Saturday, April 21, 2007

We are all inter-connected

This food recall incident showed how interconnected we all are, didn't it?

Rice grown in China (presumably) and further processed by removing the starch, gives rice protein. Somehow, this was tainted with melamine, either intentionally or otherwise, and sold to US pet food contract manufacturers. And the US factories used these ingredients to make the cat food and sold them via agents all over the world. And of course some packs landed on the shores of Singapore and caused more than a little panic to me and other pet owners.

Thus far, at least I understand from NB via e-mail that the latest pack of NB Venison & Green Pea (expiry date Nov 07) I had fed the kxbc gang is probably not tainted as it was probably produced way before the tainted rice protein made its way into the manufacturing process. NB has been responding to my mails even though I am sure they must have their hands full right now. It's good they recalled their products so quickly (they received calls from concerned pet owners on 12 Apr and started recalling on 16 Apr based on their reply to me) even though it was a big gamble for their reputation.

On the other hand, as of now, our AVA still has not responded to my 2 e-mails to 2 different AVA e-mail addresses (ava_email@ava.gov.sg and ava_importexport_animals@ava.gov.sg) I had sent on 18 and 19 Apr regarding this incident. And to think that I have even left my HP number in my mail so that they can clarify with me if necessary. And neither have they issued any press statement (just checked their website) about this in either their website or The Straits Times. No wonder my vet was so puzzled why I had brought XX and CC for the blood test on Thur evening. Totally hopeless organisation. I wonder if they read their mails at all. If they don't, perhaps they should not list their e-mail addresses in their contact list. To make a note for myself in the future: Do not work for govt service. I don't want to end up like them.

Back to the topic:
RC has also begun to recall some of their products but luckily, Indoor 27 is not on the list. KK, XX and YY are now solely on RC after the NB scare.

SD has also issued a statement that all their SD dry cat food and z/d prescription diet are also not affected. Rice protein is used in the manufacturing of z/d but it is not sourced from China. BB is eating SD Hairball Control and itchy CC is trying out z/d on a 2-month trial period.

NB has also in their 2nd mail to me, mentioned that besides lamb and venison which are to be sourced from New Zealand, all other ingredients were supposed to be sourced from the US. But their supplier sourced the tainted China ingredient instead. I reproduce below NB's reply to me (edited somewhat to remove boring press releases and my name :) ).

[quote]Dear kxbc,

Yes this is worldwide [recall of affected NB products].

Please find the following update regarding this recall. Further, please know that NO other Natural Balance products are affected. [April 17, 2007 press release here]

All of our ingredients are intended to be from the US except the Lamb and Venison (New Zealand). We purchase our raw ingredients from US suppliers who are contracted and paid to provide us with domestic products. We are investigating to find out how this chinese rice protein concentrate made its way into our supply, as our suppliers know we only want US domestic ingredients. We are also looking into changes in our purchasing methods to safeguard against any future errant shipments. We were let down by our supplier, which in turn caused us to let down our customers.

As to the testing procedures, our products are tested at various points from ingredients to completed diets. Because melamine has not in the past been a concern in the US ingredients, it has not been a regular part of the testing procedure. Due to this recall, and the fact that one of our suppliers has let us down, melamine testing is being incorporated into the regular testing.

Once we began looking into the illness reported last week, all of our foods were sent off for additional testing. This testing was performed at UC Davis. All of our products, recalled products aside, have been proven safe and with no contaminants.

Again, thank you for your email. I hope this eases your mind somewhat. This has been a horrible event for pet owners, the pet industry, and for us at Natural Balance.

SIncerely,Cherie Meyers

> >Subject: RE: Natural Balance Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Food recall
> >Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 15:49:21 +0800
> >Thread-Topic: Natural Balance Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Food recall
> >Priority: Urgent
> >From: "kxbc" kxbc@kxbc.com
> >To: info@naturalbalanceinc.com

Hi

I would like to understand if your food recall for the contaminated food affects only the US or is it a worldwide recall?

My local agent in Singapore mentioned that the Natural Balance Venison & Green Pea dry food formula sold in Singapore is not affected but I am not sure of his statement. I assume all Natural Balance to be either produced in the US using the same contaminated ingredient or in different factories around the world but still using the same contaminated ingredient due to bulk sourcing arrangements by Natural Balance HQ.

Appreciate if you can kindly clarify via e-mail or a press release urgently. Thank you.

Regards, kxbc
Singapore [unquote]

They bothered to reply to my mail even though they are swarmed with work and PR disaster recovery. And what did we get from our AVA? Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Gon-not. I wonder why they got a pay increase lately.

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5 Comments:

Blogger kuro.shiro.neko said...

RC produces its normal range in france (or spain, cant remember exactly). only part of the precription diet is produced in canada.

if you need comfort, RC is owned by Mars who owns Pedigree and Whiskas. So they are responsible in terms of handling crisis like these. need further assurance, just send them an email, i am sure they will respond in no time.

maybe we should start cooking for our cats eh? ^-^

9:23 AM, April 22, 2007  
Blogger =^..^= said...

Yes, AVA is a pretty disorganised organisation. They should call themselves a disorganisation instead. They handled the last dengue outbreak rather badly. I'm not expecting them to be handling the food recall any better, sad to say.

Relieved to hear that your gang are unscathed. :)

~5-Cat Style

11:59 PM, April 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree - our pet shops are no better as well. Had gone to pick up Nutro canned food for my cats on Wed - turns out all Nutro products have been returned to the supplier. When I asked why, salesperson said it was for "stock take" and couldn't give me any answers. Went to another 2 pet shops on Thur and staff there didn't even know the Nutro products had been returned. Called Nutro today - it's a recall by company. Story is that Singapore stocks are not affected but Nutro is recalling to avoid confusion. Sigh .. am seriously considering cooking

4:18 PM, April 27, 2007  
Blogger Marcus said...

Another report on Chinese melamine:

http://newswise.com/articles/view/529416/

Key quote: “The sole source Chinese animal feed exporter for the several hundred tons of melamine-contaminated wheat gluten had substantial melamine stores on hand at its animal feed business and was actively advertising on the Internet to buy even more “scrap melamine”.”

2:35 PM, April 30, 2007  
Blogger =^..^= said...

Hurrow General Yuan Yuan,

I tag you for the meme "7 Random Facts About Me(You)". Purrliss check out my blog for details on how to play.

~Bombay

10:22 PM, May 11, 2007  

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