Thoughts from a Yellow Dog Democrat living in Olympia, in the great BLUE state of Washington

I am a liberal because it is the political philosophy of freedom and equality. And I am a progressive because it is the political path to a better future. And I am a Democrat because it is the political party that believes in freedom, equality and progress. -- Digby

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dog Food

Those of you who know me know my dogs are really important to me. This dog food recall of course concerned me -- I switched dog food, notified all my friends with dogs, gave my local Safeway the recall list since they were slow taking action (unlike Fred Meyer who took action immediately!) -- the news coverage seemed so limited. To be honest, the tin-foil-hat-conspiracy-theorist in me wondered if this was a terrorist attack on the US -- but I dismissed it and went on.

My fellow bloggers are investigating and doing a great job getting to the bigger story. See Itchmo , Dave Goldstein , Socko's Brain, and the gang at Pet Connections. They are doing GREAT investigative work on this issue. They even have gotten Senator Durbin to promise to conduct a hearing.

Here's some of the scary points they have uncovered: The Wheat Glutten came supposedly from China was graded for human consumption by the FDA. The FDA and Menu Foods knew about the problem for weeks and didn't think a public alert was necessary. FDA has failed to do a full investigation to see if any of the tainted grain has gotten into the human food chain but continues to make statements that it hasn't (this reminds me of when the EPA failed to do any air quality testing but announced that the air at Ground Zero after 9-11 was safe).

Here's Pet Connection's take:
The White House loves to use Fear when it serves their purpose. But when it effects a corporation's bottom line it's profits first, poodles last.

- The FDA didn't reveal the identity of the manufacturers of the wheat gluten until a blogger at Pet Connection found it. Why?

- The FDA didn't reveal the name of the US distributor of the gluten until the AP got it from another source. Why?

- The FDA hasn't required the US distributor of the wheat gluten to reveal to the public everyone they sold it to. Why not?

- The Chinese company the FDA identified as the sole source of the tainted wheat gluten, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology said they sold it to other companies. Who are they? Who did they sell it to?

- There is disagreement between university labs and FDA labs on the nature of the contaminate. What is that about?

This is classic "The Public has a right to know" information. Do I know for a fact that the FDA is getting pressure to drag their feet and not reveal info? No. But I do know that the critical information about this story has been dug out by concerned pet owner/bloggers and the good journalists like Andrew Bridges at the AP.

3,168 dead pets. This is NOT "Nothing to see here, move along."
Pay attention folks. Follow the money. Pay attention to the players.

UPDATE 4-8-07

Pet Connection calls it straight after a CBS reporter whines that we shouldn't be concerned about just 12 dead animals (I'm impressed he had the time to whine between his Anna Nichole Smith and Brittney shaving her head coverage!:

No one’s denying the need for honest reporting on the war in Iraq, and I can’t imagine a person who doesn’t care about the sacrifices of our fellow citizens there, or indeed about the suffering of the Iraqis who are living and dying in a war zone. But with all due respect, this is not about 12 pets (which even the FDA says there’s more than that now, although they say they’re too busy investigating to say how many more.) . . .

This isn’t about 12, 14, 16 dead pets — or even, if you extrapolate from numbers such as Oregon’s, Michigan’s, Banfield’s, the Animal Medical Center, the Veterinary Information Network or even ours, hundreds or thousands dead. (The FDA has some 12,000 complaints to investigate, more than double in a month their two-year load on all other complaints combined. . .

This is about our happenstance discovery of a vulnerability in our overall food-safety system, one that we’re fortunate to have found and to have a chance to fix before something else even bigger happens, either by accident (which this pet-food disaster may well surely end up being) or on purpose (at the hands of America’s enemies).

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