin, which is combined with formaldehyde to produce themosetting plastic. This plastic is often used in kitchen utensils like Melmac, and is the main ingredient in high pressure laminates such as Formica and Arborite and of laminate flooring.

From Zuzhou Anying's Company's advertising on alibaba, we found they also sell Camella (not "camellia" but Camella, tea nut) seed dregs, or the meal leftover from processing out the edible oil. This meal product is used in aquaculture ponds where fish and crab are raised, to kill unwanted fish. There is no mistaking their pride in the quality of their wheat gluten meal

"Wheat gluten meal is also named wheat vital protein. The flour is used as its raw material, and from which extracts a light brown natural grain powder through intensively processing. It is a good soluble protein, containing fifteen amino acid essential for human body. After all, it can yet be regarded as a plant protein food looking good, smelling good and tasting good. "

Here is the alibaba description of their "Esb Protein Meal" , using the original spelling. They say it will" bring about revolutionary effect."

"ESB Biologic Protein Meal" is a kind of high protein substance by mixing coin protein and NPN and using high biologic technology. It is the high protein feed, the crude protein: CP160%-CP300%. "ESB Biologic Protein Meal" has no flavor and has no coolness, torpidity, cayenne; it has no contamination of chemistry and drug. It is safe; nonpoisonous, without bad reaction. The product is yellow or grey or white powder. The protein is permanent, endure high temperature, the freshen is 90% min and has no contamination. It has the good effect to promote the protein of fish meal and other animal feed."

(ARC notes) "coin" may be "corn" or refering to the inner kernel of a grain such as wheat. NPN is the Non Protein Nitrogen, or Urea, which may be a byproduct of coal processing. "high biologic technology" means they probably heated and/or pressurize it with the Urea, the different colors of the end product could indicate they are using either different grains or different processing to get different color base products. The crude protein cannot be more than 100%, so that is an error. )

There was more than one suspect contaminant. Earlier, preliminary tests done by a New York on earlier samples of suspect pet foods seemed to show one thing, a possible rodenticide, aminopterin, and the later tests showed the melamine which was traced back to the batches made with that particular imported wheat gluten. The FDA recall is about the wheat gluten that had the melamine crystals in it.

Because the wheat gluten was "food" grade per the FDA, it is entirely possible that some of it could have been used in human food manufacturing.

Because this Chinese company, Zuzhou Anying, advertises itself as manufacturing both edible and non edible and (deliberately poisonous) powdered substances from grain byproducts, I think it is highly possible we have not yet found all the contaminents.

I was just now trying to decipher, using the FDA tutorial guide, the codes the FDA has in the #99- 26 Alert, which importers use to identify substances by code, there are three:

product codes
02F [ ] [ ] 08
02E [ ] [ ] 06
71M [ ] [ ] 01

The numbers and letters stand for five things, Industry, Class, Subclass, Process Indication Code, and Product. So by looking at the first number, we see 02, 02, and 71, which is milled grains, milled grains, and Byproducts for Animal foods, respectively.

So 2 of the codes are for food grade (human consumption) wheat gluten, E and F, but the third one is for Industry number 71, Byproducts, class M, which is not found in Byproducts Indusry 71. What is "M?" The FDA has also left blank spaces in the code numbers for these three batches of material it is searching for, there is supposed to be a series of 5 letters and numbers, and there is only 3, with 2 blank spaces left in the middle, which would help pinpoint more specifically.

This is extremely suspicious behavior on the part of the FDA, based on what I have read in Susan Hu's diary from yesterday on the FDA's drop in product inspections. I believe they may know more about the wheat gluten's whereabouts than they are currently admitting to publically. And now let me speculate that indeed this gluten MIGHT be in the human food chain, and the FDA does not want to set off a stampede of paniced consumers.

I am concerned not only because my friends and loved ones could be eating this tainted gluten, but because human foodstuffs are still used in pet and livestock manufacturing and that way the contaminated products still might end up being fed to pets. Plus, we don't have complete testing yet as to just what else is in this suspect gluten. But I'm most concerned that when I study the FDA's websight, and click on Alerts sections for Human Foodstuffs, there is no listing for this Wheat Gluten being recalled in spite of clear evidence ON THE ALERT that the wheat gluten IS human foodgrade. Being human foodgrade, then, there was nothing to stop it from being used in people food. It is only listed as a Pet Food Alert.

I guess we're all just dogs now to our government. And I'm not trying to be funny.

By American River Canyon


Is the contaminate Melamine or Aminopterin?

From the PETA Press Release - PDF:

Remarkably, the FDA appears to be covering up evidence that it is wrong in its most recent findings. Although the FDA says that melamine was found in pet food and that it may have been the ingredient that is making animals sick, at the FDA news conference on March 30, the agency did not report the fact that the New York Department of Agriculture and a top Canadian agricultural laboratory both dispute the FDA’s finding.

A spokesperson for the New York Department of Agriculture told The New York Times, "‘We don’t think this is the final conclusion. Melamine is not a known toxin. ... We are confident we found Aminopterin, and it makes sense with the pathology.’ She also said another laboratory, Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph in Canada, had confirmed the presence of Aminopterin in the samples."

Aminopterin Toxicity in Humans from Wikipedia:

The compound (Aminopterin) was explored as an abortifacient in the 1960s and earlier, but was associated with congenital malformations.

Similar congential abnormalities have been documented with methotrexate, and collectively their teratogenic effects have become known as the fetal aminopterin syndrome. When a similar cluster of abnormalies appears in the absence of exposure to antifolates it is referred to as aminopterin-like syndrome without aminopterin.

