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Yesterday (3/30/07) found the Menu Foods pet food recall being expanded to include Science Diet dry feline m/d, scaring the beejeebers out of everyone since this is the first time dry food has been included in the recall. In addition to that item being recalled, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company added ALPO® Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food to the recall list.

Today (3/31/07) Del Monte has issued a release recalling some pet treats AND some wet food (Jerky Treats®, Gravy Train® Beef Sticks and Pounce Meaty Morsels® Ol’ Roy, Happy Tails, and Dollar General).

PLEASE read the press releases by clicking on the links above, and check those codes/dates VERY carefully. In my opinion (especially considering how this situation is constantly changing), I feel that it’s better to be safe than to be sorry, so I would probably just toss the items (making sure no animals can get into your trash!) even if they don’t have the recalled code on them. But that’s just me.

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I am so peeved right now! Maybe I’m just cranky from trying to update a list I compiled of where folks can register their complaints regarding the Menu Foods recall (btw, new recalls of Science Diet dry feline m/d AND ALPO Prime Cuts in gravy wet food) the deaths and the illnesses, or maybe I’m just UNBELIEVABLY annoyed and saddened that it seems we are NEVER going to get solid answers to why in the heck so many things seem to be showing up in the recalled pet food (today the FDA said melamine was found in the wheat gluten used to make the food…let’s see, that makes rat poison AND an Asian fertilizer in the food!), or maybe I’m just disappointed in two kids that apparently set that fire in my neighboring county of LA today. Who knows what it is that’s really got my goat, but regardless, I am peeved to the nth degree, and can only imagine the incredible frustrations pet owners with sick or even worse, dead pets, are feeling. Why on EARTH are we not getting conclusive answers to all of this Menu Foods recall chaos?

I read someone else say (sorry, don’t remember where) that the lab which first discovered the aminopterin (rat poison) in samples of the recalled food (btw, the FDA and Menu Foods are now saying aminopterin was NOT found in the food after all…the lab who found it is sticking by their findings), is one of the labs set up as part of Homeland Security after 9/11, and SHOULD have been able to diagnose what was in the food MUCH sooner than it did since this IS a lab that is suppose to be on the cutting-edge and front line of OUR protection against possible acts of terrorism with our food supply. If anyone thinks that our government is always looking out for OUR best interests, you really need to take a hard look at why it is that we STILL haven’t been given the name of the company that provided the wheat gluten to Menu Foods, and now are we going to find out how melamine got into the products? Not holding my breath. Just look at the slow response with Katrina. Disgraceful. And since this recall (at THIS point) was not with the human food supply it doesn’t seem that anyone is in any huge rush to discover the real causes. Although I suppose if our government wasn’t too interested in helping our own citizens during Katrina, they aren’t going to be in a huge rush to help our pets. Sorry, but I’m obviously still pretty bitter about Katrina.

So why IS it that we are not being told which company gave Menu Foods the wheat gluten, which is OBVIOUSLY the lead suspect in all the deaths? Comment posters on this blog did a lot of detective work and discovered that the offending company is “more than likely” ADM (Archer Daniels Midland), yet no “official” word one way or the other. Hmmm… Make no mistake pet food companies, big business, media, and our government, animal lovers are getting pretty fed up with your lack of answers, your excuses, and what seems to be a concerted effort to NOT let us know what’s really going on. We consider our pets to be members of our family and when you mess with a member of our family you are in for a big fight. Trust me. Pet owners are not about to let this disgusting situation be swept under the carpet, and there are far too many interested parties out there who will continue to push into the reasons behind this recall and the subsequent deaths. We do not want to have to constantly worry if the food we give our pets out of love and care, is in fact turning around and being what kills them. Yes, we can make our own food at home, but if these dangerous items can find their way into the animal food industry, is there really ANYONE that thinks they won’t find their way into the human food industry?

Rant done…for now. Who knows, maybe I’ll just end up deleting this post because when I’m not so upset it won’t make much sense. But for now I’m using this blog to unload and vent. Still peeved, though. Sigh.

***Added 8PM: Here’s a link to the Menu Foods conference today about melamine. Sorry, but all I hear when the President of Menu Foods opens his mouth is that Charlie Brown teacher sound, “Waa-waa-waa-waa, waa-waa-waa-waawaa!”***

The comments on this blog of people who have suffered losses, in addition to a great job vetcetera did compiling a chart of which states are/aren’t being proactive on the Menu Foods pet food recall front, got me interested in trying to track down a list of who can be contacted in each state.

