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Senate hearing- pet food recall & other news

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Old April 13th 07, 05:02 AM posted to rec.pets.dogs.health,alt.med.veterinary
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Default Senate hearing- pet food recall & other news

AAVLD will be gathering data on behalf of the FDA, which will use it to
define what constitutes a confirmed case of food-induced nephrotoxicosis,
identify common elements and then establish a case definition. A complete
news story on reporting cases and submitting samples related to the pet food
recall is available at http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/may07/x070501b.asp

If you missed the Senate hearing on the Pet food issue, there's a couple of
links to people who made semi-transcripts: www.itchmo.com

a few snippets from my own semi-transcript (paraphrased):
PFI guy (whose name I can't spell at the moment:
*Our industry will work with the FDA until this issue comes to a close.
They made an
announcement today they formed a National Pet Food Committee (see link
below) - vets, toxocologists, govt regulators; how did this happen. Dr.
Angel Thompson will be chair of this
committee. Statements on pet food labels - nutri’l adeq are good and
substantiated by research
blah blah pet food industry highly regulated blah blah. Number of
fatalities - Banfield - only 6
AFFECTED. Not a high number but any number is too many. Hopefully we can
bring this to a close and put it behind us.*
.........not only can't the guy get his facts straight (Banfield data, 6
dead, 200+ affected), but he hopes all the owners with sick and deceased
animals can put it behind them (which is exactly what the Menu Foods Prez
said that got him in such hot water. These people are clueless.) Quite
frankly I think the public might have a bit more to say on what the pet food
manufacturers are going to do in the future than the PFI. (AAFCO guy -
Nelson - said more than once that AAFCO regs cover post-production only, not
process of manufacturing. And that they had developed a Model Food Program
in 2001 but were finding that *guidance* was not enough and were working on
regs that states could enforce. Read - self regulation by PFI is not
cutting it.) Durbin asked this PFI guy 3 times about the 3 week lag before
Menu Foods notified FDA and he kept repeating he didn't know the timeline,
even after Durbin said, you knew you were coming here today and you don't
know the facts? heh - it was a good whippin'!

And today, ta-da!, the Pet Food Institute issued a press release (someone
who watched the hearing said the doofus held up a newspaper showing their
New National Pet Food Commission Formed to Further Build on Safety and
Quality Standards
Panel Including Experts from Government and Industry Announced By Pet Food
WASHINGTON, April 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pet Food Institute
(PFI), which represents pet food manufacturers, today announced the
formation of the National Pet Food Commission, composed of
nationally-recognized veterinarians, toxicologists, state and federal
regulators and nutritionists, to further strengthen industry procedures and
safeguards in light of recent pet food recalls.
The industry-government partnership will have two main goals:
-- To investigate the cause of the current pet food recall.
-- To recommend steps the industry and government should take to further
build on safety and quality standards already in place.............

.........Seems to me they need to investigate why Menu Foods sat on it for so
long, not why it happened. I get the distinct impression from the hearing,
that notification of FDA might be manadatory with penalties for
non-compliance in the future. Now all we have is the willingness of a
company to notify the FDA in a *timely* manner. But hey, if your company
just got out of the financial hole in the last few quarters, don't want to
be too hasty do we?

Oh and I get the impression there's another recall coming - and tomorrow is
Friday. It was a comment that flew by in the hearing, didn't catch it. So
please check all the usual sources.

I haven't checked this out, but this is supposedly a database of all
recalled food:

FDA was slapped around a bit about their website. Hopefully it will
improve. Durbin said at one point that the public and blogs are doing a
better job of disseminating information than the FDA. You got that right!
Their website was 12-24 hours out of date sometimes.

Sundlof said at the hearing (paraphrased):
They know where all the wheat glutren shipments went. They are still trying
to reconcile
the whereabouts of all the wheat gluten on a pound by pound basis. There
still exists a
possibility there may be more recalls because they have not finished this
yet but are close. There are
some individual portions of the shipments that are not yet found. (Later
in response to
question if recalls are done, said between 90-100% sure the recalls are
over. He just could not say with 100% certainty that they were until last
bit of wheat gluten accounted for.)

......and dear old Sen Byrd.....he may have dry eye (I may close my eyes, but
I'm not sleeping) and tremors (I'm not shaking because I'm afraid!), but he
asked Dr. Sundlof (vet CVM) to be put under oath to answer questions as he
understood quite well that unless he did, he may get political rather than
factual answers from a highly placed govt employee.
He has a little dog (shih tzu) his wife called Trouble and he calls Baby
who sleeps on his bed. Oh and he's chair of Senate Appropriations
Committee. Oh and he's not there because he's up for re-election. That
won't be until 2012.(Repeat all 3 times!)

I just gotta stick this in here - Byrd's statement (paraphrased) and his
questions (he also read a poem All things bright and beautiful...)
*Unique relationship between pets and people, members of our family. Pets
help us keep healthy. When the FDA protects our pets, they protect the
health of millions of Americans as well. Vigilance for
our best friends is vigilance for human owners as well. I hope this hearing
will bring to light the cause and what actions the FDA will take to insure
the same problem won’t occur in the future.
Byrd Q: Appreciate the work of the FDA to get to the bottom of this. There
is a
troubling aspect - lack of clear information to the public. This problem
was compounded
by expanding number of recall items on the list.
(1) What are the criteria for recalls
(2) Are we certain all tainted items are on the recall list.
Then he asks the chair to put Sundlof under oath (the only time this was
Sundlof A: When we traced wheat gluten to the plants, those products went on
the recall
list. We also used information from veterinarians on illness to locate
suspect food;
analyzed pet food - if melamine present, went on the recall list.. Cannot
say absolutely
that all has been recalled yet. Universitites, vets still analyzing.
Byrd Q: There is a discrepancy of information from the FDA and media
outlets on the
numbers of those affected; explain this difference
Sundlof A: There are no good numbers right now. We have received 15,000
phone calls;
right now still focusing on finishing recall issue, then we’ll look at
Byrd Q: Do we _know _how _long_ bad food was sold to the public?
Sundlof A: We _know_ the wheat gluten came into the country in early Nov
Byrd A: Can you explain what screenings are done to insure no harmful
substances are
in the pet food?
Sundlof A: Pet food manufacturers are required to produce food - blah
blah -
wholesome, blah blah basic FDA regs. The pet food manuf is responsible for
the food is free of contaminants; should maintain records with analyses of
products. The
Chinese company did supply a certificate of analysis that SAID they tested
for pesticides.
(emphasis NOT mine!)
........there's a lot more really interesting and informative stuff - if you
got time take a gander at the two semi-transcripts.

Sleep well Sen Byrd, you did your duty.....oh and your little dog too!
Kudos to Dick Durbin for pushing this issue to the forefront and getting
right to the core.

take out the dog before replying


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