Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Perils of Food in Your Diet

In our April 22 blog, "The Perils of Dog Food in Your Diet . . .," we pointed out the potential problem of tainted wheat, rice or corn gluten slipping into human food. Well, it turns out that our imagination wasn't overly active. A news story today (April 24, 2007) reports that some tainted pet was fed to hogs that were being raised for human consumption. See Apparently, this was "salvaged" pet food that was sent to the hog farm before the pet food recall (so there isn't any evidence to date that something truly evil happened). But some of the hogs have reportedly tested positive for melamine, the bad chemical in pet food. There is also a suggestion that a poultry farm might have a role in our little gastronomic horror movie. It's unclear whether any tainted hogs (or poultry) entered the human food supply.

The news story also reports that the FDA has decided to test a variety of vegetable ingredients used to make human food, including wheat and corn gluten, corn meal, rice bran and soy protein. The FDA reportedly stressed that it has no evidence that any of these ingredients have tainted human food, but that it wants to get ahead of the curve.

It's nice to know that, a month after the pet food recall erupted, the FDA is getting ahead of the curve. Surely it would have taken a knowledgeable agency a month to figure out that tainted gluten in pet food could also suggest the possibility of taint in human food. We can all sleep better at night now. In the meantime, until the results of the FDA's tests are revealed, perhaps we should stop eating. I know that would be a hardship for some, and perhaps many. But things like wheat and corn gluten, corn meal, rice bran and soy protein are used in a variety of prepared foods--it's difficult to know how many. So we can't simply eat cake while the testing process proceeds.

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