I did run across a few lists, but each seemed to have conflicting information. I ended up combining the information I found on three lists, along with checking on each state’s web site, and have listed what I came up with here on the Pet recall info/posts page. It was very time-consuming and frustrating, so I can only imagine how pet owners who have pets affected by the recall must feel having to play “let’s find the right info” online while they are under so much stress. If you find any misinformation or additional contact information, feel free to post a comment and I’ll update as much as possible.

I realize this is a very sad and frustrating time for so many of you who have experienced horrible losses in your personal lives, but if you could please find the time and energy to contact all these organizations (your personal veterinarian, your State Veterinarian,the FDA, and Pet Connection) it will definitely go a long way in not only holding Menu Foods accountable and having the true statistics come out in the press, but hopefully also help create a system to handle situations like this in a much more fluid and productive manner. Of course it goes without saying that we hope a situation like this will not occur again, but the reality is such that it probably will.

Sooooo thrilled to get an email newsletter from my favorite small venue saying that one of my latest obsessions, The Cat Empire, will be playing there in a couple of months! Just when things are icky some good news comes along. Happy, happy, happy! Hmmm, think I need a little happy The Cat Empire music to go along with the happy mood…cue the videos. (Gee, did I mention this news makes me VERY happy? 😉)

Performing “Sly” on Letterman:

Here’s a link to their official YouTube page which has some fun, silly videos the band has made on the road. Enjoy! Oh, and have YOU gone out and bought their un-freaking-believable CD “Two Shoes” yet? What? No?! Sheesh, could you BE any lazier? (Said in my best Chandler voice) It’s on iTunes for a mere $9.99, and their 6 song EP “The Cat Empire”, with some other fun tunes, is only $3.99. And you don’t even have to get dressed to buy it and be listening right away. Now I’m not saying you’re sitting there at your computer naked, but…

Actually…um…are ya? Well then, “Hello, hello.” 😉

“Hello” video:

ARGH! If Menu Foods is confusing the mass media outlets, I guess it’s okay if I’m beginning to get confused about their press releases, too? Why don’t they just dispense with any further confusion on ANYONE’S part by just doing what they should until the mystery of how aminopterin (rat poison) got into their foods is solved: just CLOSE THE TWO PLANTS where the tainted food was manufactured and have ANY pet food manufactured there during that time (whether on the recall list or not) be pulled until some sort of answer is found? Oh wait, silly me, $$$. Doh!

I’m including today’s Menu Foods full press release, along with the opening statement from their press conference last Friday.

Here’s today’s press release, supposedly clarifying their press release from two days ago:

March 26, 2007

Clarification From Menu Foods: No Expanded Recall

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(CCNMatthews – March 26, 2007) –

NOT FOR RELEASE OVER US NEWSWIRE SERVICES

Media outlets have reported conflicting and incorrect information, including that Menu Foods has expanded its recall to include all products produced.

To clarify, late last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”) and various media outlets reported that some retailers still had recalled product on their shelves. In response, Menu Foods issued instructions for retailers to remove from their shelves all cuts and gravy products of the flavours listed on the recall list, regardless of the dates produced. For many retailers, this had already been completed as their standard operating procedure.

This step did not expand the recall but provided the remaining retailers with an efficient means of withdrawing the recalled product. The full recall list is available at www.menufoods.com.

In addition, Menu Foods reiterated that there is no evidence of any problems in any products manufactured at either its Streetsville, Ontario, facility or its North Sioux City, South Dakota, facility. Furthermore, there is no evidence of problems in any of the products not on the recall list produced at Emporia, Kansas, or Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Menu Foods has also posted the opening statement made at their press conference from last Friday:

