Rice protein supplier issues recall, urges customers to do same

Agricultural products distributor Wilbur-Ellis has issued a nationwide recall of all lots of rice protein concentrate, after the Food and Drug Administration found additional samples testing positive for melamine. The company is now urging all pet food manufacturers using its rice protein concentrate to recall any pet food that may still be on supermarket shelves.

In an unfolding public health crisis already marked by inexplicable incompetence and willful foot-dragging, Wilbur-Ellis’ press release would border on the comic if the implications weren’t so potentially tragic:

“Last Sunday, April 15, Wilbur-Ellis notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that a single bag in a recent shipment of rice protein concentrate from its Chinese supplier, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd., had tested positive for melamine. Unlike the other white-colored bags in that shipment, the bag in question was pink and had the word ‘melamine’ stenciled upon it.”

You’d think, just maybe, the pink bag with the word “melamine” on it might have been a bit of a giveaway, yet on Tuesday, April 17, when I asked the FDA to confirm or deny an impending recall, and specifically mentioned that my source said “the rice protein concentrate has ‘melamine’ listed on the bag,” the FDA categorically denied the rumor, insisting that the information on its website “is up to date.”

Within hours, Natural Balance recalled products due to melamine-tainted rice protein concentrate.

And now, a few days later, we learn that the “white bags” have tested positive for melamine too, establishing a broad pattern of adulteration that we must assume to be intentional until proven otherwise.

First wheat gluten was found to be contaminated with melamine, then rice protein concentrate — and despite FDA denials, I’m hearing corn gluten may be next. But why would manufacturers intentionally spike high-protein food additives with melamine, a urea-derived chemical used in plastic and slow-release nitrogen fertilizer? Steve Pickman, a VP at MGP Ingredients, the nation’s largest domestic producer of wheat gluten, explores one theory:

“It is my understanding, but certainly unheard of in our experience, that melamine could increase the measurable nitrogen of gluten and then be mathematically converted to protein. The effect could create the appearance or illusion of raising the gluten’s protein level. Understandably, any acts or practices such as this are barred in the U.S. How the U.S. can or cannot monitor and prevent these types of situations from occurring in other parts of the world is the overriding question.”

It is a question the current FDA seems unwilling or unable to answer.

Comments

  1. 1

    L.W.S. spews:

    Corn Gluten now Implicated in Melmine Scare in South Africa

    In South Africa, tests have confirmed that Vets Choice and Royal Canin dog and cat dry pet-food products contained corn gluten contaminated with melamine, says the manufacturer. See link below. Corn gluten is found in many pet food products.

    http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2101493,00.html

  2. 2

    Richard Pope spews:

    Talk about double standards! When we had the “mad cow” disease scare here, many countries completely cut off all imports of beef products from the United States for many months until the problem was eliminated beyond a shadow of a doubt. Asian countries especially cut off beef imports from us. Why can’t we simply stop the import of all grain products from China, until we are absolutely certain there is no more rat poison being added to this?

  3. 3

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy, melamine would simply appear as nitrogen when the sample is burned to measure “protein” content. At least, I assume that is a common method to assess “protein” concentration. We should impose trade sanctions against China!

  4. 4

    Richard Pope spews:

    Melamine is a nitrogen rich compound, with the formula C3H6N6. Basically, it consists of 2/3 nitrogen by weight, i.e. 66.67% (84 out of 126 by atomic weights). Compare this with taurine (an essential amino acid for cats, by the way), whose formula is C2H7NO3S. Taurine is only 14/125 nitrogen, or 11.2%. I assume most other amino acids are somewhere in the low teens for a nitrogren percentage. So, melamine contains five times as much nitrogen by weight as most amino acids. I think it costs only about 60 cents per pound in bulk quantities. So the Chinese can import our wheat, mix in a sufficient quantity of melamine, and then export the same as supposedly “high-protein” “wheat gluten”.

