Friday, May 25, 2007

What Dogs Do, Too: Mope

- From "What Dogs Do Too" - Sharon Beals. Get her excellent books and notecards
at Chronicle Books . She has great photos of kittens, puppies, cats and dogs make a great gift for the pet lover in your life.

Lack of information from the FDA and USDA got cha down? Don't Mope! Get active!

Here's a list of food safety bills that you can support (link from Itchmo forum).

If you live in CA, check out Pet Connection and Gina Spadafori's letter to her Assemblymember and Senator in Sacramento in opposition to AB 1634.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Itchmo's looking for a specific Lot of Iams Dry Dog Food

Itchmo is asking you to find an unopened 20 lb. bag of Iams Large Breed dry dog food that matches the lot number: 260608 70574173 F4 US30940 with the expiration date of 6/26/08.

A toxicology test reported the presence of cyanuric acid in an opened bag of what is alleged to be Iams Large Breed dry dog food.

Read the story here and check to see if you have an unopened bag with that lot number.

I would like to point out how responsible Ben is being with this story.
1) They got independent testing
2) Provided testing documentation on the site
3) They are asking for a bag from the same lot number that is unopened to do a separate test.
4) They contacted the manufacturer for a response.
[Not "off the charts" at all, although I'm sure this is going to be "troublesome" to the PFI.]

This week the FDA and USDA canceled their press conferences because there was no news in this "on-going investigation".

I don't want to speculate on the results of another test and what might happen, but since all the feed that has been contaminated so far is claimed to have been based on "only two companies" in China, what happens if this is related to another company? Kind of blows a hole in the whole "It's contained, nothing new here, besides the Chinese government has already locked up the bad guys" (after the CEO destroyed the evidence my bulldozing his own plant!)

Oh and since Ben probably won't ask, throw him the equalivant of doggy treats with his donation button.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Pipettes: The Prettiest Girls I've Never Met.

Thanks to the good Dr. Zaius and Evil Spock for the suggestions of The Pipettes.
I'll also check out Alizee and Shonen Knife and might put up some of their videos.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What are Willie the Cat and Barney fed?

What are Willie the Cat and Barney fed? Can you check to see if they were fed pet food recalled because it was contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid from China?

I know you probably can't name what brands they eat because it might look like an endorsement, but with new recalls every day, I hope you are checking to ensure their food is safe.

As you know, this contamination of pet food killed and sickened thousands of pets around the country. Have any White House pets gotten sick in the last few months with kidney problems?

Here's a story about this topic that might be of interest, especially this Wednesday when you meet with the Chinese.

Live Love and Prosper Barney and Willie The Cat
Mr. Spocko

Friday, May 18, 2007

Doing the Right Thing, Goofus Style

From our monkey overlord in the future. Dr. Zaius.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The power of a "visual" narrative

Watch this video. Ask yourself, "What would I do in that situation?" How would you act if powerful people requested you do something you felt wasn't in line with your strongly-held stated beliefs and oaths you have taken or principles that your organization is supposed to represent?

What would you do if you were a government official and you felt that you (and your boss) were getting pressure to do something that you felt was illegal? Unsafe? Dangerous to lives?

It looks like I've been focused just on the pet food recall, but what I'm really focused on is how individuals and institutions act in certain critical situations. They can act on their stated values, or they can do something else. By their actions you shall know them.

The next question is, "How should we treat the powerful people who chose to pressure people to go against their strongly held beliefs?"That is a different question.

Late update: If you're pressed for time, here's a shorter version of Comey's testimony with the two most noteworthy segments:

From TalkingPointsMemo
For background on this: Glenn Greenwald.

Monday, May 14, 2007

That French Carousel and Rocket Video

Thanks TRex for the introduction to this!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Is it Safe Yet? Super Chicken Edition.

Now that the FDA and USDA have said those 20 million chickens that ate feed tainted with melamime, cyanuric acid, ammelide and ammeline are safe, I figure we can know who will be selling them.

To that end I've called the people that should know the names of the 38 chicken farms in Indiana.

Here is what I've found as of Friday at 5:30 pm on May 11, 2007

Four processors have claimed that their chickens are not part of the 20 million melamine tainted chickens or are not in the state with the 38 chicken farms.