Opening statement
By Paul K. Henderson
President and CEO, Menu Foods Income Fund
23 March, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you for assembling on such short notice. I have some brief opening comments. And then we will take questions. The news conference will conclude at 4:30 sharp.
My name is Paul Henderson, and I am the President and CEO of Menu Foods. With me today is Dr. Richard Shields, Executive Vice President of Menu Foods. Rick is head of Menu’s technical services that includes research & development, regulatory and quality assurance. Rick is a PHD in Animal Nutrition.
We are happy and relieved that the experts from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Cornell University have discovered the root of the issue that has harmed North American cats and dogs. This important discovery caps an unprecedented search by top experts. Dedicated and knowledgeable researchers at universities, independent laboratories, and our own veterinary consultants worked tirelessly to defend and protect our cats and dogs. Over the past seven days, we have spoken with almost two hundred thousand consumers. They were scared; some like myself, are angry; they demonstrated a level of care and concern that only those of us who are pet-owners can understand. Our hearts go out to the many thousands of pet-owners across Canada and the U.S. for their losses and their worry. We are grateful to them for their patience as we hunted for the root of the problem.
I can anticipate some of your questions, so let me address them briefly.

Q. How did this substance get into our products?
A. At this stage, we do not know. Our immediate next steps will be to begin testing of all suspect raw materials with the goal of quickly identifying the means through which this substance entered our supply chain.

Q. Which specific products made by our company contain this substance?
A. Again, we do not know with certainty. This morning, the researchers advised us of their discovery as they investigated the recalled product. At this time we have no reason to suspect that this matter goes beyond the recalled product.

Q. What should pet-owners do?
A. Until we have these answers, we have the following advice for consumers:
* We want to reinforce our view that all consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product.
* If your pet is showing any signs of illness after consuming any recalled pet food, see a veterinarian immediately

Q. What about the future of Menu Foods?
A. We have a strong, sustainable business, and we’re confident about the future. Our customers and partners have been understanding, supportive and loyal. And for that, we are grateful.

As I have explained, we have a lot of work to do. And we are eager to get back to it. But we will take questions for about 20 minutes.

I also ran across an interesting article at globeandmail.com, which does a good job chronicling the rise and fall history of Menu Foods before this latest catastrophe.

Just a reminder, too, about Petrapport, Inc.’s recall of Berkley & Jensen pig ear dog treats due to salmonella.

And here’s my initial Menu Foods recall post with links, or you can click the Pet food recall info/posts page at the top of this blog.

[4/5/07: ***Just got another recall notice (American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chew and Dog Chew [made from all American beef pizzle]) from the FDA in my mail, but this is another SALMONELLA-related one. (Not Menu Foods-related)***]

In the wake of the Menu Foods pet food recall I realized it’s really up to each of us to stay on top of things since we cannot assume that big business or our government will always (or ever) looking out for our best interest. With that in mind I signed up for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recall listserv (yes, I know…it’s government, but... 😉) and thought I’d pass along the latest recall information they’ve posted. Unfortunately it is (yet again!) another pet-related item, but it is also harmful to humans who come into contact with it, having the possibility to inflict serious health issues for both humans AND pets–please read!

Petrapport Issues Recall of Pig Ear Dog Treats Because of Salmonella Contamination

Contact:
Luciana DeLeon
201-854-6157

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — North Bergen, NJ — March 23, 2007 — Petrapport, Inc. is voluntarily recalling pig ear dog treats it imported from a Chilean company during the period August 2006 through December 2006 because the pig ears have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious infections in dogs, and, if there is cross contamination, young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Laboratory testing has confirmed that samples of Full-Cut Pig Ears dog treats sold by BJ’s Wholesale Club in 25-count packages under the “Berkley & Jensen” brand with no lot number and only the expiration advisory “BEST IF USED BY 2009” (without referencing a specific month) were contaminated with Salmonella. Additional testing of other pig ear dog treats from shipments during the above time period has not revealed any additional evidence of Salmonella contamination, but Petrapport nonetheless is voluntarily recalling them out of an abundance of caution due to concern that the pig ears imported during this period may not have been effectively irradiated for Salmonella before shipment from Chile.

The voluntary recall includes dog treats sold by BJ’s Wholesale Club in its 25-count packages of “Berkley & Jensen” Full-Cut Pig Ears dog treats with no lot number and only the expiration advisories “BEST IF USED BY 2009” (without referencing a specific month) as well as “BEST IF USED BY SEPTEMBER 2009,” “BEST IF USED BY OCTOBER 2009,” “BEST IF USED BY NOVEMBER 2009,” and “BEST IF USED BY DECEMBER 2009.”

