Originally published September 13 2008
U.S. and China Announce Food Safety Progress for Pet Food?
by Susan Thixton
(NaturalNews) The U.S. Health and Human Services announced, on June 18, 2008, progress between China and the U.S. stating, "strong and sustained cooperation by both nations to strengthen the safety of food products exported to the United States from China." The news release mentions a 'cooperative mechanism' between both countries related to 'safety or the gross deception of consumers'. Interesting since 'gross deception of consumers' is exactly what caused the pet food recall last year.
In my opinion, pet food manufacturers have no business utilizing glutens or any other form of grain to boost their analysis of protein -- dogs and cats deserve real meat proteins, but that's beside the point here. Progress in quality of Chinese exports and the eventual trust of U.S. pet owners is the issue at hand. I have far too many doubts to believe China has the capabilities to improve quality any time soon.
For starters, U.S. chefs for the Olympic teams found such a high level of steroids in chicken purchased from Chinese markets that they were concerned the athletes would test positive for drug use if food from China was served to our athletes. For the first time in history, the U.S. Olympic athletes will have a separate dining hall serving food from U.S. suppliers.
Then pet owners have the concern of the FDA's limited ability to properly inspect all imported shipments of pet food ingredients. Currently less than 1% of all import shipments are inspected. Even if the FDA had the manpower to properly inspect all imports, existing testing methods have proven they are weak at best. According to journalist Noreen O'Leary in her article The Global Diet, a former FDA employee states, "The FDA kept finding shipments of apple juice that was watered down" and insisted this be addressed, explains Hubbard. Instead, the company "added inulin, which is a chemical compound that appears to be the same as apples." It fooled the FDA lab test and came back as 100 percent apple juice. "Under the current system, that beverage could still be labeled and sold as 100 percent juice", he adds. This was in reference to a Chinese exporter.
Until many changes take place, pet foods utilizing imported ingredients from China remains at risk for another tainted ingredient causing a recall. The pet food industry could take a lesson from McDonalds or Walmart. This year McDonalds implemented a "See what we're made of" initiative that provides consumers with origin information of their ingredients. Walmart has introduced a Food Miles Calculator, which computes an item's total food miles to the consumer.
I doubt pet owners will see any such conscientious action from the majority of pet food manufacturers. However from the results of an informal poll, pet owners have overwhelmingly told me that an ingredient information system would definitely influence their pet food purchases. Listen up pet food producers... pet owners want to know where the ingredients in their pet's food and treats come from!
Until we get that (don't hold your breath), examine every bag or can before you open it. You are looking for tears or possible contamination of the packaging. Examine the product after you open it. Any change in smell or appearance just might be a sign there is a problem with the food. If you notice any change, before you feed it to your pet, call the manufacturer. Keep a close eye on your pet as well for any changes in behavior. If you notice changes, contact your Veterinarian.
Wishing you and your pet the best,
About the authorSusan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com
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