They are:
  1. Perdue Farms (I got an excellent email from Julie DeYoung,Vice President, Corporate Communications at Perdue. It states that all of the protein ingredients are from the United States, their farms aren't effected and they are even going to do random sample testing of their feed ingredients to be proactive. They did this because companies were duped. I applaud their actions. Note to others, THAT is how a smart company communicates and acts.)

  2. Pilgrims Pride - West Virginia based
  3. Foster Farms - California based
  4. Murry's Chickens - New York-based

I've called the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, because they are handling this aspect of the story. ( link)

I'm asking these questions:

Q. If the 20 million chickens are safe to eat, what are the names of the companies who are selling these chickens to the public?

  • If you won't tell us, why not?
  • If you don't tell us, does that mean they really aren't safe?
  • What about the 3.5 million chickens that when out in February? Who sold those to people?
  • What rules are you following regarding disclosure of this information?
  • Did you cut a deal with the chicken processor(s) to not name the names?
I also called:
Indiana State Poultry Association
Purdue University

Again, since the FDA and USDA are saying that the chickens are fine, I don't see why there would be any problem giving me the names of the chicken processors.

When you find youself in danger,
When you're threatened by a stranger,
When it looks like you will take a lickin', (puk, puk, puk)
There is someone waiting,
Who will hurry up and rescue you,
Just Call for Super Chicken!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In America they call it Obstruction of Justice

What do they call it in China?

From this story in the LA Times.

There was a REASON Sen. Dick Durbin wrote Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, to get visas for the FDA quickly. Maybe he suspected something like this would happen. On April 18th Sen Durbin wrote:

The Agency has also made multiple requests to the Chinese Government to allow U.S. inspectors to look at the facilities that are suspected to have produced the contaminated product. On April 4, 2007, the FDA sent its first letter to the Chinese Government asking for visas to allow its inspectors visit China. The request was not granted, and on April 17, 2007, the FDA sent an additional letter emphasizing that it wished to be allowed to send its inspectors to China.

See how important it was? Not only could this be considered obstruction of justice, it's bad form for international relations.

And telling some poor FDA field op to keep saying how cooperative the Chinese were is just bull. Tell me the date that you got the visa Mr. Batts. Was it before April 4th? If not, well your comment is inaccurate.(From the transcript)

Next question is from Brian Hartman of ABC News.

REPORTER: Hi. You say you're getting very good cooperation in China, but you get to the factories and there's nothing there. You can't interview the people who have been detained. And you couldn't get visas into the country. I just wonder if you could be more clear on what they are cooperating on. And the follow-up, if you can tell me if anyone is testing melamine on live animals right now to better understand how it moves through other systems of animals? Thank you.

MR. BATTS: Could you repeat the first part of your question having to do with –

REPORTER: Well, sure. You said a couple times here that you're very happy with the cooperation in China, and I guess this is for Mr. Batts, and, but it sounded to me like what you're saying to us about what's happening in China is you're getting to a factory that's been dismantled and there's nothing to look at. You can't do any tests on anything. You can't talk to the people who have been detained. And you had trouble even getting visas into the country. So I'm just wondering, what is it that you're not telling us about how cooperative China is being?

MR. BATTS: First of all, concerning the visas I'm not sure where the information came about China not being cooperative concerning the visas. We found them very cooperative and in fact when the passports of our travel representatives went to the embassy for visas, they were taken care of within the same day, one of them within an hour of receipt, which is an unprecedented turnaround for the Chinese embassy of fixing visas. So let me dispel that point about no cooperation of the visas. [Spocko asks, "What day? WHAT DAY?]

Concerning what's going on in China, the agency that we are working with that Dr. Acheson mentioned earlier, AQSIQ, has been cooperative. They do have limited authority over the firms in this instance, and so that has hampered some of this. It has hampered what they were able to do before we even arrived on site. And they carried out an extensive investigation before our team arrived in China.

But we are satisfied in that they have shared with us documents that they have obtained and anything they found during the investigation. The fact that facilities may have been closed or shut down by the companies and there wasn't much to see is just a fact and not necessarily to be blamed on lack of cooperation by the Chinese authorities.


