Originally Published: March 5, 2008 9:36 a.m.
You've just received word of a product recall, so you grab the offending toy - or packet of meat, or can of dog food - and bring it back to the store.What happens next? What does the future hold for a turkey sausage deemed unfit for human consumption? That's one of the four questions AP editors and reporters are answering in this installment of "Ask AP," a Q&A column where AP journalists respond to readers' questions about the national and world news. If you have your own news-related question that you'd like to see an AP reporter or editor answer, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "Ask AP" in the subject line. ***What becomes of all the recalled poisonous pet food, lead-tainted toys and antifreeze-flavored toothpaste? Are they incinerated? Buried?William GazdaghBelleville, Ill.ANSWER: Recalled products that are taken back to stores are returned to manufacturers, which generally destroy them, through incineration or other measures, or send them to a landfill.Depending on the nature of the recall, though, food products are sometimes reprocessed.In the past, if a recall involved a bacterial pathogen that could be destroyed by cooking at a high temperature, recalled meat was further processed until it was deemed safe, and then sometimes reused in pet food. However, this approach has become less common as pet-food standards have become more stringent.Many recalled products, meanwhile, never make it back to the manufacturer - they're either used or thrown away by the consumer.Mae AndersonAP Business Writer, New York***I have heard a number of conflicting stories regarding Barack Obama's religious and political ties, especially relative to Muslim principles. Is Obama a Muslim? If elected, will he take the oath of office on a Bible or on the Quran? Is it true he cannot and does not pledge his allegiance to the American flag?Pat CreedenLouisville, Ky.ANSWER: Democratic Sen. Barack Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and says he has never been a Muslim."I've been to the same church - the same Christian church - for almost 20 years," Obama has said. "I was sworn in with my hand on the family Bible. Whenever I'm in the United States Senate, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America."False rumors of his Islamic ties have circulated on the Internet, in part because Obama's middle name is Hussein, his father and stepfather were Muslim and he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, a largely Muslim country.Obama attended secular and Catholic schools as a child, not a radical Islamic madrassa.Donna CassataAP Political Editor, Washington***What ever happened to the Pat Tillman investigations?Peter LorenzoRoseville, Calif.ANSWER: There have been five military investigations and several phone books' worth of official reports and transcripts issued in the Pat Tillman case; hundreds of thousands of more words will come this year in the form of a congressional report and two new books.There is one investigation still open on Tillman's 2004 death by friendly fire in Afghanistan. The House Oversight Committee held hearings this past spring on what the White House, the Pentagon and officials from President Bush on down knew, and when they knew it.Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and retired Gen. John Abizaid, the one-time head of the U.S. Central Command, testified before the committee, which has yet to disclose its findings and continues to investigate.Fresh information on the case will surface in a book due out in May by Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, who reviewed thousands of pages of new investigative documents. And author Jon Krakauer, best known for his books "Into Thin Air" and "Into the Wild," takes a biographical look at Tillman in a book scheduled for release this fall.Tillman was killed by friendly fire on April 22, 2004. It was five weeks before Tillman's family and the American public learned the true nature of his death, because the military maintained for more than a month that he had been shot by enemy fire.The previous probes examined the facts surrounding his death and sought to determine whether there was a cover-up and whether the American soldiers who shot Tillman to death should be criminally charged. Several officers and soldiers were punished, but none was court-martialed, because investigators concluded in 2007 that the incident was a terrible mistake in the fog of war.Scott LindlawAssociated Press Writer, San Francisco***Pundits keep talking about how Michigan and Florida delegates will not count. Does this apply to the superdelegates from these two states or only pledged delegates?Jim SaundersCanyon Lake, TexasANSWER: The Democratic National Committee has penalized all the delegates from Michigan and Florida - pledged and superdelegates. In the case of Florida, for example, that would be 185 pledged delegates and 25 superdelegates for a total of 210.The Republican National Committee penalized those states by stripping them of half their total delegates - the combination of pledged and unpledged.Donna CassataAP Political Editor, Washington