Only Luck Keeps Tainted Wheat Gluten Out of Human Food

Normally I would not cover human-centered news here but this is so closely related to the pet food problems I thought you would want to...

Joy  |  Apr 13th 2007


Spencer.jpg

Normally I would not cover human-centered news here but this is so closely related to the pet food problems I thought you would want to see this article from CBS News. Thanks to Anne, Spencer’s furmom, for barking it in!

Anne wrote:
Well, as people were trying to care for their sick pets and grieving over the ones that were lost, it looks now as though it was only a fluke that prevented this wheat gluten from being added to our own food. There’s something a bit chilling about having the Centers for Disease Control quietly monitoring the number of new patients admitted to the hospitals with renal failure.

I agree with you, Anne. And what is especially galling is all these weeks we have heard a constant repetition from every governmental and corporate official that there was no way any tainted foods, including wheat gluten, could have gotten in the food supplies. Now we have to ask if those saying those things are outright liars or so gullible themselves that they willingly mouthed the official lies?

How Close Was Tainted Wheat To Human Food?
CBS News Learns Nothing But Luck Kept Suspect Wheat Gluten Out Of Food Supply

(CBS) The FDA announced today that not all of the tainted pet food has been pulled from store shelves. And at a congressional hearing, an entirely new concern was raised: How close did contaminated ingredients come to getting into food for humans?

CBS News has learned that the tainted wheat gluten used in pet food was human grade meaning nothing but luck kept it from being used in the food people eat, too, CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.

Wheat gluten is added to foods like bread, pasta and rice. While the public was focused on the danger to their pets, sources tell CBS News that the FDA had tracked at least one suspect batch of wheat gluten into the human food supply, quietly quarantined some products and notified the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention to watch for new patients admitted to hospitals with renal or kidney failure.

“We didn’t know at the time whether or not wheat gluten had made it into the human food supply,” said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “We asked CDC to put a special emphasis on looking at increased incidents of renal failure in people.”

But there were no spikes in illnesses, and the human food ultimately tested clean. The FDA tried to comfort Congress today, saying there’s “no evidence” any bad gluten got into human food thought the agency still doesn’t know where it all went.

“What disturbs me about this incident is that it confirms yet again that pet food as well as human food is at risk,” said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.

Menu Foods, the food supplier that seems to have bought most of the problem ingredient, wouldn’t testify today. The lobby group that came in its place was left to explain why Menu supposedly knew that tests were making animals sick on Feb. 20 but didn’t tell the FDA until three weeks later.

“Let’s get the record straight: Menu waited more than three weeks after finding out that the dogs wouldn’t eat their food and were getting sick. They waited three weeks!” Durbin said.

“I don’t have the facts on Menu, senator,’ Duane Ekedahl of the Pet Food Institute testified.

“I think before you came to the hearing you would have the facts!” Durbin replied.

The FDA has gotten more than 19,000 phone calls, but today said it has “no good numbers” and that there’s no way to tell how many animals have gotten sick.

Follow this link to watch videos and see more information on the recall fiasco.