The press can read. They can read a calendar. You got busted Batts.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Question for Dr. Kenneth Petersen. Whose Chickens are They?

A very simple question for:

Dr. Kenneth Petersen, assistant administrator for field operations with the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. OR

Terri Teuber, USDA spokeswoman or
Mike Johanns, Agriculture Secretary or
Julie Zawisza, assistant commissioner for public affairs or
Dr. David Acheson, the assistant commissioner for Food Protection, FDA.
This is regarding the millions of chickens that ate tainted feed. (story here)

Q. If the 20 million chickens are safe to eat, what are the names of the companies who are selling these chickens to the public?

  • If you won't tell us, why not?
  • If you don't tell us, does that mean they really aren't safe?
  • What about the 3.5 million chickens that when out in February? Who sold those to people?
  • What rules are you following regarding disclosure of this information?
  • Did you cut a deal with the chicken processor(s) to not name the names?
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said this during comments to the Organic Trade Association.
"We literally found that the dilution is so minute, in fact in some cases you can't even test and find melamine any more in that product," (link)
Great Mike, sounds grand. Now who is selling this chicken? Where can I buy it? It sounds like the Safest. Chicken. Ever.

Since I'm not allowed to ask the question in your press conference, I'm hoping one or more of the team of journalists will use one of their precious questions to get this answer. And when the question is dodged, maybe another journalist will use their ONE precious question to ask it again. And again. Because really, if it's safe enough to eat, why wouldn't you tell us the names? Oh and don't forget which lots, which dates and shipped to which stores.

Maybe the public has a right to know where to buy the Safest. Chicken. Ever.

Below is a list of folks who are playing this game of chicken with the USDA and FDA. The USDA and FDA have held back information until they could put out the, "Melamine Chicken: It's safe as houses" press release. Next the FDA/USDA will dance around the question of whose chicken was processed and whom did they sell them too. I'm really curious to see which spin they will use. These are my guesses:

  • We don't know
  • It's proprietary information
  • It's irrelevant since all chicken is safe. Trust us. Trust our assumptions.
  • It's not really important
  • There is no difference between this chicken and regular chicken, therefore it would be irresponsible of us to single out a single processor
My money is on the last one, it has the right mix of arrogance and deference to the honchos in the chicken biz.

Some of the press following this are very sharp (see list below). The USDA and FDA are treating the media (and the public they represent) like they are ignorant of science, politics and how the world works.
Frankly I have great confidence that a few of these folks WILL get to this question. And maybe they will get to some of these other questions in dark blue from my "Calling all science journalists" post.

Abigail Goldman with Los Angeles Times.
Deidre Henderson.Boston Globe.
Joe Johns with CNN
Randy Schmitt, Associated Press
David Curley, ABC News
*Julie Schmitt, USA Today.
*Elizabeth Weiss, USA Today
Nancy Cortis, CBS News or
*Dr. Debbye Turner, CBS Early Show
Brooke Turnbulle, or Dan Grutnech from CNN
Loren Edder, Wall Street Journal
*Steve Hedges, Chicago Tribune
Susan Heedy, Reuters.
Bill Tomson with Dow Jones
Andrew Martin, New York Times
John Rockoff, Baltimore Sun
Heather Harland, NHK Japan
*Karen Roebuck, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
David Brown, Washington Post
Steve Osbey, The Greenville News
Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg News

J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press

(list and spelling from the May 3 2007 transcript of the conference call)
* These are the folks that I have the most confidence in asking sharp questions to get to the truth. If only Christie Keith, from PetConnection were allowed to ask questions. Sigh.

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20 Million Chickens Coming Home to Roast (Not counting the ones in the USDA)

USDA clears 20 mln chickens that ate pet food
Mon May 7, 2007 5:22PM BST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Farmers will be allowed to sell 20 million chickens that were being held on farms that may have received feed contaminated with the chemical melamine, suspected in a rash of pet deaths, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday.


That list of tough questions below to ask the USDA and FDA? Never mind. I guess we can all go back to sleep.

And I'm really sure that the number one concern of the USDA was the health of the public. I'm looking forward to the questions from the press "Could you please tell us what role the poultry industry had in your decision making process?"

h/t to Radioactive Man for the headline.

