Sunday, April 29, 2007

Enough Already!

I know, I haven't been posting much lately. Too much going on. This is a long post. If you want to skip the yada yada about the recall debacle, feel free to scroll down and enjoy pictures. Also, sorry about all the formatting issues in this post, maybe someday I will figure out how to deal with blogger formatting.
A reminder that if you need up-to-date info about the pet food recall the best sources I have found are and By the way, these are available at the top of my links list now. At this point you'll do yourself a favor by checking every day, because new or additional products are being recalled on a daily basis. In fact, at this point, it is so complicated that I'm not even going to attempt a synopsis; just go to one of the suggested sites to get the lay of the land.

Posted several days ago at itchmo:
'If melamine spiking started happening before the Menu Foods recalls, why are we learning about it now? Two theories so far (which can be combined as well):

1. Greed. Initially, small amounts of melamine was used to slightly increase perceived protein content. As time went on and money kept flowing, the fraud got even more brazen by using larger amounts of melamine in lower standards of ingredients.(This is Itchmo’s theory)

2. Mistakes. Proper dosing and mixing of melamine in foods kept pet deaths low enough to be undetected. But someone got careless and large amounts of melamine got into smaller batches. One batch was detected with melamine concentrations as high as 6.6%.(This is David Goldstein’s theory) '

Unfortunately, these theories are confirmed in the article below, lifted from itchmo:

'Highlights below from the IHT article (emphasis Itchmo):
Here at the Shandong Mingshui Great Chemical Group factory, huge boiler vats are turning coal into melamine, which is used to create plastics and fertilizer. But the leftover melamine scrap, small acorn-sized chunks of white rock, is then being sold to local entrepreneurs, who say they secretly mix a powdered form of the scrap into animal feed to artificially enhance the protein level. “It just saves money,” says a manager at an animal feed factory here. “Melamine scrap is added to animal feed to boost the protein level.” The practice is widespread in China. For years animal feed sellers have been able to cheat buyers by blending the powder into feed with little regulatory supervision, according to interviews with melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.
“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” says Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”
Most local feed companies do not admit that they use melamine. But last Friday here in Zhangqiu, a fast-growing industrial city southeast of Beijing, a pair of animal feed producers explained in great detail how they purchase low-grade wheat, corn, soybean or other proteins and then mix in small portions of nitrogen-rich melamine, whose chemical properties give a bag of animal feed an inflated protein level under standard tests.
“If you add it in small quantities, it won’t hurt the animals,” said one animal feed entrepreneur whose name is being withheld to protect him from prosecution.
The man - who works in a small animal feed operation that consists of a handful of storage and mixing areas - said he has mixed melamine into animal feed for years.

We’ve always suspected that this problem went back further than Menu Foods and this article confirms our suspicions. Again, we may never know the degree of deaths and illnesses in pets as many have long died and evidence has been lost.'

And the last is a soooo reassuring quote from a joint update released by the FDA/USDA regarding hogs fed contaminated/poisoned pet food (emphasis mine):

'At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.
The assessment that, if there were to be harm to human health, it would be very low, is based on a number of factors, including the dilution of the contaminating melamine and melamine-related compounds from the original rice protein concentrate as it moves through the food system. First it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet. Neither FDA nor USDA has uncovered any evidence of harm to the swine from the contaminated feed. In addition to the dilutional factor and the lack of evidence of illnesses in the swine fed the waste pet food, we are not aware of any human illness that has occurred from exposure to melamine or its by-products. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention systems would have limited ability to detect subtle problems due to melamine and melamine-related compounds, no problems have been detected to date. '

Baby back ribs or pork chops anyone? Like David Goldstein says 'translation: "We are unable to detect such problems, but don't worry, no such problems have been detected.".

In other news, I have finally gotten a prescription for a six month trial of Enbrel. Getting the prescription has turned out to be the easy part. I knew this was an expensive drug, and I knew my medical insurance had really poor coverage, but fark!

I gave myself the first injection Thursday. Even though I know that I can't expect to feel an improvement for at least two weeks at the earliest, Hello!?! Enough already! I'm sick of hurting all the time and I'm sure the cardikids are sick of short walks and a cranky cardima!

Enough ranting! Here's some pictures of the kids collected over the past week.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

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