April 25, 2007
Driving the point home
I bought a bookshelf on Monday, a sturdy two-shelf affair that I picked up at a major chain store. A description on the side of the box caught my eye: “solid ash wood frame and melamine panels.” It took me but a moment to place where I’d heard the word “melamine” recently: that’s the poisonous substance mixed in with the wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, etc. that led to the massive pet food recall (as always, the Pet Connection blog is a great place to go for updates).
When I put the bookshelf together, one of the major things I noticed about it (aside from how pleased I am with its appearance and ability to hold my cookbooks) was the intense chemical/plastic smell. I had to open up the house that evening and the next day to get rid of it, and it still hasn’t gone away completely. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that the logical place for the smell to be coming from is the melamine panels. And when the smell was at its strongest, I thought, holy shit, this is what got put in people’s pets’ food! I’ve read the stories, been frustrated with the fact that the FDA is still only reporting 16 confirmed deaths from the recalled food, mourned for the people who’ve lost their beloved pets, but somehow I don’t think the magnitude of the situation hit me until I encountered that smell. It frightens me that something that is so patently not food has been added to such widely-used ingredients.
And I’ll point out again the fact that this isn’t just about pet food–there’s a fairly good chance (and that’s me being conservative) that the tainted grain products have entered the human food supply in one way or another. We’ll see what happens from here.