Calling all Science Journalists.Notes for the FDA 5/8 press conference

At the Vulcan Science Academy they don't teach human spin.

I know that there are some good journalists out there that know both science and human spin who can understand what is going on in this press release below. Based on my years of observing humans I'll take a crack at it. Anyone want to jump in, go ahead. Or better yet, ask the FDA one of these questions. But be smart about it because the FDA and the USDA are better at dancing than Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain.

The FDA knows how to control the press in their press conference. How?

1) Press conferences are short, only one question is allowed, there are no follow ups allowed. They control the phone lines so you CAN'T ask more than one question. Why? Because a focused group of people would bust them for their vague answers to questions.

2) Only "credentialed press" even get to ask questions. This doesn't include the bloggers who have been following this crisis for weeks. And even the credentialed press get blocked if they aren't high status enough. For example, Christie Keith of PetConnection is blocked from having her questions asked because the high status press had to have their questions asked first.

Christie has better questions and has been tracking this story from day one. She was graced with access but didn't get to ask her great questions because she has busted the FDA twice for not having the right info. She is being treated like Helen Thomas and relegated to the back row because she asks the tough questions. Frankly this is bullsh*t. The FDA/USDA should keep the press conference going until all the questions are asked and everyone is satisfied with the answers.

This whole process is backwards. Instead of simply saying, "We are asking for a voluntary recall the pigs and chicken." they are saying:
"We are going to try and convince people that the chicken and pigs are safe to eat."

Why are they going this route? Because the 3.5 million chickens are already in your belly folks. But they won't tell you who ate those 3.5 million chickens. So they are working very hard to try to prove what you ate was safe. This also has the added benefit of pleasing the swine and poultry industry. They don't want to lose the money from the 20 million chickens.

They are rolling the dice with your health. Thanks FDA and USDA for looking out for our health first (sarcasm smilie here)

Horse gone. Barn door closed.


Here is the press release I've made my comments in quotes.

Scientists Conclude Very Low Risk to Humans from Food Containing Melamine
USDA Releases Some Swine and Poultry for Processing

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2007 – There is very low risk to human health from consuming meat from hogs and chickens known to have been fed animal feed supplemented with pet food scraps that contained melamine and melamine-related compounds, according to an assessment conducted by scientists from five federal agencies.

In the most extreme risk assessment scenario, when scientists assumed that all the solid food a person consumes in an entire day was contaminated with melamine at the levels observed in animals fed contaminated feed, the potential exposure was about 2,500 times lower than the dose considered safe. In other words, it was well below any level of public health concern.

The extreme risk assessment scenario questions:
1) How safe is safe enough? Show the public the scenario, now. We need to be able to interpret the statistics and identify the assumptions. If we don't, then they can hide behind statistics and assumptions. Some questions to ask:
a) Was this assessment based only on consuming melamine? Remember, there are three other chemicals, NOT just melamine. And they reacted with urine.

b) Was any of the pig or poultry food contaminated with wheat, rice or corn gluten DIRECTLY?
They talk about a proportion of pet food given to the poultry. But we know that China created feed just for poultry too. Did any suppliers to the 38 farms give poultry feed that was formulated from contaminated gluten alone? Since we don't know the farms, we can't call them up and ask. "What did you feed them? Where did you get it? Who sold it to you?"
Remember, the 3.5 million birds went out in February. That was long before the recall. Give me names of companies who created the food for the birds and pigs so we can ask THEM what they put into their food.

2) When will they release their risk assessment document? Before or after they release the birds to the chicken eating public?

3) What dose is considered safe? Were these safe dosage tests done on humans or rats? They are probably using an old study based on rats eating melamine only. Melamine alone is NOT the problem.

The risk assessment is an important new science-based component of the continuing federal joint investigation into imported wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate from China that contained melamine and melamine-related compounds.

Risk assessment covers a lot of ground, calling it science-based sounds more scientific I guess. But it really includes a lot of statistics in it and numbers ("too many numbers"?) maybe Kelley B or one of my other real science-talking readers could comment on this.

