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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Katrina Food Donations Being Burned by FDA

    For all the complaints we were making about how the US didn't receive aid from the world, we sure are using the aid we did get properly!

    The Mirror
    19 September 2005

    Tons of British aid donated to help Hurricane Katrina victims to be BURNED by Americans
    From Ryan Parry, US Correspondent in New York
    HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.

    US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

    Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.

    And unless the bureaucratic mess is cleared up soon it could be sent for incineration.

    One British aid worker last night called the move "sickening senselessness" and said furious colleagues were "spitting blood".

    The food, which cost British taxpayers millions, is sitting idle in a huge warehouse after the Food and Drug Agency recalled it when it had already left to be distributed.

    Scores of lorries headed back to a warehouse in Little Rock, Arkansas, to dump it at an FDA incineration plant.

    The Ministry of Defence in London said last night that 400,000 operational ration packs had been shipped to the US.

    But officials blamed the US Department of Agriculture, which impounded the shipment under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.

    The aid worker, who would not be named, said: "This is the most appalling act of sickening senselessness while people starve.

    "The FDA has recalled aid from Britain because it has been condemned as unfit for human consumption, despite the fact that these are Nato approved rations of exactly the same type fed to British soldiers in Iraq.

    "Under Nato, American soldiers are also entitled to eat such rations, yet the starving of the American South will see them go up in smoke because of FDA red tape madness."

    The worker added: "There will be a cloud of smoke above Little Rock soon - of burned food, of anger and of shame that the world's richest nation couldn't organise a p**s up in a brewery and lets Americans starve while they arrogantly observe petty regulations.

    "Everyone is revolted by the chaotic shambles the US is making of this crisis. Guys from Unicef are walking around spitting blood.

    "This is utter madness. People have worked their socks off to get food into the region.

    "It is perfectly good Nato approved food of the type British servicemen have. Yet the FDA are saying that because there is a meat content and it has come from Britain it must be destroyed.

    "If they are trying to argue there is a BSE reason then that is ludicrously out of date. There is more BSE in the States than there ever was in Britain and UK meat has been safe for years."

    The Ministry of Defence said: "We understand there was a glitch and these packs have been impounded by the US Department of Agriculture under regulations relating to the import and export of meat.

    "The situation is changing all the time and at our last meeting on Friday we were told progress was being made in relation to the release of these packs. The Americans certainly haven't indicated to us that there are any more problems and they haven't asked us to take them back."

    Food from Spain and Italy is also being held because it fails to meet US standards and has been judged unfit for human consumption.

    And Israeli relief agencies are furious that thousands of gallons of pear juice are to be destroyed because it has been judged unfit.

    The FDA said: "We did inspect some MREs (meals ready to eat) on September 13. They are the only MREs we looked at. There were 70 huge pallets of vegetarian MREs.

    "They were from a foreign nation. We inspected them and then released them for distribution."

    FEMA Response:
    September 21, 2005, Associated Press
    British MREs for Katrina Violate Import Safety Restrictions
    Excerpt from the article:

    British ready-to-eat meals donated for Hurricane Katrina victims are stuck on shelves at an air base in Arkansas because of strict U.S. regulations put in place after a mad cow disease scare.

    Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, which has been the hub for all international Katrina aid, has received 1,842 tons of goods from dozens of countries since the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.

    The meals containing British meat cannot be used because U.S. regulations prohibit the importation of British beef and poultry. The prohibition was put in place after the degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system was found in British cattle. A human form of the disease can be deadly.

    "We have an obligation to hold the food we're distributing to evacuees to the same standards we maintain for all Americans on a daily basis," U.S. Agriculture Department spokeswoman Terri Teuber said Tuesday. "We are not saying these MREs are unfit or unsafe. We're saying they don't meet the importation standards, and they are being set aside."

    It was unknown what would happen to the meat products in the British MREs, Teuber said.

    She said the number of British meals involved was not available and that some of the MREs without meat were distributed.

    She also said officials were looking for ways to use other British food and goods that have made their way to the Gulf Coast.

    "We are grateful for the donations, and they are being put to very good use," Teuber said.

    In all, some 400,000 MREs have been donated by foreign countries, said Army Major Paul Swiergosz, a Defense Department spokesman.
    Last edited by mroels; 10-14-2005 at 12:45 AM.

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