pet food processing dangerous to workers

Willowy

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Farm workers often die when they fall into manure pits or go into hog/poultry confinements with failed exhaust systems. That's some nasty stuff.

The workers died at a rendering plant, which doesn't only make animal feed ingredients, but also other by-products used in stuff like soap or fertilizer or bio-fuel.

Workers' rights and safety are not great in this country, and what laws do exist are rarely enforced.

I'll also point out that many of the ingredients in the story (like feather meal) are used for livestock feed, not pet food, but seeing that we and our pets eat the animals that eat that feed it doesn't really make it better.
 

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Norachan

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I think this a bit of an alarmist article. The title makes it sound as if ingredients in pet food are actually going to kill people.

Hydrogen sulfide gasses are sometimes found at industries such as oil refineries, mines, tanning plants, pulp and paper processing plants and rayon manufacturers. They also occurs naturally in manure pits and sewers. Of course people working in these industries need to take proper precautions to ensure they're safe, but I think it's very unlikely that hydrogen sulfide would actually emit from pet food and do anyone any harm.
 

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I have no idea where to post this. I also have no words that should be posted to describe my shock at this article.
Unbelievable. I knew most manufactured pet food is bad for consumers, but this is beyond that.

Truth About Pet Food is owned by someone who only feeds homemade raw diets to her cats and dogs because everything else is on the website for causing unnecessary problems.
 

Willowy

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I think this a bit of an alarmist article. The title makes it sound as if ingredients in pet food are actually going to kill people.
That's what she specializes in. I lost my taste for her articles some time back. While there's usually an element of truth, it's always overblown and fuzzily misrepresented.

It's also quite possible the pits had waste product in them, so what was going into the feed wasn't actually rotted, just the stuff they didn't use.

Farm workers get killed by cows and pigs all the time. I feel like Susan Thixton might be able to make that into a "pet food ingredients kill people!" article too :tongue: . But of course, even organic cows and pigs kill people.
 

denice

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She is a 'crusader' type not an investigative reporter. People are also injured and sometimes killed in plants that produce human food as well, as they are in any type of manufacturing. It is actually much better now then it was even 30 years ago mainly because of automation.
 
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Kflowers

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It would seem that the real problem here is worker safety in both the pet food and farming industry. Are the rules old? Do new rules with the new methods need to be implemented? Or are farm workers at the bottom of the list of people to be protected at work. I've read that one or more farmers or their workers suffocate in their grain silos every year. Is that true?

Glad to know that rendered meat is safe to eat.
 
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Willowy

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Or are farm workers at the bottom of the list of people to be protected at work
Partially that, and partially people not following the rules.
I've read that one or more farmers or their workers suffocate in their grain silos every year. Is that true?
It happens frequently; in 2019 there were 38 incidents and 23 deaths. The local fire departments all have grain rescue equipment (there's a tube they put around the person, then they vacuum all the grain out of the tube. Pretty cool. Of course that only works if they know where the person is). It's almost always because someone didn't follow the rules. It's never going to happen to you. . .until it does, right?
 
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Kflowers

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Special equipment because it happens so often. That's impressive.
 

MoochNNoodles

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I have seen several local articles about accidents that caused severe injury and occasional death in agriculture or processing. Most were either determined to be from carelessness or blatant disregard for safety precautions.

I don’t think most people really consider what its like to work with large equipment, animals or even just large quantities of products. Many jobs come with inherent dangers. Are some employers unconcerned about anything aside from their profits? Of course. Most can’t afford to deal with the economic and social costs of disregarding employee safety. There is always a measure of personal responsibility involved. I know of a few here that are so strict about their safety rules that ONE infraction will get you fired on the spot.

Alarmist reporting is a personal pet peeve. It doesn’t give a realistic picture or expectation to bring truly needed changes. Sometimes they end up doing more harm than good.
 
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Kflowers

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Right oh, no more posts from S. Thixton's site, unless I find other sources to back hers up.

I used other sources for all the recall information I've posted. I did receive a note from Dog food advisor about Aflatoxin, but so far have not found anything else about it. If I do, I'll let you know.

As for cows and pigs killing people, you'd almost think they know we mean them harm.
 

Willowy

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As for cows and pigs killing people, you'd almost think they know we mean them harm.
Pigs do, I think. They're very intelligent. Cows. . .probably not. I think it's mostly a matter of their size instead. You get kicked, stepped on, hip-slammed, head-butted, whatever by a 1500-pound animal, it's gonna cause some damage, even if they didn't mean to hurt you.

Aflatoxin is a problem. And not entirely avoidable. Honestly, sometimes I wonder how humans survived long enough to get this far, although admittedly the survival rate has always been pretty low up until recently.
 
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Kflowers

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Unless aflatoxin was a mutation in the 1960s, when it was, as near as I can tell, first recognized, perhaps it was hidden in our expectation of shorter life spans and people dying of many varied things pre-1960s.
I was expecting to be able to trace it further back than the 1960s, but so far no. Can you?
 
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Kflowers

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No academic subscription, however, since I agree that fungus has long been around -ergot anyone? I will take your word for the research. Clicked to the page. Freaky, that ergot was in the first paragraph. Strange it seems to still be around.
 
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Kflowers

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Is the method of preventing the aflatoxin contamination the same as for the ergot - watching the crops and removing those with the fungus? I realize the aflatoxin seems to be dangerous even in the microscopic stage, and that keeping a close eye on crops would require a great number of workers, or...

Since the aflatoxin problem has only become 'noticeable' in the last few years, were there enough agricultural workers to keep an eye on the crops and notice when the aflatoxin was there and cull that part of the crop and now, due to various things, there are not enough agricultural workers to protect the crops/customers from the aflatoxin?
 

Willowy

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I don't think it can be seen before harvest. I found an extension article on the subject: Reducing Aflatoxin in Corn During Harvest and Storage | UGA Cooperative Extension

So it sounds like modern methods can really reduce aflatoxin. I would guess that the recent attention on it is mainly because of the internet, as before there wasn't really any way to know if pets in other places who eat the same foods were being affected.
 
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Kflowers

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It's always good when science gets in to help out. And it's also good to know what else is going on out there.
 
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