Also included within this voluntary recall are the following lots of pig ear dog treats sold in bulk by other retailers under the “Petrapport” brand:

ITEM #

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

RECALLED LOT #S

8915

Bulk Low Fat Pig Ears

101808 & 102108

8772P

Two Pack Bulk Pig Ears

101707

8770P

12 Pack Bulk Pig Ears

101707

8774P

24 Pack Bulk Pig Ears

101907

7416

1 lb. Bulk Pig Ear Strips

101907

7425

24 oz. Bulk Pig Ear Strips

5039

Salmonella can potentially be transferred to people handling these dog treats, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the product or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Dogs that become ill from Salmonella generally will have a fever and diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus. Affected animals may seem more tired that usual, and may have vomiting. Some dogs do not have diarrhea, but will have decreased appetite, fever and excess salivation. If your dog has consumed the recalled product and is exhibiting these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

While there have been no confirmed illnesses to date, consumers should immediately stop feeding these treats to their dogs. These products have been removed from the sales floors and the sales inventories of all retailers.

Consumers who purchased any of the above-identified pig ear dog treats should discontinue use of the products and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers who have further questions may contact Petrapport at 800-447-3872 extension 110.

Just did my daily check of the Menu Foods recall web site and see that yesterday afternoon they posted two new press releases, the most urgent being the following:

MARCH 24, 2007 – 14:09 ET

Menu Foods Initiates Market Withdrawal of All Varieties of Recalled Wet Pet Food to Ensure Consumer Protection

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(CCNMatthews – March 24, 2007) – As a result of reports from the FDA and various media outlets that some recalled lots of “cuts and gravy” style wet pet food remain on store shelves, Menu Foods has asked all retail outlets to immediately remove all impacted varieties of wet pet food posted at www.menufoods.com , regardless of the date code. Menu Foods remains concerned that consumers are able to purchase recalled items. There is no known risk from items not listed on the recall list but an abundance of caution is called for in this situation. FDA has been apprised of this action.

So they “say” they are calling for the removal of ALL impacted varieties of wet pet food because some of the tainted food is apparently still on the shelves, but I have to wonder if it isn’t them just trying (belatedly) to cover their fannies since they still do NOT know how the aminopterin (rat poison) got into the tainted food in the first place. And since they are STILL using the two plants in question to manufacture food, how can they be sure it might not happen again? Maybe they need to read the title of their own press release and realize that if they truly are trying to “ensure consumer protection” they’d reconsider continuing to manufacture anything at all until they’ve solved their first horrible mystery/mistake. Oh well, the bottom line is that ALL of Menu Foods impacted wet pet food SHOULD be off the shelves soon, so that will be good…I guess.

Here is their other press release which is pretty much just them trying to use sound bites from their press conference on Friday to sound like they are “on the case” and “concerned”:

 

Menu Foods Income Fund
TSX: MEW.UN
INDUSTRY: Financial Services – Personal Finance, Retail – Consumer Interest
MARCH 24, 2007 – 12:17 ET
Menu Foods Income Fund: Progress in Search for Cause of Pet Illnesses
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(CCNMatthews – March 24, 2007) –

NOT FOR RELEASE OVER US NEWSWIRE SERVICES

Menu Foods Income Fund (the “Fund”) (TSX:MEW.UN) has provided an update on its March 16 pet food recall, which represents an important step forward on identifying the issue’s cause.

On March 23, the New York State Agriculture Commissioner and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine announced that scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified Aminopterin as a toxin present in recalled pet food samples supplied by the Fund. The Food Laboratory received the pet food samples from a toxicologist at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University, where testing has been underway to try to determine the cause of renal failure in dogs and cats. At Cornell’s request, the Food Laboratory tested the samples for poisons and toxins, and identified Aminopterin in the pet food samples.

“We are happy and relieved that the experts from the New York State Department of Agriculture and from Cornell University have discovered the root of the issue that has harmed North American cats and dogs” said Paul K. Henderson, President and CEO, Menu Foods. “This important discovery caps an unprecedented search by top experts. Dedicated and knowledgeable researchers at universities, independent laboratories, and our own veterinary consultants worked tirelessly to defend and protect our cats and dogs.”
On March 16, 2007, Menu Foods announced the precautionary recall of a portion of the dog and cat food it manufactured between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007. The recall was limited to “cuts and gravy” style pet food in cans and pouches manufactured at two of the Fund’s United States facilities. These products are both manufactured and sold under private-label and are contract-manufactured for some national brands.

