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Food Contamination - Comments

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I hadn't heard of melamine in pet food until now; in New Zealand we know it as the contaminant that nearly ruined our milk powder exports to China. NZ dairy giant Fonterra held a major share of Sanlu, a Chinese milk producer, and Sanlu's milk supply was being adulterated with melamine to raise the protein measurement and increase the farmers' payout. The fallout reflected badly on Fonterra, and all NZ milk exports by association. See http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/fonterra-claims-milk-was-sabotaged-another-baby-dies-35243 (Googling "fonterra melamine" will find you many more references.)

i'm really surprised you feed your kitties the cheapest cat food.

with her vet's okay i use to feed my cat a mixture of kirkland and purina indoor brand cat food. she went into kidney failure after seven years. the vet then had me change to science diet. she continued to lose weight and throw up.

she now eats an expensive prescription cat food. luckily she doesn't eat wet food. she doesn't like it. doesn't care for people food either.

btw the photo of your kitty is adorable...

Two men were given death sentences in this case. As I recall, China executed them in 30 days (they had a failed appeal). No 20 years on death row like in America. They killed babies. Swift justice. Give credit where credit is due: WAY TO GO CHINESE JUSTICE SYSTEM!

I'd like to remind everyone that all companies are run by people. Sometimes, people make really dumb decisions. These are not problems with capitalism, the same problems occur in countries using other economic systems. It's not profit motive and it's not greed that causes these problems, it's very poor judgement. For many of the manufacturers that got defrauded by this supplier, they paid a heavy price for a problem they didn't directly cause.

After all, it's not good business to kill or harm your customers or those they love. With the communications available with the internet, these failures can extract a heavy penalty far faster than our justice system. As we read, in China it cost several managers their lives. I don't know too many employees who would die so their employer could make more money.

I believe web sites like this one can do far more to improve things than trying to get "government" to "solve" the problem. A free market isn't free for those who fail their customers. The market can be very harsh. I expect manufacturers are a LOT more careful about their suppliers now than they were several years ago. I expect they don't just trust what they are told, but verify.

I even expect that this disaster caused many companies to evaluate their own QA systems, and in the long run improved the quality of our products.

Further illustrating that progress is sometimes very messy.

Just a note regarding the growth hormone fed to cows...

My son was diagnosed with pituitary dwarfism and was required to use growth hormone for several years because of the serious consequences of inadequate gh (osteoporosis, cardiac issues, and digestive issues among other things.)

Growth hormone must be administered via injections or another intramuscular method because it cannot survive the digestive process. Thus, I cannot see how ingesting it through meat could be an issue. Perhaps someone else could explain?

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I'm personally much more concerned by the constant application of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics than rBGH (bovine growth hormone), but you do raise a good question. The Cancer Prevention Coalition notes that American milk cannot be exported to Europe because Europe has banned rBGH, with the clear implication being that regulators there believe the added hormones is bad. The CPC even goes so far as to say that "Excess levels" of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) "have been increasingly linked by modern research to human cancer development and growth." Is that true? And if so, what constitutes "excess levels"? Good questions; as for "clear, scientifically validated answers", I don't see them. Still, many consumers are suspicious of industry claims of "this is perfectly safe" (and rightly so! That's what "health institutes" funded by tobacco companies said about smoking), and choose to be more safe than sorry. Apparently, that's the route the Europeans are taking. -rc

People like to buy cheap products - as you said Randy you purchased this product because it was cheap. Cheap products (both in the US and Australia, as well as other "wealthy" nations) generally come from places like China, which are cheap because a) they pay their workers much less than our countries' minimum wages, b) their labour and environmental laws are more lax so that company profits don't have to be spent making workplaces safer and less polluting and c) other cost cutting measures are easier to feed into the system, such as cheaper substitute ingredients in food.

This is the problem with letting market forces control the value of products - consumers are blind to the costs associated with cheap goods and multinational companies don't care about anything as long as they make a profit. Why don't people buy local, where there is more control over the quality and intangible costs, rather than a cheap import? There is a reason manufacturing industries in both our countries (and the UK, and Canada, et al.) are collapsing.

People make selfish economic choices, without consideration of the economic effect on their nation, or the potential risks to health, or the global environmental costs, then cry foul when their dog gets sick or they can't get a job.

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Crap is crap, whether it's made locally or not. Locals can make crap just as much as anyone else. There is something to be said for central facilities with exacting, high standards that can afford extra steps toward quality that locals cannot afford because they don't have enough volume to spread the costs over. In other words, it's not so simple as "just buy local and it will be good" -- not by a long shot. -rc

This is a very interesting read about our beef production in the US and what we are really eating everyday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/31/magazine/power-steer.html

Randy, you've exposed the tip of an enormous iceberg. As multinational conglomerates acquire control of the food chain these problems will only escalate, largely affecting things we humans eat.

On the subject of pet food, for 4 years I fed my dog a dry food made by a local company. About 6 months ago he stopped eating it, and after 4 foodless days I thought he was unwell. Then I read the pack; no longer is the product made by a local company but by Purina, an arm of the Nestlé giant. What they did to economise I don't know, but my dog sure didn't like it.

I looked through the ingredients of all the Fancy Feast flavors and only found one that was acceptable to me for regular use: the Classic Chicken pate. My criteria: no grains, no byproducts as first ingredient, no liver or fish as a major ingredient (due to toxins), and no beef (it's a common cat allergen and makes my furbaby puke.). But her fur got a little dull, so the fish in the Classic Chicken apparently doesn't provide enough omega-3. So now I throw in one can of the Savory Salmon Feast per week and her fur is awesome. (She weighs 8-9 pounds.) She likes the salmon better than the chicken, but I limit it for the reasons given on this website:

http://catnutrition.wordpress.com/2007/09/22/eight-strikes-against-fishy-feeding-for-cats/

I leave out kibbles for her, but fortunately she hardly touches them.

I got used to reading human food ingredient lists when I developed a severe intolerance to an alarming range of foods (due to liver damage caused by insecticide poisoning) - eating something I shouldn't got me swift and painful results, so I learned to be very careful very fast. As for pet food ingredient lists, I had a similar reason for paying attention! One of my previous cats didn't seem to suffer personally, but would give off the most horrible gas imaginable if she got even a tiny trace of dairy products or egg; I got the consequences, so I learned to check. :)

Those habits have served me well now that my husband and I own two elderly cats that are developing age-related thyroid and kidney issues, best treated through diet at the moment. I no longer suffer the consequences of bad purchases personally, but I still care and still check.

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