The hits just keep on coming on this story. There's a chance that this gluten will show up in human food now. It's telling that the FDA has yet to release the name of the US distributor of this gluten.
David Goldstein has more:
Del Monte Foods has confirmed that the melamine-tainted wheat gluten used in several of its recalled pet food products was supplied as a "food grade" additive, raising the likelihood that contaminated wheat gluten might have entered the human food supply.
"Yes, it is food grade," Del Monte spokesperson Melissa Murphy-Brown wrote in reply to an e-mail query. Del Monte issued a voluntary recall Saturday for several products under the Gravy Train, Jerky Treats, Pounce, Ol' Roy, Dollar General and Happy Trails brands.
Wheat gluten is sold in both "food grade" and "feed grade" varieties. Either may be used in pet food, but only "food grade" gluten may be used in the manufacture of products meant for human consumption. Published reports have thus far focused on tainted pet food, but if the gluten in question entered the human food supply through a major food products supplier and processor, it could potentially contaminate thousands of products and hundreds of millions of units nationwide.
Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine said the FDA is not aware of any contaminated gluten that went into human food but said he could not confirm this "with 100 percent certainty." Wheat gluten is a common food additive used as a thickener, dough conditioner, and meat substitute. It is widely used as an additive in commercial bakery items and special purpose flours.
The FDA announced today that it has traced the contaminated wheat gluten to a single processor, Xuzhou Anying Biological Technology of Peixian, China, but has not released the name of the U.S. distributor who supplied the product to Del Monte, Menu Foods, Nestle Purina, and Hills Nutritional. In all, more than 70 brands and over 60 million cans and pouches of dog and cat food are now part of this massive recall, as well as at least one brand of dry cat food.
In related news, pet status as property may shift after recall (h/t Ilena Rose)
If you think of dogs and cats as members of the family, you might figure you could collect damages for pain and suffering if they were to die because of wrongdoing.
The law in California and many other states sees things differently. Pets are treated as personal property, like cars and computers.
But that could be changing.
[..]Appellate court decisions in at least six states permit "special damages" in some instances, said Alan Calnan, who teaches product liability law at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.[..]What's more, the state of Rhode Island and several cities have legally defined pet owners as "guardians," in effect equating animals with children -- which is just how many people regard their pets.