The risk assessment was conducted by scientists from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This team is now compiling a scientific assessment of the risk to animal health associated with ingestion of animal feed containing melamine and its compounds.

Who are the independent scientists who will be reviewing this assessment?

FDA and USDA are in the process of identifying a group of experts to convene a scientific advisory board that would be charged with reviewing the risk assessment. This group would also be asked to contribute to future scientific analysis related to the risk of melamine and its compounds to humans and animals.

And this "group of experts" comes from which industries? Who pays their bills? Agribusiness, the pet food industry? The chemical industry?

In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that pet food was contaminated by wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that contained melamine and its compounds. Subsequently, scraps of contaminated pet food that contained only low levels of melamine were distributed to farms in a limited number of states and added to the feed consumed by swine and poultry. These scraps constituted only a small percentage of the farm animal rations. In addition, melamine is known to be excreted in animal urine. When exposure levels are much higher, as was the case with cats and dogs, the melamine and its compounds appear to cause the formation of crystals in the kidney systems, resulting in kidney damage. There was no indication of kidney damage in hogs. Both hogs and chickens known to have been fed contaminated feed appear to be healthy.

"Melamine is known to be excreted in animal urine."
1) Which animals? Rats? Cats? Dogs? Pigs? Humans? (Lions? Tigers? Bears? Oh my!)
Is ALL of it excreted? No. With pets the melamine and other chemicals caused vomiting and crystals to form in kidneys. Some was still excreted. That's not the point. When I take Vitamin C it's know to be excreted in my urine. (Ever take too much and pee bright yellow?) that doesn't mean that I don't absorb enough of it to make an impact on my body, just that the excess is excreted. And different animals react different to chemicals. Rats have a more robust digestive track than other animals.

This dilution factor was an important piece of data considered in the multi-agency science-based human risk analysis and helps to support the conclusion that there is very low risk to human health from eating meat from animals that were fed the contaminated product. This conclusion supports the decision announced on April 28 not to recall meat from animals that were fed contaminated product.

Where have I seen a conclusion made to support a decision that has already been made? That's right, The Downing Street Memo, where the "facts are being fixed around the policy."

And what about the accumulation factor? This dilution factor is based on assumptions in which they have no physical evidence. That's hope, not science. See their FAQ where they admit they don't have data.
A safety/risk assessment is a scientific approach to estimating the risk to human health from exposure to specified compounds. It is based on available data and certain scientific assumptions in the absence of data.
Currently, swine and poultry on farms suspected of receiving contaminated feed are being held under state quarantine or voluntarily by the owners. In several cases, feed samples have tested negative for melamine and related compounds. These tests were conducted by federal laboratories or state laboratories using approved methods. It is assumed that because only small amounts of the contaminated feed were mixed with other rations, the melamine and related compounds were no longer detectable. USDA has concluded that, based on the human risk assessment and the inability to detect melamine in the feed samples, these animals no longer need to be quarantined or withheld from processing.

Again with the assumptions! Is all this hoop jumping really necessary for 20 million chickens?
Or are they preping us for 200 million chickens who ate bad feed and trying to excuse the 3.5 million melamine and c-acid contaminated chickens we already ate?

In other cases, feed samples have tested positive for melamine and related compounds; feed samples were not available; or feed samples have not yet been submitted for testing. These animals continue to be withheld from processing, but are not yet being culled, pending the results of the animal risk assessment. This assessment is expected to be completed within one week. At that time, USDA will determine whether these animals can be released for inspection and further processing.

USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full and comprehensive investigation. As additional information is confirmed, updates will be provided and decisions will be made using the best available science to protect the public's health.

Is this really about protecting public health or is it about protecting the poultry and swine industry? The US demanded that China kill millions of birds to stop Avian flu because they were afraid it would jump to humans even thought the "risk assessment" was very low that eating the dead birds would cause bird flu. Why the different standard on this?

To ensure no further contaminated products enter the U.S., the federal government will continue to monitor imported wheat and corn gluten as well as rice protein concentrate and isolates arriving from all countries destined for human and animal consumption. The FDA import alert for these products sourced from China remains in effect and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue laboratory testing of the products as they enter the U.S. The inspections are a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of products entering at U.S. ports of entry. There is no evidence to suggest products bound for the human food supply are contaminated.

