The latest on melamine – it’s in more things, but they’re safe to eat

It’s official – the FDA, the CDC, the DHS, the USDA, and the EPA all worked together to determine that the chickens and pigs that were fed melamine-contaminate feed are safe to eat (link here). In fact, you can probably eat nothing but melamine-affected meat and still be at 1/2500th the official danger dose. This is such a large margin that even if we find in 10 years to have been off on the toxicity of melamine by a factor of 100, we’re still 1/10th the new danger dose – and that’s assuming you eat nothing but melamine-fed meat. Unfortunately, it now appears that the spiked gluten products were also sold to a Canadian company that converted it into fishmeal that is fed to farmed fish, but based on the same information above, I’m not worried.

Realistically, I think it’s a safe bet that every commercial meat in the U.S. that isn’t organically raised has been fed melamine-contaminated feed. Beef, chicken, pork, fish – it’s probably only a matter of time. So I’m not going to worry about melamine in the human food supply any longer (the pet supply, however, is another thing entirely) unless some new evidence surfaces that says melamine is a more potent carcinogen than dioxin.

Which, by the way, you get a lot of out of your grill. Probably more than you get melamine from the steak or chicken breast your grilling.

Crossposted: The Daedalnexus

5 replies »

  1. Which is a bit like the GM debate. Another product so heavily investigated that – even if we find we’re off by a large margin – also won’t be harmful. There was some research done recently that said that our ability to measure chemicals has become so good that manage to panic ourselves half mad when we discover toxins in food we normally eat. It’s always been there, we just weren’t able to measure it before.

  2. Let me say three things:

    1: I hope you’re right.

    2: I guess all those cats and dogs aren’t really dead, after all. Or, if they are, that probably means nothing. There are explanations as to why that doesn’t matter.

    3: And we have the assurances that we’re safe from government regulators, who continue to be increasingly captive to corporate interests. So we can trust what we’re being told, now and forever.

    All of which marks me as an alarmist, I suppose. But the way I see it, your “off by a factor of 100” argument is completely dependent on those regulators, and hence we have to factor a massive dose of “if” into the formula.

    Let’s also remember a couple of things. First, the Chinese are putting the crap in the food, and that’s illegal, period. The reason is to make it look like it has more protein than it does, allowing them to charge more. That’s fraud. And pardon me for being unduly suspicious, but what else are they injecting into our food cycle? If you can not ask that question, you’re whistling through the graveyard.

    And finally, what do we conclude from the fact that our regulators are apparently more focused on convincing us that “melamine – it’s what’s for dinner!” isn’t as bad as imagine than they are on these factors?

  3. I have not claimed that the affects on animals haven’t been dire. I’ve only said that, according to the best science we have today, five separate agencies concur that the threat to the human food supply from melamine-fed animals is extremely low.

    And while I understand your distrust of the government, can you honestly tell me that an administration that has shown itself to be singularly ineffective at governing anything has the ability to, at very short notice and under intense public scrutiny, synchronize deceptions between four government agencies under the auspices of three different Departments and one independent agency, without yet another defection of a former loyalist insider who knows the truth?

    That’s the problem with conspiracies – it’s easy to be sucked into them so deep that you can’t tell when they finally break credibility.

    You’re right that we have got to figure out what, if anything else, Chinese companies are fraudulently putting into our food supplies. It’s not ok, and just because we got lucky (yes, lucky) this time that it was discovered by pets instead of people doesn’t mean that the next illegal chemical we stumble upon won’t be a) found after people die from it and b) a whole lot nastier than melamine.

    And what I conclude from the fact our regulators are overly focused on melamine is that people like us have screamed so loudly over something relatively minor that we haven’t permitted the FDA, USDA, etc. to do their job and figure out what else might be spiking our food imports from China.

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and we’ve been so squeaky that no-one else can hear for our noise. It’s past time to tone down the volume.

  4. You’re missing the point. I’m not saying the government is orchestrating an overt conspiracy. No, they’re not that smart. But they’re PERFECTLY capable of stocking every agency in America with people who know what team they’re really on. K Street Project is an example of how that reach is even longer than you’d expect. And the latest Gonzo scandal at Justice (never mind that a degree from Regent “University” apparently automatically qualifies you for a job there) makes clear that there are litmus tests.

    It’s not about micro-managing a conspiracy. It’s about seeding a SYSTEM. Do that and things run themselves.

  5. So let me understand something – you’re saying that the FDA and CDC (both under the Dept. of Health and Human Services), the Customs Inspection group under the Dept. of Homeland Security, the USDA under the Dept. of Agriculture, and the EPA could collaborate together to deceive the public about the threat to human food when millions of people like yourseleves who are around the bend angry over the threat to their pets are staring over their shoulders and questioning every little thing they do?

    If the answer’s yes, then you’ve just lost all credibility on this issue.