“Our immediate next steps will be to begin testing of all suspect raw materials with the goal of quickly identifying the means through which this substance entered our supply chain,” Henderson told a news conference Friday.

“We have a strong, sustainable business, and we’re confident about the future,” Henderson added. “Our customers and partners have been understanding, supportive and loyal.”

Menu is the leading North American private-label/contract manufacturer of wet pet food products sold by supermarket retailers, mass merchandisers, pet specialty retailers and other retail and wholesale outlets. In 2006, the Fund produced more than one billion containers.

  CONTACT INFORMATION

 
Menu Foods Income Fund
Consumers
1-866-895-2708

Website: www.menufoods.com

Recall Information 1-866-895-2708

Variety or Multi-Packs:

If you are in possession of a variety or multi-pack, please be sure to check the individual can or pouch rather than relying solely on the date coding on the side of the carton.

Recalled Dog Product

  1. Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
  2. Authority
  3. Award
  4. Best Choice
  5. Big Bet
  6. Big Red
  7. Bloom
  8. Cadillac
  9. Companion
  10. Demoulas Market Basket
  11. Eukanuba
  12. Food Lion
  13. Giant Companion
  14. Great Choice
  15. Hannaford
  16. Hill Country Fare
  17. Hy-Vee
  18. Iams
  19. Laura Lynn
  20. Loving Meals
  21. Meijers Main Choice
  22. Mighty Dog Pouch
  23. Mixables
  24. Nutriplan
  25. Nutro Max
  26. Nutro Natural Choice
  27. Nutro Ultra
  28. Nutro
  29. Ol’Roy Canada
  30. Ol’Roy US
  31. Paws
  32. Pet Essentials
  33. Pet Pride – Good n Meaty
  34. Presidents Choice
  35. Price Chopper
  36. Priority Canada
  37. Priority US
  38. Publix
  39. Roche Brothers
  40. Save-A-Lot Choice Morsels
  41. Schnucks
  42. Shep Dog
  43. Springsfield Prize
  44. Sprout
  45. Stater Brothers
  46. Stop & Shop Companion
  47. Tops Companion
  48. Wegmans Bruiser
  49. Weis Total Pet
  50. Western Family US
  51. White Rose
  52. Winn Dixie
  53. Your Pet

Recalled Cat Product Information

  1. Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
  2. Authority
  3. Best Choice
  4. Companion
  5. Compliments
  6. Demoulas Market Basket
  7. Eukanuba
  8. Fine Feline Cat
  9. Food Lion
  10. Foodtown
  11. Giant Companion
  12. Hannaford
  13. Hill Country Fare
  14. Hy-Vee
  15. Iams
  16. Laura Lynn
  17. Li’l Red
  18. Loving Meals
  19. Meijer’s Main Choice
  20. Nutriplan
  21. Nutro Max Gourmet Classics
  22. Nutro Natural Choice
  23. Paws
  24. Pet Pride
  25. Presidents Choice
  26. Price Chopper
  27. Priority US
  28. Save-A-Lot Special Blend
  29. Schnucks
  30. Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts Cans
  31. Sophistacat
  32. Special Kitty Canada
  33. Special Kitty US
  34. Springfield Prize
  35. Sprout
  36. Stop & Shop Companion
  37. Tops Companion
  38. Wegmans
  39. Weis Total Pet
  40. Western Family US
  41. White Rose
  42. Winn Dixie

***My initial pet food recall post with links***

Menu Foods has updated their web site, now also including this little section which seems like it could have EASILY been added over the past week:

“Product Information Variety or Multi-Packs:If you are in possession of a variety or multi-pack, please be sure to check the individual can or pouch rather than relying solely on the date coding on the side of the carton.”

 

Now why on earth didn’t they add that simple, yet IMPORTANT information to their web site earlier? Granted, most people probably would have checked not only the carton, but also the individual can or pouch, but some might have assumed they would ALL have the same date, and since they didn’t see the recall code on the carton they might have continued feeding their pet recalled food. Yet again, another sign (to me) that Menu Foods hasn’t handled this entire situation in the best way possible. I’m still scratching my head as to why they continue to use the plant where the tainted food was produced, since they have yet to narrow down EXACTLY how the aminopterin (rat poison) could have found its way there. Sorry, but I would NOT be using ANY foods manufactured by Menu Foods at this point–not until they have identified exactly HOW and WHY this occurred.