"No evidence to suggest." Okay, could you please tell us the story about how the FDA caught products that WERE bound for the human food supply? Bet a lot of you in the press don't know that story. Maybe someone should ask it, might prove useful to remind people that we KNOW of cases where tainted gluten DID get into the human food supply, but just didn't get delivered to the stores.
That kind of throws a hole in the FDA's line.

For additional information about the pet food and contaminated feed investigation, go to or The human safety/risk assessment will be available online upon completion of an executive summary.

Great. Again I ask this be before or after you release the birds on the chicken eating public?

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

What happens when You Rob Peter to Pay Paul?

One of my favorite political aphorisms is the one about how, if you're robbing Peter to pay Paul, you can always count on having Paul's support. Now, let's put that into the scenario of "Paul" being the corporate donor or golf buddy or ideological crony of the people who set policy and disburse the money. People in "Paul"'s class seem to literally view poor people as another species, and their travails as merely another bidness opportunity.
This is from "The Gospel According to Heywood J." ( originally posted at Hammer of The Blogs Reposted by the man who's too cool for words, Ripley, at Online Blogintegrity. (Now with 30% more Integritude!)
Read the whole post at Online Blogintegrity* or at Heywood J's place.*

*I must mention that the post I've linked to contains some dirty words, but please note that this post is on the Internets and not on commercially-supported broadcast radio, where the producers have a seven second delay to catch bad things, (unless of course those bad things are expected to be said as part of your contract).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spocko Needs a Comedy Break: 20 Million Plastic Chickens Recall Edition

I told Interrobang this recall is pooping me out. My Vulcan Spidey sense knew this was going to be huge. Today from Associated Press.
20 million chickens may have eaten tainted feed
Poultry must be assessed by government before it’s processed, USDA says
A few headlines I expect to see this week:

“There are diluted lethal chemicals in your chicken! We won’t tell you which brands until after the sports and weather from Sunny Storm!”
- Kent Brockman EyeWitlessNews

“The crap that killed your kitty in is your chicken cutlet! When deaths go up by 30 percent you’ll be the first to know which brands!” Action News 7

“Is your pappy pooped? Can’t pee? Passed out? Passed on? Call the CDC and let us know, you might be the winner in the 2007 food lottery!” (You might already be a winner! Residences of the Utah and Indiana need not enter, you have already been entered.)

If you are a time traveler and coming from a future where this stuff killed humans and you feel that this is in bad taste, please forgive me. Note the date. Right now, I don't know of any humans that have died from this. Acute Renal Failure? Not in this timeline, that I know of. I really want to believe that the FDA is thinking of our health first so I can joke about something that hasn't happened yet. In this timeline, I still have hope the FDA will do the right thing. I really don't want to have to call all the Chicken Farms in America.

For the chicken farmers? Consider this good practice for future avian flu outbreaks.
For the people who are supposed to have implemented the Import Security Plan but haven't actually implemented it, consider this good practice.
If you are in the DHS bioterroism unit, again, consider this good practice, time to test your chops.

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CEOs for Menu and ChemNutra Testify

Paul Henderson, CEO Menu Foods and Stephen Miller, CEO ChemNutra Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, April 24, 2007 (video Link)

I was hoping I could use this video to illustrate some conflict between their House testimony, under oath, with what we know now. I didn't spot any yet, but all you recall bloodhounds are welcome to have at it.

But what struck me watching this: Note the excuses. Maybe they just apply to legal property, pets.

The same excuses can't be applied to humans... or can they?

The FDA refuses to tell us the names of the farms that raised the chicken that millions of us ate. If we knew who those farms were we could ask them. "Who did you sell those chickens too?" But it looks like the FDA is applying the same logic to the chickens that Menu and ChemNutra applied to the feed that they got.

"Is there any way we know then if other wheat gluten, or other products or other things have been intentionally altered? You don't know until after the fact? Right" -Rep. Stupak

"There wasn't a testing protocols for identifying it." -Henderson, CEO Menu Foods.

But there is now.

"Before this incident did you ever do any testing of any of the products that came from China?" -Rep. Stupak

"No, there was no known issue to test for."- Miller, CEO ChemNutra

But there is now.

