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Food Contamination - Comments

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Welcome to the dark side of Capitalism. A system that rewards those that make the most money, and relies on conscience to do what is best, while promoting those with the least conscience to the highest positions. How many people are aware that Phillip-Morris, that giant cigarette company, owns Kraft and a whole host of other food manufacturers. That's right, a company that doesn't care if it kills it's customers is producing your food.

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If the tobacco consumers don't care that the product kills them, why should the company that produces the product care? -rc

Aside from checking the label for the ingredients, it's a good idea to also check that the packaging is intact. Holes or tears in the bag may let in air and moisture, allowing the oils and fats in the product to oxidize (go rancid), which is very unhealthy for your pet, and allowing poisonous molds to grow, well before the "sell by" date.

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For the record, the bag was clean, sealed, of the correct shape, and fully intact all around. It didn't even have scuff marks. -rc

A friend of mine once gave me a hard time about the cat food I was using. Many pet foods have "chicken byproducts" in them, which is made from the sweepings off the slaughterhouse floor, including diseased parts and sawdust. I changed brands to one that has no byproducts in it. One of the benefits that I heard about with better quality foods is that cats are less prone to get fleas, and having five cats at the time, that was a real bonus. I've had to use flea treatment once or twice a year when I had multiple cats, but now that I only have one, she hasn't needed any. This cat is about 18 years old, and I'm now having to feed her canned food, because her teeth are worn down and she has trouble with the dry food. Again, I am only buying top quality, no 9-lives or Purina for her.

Adding the cat food label to the reading list isn't much trouble. I read labels a lot, because I have chemical sensitivities that go back to exposure on the job about 30 years ago, and I use soaps and other cleaning products that are as natural as I can find. The first big reaction that I had was after spending the day waxing the wood in my father's camper, which we were selling after he died. The furniture wax had chemical solvents in it. When I went to a dermatologist, the first thing he said to me when he saw the rash was, "Stop using fragrances."

Chemicals are pervasive in our lives and people don't realize just how much damage they are doing to themselves, and their pets, with all the crap we use. We who have sensitivities are like the canary in the mine. And just because you don't react to a product today, doesn't mean you won't tomorrow.

After about a year at my last job, I suddenly broke out in a rash. Since it happened on my 60th birthday, I joked that I was allergic to being 60. I went to a naturopath for treatment, because I didn't want to be pumped full of prednisone. I did not start getting better until after I was laid off from the job, and I finally came to the conclusion that the cause was the Lysol spray that people insisted on using in the rest room used by the office staff. Even if nobody had been in there for a while, there was still a fog of that crap in the air, and I'm convinced that my rash was a reaction to that fog settling on me for most of a year.

Just a couple of days ago I watched a very interesting movie 'Food Inc.' (I also watched 'Supersize Me' - I have a habit of themed movie weeks at home).

If You haven't seen any of them - I think You might want to.

Although the movies are somewhat old, I don't thing the food industry has changed much since... And it gave me a good idea what 'better quality' of food really means.

From another perspective: I work in a big retailer and what I see every day at work...

The food is off of the cold chain for far too long (both fresh foods and frozen),

items well past their sell-by-dates are still on the shelves (the workers simply don't have enough time to check rotation properly),

so I would conclude by saying this:

Pet food is only the tip of the mountain when it comes to food manufacturing problems. If we cannot provide good food for the people, no wonder the pets suffer as well... (And pets have a shorter life span, so we can see many generations of them being fed this 'great pet food' and we can see the bad results much faster than in people...)

In part, this is a byproduct of the more efficient production system we have developed. When you bought your food or other product from a neighbor, he had a strong incentive to produce quality goods, because he had to face you regularly. It's much easier to cheat someone you never see. Workers make a product for an employer, whom they may resent, not for the consumer.

Since we cannot police our food supply easily, we must rely on our government to watch it for us. A task at which it has failed woefully. Recent recalls may have raised awareness enough to get results.

As consumers, we can read the labels and, according to what is said on the label, try to make a decision as to whether or not to buy the product. If the label is nothing but a lie, how are we to know about the quality of the product? We don't have the means to test products; part of our taxes go to pay the Food and Drug Administration to perform that task. If they fail to do so, then I don't see how "we can put our foot down and demand better quality," other than to just stop purchasing poor products. As for me, I wouldn't buy any food products from China, plus any other product that could be poisonous in any way. The problem is: how can I tell? The answer is: I often can't. It's a gamble, though, when anything is purchased....either from the U.S. or from overseas.

Wow i had to have my cat put down because of kidney failure.

Sofia she was only 7.

I use lots of Wal-Mart brands, they're a lot cheaper, and with a big family surviving on UEI and the GI Bill, I cut costs wherever I can.

But I will never again use Wal-Mart brand pet food. I had to put down my cat -- who was less than 3 years old -- in 2007 from kidney failure and brain parasites the vet said came from his food -- Special Kitty. There are other brands that are nearly as inexpensive (Alley Cat, for example) that don't seem to hurt the animals. And I don't feed them anything that says "in gravy" I try to find the label that says "in natural juices" for their wet food.

Thanks for the post, Randy -- not just the heads-up on animal food, but for the "WAKE-UP!" call regarding the human food chain. I ditto recommendations to view "Food, Inc." AND encourage strong letters to our government representatives. A search on "veggie-libel" brings up info on laws protecting food-producing corporations against disparaging remarks made against their products. Note, also, that government subsidies for farming are for production of, ultimately, the least-healthy foods. We've chosen to go vegetarian in our home specifically to protest the aforementioned production practices, laws, poor use of land/water resources, & subsidies.

As for animal food, I've twice bought a non-Iam's lamb & rice formula nugget -- once by accident (due to similar packaging -- Sam's Club Member's Mark brand) & once b/c Iam's was out of stock (Purina, in that instance). Both times, before 1/3 of the 40# bag had been consumed, both dogs experienced profound hair loss which, I've learned, is a common malady of a low-end dog food diet. It's not just the shock of a change of diet, as the dogs don't experience hair loss when fed anything else, including fruits & vegetables.

A site I've found useful in evaluating food for my pets is PetFoodRatings.net

It is non-commercial and published by a disinterested person.

Like many, I can't afford the high-end products, but it at least allows you to avoid the less-desirable ingredients.

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