I can hardly believe it but USA Today reports that Chinese infant formula has been found to be contaminated with melamine, the very same toxic ingredient that caused the pet food recalls of 2007. Melamine-laced pet foods killed cats and dogs. Who knows what it might do in infant formula. Melamine is high in nitrogen. Tests for protein just test for nitrogen and don’t care where it comes from. Melamine, which is cheap, makes pet foods and infant formulas look like they have a lot of protein, which is expensive. That would be bad enough but melamine and one of its by-products, cyanuric acid, form crystals that block kidney function. The fraudulent addition of melamine to pet food is precisely the subject of my book, Pet Food Politics. It’s subtitle is The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine. Now you know why.
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I’m in Parma on a speaking trip (to Academia Barilla), it’s my birthday, and here are three nice presents that came in on today’s Google feed (“pet food”): my latest column in the San Francisco Chronicle (“Which is better, food or nutrients?”), a review in the San Francisco Chronicle of Pet Food Politics, and an interview about the new book with Jill Richardson on AlterNet. Enjoy!
I am off to California for Slow Food Nation and the launch of Pet Food Politics. The events start with readings at pet food stores, Holistic Hound in Berkeley (Sunday, 4:00 p.m.) and Noe Valley Pet Co. in San Francisco (Monday, 6:00 p.m.). Others are listed under Public Appearances. I’ve never done readings in pet food stores before, so this should be fun. Stay tuned.
The New Jersey court has now moved on to the next step in settlement of the class action suit against pet food makers involved in the melamine recalls of 2007. If you think you qualify for compensation, you need to fill out a form and send it in by November 24. If you want to deal with this some other way, the same claim website explains how. This won’t bring back the lost pets, but it may help a little. Go for it.
A couple of informative posts, one on ConsumerAffairs.com and another on InjuryBoard.com discuss details of the $24 million pet food recall settlement. The New Jersey judge has given preliminary approval but further approval is needed and the next hearing is not until October 14. In the meantime, if you have or had a pet caught up in the recall, here are the people to contact:
In re Pet Food Products Liability Litigation, Claims Administrator
c/o Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP,
P.O. Box 890,
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890
The class action lawsuits filed as a result of the pet food recalls last year are inching toward settlement. A judge in New Jersey consolidated 120 cases and awarded the plaintiffs $24 million to cover documented expenses related to the illness, death, or burial of their dogs and cats. But what about for emotional damages? The answer is uncertain and probably won’t be known until the settlement wends its way through the U.S. and Canadian courts, which still have to approve the whole thing.
I’m happy that the announcement came when it did because my book on the recall goes to press next week and I got to squeeze in a last entry to my timeline of the events: “May 22: Menu Foods settles class-action lawsuits for $24 million.”
University of California Press has just put up the web page for my forthcoming book, Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine. It’s official publication date is September 15 but UC Press says it expects to start shipping copies out in mid-July. The page went up on Amazon last week. I’m expect the page proofs with revised figures next week, so it’s really on its way. And I only have one thing to add since the last revision: the announcement of the April 1 settlement of the class action suit against Menu Foods and the other companies involved in the recalls last year. Stay tuned!