ChemNutra had confidence in the company, but they didn't do any testing.
Do we have confidence in the FDA? Did they do the testing for us or just say, "Well there haven't been a lot of extra deaths from eating chicken so our guess, based on this dilution effect theory, is working."

Remember in the movie 2001 where the killer computer, Hal, decided that they should just let a component fail instead of replacing it first? I guess the plan is to do the same with humans as we did with pets

FDA to Humans: "Let 'em eat Chicken."

If humans start dying, well then we'll tell you who sold you that tainted chicken.

All this talk about dilution effect would be more credible if they had some sample results they could show us. And maybe some tests to look at. They are already experimenting on humans, maybe a few rats could be tested while we are waiting.

Oh, and anyone want to talk about the accumulation effect? Think second-hand smoke or asbestos or even pions from Mad Cows. How much do you have to eat until you get sick or die? We don't know for sure, but when it happens, call us.

The good news? I understand we can buy some human kidneys on the black market in China....

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Please FDA Let the Consumer Decide.

In today's FDA press conference (live blogged by flying fingers of Christie Keith) they talked about the 2.5 - 3 million chicken that were fed feed from China that was tainted with melamime (and possibly other substances) back in February.

The chickens were processed (killed) and distributed (sold to you).
But they will not tell us the names of the companies that sold these chickens.

Chicago Tribune: You say it’s too late to do a recall, but why not name the companies and let the consumers decide?

Here is Christie's live blogging notes: PLEASE NOTE this is NOT an offical transcript, the offical transcript will be out soon:

Dr. Peterson: It’s more than just the shelf life of poultry or swine. As Dr. Atchison suggested, if you look at the potential exposure, the risk is very low for the factors he mentioned. The wheat gluten and rice gluten were just small components of the pet food. The way swine and poultry were raised, defined rations. Pet food byproducts are a small part of the feed. If anything fed for a brief period of time. Look at frequency of people consuming pork or chicken. All those things together, along with no evidence of harm to people eating pork and chicken. We made a decision not to recall.

Granted this is not an exact transcript. I wish I had been on the call I would have recorded it and played if exactly back for you all.

What a load of chicken manure! I wish I had this exactly. A few notes.

1) The feed they are talking about was fed to the chicken's in February. Remember the recall didn't start until March 16. What does that mean? Was this feed based on pet food that was dumped or was it a gluten that went into some other product?

2) The tests on RATS that said that Melamine was a problem was JUST on Melamine, NOT on a combination of melamine and other things.

Come on. Name the names. Let the consumer decide.

FDA: Chickens fed melamine tainted feed in the Human Food Supply

From the Baltimore Sun article:

38 poultry farms in Indiana received contaminated feed in February.

All broiler chickens fed the feed have been processed, and breeding birds are now under quarantine, according to the FDA and Agriculture Department. There is no evidence that eating chickens fed the feed would harm humans, so the agencies said they are not recalling any products made from the processed poultry.

WHAT THE FRAK?! Pardon my human English, but did I read this right? They have decided for us that the chickens are fine. Based on what evidence?

Have they fed some humans the products and tested them to see what happens to their kidneys? Did they decide that it's too late because people have already eaten this and nobody died?

I'd like to know if the chicken kidneys I'm eating contain the stuff that killed my cat! Then I can decide not to eat it.

The pets that were fed these products didn't die instantly. The chemical built up in their systems. Now we all know how fast they grow and kill chickens these days. They might have killed the sick chickens who didn't die yet, but were on the verge of dying. Would they even have noticed? And they will use the same "the melamine is diluted so you are safe" line that they used with the pigs.
  • Could they please show us the LEVEL of melamine in the chickens?
  • Whose chicken farms were these?
  • Where did the food end up?
  • What are the names of the brands? What date were these shipped to stores?
  • Which "products" did this go into?
  • Was it in my TV dinner? Fresh chicken? Chicken Noodle Soup?
Let me decide to take the risk. I might disagree with your analysis of the risk, but I can't chose not to eat it if I don't know what is in what I'm eating.

Live Long and Prosper is my line, with this I might have trouble!


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