Tuesday, May 01, 2007


It's used in plastics and fertilizers. And it's the cause of the recent pet food recall. The NYT calls its use an "open secret" in China, dating back to the early '90s. Manufacturers -- with little to no sense of ethical responsibility -- add melamine to animal feed (rice, soy, wheat, corn) in order to artificially raise its protein content, thereby getting more money. This is what happens when you have a combination of human greed and little to no oversight or regulation. So melamine is in pet food, and we know it has been fed to livestock in the U.S. (pigs, chickens, God only knows what else). It's already in the human food chain at this point (people have eaten contaminated pork), and it has likely been so for many years. Right now I'm really glad I don't eat meat.

Only I'm not so sure these grain mixes from China haven't made their way into other products as well. This further confirms what I already believed: we should be eating local, organic when possible, and "whole" foods. And I don't mean "whole" as in, food that comes from an upscale market -- I mean whole as in, real food. Like vegetables and potatoes.

From the Huffington Post (which has a great, succinct write-up):
"The practice is widespread in China," the Times reports, and has been going on "for years." And it is not just wheat, corn, rice and soybean proteins that should be suspect, but the animals who feed on it, including all imported Chinese pork, poultry, farm-raised fish, and their various by-products. Despite FDA and USDA efforts to allay concerns about consuming melamine-tainted meat, the health effects are unstudied, and the permissible level is zero. If China could impose a three-year (and counting) ban on the import of U.S. beef after a single incident of Mad Cow disease, then surely the U.S. would be justified in imposing a ban on Chinese vegetable protein and livestock products due to such a prevalent, industrywide contamination.

I agree: we should be banning these products *now.* The FDA has sat on their asses over this long enough. The day they knew, we should have known, and China should have known that until they self-regulate and can guarantee we aren't getting scrap melamine added to our food supply, we won't be importing *any* food products (for animal or human consumption) from the country.

I'm wondering now if Prissy -- who passed last October -- was an early victim of this practice.

I don't trust the FDA farther than I can throw 'em.

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