The updated Menu Foods recall web site now has a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section which I will also post below. (Yet again, another area they could have easily added to their web site DAYS AGO!) Here is a link to the updated cat food recall list, and one for the updated dog food recall list, all dated 3/23/07.

***My initial pet food recall post with various links.***
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Frequently Asked Questions For Consumers (from Menu Foods recall web site)

Last Updated: March 23, 2007

1. What exactly is covered by the Menu Foods Recall and for what timeframe?

The recall is limited to “cuts and gravy” style pet food in cans and foil pouches produced on specific dates and times between December 3, 2006, and March 6, 2007 in two of Menu’s plants. The recall affects 42 brands of cat food and 53 brands of dog food. In order to determine whether cat and dog food that your pet consumed is subject to recall, you should refer to the list of brand names on this website.

2. What should I do if I think my pet may have consumed the recalled product?

If your pet is exhibiting any signs of kidney failure please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, disorientation and changes in water consumption and urination. If you suspect that you have fed the recalled pet food to your cat or dog, save any remaining pet food and the can or pouch. Open cans or pouches may be double-bagged in sealable plastic and kept in the freezer.

3. Who is going to pay my vet bills for sickness and death?

If Menu Foods product is the cause of sickness or death, Menu Foods will take responsibility. Menu has engaged a professional firm to manage your concerns and is currently contacting concerned pet owners who have reached our call center. Specific direction will be received from these individuals. Please keep copies of all your vet records and receipts for pet food purchases as well as vet bills.

4. What do I do if I have pet food that has been recalled?

Please return it to the retailer for a refund.

5. Will I be reimbursed for the food that I return to the retailer even if my pet did not get sick?

Yes, if it is a valid product that is subject to the recall.

6. How do I know if the food I bought has been recalled?

The information is contained on this website. Not all date codes are subject to recall so please fully check the information on your can or pouch. The information on the website is organized by cat or dog then by brand and description. None of the traditional “loaf” style products are subject to this recall.

7. I can’t get through to the 1-866 numbers. What is going on?

We apologize for the delay in answering every call; we were simply overwhelmed by the volume of calls. Menu has retained a series of interconnected call centers throughout North America. Even with many regional centers running simultaneously we have not been able to answer every call. As we announced in a press release on March 19, 2007, we have taken steps to significantly upgrade our call centers to handle the volume and we have added this Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) section to our website to provide more information.

8. I feed my pet dry food. Is dry pet food safe?

Menu Foods only manufactures wet pet food in cans and foil pouches. Dry pet food is not part of the Menu Foods recall.

9. I’m just not sure if my dog or cat had any of the food that is being recalled. They act fine and don’t appear to have any symptoms. Should I be worried?

As always, remain alert for any changes in your pet’s health.

10. Are there other ways my pet might get sick and show similar symptoms?

Yes – antifreeze ingestion, certain rodenticides and some medications. Certain lilies have been shown to cause kidney failure if consumed by cats. Grapes have been reported to cause kidney failure in dogs and may affect cats. Physical damage from trauma and cancerous conditions can also cause kidney damage.

 

 

 

Looks like someone has finally found a common thread with some of the pet food samples from food involved in Menu Foods pet food recall of March 16, 2007: aminopterin (rat poison) “possibly” found on wheat imported from China(click on the “Rat Poison in Pet Food” link for an informative video). Here is the press release issued today from New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets (it’s also copied below). I’m sure a lot more information will be forthcoming today…thankfully! (Thanks for the heads up, Connie VC!)

Here’s my INITIAL POST on the pet food recall which contains many links, including the recall lists.

UPDATE 3/23/07 2:15 PST: Menu Foods held a media teleconference today. Here is a raw video link of it from WSYR (they also have video of the NY State Dept. of Agriculture and Markets conference) which I was able to open using Firefox, and here is a link to CTV’s article which has a link to their broadcast of the conference which I had to open using Internet Explorer. I’m interested in hearing what everyone’s response is to what Menu Foods had to say during their news conference.

__________________________________________________________________

New York Department of Agriculture and Markets press release:

NEW YORK LABORATORIES IDENTIFY TOXIN IN RECALLED PET FOOD

Aminopterin Confirmed in Recalled Pet Food and Implicated Tissue Samples

Aminopterin Confirmed in Recalled Pet Food and Implicated Tissue Samples

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Donald F. Smith announced today that scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified Aminopterin as a toxin present in cat food samples from Menu Foods, the manufacturer of the many brands of dog and cat food that are currently the subject of a nationwide recall.