Exposure and treatment

Symptoms of exposure in humans include:

* nausea
* vomiting
* anorexia
* weight loss
* chills
* fever
* stomatitis – inflammation of the oral mucosa
* pharyngitis – inflammation of the pharynx
* erythematous rashes – red rashes on the skin
* hyperpigmentation – increased pigmentation associated with cleared psoriatic lesions
* gastrointestinal hemorrhage
* renal failure – in high doses necessarily involving concomitant leucovorin rescue
* abortions in pregnant women


Anonymous said...

This is causing animal deaths?

Melamine: OECD SIDS - UNEP Publications

Species: dog
Sex: female
Route of admin.: oral feed
Exposure period: one to four weeks
Frequency of treatment: daily
Doses: 1 mM/kg (126 mg/kg) [1.26 grams / 10 kg dog / day]
Year: 1945.
Result: No signs of toxicity or gross and microscopical changes were seen.
Conduction and reporting of the experiment is insufficient compared to
current standards.
Source: ( 80 )

Species: dog
Route of admin.: oral feed
Exposure period: 1 year
Frequency of treatment: continuously
Doses: (1200 mg/kg) [12 grams / 10 kg dog / day]
Control Group: concurrent, no treatment
Year: 1955
Result: Apart from crystalluria which started after 60 to 90 days and persisted during the study period no other effects attributable to melamine feeding were
Source: ( 25 )
The toxicity to mammals is also low. Studies ranging from skin irritation to carcinogenicity are available.

No special safety precautions are necessary when handling melamine. Protection against dust and use of goggles are recommended.

Melamine is not genotoxic but it causes carcinomas of the urinary bladder at high doses in male rats only.
Formation of bladder stones occurred and these calculi are necessary for the induction of tumours.
Carcinomas are induced by continuous irritation of the bladder epithelium by the calculi, so that melamine acts only indirectly as a non-genotoxic carcinogen.
A threshold concept can be used.

Melamine is not irritating to skin and eye, not sensitising and not teratogenic.
No relevant risk was detected for humans.
The estimated margin of safety for workers is at least 210, that for consumers at least 6000.

Repeated Dose Toxicity rat 14 d, oral with feed, NTP NOEL = ca. 417 mg/kg bw

Toxicokinetics rat Melamine is not metabolized and is fast eliminated with urine.

Experience with Human Exposure
Workplace concentrations of 0.1 to 1.14 mg/m3 were monitored in processing

The main use (ca. 97 % in Europe, > 99 % in Germany) of melamine is the production of melamine resins, typically by reaction with formaldehyde ( 4 ).

Agrolinz Melamin, Austria releases ca. 300 t melamine per year with the waste water.

Discharge into atmosphere during manufacturing and further processing of the melamine produced in West Germany in 1989 is estimated at 850 kg, and into waste water treatment plant of BASF AG, at 6 to 7 t.

Marc Parent mparent7777 mparent CCNWON said...

Good work. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you marc you have told people about something that is close to a lot of peoples hearts. My cat was killed by the ingredients in the food that was imported for animal feed. Just wanted to say thanks for bringing this to the light where poeple can see it as it is. A grave injustice to innocent animals.

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski said...

Ive been posting on www.petconnection.com and am on record as making the identical observations there. See their blog section and search for the same name I used here...

I have however been working on the theory that this company was working on new technologies in NPN processing that may not have involved urea. Note that melamine can be used as a slow release fertilizer giving off nitrogen much like urea. This is speculation I know but what if the melamine is their source of N in their product and somehow the aminopterin is either a catalyst or a byproduct?

I would also like to point out that currently Menu is recalling all food produced beginning November 8th. My dog Brandy died with symptoms idential to those listed here for aminopterin after eating 11 cans of Sprout Beef Cuts & Gravy with an expiration date of Oct 25 09 which I take to mean a manufacture date of around Oct 25 06. This food is on the list but only with January to March dates. Given that they previously claimed that first delivery occurred on Dec 3rd but have not moved it back almost a month, I am suspicious that this goes back even farther than currently held.

I have filed a complaint with the FDA and have been told to hold the remaining cans for pickup and testing but that was now 8 days ago and no return contact yet....

Please see my posts at petconnectio.com I think you will be interested!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for opening our eyes even wider! Here in Iceland we are worried that petfoods manufactured in the States are tainted and poisenous. Nobody is recalling petfoods in Europe as far as I know. What are the chances of the same brands, tainted, yet exported, but not being recalled like in the States?
I just pray and hope that this contaminant has been correctly identified and that no further damage will come of it. Even though I know in my heart that I am being naive. I have 4 dogs I love to bits and would be devastated if anything would happen to them as a result of this.

Best wishes for a happy Easter, from Iceland.

Anonymous said...

Hello 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 some people in China 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. This and other factors has led to a dog population in excess of a 150 million dogs. This has enabled rabies to proliferate to the point where China has 80% of all human rabies cases worldwide.
Last summer the authorities started a campaign to kill all dogs, usually by clubbing them to death even in front of their owners. Perhaps someone got a little tired of swinging clubs and thought of a more efficient approach to the culling of the dogs.
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) does. (Aminopterin was also used in chemotherapy but was discontinued because it was too toxic.)
The 2008 Summer Olympics will be held in Beijing China. If people find out about the rabies epidemic they may think twice about attending, investors may think twice about investing in a would-be profitable 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 a shipment mix up: We got their gluten they got ours 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.
Best Regards,

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