  5. 5

    Richard Pope spews:

    I wonder if Democrat Gary Locke, former Governor of Washington, is going to denounce this criminal food poisoning? After all, Gary Locke was instrumental in greatly expanding U.S. trade with Red China, and getting Congress to lower all sort of import barriers. Or maybe Locke is representing some of these same Chinese companies in his current role as a high-priced big-firm downtown Seattle lawyer?

  6. 6

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    All I know is that yesterday, I bought a flat of ‘Wellness’ brand wet cat food, and the cat seems to like it. So, even though it costs 3 times as much as Iams!!! I will probably stick with it. It is low in carbohydrates (better for cats) and contains NO GLUTEN.

  7. 7

    L.W.S. spews:

    Royal Canin sells food under the Royal Canin, Royal Canin Veterinary Diets, Sensible Choice, Kasco labels in the U.S. The Royal Canin U.S. website (http://www.royalcanin.us/) states

    “Royal Canin USA wishes to assure pet owners that our dry and wet pet food products are not involved in the ongoing FDA investigation related to the recent nationwide pet food recall initiated by Menu Foods and other companies.

    We want to inform you that the recent recall announcement
    by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 10
    does not affect any Royal Canin products sold in US retail stores or available in vet clinics.

    All of our brands, including Feline Health Nutrition, Canine Health Nutrition, Royal Canin Veterinary Diets, Sensible Choice, and Kasco, continue to be available nationwide.

    The safety and nutritional quality of our pet food is our top priority because for many people, their pets are their top priorities.

    For details about the recall and affected brands and products, please call Menu Foods at 1-866-895-2708, 1-866-463-6738 or visit the company’s web site at http://www.menufoods.com/recall for more information.”

  8. 8

    robin spews:

    Shame on Wilber-Ellis for not naming the remaining four companies they sold to. But the crime is our government,the FDA, was informed by Wilber-Ellis on Sunday the 15th. Why in the hell are they not telling us? It’s now Thursday! These fuckers only care about protecting their donars and big money pals. There is no comparison with what Nixon did and these bastards. Somebody higher up is corking the vets at FDA.

  9. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 Good idea, Richard, except your thinking isn’t expansive enough. If imported Chinese gluten (wheat, rice, corn) has melamine in it, isn’t it reasonable to suspect that apparel and toys from China are radioactive? We should suspend ALL Chinese imports into we get to the bottom of this.

    Of course, it’ll never happen, because if we did that Bushie wouldn’t have anyone to sell his public debt to.

  10. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Republicans send American jobs to China and get poisoned dog food in exchange.

    Waytago wingnut fools! You’ve fucked up everything else, so you may as well kill our dogs, too.

  11. 13

    Grinning Libber spews:

    As a practicing PhD analytical chemist I believe I have quite a good idea of what may have gone on here.
    Protien sources like wheat gluten are priced acording to protien content – higher the protien the more the supllier gets paid.
    There are two standard protien tests:
    Kheldahl – a wet chemical method, and
    near infreared spctroscopy – an optical method.
    Either could be fooled by urea or melamine. Urea as an adulterant is fairly common – urea is at least not very poisonous – melamine apparently is.
    Why was it there? – almost certainly put there –
    Did they mean to use urea? It looks very similar to melamine – both white crystals.
    Used melamine – but did not know how much more toxic it was, or thought it would not get traced and didn’t care about cats anyway.
    Or thought they were using melamine plastic powder – often used in plastic dinnerware and completely harmless – but effective in fooling the standards tests.

  12. 14

    Richard Pope spews:

    Grinning Libber @ 13

    Do these tests measure the amount of elemental nitrogen in the sample, or do they measure the prevalence of certain types of carbon-nitrogen bonds?

    I note that melamine has a C3N3 ring, which probably acts a lot like a benzene ring in terms of the alternating single-double bonds actually looking more like a 1.5 bond when examined under the electron microscope.

