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Re: cat news


Probably just coincidence, but... all over the news of late [separate
items] dramatic increase in kidney stones in kids [as young as 5],
melamine causes kidney stones, more Chinese food products found laced
with melamine.

This from the SF Chronicle [Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard
professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public
health at New York University. Her newest book, "Pet Food
Politics" (University of California Press, 2008), is about the 2007
pet food recall. She is also the author of
"Food Politics," "Safe Food" and "What to Eat." E-mail her at
food@sfchronicle. com, and read her previous columns at sfgate.com/
food.]

Melamine taint - old problem has new urgency

Marion Nestle, Special to The Chronicle
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Editor's note: Nationally recognized nutrition expert Marion Nestle
answers readers' questions in Food Matters, written exclusively for
The Chronicle. E-mail your questions to food@sfchronicle. com, with
"Marion Nestle" in the subject line.

Q: Every day we hear about more foods from China with melamine. First
it was infant formula, now it's candy in New Zealand, croissants in
Japan, M&M's in South Korea, and coffee drinks in the United States.
Explain, please.

A: You may be puzzled, but I am appalled that melamine waste from
Chinese plastic dinnerware is in so many foods, particularly infant
formula. China admits to 54,000 cases, 14,000 hospitalizations and
four deaths from kidney stones among infants fed formula laced with
melamine. These numbers are undoubtedly underestimates.

Melamine is in milk powder for only one reason: greed. You can dilute
milk and cover up the dilution by adding melamine. The test for
protein in foods looks for nitrogen. Melamine is 67 percent nitrogen
(the rest is carbon and hydrogen). Nitrogen is used to make protein
and shows up as protein on tests. You can get away with substituting
melamine for protein unless food safety officials are checking for it.
Clearly, they were not.

They should have been. Milk adulteration has a long history and
melamine has been fraudulently added to animal feed for at least 40
years. Most people never heard of melamine until last year's pet food
recall of 60 million cans and pouches. These contained an ingredient
that caused kidney disease in cats and dogs. That ingredient turned
out to be wheat flour laced with melamine. Some Chinese suppliers sold
that adulterant in the guise of wheat and rice glutens.

In researching my latest book, "Pet Food Politics," I traced the
history of melamine adulteration back to the 1960s when veterinarians
in South Africa tried to use the chemical as a source of nitrogen for
sheep. They thought that bacteria in the rumens of sheep could convert
melamine nitrogen to body proteins. They were wrong. Melamine formed
kidney crystals and killed the sheep.

That finding did not stop unscrupulous producers from adding melamine
to animal feed. This practice was so common in the 1970s that Italian
scientists invented a test to look for "melammina" in fish feed. They
found melamine in nearly 60 percent of the tested samples.

As demonstrated by scientists at UC Davis, melamine itself is not
particularly toxic to cats. But when it is mixed with one of its
by-products, cyanuric acid, it forms crystals in kidneys at very low
doses. It does so in infants, too.
Ideal adulterant

Melamine is a perfect adulterant. It is cheap and hard to detect.
Remember Melmac dishes? These were so popular in the 1950s that you
can still buy them on eBay. Most melamine dinnerware is now made in
China. The process involves heat and formaldehyde and yields
wastewater heavy with melamine and its by-products. To recycle the
water, these chemicals must be removed. The resulting "scrap" is
produced in prodigious amounts and is there for the taking.

My guess is that unscrupulous Chinese producers have been adulterating
foods with melamine for years, but the booming dairy industry provides
a new opportunity. Milk is expensive. You can buy melamine scrap for
practically nothing, substitute it for the proteins in foods - wheat
gluten in pet food and milk in infant formulas - and sell these foods
at the price of the real thing. That substitution is unlikely to be
detected - unless you add so much melamine that pets or infants get
sick.

Let's not, however, get too xenophobic about China. What's happening
there today is exactly like what happened in the United States during
those heady late 19th century years of unregulated rapid
industrialization and unbridled capitalism. Checks on rampant food
adulteration only became possible after Upton Sinclair's book, "The
Jungle," induced Congress to pass food and drug laws in 1906.
Taking action

The remedy is clear. Countries need to clean up their food safety
programs. The challenge facing China is that 80 percent of its food is
produced by small countryside operations. It must enact and enforce
food safety regulations that apply to that system.

We need to do everything we can to expedite such regulations. On our
side, this means no-nonsense inspections, import refusals and trade
agreements with tight safety provisions.

It also means urging Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration
resources adequate to do this job or, as some forward-thinking members
have suggested, create a new food safety agency with the authority and
resources to oversee the food supply from farm to table.

While waiting for all this to happen, we have some choices. For the
moment, it's best to just say no to imported foods and ingredients
supposedly made with milk or soy powder, unless they are certified
free of melamine and other toxic contaminants. But for this, it helps
to know where foods and ingredients come from.
Ask before you buy

As of September, Congress requires country-of-origin labeling (COOL)
for many foods. Unfortunately, COOL has loopholes entire container
ships could sail through. If you can't find or don't believe the
origin of the foods you buy, ask. Let the stores, product
manufacturers and your congressional representatives know that you
care about where your food comes from. Tell them that you consider
origin labels essential for protecting your family against unsafe food.

I gave "Pet Food Politics" the subtitle "The Chihuahua in the Coal
Mine" for good reason. Untold numbers of cats and dogs died last year
from melamine poisoning. Their deaths should have warned governments
to check for melamine in other foods and to enact and enforce more
effective food safety regulations. We - and the Chinese - deserve
better food safety oversight. In this era of food globalization, all
countries need safety regulations more than ever.



On Oct 28, 2008, at 2:22 PM, TeichFauna@aol.com wrote:

You mentioned that on this list once before.  I had forgotten all
about it.
Thanks.  I'll check into it.

Took Pinkerton to the Vet. again.  Thought she had a kidney
infection  again,
was on antibiotics for 10 days, but did no good.  She had pathology
work
done that didn't show anything, so today she had Xrays.  She has
kidney
stones.
Has to have surgery.  The Vet said that they can  return much as
they do in
humans.   Has anyone's cat ever had these,  what did you do to
prevent them
from reoccuring??  Dr. said depending on  type, could be just a
change in
diet.
Anyone's cat with such  experience???

Thanks,
Noreen
zone 9
Texas Gulf Coast

In a message dated 10/27/2008 5:42:09 PM Central Daylight Time,
gardenqueen@gmail.com writes:

Noreen,  that Bach's Rescue Remedy is good stuff if you haven't
tried it.   I
used to start putting a few drops in Sugar's water every day for
about  a
week before we went to the vet for her annual check up and it
helped  a
little.  At least I didn't lose any fingers that way.  It just
helps them
chill a tad.  And it's herbal, all  natural.




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Island Jim
Willamette Valley
44.99 N 123.04 W
Elevation 148'
39.9" Precipitation
Hardiness Zone 8/9
Heat Zone 5
Sunset Zone 6
Minimum 0 F [-15 C]
Maximum 102 F [39 C]

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