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The Boston Globe reports this morning that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing to investigate whether the tainted wheat gluten found to have made its way into pet food has also gotten into human food. "To date, we have nothing that indicates it's gone into human food," Dorothy Miller, director of the FDA's Office of Emergency Operations, tells the Globe. “We have a bit more investigation to do.”

According to the report, the wheat gluten that was contaminated with melamine, a toxic chemical found in pesticides and plastics, was shipped to the US from China late in 2006 and early in 2007, and in some cases went to some factories that make human food as well as pet food.

To this point, almost 100 different brands of wet and dry pet food have been recalled, and FDA continues to warn that there could be additional recalls. The FDA has confirmed that some 14 pets have died as a result of consuming contaminated pet food, though there are unconfirmed reports that far more have died or gotten sick.
KC's View:
This just has the feel of a story that isn’t going to go away for a while…that the FDA will probably clear the human food factories of having any problem, and then another problem will crop up, and the cycle will begin all over again.

It seems to us that the real problem isn’t the specifics, but rather the broader implications and suspicions that are aroused by the pet food problem.

We also think we’re going to start seeing a number of companies introducing gluten-free products that will at least implicitly appeal to people concerned about the safety of the food supply. Ironically, we saw a press release from the Hain Celestial Group about its new multi-brand Gluten Free Product Initiative with more than 100 products spanning a number of brands made by the company.

Now, there’s no question that this initiative was under way well before the current wheat gluten crisis, so it’s not like Hain is being opportunistic. But certainly the timing is favorable, and it seems likely that the woods will be full of wheat gluten initiatives of one sort or another.