    Melamine also has three C-NH2 single bonds, which still measures as a lot of “protein” even if that is the only type of bond that is relevant in protein spectroscopy. Even in that event, one molecule of melamine would show enough C-NH2 single bonds to equal one molecule of an amino acide (are these all just one C-NH2 bond per molecule? at least taurine is like that).

    Of course, assuming the C3N3 ring shows up in spectroscopy, I am sure that would generate a mighty suspicious and perhaps unique wavelength. Which would make melamine detection extremely easy, if that is the case. I assume organic life forms don’t generate C3N3 ringed molecules?

  13. 15

    Richard Pope spews:

    Maybe the guilty parties in China should be forced to inhale the C-N triple bond. It makes a lot less mess than the high speed lead into head injection that is commonly used to punish serious crimes (including major economic crimes) in China.

  14. 16

    headless lucy spews:

    I think the “free market” could solve this poisoned food problem because the dead, weakened, and mentally damaged users of these poisonous products would no longer be capable of buying them any longer, thereby automatically solving the problem.

    See! Simple!

  15. 18

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Richard @ 14

    Near IR would be able to determine whether the compound was aromatic (a ring with shared, “distributed” electrons) or not. The other test is probably just for nitrogen content (weight percent).

    I assume organic life forms don’t generate C3N3 ringed molecules?

    Hmmm. I would have to check this, but off the top of my head, I can only think of compounds with 1 or 2 nitrogens.

  16. 20

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    It looks like triazines (isomeric variations of that C3N3 ring) are all synthetic chemicals, not natural products.

    Part of why might have to do with the energetics of the molecule (I think these would be metabolically challenging, energy-wise, to biosynthesize….then again, enzymes are pretty incredible things).

    I will just say: IANAB (I am not a biochemist – like Libber above, I’m in the analytical field).

  17. 22

    ferd berfel spews:

    Grinning Libber, protein is the correct spelling, not “protien”.
    The classical protein determination is indeed the Kjeldahl method. It measures nitrogen content, which is found in organic substances in proportion to the amino acid content. Protein is comprised of amino acids. Therefore, a nitrogen assay is an indirect determination of protein content.
    The Kjeldahl has largely been replaced in U.S. labs, at least, by the combustion nitrogen method. It also is a nitrogen assay but it does not involve the use of dangerous chemicals, as does the Kjeldahl method.
    A substance such as melamine, which is about 2/3 nitrogen, will increase the apparent protein content of wheat gluten, or any other similar substance, to which it is added. The Kjeldahl or combustion nitrogen methods cannot dsitinguish betwee “natural” protein and something that has been spiked with a substance like melanine.

  18. 23

    ferd berfel spews:

    Grinning Libber, protein is the correct spelling, not “protien”.
    The classical protein determination is indeed the Kjeldahl method. It measures nitrogen content, which is found in organic substances in proportion to the amino acid content. Protein is comprised of amino acids. Therefore, a nitrogen assay is an indirect determination of protein content.
    The Kjeldahl has largely been replaced in U.S. labs, at least, by the combustion nitrogen method. It also is a nitrogen assay but it does not involve the use of dangerous chemicals, as does the Kjeldahl method.
    A substance such as melamine, which is about 2/3 nitrogen, will increase the apparent protein content of wheat gluten, or any other similar substance, to which it is added. The Kjeldahl or combustion nitrogen methods cannot dsitinguish betwee “natural” protein and something that has been spiked with a substance like melanine.

  19. 24

    t daly spews:

