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Marion Nestle, acclaimed author of Food Politics, now tells the gripping story of how, in early 2007, a few telephone calls about sick cats set off the largest recall of consumer products in U.S. history and an international crisis over the safety of imported goods ranging from food to toothpaste, tires, and toys. Nestle follows the trail of tainted pet food ingredients back to their source in China and along the supply chain to their introduction into feed for pigs, chickens, and fish in the United States, Canada, and other countries throughout the world. What begins as a problem "merely" for cats and dogs soon becomes an issue of tremendous concern to everyone. Nestle uncovers unexpected connections among the food supplies for pets, farm animals, and people and identifies glaring gaps in the global oversight of food safety.
1. A Recall to Break All Records
2. A Brief Historical Digression
3. The Sequence of Events
4. What Is Menu Foods?
5. Menu's Muddled Response: What, When, and Where
6. The Cat and Dog Body Count
7. A Toxic False Alarm: Aminopterin
8. At Last the Culprit: Melamine
9. Melamine: A Source of Dietary Nitrogen
10. Melamine: A Fraudulent Adulterant, But Puzzling
11. How Much Melamine Was in the Pet Food?
12. Mystery Solved: Cyanuric Acid
13. The China Connection
14. More Melamine: Rice and Corn “Proteins”
15. More Melamine Eaters: Farm Animals and People
16. The FDA's Response
17. Repercussion #1: China's Food Safety System
18. Repercussion #2: The China Backlash
19. Repercussion #3: The FDA in Crisis
20. Repercussion #4: Pet Food Politics
Appendix: The Melamine Recalls List
List of Tables and Figures
Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University. She is author of the award-winning Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised and expanded edition, UC Press), Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism (UC Press), and What to Eat, among other books. She serves as nutrition coeditor of The Bark magazine.
"Pet Food Politics is a first class example of investigative journalism exposing one of the challenges of globalization of our food supply. It's required reading for anyone who wants to understand the implications of globalization and the importance of quality control in all our food."—Allen M. Schoen, MS, DVM, author of Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live
"Provocative, well-researched, and insightful, Pet Food Politics is a page-turner and a must-read for people who care as much about the quality and safety of the food in their pets' bowls as they do about the food on their own plates. This in-depth study reads like a thriller, and will make consumers reconsider trusting the 'hand' that feeds them."—Claudia Kawczynska, Editor in Chief, The Bark
"Pet Food Politics offers the most detailed account we'll ever get of the 2007 pet food recalls—even for those of us who closely followed the story. What's more, Marion Nestle uses the specifics of this event to reveal the inadequacies of the agents and policies that are supposed to safeguard U.S. pet food. While Pet Food Politics will be fascinating to pet owners, given the myriad connections between the human food and pet food industries, this is an important book for anyone who eats."—Nancy Kerns, Editor, Whole Dog Journal
"How pet food is produced—and its parallels to the manufacturing of human food—should be of concern to everyone, not just to those who love animals. In her expert examination of the pet food industry, Dr. Nestle tells a story as compelling as any mystery. You'll never look at the pet-food aisle the same way again—or your own food, either."—Gina Spadafori, Universal Press Syndicate pet-care columnist and bestselling pet-book author
Praise for Marion Nestle's previous work:
"Marion Nestle . . . explains what the industrialization of the food supply in this country has done to both the taste and the safety of the foods we eat."—Alice Waters, author of The Art of Simple Food
"Marion Nestle has emerged as one of the most sane, knowledgeable, and independent voices in the current debate over the health and safety of the American food system."—Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food
"Pet Food Politics reads like a detective story in which each new clue points to a greater crime than the one we started out investigating. Marion Nestle makes an overwhelming case for the inadequacy of our present system of monitoring food safety."—Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation