Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine: What The Book is about and Reviews

Pet Food Politics is a book by Marion Nestle. She explains in this book about what happened in 2007 wherein dog food, Pet Plate review and cat food was recalled and the effects of this recall to the animals’ health, the policies on food safety in the US, the FDA, the pet food industry, and the global food trade.

The problem started with a couple of cats feeling unwell because of kidney disease became more serious that it had become a worldwide food safety issue. The book chronicles the root of the issue in China. Manufacturers there wanted to make food using low-quality ingredients to cut back expenses. What was done was adding harmful elements such as industrial chemicals and melamine. These were mixed to wheat flour and was indicated as rice protein concentrate or wheat gluten in pet food ingredients.

The book also gave the timeline of this scandal’s events and how the life-threatening ingredients were distributed. It was noted that it has been 40 years that melamine was used in the production of pet food. Nestle also describes how melamine was incorporated with cyanuric acid at the same time. This combination created crystals that cause blockage in the kidneys of cats and dogs.

In 2008, a similar scandal happened in China wherein melamine was used in Chinese infant formulas. Because of that, over 200,000 infants had kidney disease and around 8 of them died. The part of the book’s title, “The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine” warns about the serious problems in tackling the issue of food safety.

The narrative from the book demonstrates how food consumed by humans, animals, and pets are the same. This is because we have a single food cycle. Therefore, one problem concerning safety can affect the whole system. The pet food scandal should be a wake-up call that the food safety industry needs to be improved. In 2009, the withdrawal of peanut butter was a warning that was ignored.


Peter Singer, the writer of Animal Liberation, said that this book is like reading a detective novel. Every point that was given results to a more serious crime than the previous case being investigated. He mentioned that the book clearly depicts how inadequate the monitoring of food safety is.

Gina Spadafori, a columnist from Universal Press Syndicate pet care and a best-selling pet book writer, she said that the way the story is presented is compelling. After reading this, she said that you will have a different perspective of not only pet food but food in general.

Allen M. Schoen, the author of Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live, is a good example of investigative reporting that exposes the issues in the global food supply and safety. He recommends it to people who want a better understanding of the impact of the food crisis globally and how crucial it is to monitor the quality of our food.

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