    LET ME CLUE YOU GUYS IN ABOUT THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT WHATS REALLY GOING ON HERE.YES THE MELAMINE WAS INTENTIONALLY ADDED BUT NOT LIKE THINK.IN CHINA A BIOTECH COMPANY JUST THIS PAST FEB.WAS DENIED FOR THE 4TH TIME BY THE AGENCY THAT IS THE SAME AS OUR F.D.A PERMISSION FOR GENETICALLY MODIFID RICE BUT WAS GRANTED PERMISSION TO USE IN EXPERIMENTAL USES.WHICH I BELEIEVE MEANS THAT IT CAN BE ONLY PROCESSED AND SOLD FOR ANIMAL CONSUMPTION ONLY.THE MELANINE WAS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INTO THE CROPS.IN AGRICULTURE CROPS A PESTICIDE AND OR A FERTILIZER IS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED INTO THE CROPS.THE PURPOSE IS TO KILL THE SPECIFIC PESTS THAT EAT THE CROPS AND INSTEAD OF HAVING TO FERTILIZE THE CROP 10 TIMES WHICH IS NORMAL ONLY HAVE TO FERTILIZE 2-3 TIMES IN RETURN SAVING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND YEILDING 10-30 PERCENT MORE CROP.CHINAS POPULATION IS 2ND IN THE WORLD AND SOON WILL SOON BE IN A SERIOUS FOOD CRISIS.THEY ARE SPENDING MEGA MILLIONS IN GENETIC CROP MODIFICATION STUDIES AND EXPERIMENTS.IF YOU LOOK AT THE COMPANYS NAMES IN CHINA THAT SOLD THE WHEAT ,CORN, RICE YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THE NAMES ARE A DEAD GIVAWAY THAT THESE CROPS WERE GENETICALLY MODIFIED THEY ARE ALL BIOTECH COMPANYS.JUST LIKE IN 1989 L-TRYPTOPHAN POISONINGS THIS IS A REPEAT OF GENETIC ENGINEERING GONE WRONG.THEN IT WAS A JAPANESE COMPANY THAT JUST GENETICALLY MODIFIED A NEW BATCH OF A AMINO ACID CALLED L- TRYPTOPHAN IN WHICH THEY SOLD TO U.S CONSUMERS WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE.AND THEN TRIED TO COVER IT UP . IT KILLED 100S NOT TO MENTION THE 1000S THAT DIED DOWN THE ROAD WHO DIDNT EVEN KNOW THEY HAD IT. IN CHINA ITS PROBABLE THAT ALL THE AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHS HAVE THE SAME TECHNOLOGY.THEY WERE JUST GIVIN THE GO AHEAD 2 MONTHS AGO TO USE THE NEW GMO RICE IN ANIMAL FEEDS IN WHICH CATS AND DOGS WOULD QUALIFY.AND JUST LIKE HERE COMPANYS USUALLY KNOW AHEAD OF TIME IF THERE PRODUCT WILL BE APPROVED OR NOT.JUST LIKE IN POLOTICS THE VOTES ARE ALREADY IN AHEAD OF TIME.SO YOU CAN BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR THAT THESE CROPS WERE ALREADY BEING GROWN AND PROCESSED AHEAD OF TIME SO AS SOON AS THE APPROVAL COMES THE PRODUCTS ARE READY TO BE SHIPPED.THERE IS A GREAT CHANCE THAT THEIR OTHER CROPS WERE ALSO INTRODUCED WITH THE SAME LATEST NEW PHASE OF GENETIC MODIFICATION.THE LOGIC IM SURE WAS WELL SELL THIS NEW STUFF TO OTHER COUNTRYS AND SEE HOW IT GOES.THEY PROBABALY DIDNT SELL THIS NEW BIOTECH BATCH TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY YET BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE HUNG BY YOUR OUR FELLOW COUNTRYMEN.BUT WHATS THE WORSE PENALTY YOU COULD SUFFER FROM THE OTHER COUNTRIES.ITS VERY VERY DIFFICULT