Digest: Deadly petfood, spinach grower speaks up, end of an era in Chicago

PET OWNERS ALERT: Many cats and dogs have suffered kidney failure and about 10 have died after eating pet food by Menu Foods, which is recalling dog food sold under 46 brands and cat food sold under 37 brands (including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba) at major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Safeway. Houston Chronicle (AP)

Straight to the source of the spinach outbreak: The strain of E. coli O157:H7 that contaminated spinach last year has been traced to four sites in San Benito and Monterey counties. The chief operating officer of the one farm that has been identified (Mission Organics) gives an exclusive interview about the mess to the Salinas Californian. The Californian (Salinas)

Mooving on: Thanks to confluence as a railroad hub, Chicago ruled the meatpacking industry at the turn of the century. Now, more than 100 years after Upton Sinclair delivered a scathing critique of Chicago’s slaughterhouse industry, the city’s last major slaughterhouse – Chiappetti Veal and Lamb – is looking for a new home. Belleville News Democrat (AP)

UK gets a new barCO2de?: U.K. consumers will know from a new label how much carbon dioxide was emitted in the manufacture and transport of certain products. Companies that join the Carbon Trust collaboration will pledge to cut their carbon footprint over the next few years. Wall Street Journal Energy Roundup

But can they eat plastic?: Gene-ius Craig Ventner has led a globe-circumnavigating team to map the world’s oceanic microbes. Turns out there are zillions more than previously thought, and among them are some that can convert sunlight into energy without involving photosynthesis — good news for alternative energy researchers. Amazingly, the new data are being shared freely on the Web. Washington Post

Hunters vs. shooters: On his blog, longtime hunting writer Jim Zumbo dissed hunters who use assault rifles, and was crucified by the gun-owning community and fired by all his editors. Alas, all he wants to do is eat crow. Interestingly, writer Steven Rinella says hunting’s biggest problem is not weapons, but “failure on everyone’s part to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.” Salon

Be our guests: How can we preserve immigrants’ vital contribution to our economy while also preventing their workplace vulnerability from undermining American wages and working conditions? The answer lies in a stronger guest-worker program — maybe. TomPaine.com

Portraits of people, not “illegals”: Three families torn apart by the December Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley are still struggling to piece their lives back together. Greeley Tribune

Korea has a bone to pick with U.S. beef: South Korea’s agriculture minister is standing fast on his nation’s rejection of bone-in beef imports from the U.S., a development, which threatens to hold up a trade agreement between the two countries. Maybe if the USDA were upping instead of discontinuing wide testing for mad-cow disease, our trade partners would be a little less wary. Cattle Network In a related story, New Zealand grassfed beef producers are enjoying newfound popularity in Asian markets.

Blame the feedlots, not the cows: A “holistic grazing” proponent reinterprets the recent UN report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” which said that the world’s cattle herds actually emit more carbon and dioxide and greenhouse gases than cars do. His argument: “The issue is not really the cows, but how they have been managed in an industrialized food chain.” New West

Battery operated: A new Texas power plant runs entirely on biodiesel derived from chicken fat. Much as we believe in renewable energy, we just can’t excited about this source. Houston Chronicle

Cage free or die: One bill in New Hampshire proposes to ban battery cages from the state’s poultry operations, while another proposes that the state buy only cage-free eggs. Predictably, opponents cite price, and say tiny cages are fine for chickens. Boston Globe

Calling all NorCal farmers!: On March 27 Whole Foods is hosting its first-ever seminar for all Bay Area growers, ranchers and suppliers who might want to become local suppliers to the supermarket chain. Mercury News

Don’t tell Ben Franklin: Bald eagles are nesting in Philadelphia for the first time in 200 years. The bald eagle and other birds of prey were almost wiped out by pesticides like DDT and other organochlorides, which caused the birds’ egg shells to be so fragile that they would break during incubation. More from the NWF. (Ben Franklin said that the bald eagle “is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly,” and thought the wild turkey — a “bird of courage” — was a better choice for the nation’s symbol.) Penn Game Commission press release

SOLE food by default: A travel piece celebrates eating in Ethiopia — where the livestock graze in open fields because there are no factory farms, and vegetables are rarely treated with pesticides because farmers can’t afford the chemicals. One traditional dish is grassfed beef eaten so raw it’s practically still mooing. New York Times

The power of blogs: The L.A. Times profiles Josh Marshall, founder of Talking Points Memo, TPM Muckraker, and TPM Cafe. Marshall’s blogs were critical in keeping alive the story about the U.S. Attorney firings, long after the corporate media stopped covering it. The article also examines the role of blogs and their relation to mainstream journalism. Los Angeles Times

3 Responsesto “Digest: Deadly petfood, spinach grower speaks up, end of an era in Chicago”

  1. Donald in DC says:

    I just spent a roller coaster of a last 8 days with my cat Simon, after taking my cat to the vet after 3 days of not eating, lethargy, and vomiting. Find out that there has been a recall of the Iams food that I was feeding to Simon. He only ate one or two pouches and became super sick. I was told by regular vet that he had severe kidney failure and needed immediate attention by the emergency animal hospital. I then took him to Frendship Hospital for Animals.

    His kidney’s were enlarged with levels of Creatine and another chemical that were 5 times the normal amount. He was place on an aggressive treatment of IV fluids, received an ultrasound, and blood pressure medicine. On his last night in the hospital, he had somewhat of a seizure where he urinated, defecated, and went berserk. The vet believes it is a residual effect of what has happened to his kidneys.

    Many times I was told that he was close to dying and could die overnight. Simon is only 8 years old, and sever renal failure is not common for such a young cat, nor are such high levels

    Fortunately, I was able to bring him home today, but need to continue with 3 different medications and a daily IV drip. And will need continue such care for about 3 months.

    His total medical bill is about $3,000 so far. I have been on hold for IAMS for over 30 minutes now.


  2. DairyQueen says:

    Donald, I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I have two cats, and each time one has been severely ill, I have been beside myself with worry. I wonder what in the hell could have been in that food that caused such immediate kidney failure. I found this on WebMD, I have no idea if it applies to cats too:

    Inhaling or swallowing certain toxins, including methyl (wood) alcohol; carbon tetrachloride; antifreeze; and poisonous mushrooms, can also cause the kidneys to suddenly malfunction.

    Simon is obviously a very strong and healthy cat or he could not have survived. I really hope he makes a full recovery.

    My thoughts are with you, and with everyone else out there whose furry companions have been made sick.

  3. james carter says:

    Donald, We in winnipeg have launched a class action lawsuit against menu foods as have some pet owners whose animals have gotten sick and died as my Pest (4 year old preveiously healthy indoor cat) did, in Philly, Don’t let this one go people…CONTACT A LAWYER and get onboard these class action lawsuits.e-mail j...@pollockandcompany.com
    Good Luck.