The Food Laboratory received the pet food samples from a toxicologist at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University, where testing has been underway to try to identify the cause of kidney failure in dogs and cats that consumed the recalled brands of pet food. At Cornell’s request, the Food Laboratory tested the samples for poisons and toxins, and identified Aminopterin in the pet food samples at a level of at least 40 parts per million.

“We are pleased that the expertise of our New York State Food Laboratory was able to contribute to identifying the agent that caused numerous illnesses and deaths in dogs and cats across the nation,” the Commissioner said. “New Yorkers can be assured that we have two of the nation’s leading laboratory programs in food safety and animal health working on this problem.”

The Dean of the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine Donald F. Smith concurred by saying, “The close partnership between the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University and the Department of Agriculture and Markets was key to this finding.”

Aminopterin, a derivative of folic acid, can cause cancer and birth defects in humans and can cause kidney damage in dogs and cats. Aminopterin is not permitted for use in the United States.

On March 16, 2007, Menu Foods initiated a recall of numerous varieties of dog and cat food that were manufactured at two of its plants in the United States between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007. The products are both manufactured and sold under private-label and are contract-manufactured for several national brands. Information on the specific brands of pet food subject to the recall can be found at <a href=www.menufoods.com/recall >www.menufoods.com/recall</a>.

Since the recall, Department food inspectors have contacted all of the organizations that represent retail food and pet food stores to ensure that the stores were aware of the recall and that the recalled products had been removed from store shelves in New York State.

New York State is home to two laboratories that are part of federal emergency lab networks, created through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after 9-11 to keep the nation’s animals and food supply safe. The New York State Food Laboratory is part of the Federal Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and as such, is capable of running a number of unique poison/toxin tests on food, including the test that identified Aminopterin. The New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University is a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and thus, is uniquely qualified to investigate the causes of animal health emergencies, like the sudden deaths of dogs and cats from the recently recalled pet food.

(***UPDATE 4/3/07: Pet food recall: Companies named & tainted wheat gluten reported in human food manufacturing plan ***)

I’m perplexed as to why it appears to be as difficult to find out the name of the company that was supplying the oft-mentioned wheat gluten to Menu Foods, as it would be to find out how to break the code at Fort Knox. As many of you know, the only connection there seems to be between the deaths of 16 cats and dogs (and counting) and the THREE WEEKS IN THE MAKING recall Menu Foods FINALLY released on March 16th of nearly 100 pet food products they manufacture, is the possibility of contamination of wheat gluten used in the manufacturing of said products during a particular time.

MGP Ingredients has issued a press release stating that they are NOT the company who provided the wheat gluten to Menu Foods, although they had in the past, so why is it that the identity of the company that DID provide the wheat gluten being kept such a closely guarded secret? I tried my hand at playing detective trying to figure out which company, of the many I did find as wheat gluten suppliers, might have been the one supplying its product to Menu Foods, but apparently donning Sherlock Holmes attire and sleuthing on the internet isn’t my forte. I do find it hard to believe that it is really that hard for someone who knows what they are doing, though. So why IS it taking so long to have someone come forward with this information?

If this situation had happened in the human sector of the food industry wouldn’t we all know by now who the possible culprit was? Didn’t we all quickly hear of the growers of spinach who “might” have had something to do, directly or indirectly, with the spinach scare we all went through recently? Why aren’t we getting information as quickly when the scare has to do with our beloved animals?

All I seem to keep hearing is that this recall is going to cost Menu Foods $30-$40 million. I do feel for the innocent folks whose livelihood will be affected by this catastrophe (those working for Menu Foods who had nothing to do with this), but try telling a pet owner who has lost their family pet, a member of their family, that $30 million dollars even comes close to covering the anguish and grief they are feeling right now knowing that they literally had a hand in bringing an early demise to their pet. Try telling them, the people who were merely tending to the daily needs of their pet by opening up that can or pouch and feeding their 4-footed friend, that this recall is going to have a horrible affect on the well-being of Menu Foods. I highly doubt they give a rat’s patootie. I know I don’t.