TO SUE A COMPANY FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY.THE DIFFICULTY LIES IN THE DIFFERENT LAWS AND THE LANGUAGE BARRIERS IN COURT TESTIMONY.THE CHINESE ARE STONEWALLING THE INSPECTORS TO LET THEM IN THE COUNTRY. WHY YOU ASK BECAUSE IT TAKES TIME HIDE OR DISPOSE BILLIONS OF TONS OF CROPS THAT IF FOUND WOULD EXPOSE THEM TO THE TRUTH.THEY HAVE TO GET THESE GENETIC CROPS OUT OF THE FACTORYS AND REPLACE WITH MOTHERNATURES BEFORE THEY CAN LET THE INSPECTOR IN AND THAT WILL TAKE TIME.HERES A COUPLE OTHER FACTS.THEY FOUND CANS OF FOOD TO CONTAIN UP TO 6% MELANINE.THE ONLY POSSIBLE WAY TO HAVE THAT HIGH OF A % IS THAT THE MELANINE HAD TO OF BEEN INTENTIONALLY INTEGRATED. BASICALLY IT HAD TO BE IN THE CROP ITSELF.THE F.D.A KNOWS WHATS GOING ON THEY SEEN IT IN 1990 WITH THE JAPANESE.THE PROBLEM FOR THE F.D.A IS THEY ARE IN BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.THE F.D.A AND U.S IS PRO-AGRICULTURE BIOTECH.THEY WILL DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT THEM.THE DILEMA IS THIS AT THIS PRESENT TIME GMO CROPS AND GENETIC ENGINEERING ITSELF IS ON VERY THIN ICE. IT IS BECOMEING ONE OF THE HOTTEST DEBATES.DO THEY EXPOSE GENETIC ENGINEERING IN WHICH THIS WILL BE THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMELS BACK AND COST BILLION UPON BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THE U.S AGRICULTURE BIOTECH COMPANYS SUCH AS THE GREAT CORRUPT GIANT MONSANTO CORP.WHO HAS BEEN TRYING TO FORCE THERE GMOS DOWN EVERY COUNTRYS THROAT.OR DO THE TRY TO HELP COVER THIS UP ALONG WITH THE CHINESE AND SAVE THE BIOTECHS WHICH BRING IN MEGA DOLLARS FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.THE ONE THING THE F.D.A HAS GOING FOR IT IS THAT THE CHINESE USED A CHEMICAL IN THE GENETICS THAT WAS BANNED IN THE U.S.AND THIS COULD BE THE WAY OUT OF THIS IN PUBLIC RELATION SPEECHES. THEY WILL SAY THEY USED A CHEMICAL KNOWN TO BE TOXIC IN ITSELF AND THAT GENETIC ENGINNERING ITSELF IS NOT TO BLAME.THE GMO CORN FROM 4 YEARS AGO IS NOT THE SAME AS THE GMO CORN TODAY. THEY ARE CONTINUESLY INTRODUCING NEW PHASES [THE ENGINEERING IS ALTERED DUE TO NEW TECHNOLOGY].IN GENETIC ENGINEERING THERE IS ALSO ANTHER CHEMICAL THAT IS ADDED IN THE PROCESS IT IS KNOWN AS A GENETIC MARKER AND IS NECESSARY FOR THE PROCESS TO WORK.THIS WILL EXPLAIN THE AMINOPTERIN THAT WAS FIRST FOUND IN THE FOOD.IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THAT WAS THE GENETIC MARKER WHICH IS USALLY ALSO A PESTICIDE CHEMICAL.THATS WHY I KNOW THE F.D.A KNOWS THESE CROPS WERE GENETICALL MODIFIED.THERE ARE SCIENTISTS AND DOCTORS ON THE BOARD.THIS IS REASON THE F.D.A IS ALSO STONEWALLING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.THE HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM ON THEIR HANDS.THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE ASIANS ARE FAR BEHIND THE U.S. IN AGRICULTURE BIOTECHNOLOGY.

