Chicken gone bad

Dateline: Tue 15 May 2007

Blog reader Old Grouch points out that there's been almost no local/Indiana coverage regarding Hoosier chickens being fed tainted wheat gluten from China.

Here's the link to the Associated Press story of last week, plus a few graphs:

"WASHINGTON (AP), Chicken feed in some farms in Indiana contained byproducts from pet food manufactured with contaminated wheat gluten imported from China, two federal agencies said Monday.

"The Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration said in a joint statement that officials learned of the link between the chicken feed and tainted pet food as part of the investigation into imported rice protein concentrate and wheat gluten that have been found to contain the industrial chemical melamine and related compounds.

"An estimated 30 broiler poultry farms and eight breeder poultry farms in Indiana received contaminated feed in early February and fed it to poultry within days of receiving it, the agencies said. Other farms will probably be identified as having received contaminated feed, they added.

"All the broilers believed to have been fed contaminated products have been processed, while the breeders are under voluntary hold by flock owners, the agencies said."

So we've got processed chickens that contain contaminated products -- where are they, on our grocery shelves? In a Dept of Ag warehouse? What gives?

The pet food messup was a bigger story and it should not be. The food chain is now global, and what is done in China affects us. It's just a matter of time before something really big happens, because the FDA has acknowledged it can't monitor all the foods coming in to this nation like it does our internal food supply. (Not that that is perfect, either).

The other question is: where is the Star on this story? Or any other local media for that matter -- TV, NUVO, IBJ? I find it ironic that the state's billion-dollar ag business is largely ignored by media, with the exception of NUVO's recent hog-farm CAFO expose.

Don't look for the Star to get on this anytime soon. The Star has not had an ag reporter for years, altho both Norm Heikens and Jeff Swiatek did fine jobs. But exec editor Dennis Ryerson doesn't believe the ag industry is that interesting; he grew up on a farm, you see, in Iowa, and so he got rid of the Star's ag beat.

Meanwhile, where are those chickens????? And who is the real chicken?


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