  20. 25

    t daly spews:

    I MUST APOLOGIZE FOR MY SPELLING MISTAKE OF CYROMAZINE.MY MEMBORY AND BRAIN IS STARTING TO FAIL ME DO TO THE FACT THAT I WAS A CONSUMER OF THE 1989 TOXIC L-TRYPTOPHAN AND SUFFERING SERIOUS BRAIN AND BODY FUNCTIONS.NOW I WILL TELL YOU HOW THIS HAS GONE DOWN TO THIS POINT.[1] THE F.D.A ALREADY KNEW THE TRUTH WEEKS IF NOT MONTHS AGO.THE CHINESE BIOTECH WIZARDS FUCKED UP THEIR ENGINEERING PROCESS AND THEY HAD TO FIND A SOLUTION THAT WOULDNT IMPLICATE GENETIC ENGINEERING.THEY KNOW THAT THE TRUE PESTICIDE THAT WAS IMPLIMENTED IN THE ENGINEERING WAS CYROMAZINE.THERE SOLUTION IS SO FAR WORKING PERFECTLY AS PLANNED.CYROMAZINE WHEN BROKEN DOWN THROUGH DIGESTINE OR PLANTS TURNS TO MELAMINE. MELAMINE IS ILLEGAL IN THE U.S AND IS KNOWN TO BE TOXIC INITSELF.PERFECT THEY EVEN CONVINCED US MORE BY SHOWING THE CRYSTALS IN ALL THE NEWS OF MELAMINE. HERE EVERYONE SEE THE PROOF ITS MELAMINE. WHAT A CROCK OF BULLSHIT.YES THERE RIGHT IT IS MELAMINE BUT WHAT THERE NOT TELLING YOU IS WAS ORIGINALLY CYROMAZINE THE INSECTICIDE THAT WOULD OF BEEN THE ONLY LOGICAL CHOICE FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING IN CROPS.NOW THEY HAD THERE WAY OUT TO PROTECT THE BIOTECHS BECAUSE MELAMINE IS TOXIC AND BANNED IN THE U.S. NOW THEY WILL TELL US THAT IT WAS MALAMINE THAT IS THE CULPRIT NOT GENETIC ENGINEERING.THEY WILL GET THE CHINESE TO COOPERATE IN THIS COVER UP.THEY ALREADY GAVE THEM THE START OF THEIR SOLUTION.THIS PROTEIN THEORY IS BEING DELIBERATELY PUT OUT THERE AND ILL BET THE F.D.A IS THE ONES BEHIND IT. ITS PART OF THE PLAN.TO THROW YOU OFF.THEY WILL TELL THE CHINESE FACTORIES TO JUST ADMITT YOU MANUALLY ADDED MELAMINE TO THE FOOD TO THROW OFF THE TESTS ON ITS PROTEIN LEVELS.AND WELL HELP YOU IN THE LITIGATION PROCESS.BOTH GOVERNMENTS HAVE A HUGE STAKE IN AGRICULTURE GENETICS AND NEITHER WANTS GENETIC ENGINEERING TO EVEN COME INTO QUESTION. THIS IS EXACTELY HOW IT WAS DONE IN THE 1989 GENETICALLY ENGINEERED TOXIC L-TRYPTOPHAN EPIDEMIC WITH THE JAPANESE. THE F.D.A AND JAPANESE CORP. SHOWA DENKO K.K TRIED TO CONVINCE US THAT THE CAUSE THEN WAS THE FILTRATION PROCESS THAT WAS AT FAULT AND NOT GENETIC ENGINEERING. WHAT A JOKE.THE REAL REASON THE F.D.A WAS HELPING THEM THEN WAS THAT L-TRYPTOPHAN IS A AMINO ACID THAT IS THE PRECURSOR TO THE CHEMICAL IN OUR BRAINS KNOWN AS SEROTONIN. AND THE OUTBREAK OCCURRED 4 DAY BEFORE ELLY-LILLY WAS PUTTING THEIR MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR PILL CALLED PROZAC [IN WHICH DEALS DIRECTLY WITH THE BRAINS SEROTONIN LEVEL]AND WOULD OF CAUSED SERIOUS SPECULATIONS ABOUT THE DRUG.THIS OUTBREAK IN 1989 DIDNT EVEN MAKE ANY NEWS COVERAGE DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE F.D.A AND ELLI-LILLY USED THERE INFLUENCE TO MAKE SURE IT WAS KEPT UNDER THE RUG.