Come on Menu Foods, FDA, media sources, let’s start hearing some answers as to WHICH company provided the wheat gluten, IF the wheat gluten or anything associated with it had ANYTHING to do with the deaths of all these pets, or what OTHER scenario could have taken place for this heartbreaking catastrophe to occur. While the answers to the questions won’t ever take away the pain the owners of the affected pets are feeling, or ever fully restore the confidence of pet owners in the pet food industry, at least it will help everyone come to some sort of understanding as to how this could have happened, and how to make sure it does NOT happen again.

LINKS: My initial post, AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), ASPCA, FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Menu Foods, MyFoxDC (videos and information), PETA’s blog(possible lawsuit), Delta Society (list of pet loss and bereavement support groups)

Added on 3/27/07: I just can’t let this wheat gluten thing go, so thought I’d share an interesting read I just found over on vetcetera.

Added on 3/28/07: Am VERY glad to see so many folks are NOT letting this whole thing be swept under the carpet, and are instead trying to put the pieces of this VERY confusing puzzle together. Check out this link to a portion of a great discussion at Conspiracy Central.

Added on 4/1/07: Looks like there’ s a name to a supplier of at least SOME tainted wheat gluten, if not THE tainted wheat gluten Menu Foods used.

My other post on the Menu Foods recall was getting quite lengthy, so I decided to just create new posts as pertinent information arises. Since no one is still sure exactly WHAT has caused the deaths of the 14 pets (confirmed deaths, but that number surely will rise as more owners make the connections between their pet’s death and the contaminated food) other than it is something possibly attached to the wheat gluten Menu Foods was using from a supplier who they now no longer use, there is still a lot of confusion out there. Some of the news station videos on the subject really haven’t been quite accurate or helpful, but I did find this one that seems to not only be a great video with some common sense information in it, but they also have a good list of links and information. Kudos to you MyFox Washington, D.C.! (Even if you ARE a Fox station 😉) MyFox Washington DC Pet Food Recall Page and Video

UPDATE: Looks like the numbers are starting to add up close to home. 9 LA Cats, Dogs Suffer Kidney Failure After Eating Recalled Pet Food

Unfortunately most of us eventually become numb to the news reports and the statistics we hear each day about how many more individuals have lost their lives in Iraq. We never really take the time to find out more about the person behind the headlines. Hopefully a new online memorial, the Iraq Veterans Memorial, will bridge the gap between the statistics and the reality, between the flag-draped coffins and the memories left behind. Please take a few moments to check out this unique way of getting to know some of those who have died in this senseless war.

If you would like to take a more active role in voicing your concerns about this war, one group you may want to check out is MoveOn.org. If you are curious about the staggering losses suffered during the past four years, AntiWar.com has a constantly updated list.

Here’s hoping we will not be meeting again for a 5th anniversary of this horrific mistake.


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POSTS for 3/17-8/22:

  • 3/18/07: Science Diet has added some of their foods to the voluntary recall list. Pets HAVE died and others are suffering severe health problems, so PLEASE check this new list AND the ones I listed above. Thank you! Science Diet Recall (On 3/30/07 Science Diet recalled feline m/d)
  • 3/18/07 10:15PM PST: The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is even posting information which shows just how far-reaching this has become. They even have a web page with information on how to register adverse reactions/consumer complaints. I appreciate that so many of you are reading as much as you can about this and staying on top of the situation. What wonderful owners your pets have! 🙂 And PLEASE continue to spread the information to AS MANY folks as you can, and have THEM stay on top of it as well. I’ll definitely continue to add information as I find out about it.
  • 3/19/07 11:10 AM PST: Looks like Menu Foods has another press release, which interestingly enough says it’s not for US newswire services, whatever THAT really means. It’s in PDF format and can be accessed from their main recall page.
  • 3/20/07 11:20 AM PST: It is disconcerting to hear that in February, Menu Foods apparently was notified of the problems with pets eating certain Menu Foods produced food, did their own testing in which approximately 17% of the tested pets died, yet it wasn’t until March 16th that the recall was announced?!?! I am obviously no expert on how these things work, but it sure seems to me that the motto of “better safe than sorry” should have been in place LONG BEFORE March 16th! Menu Foods recall notice states:

“We take these complaints very seriously and, while we are still looking for a specific cause, we are acting to err on the side of caution” said Paul K. Henderson, President and CEO, Menu Foods. “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our products maintain the very highest quality standards.”

Seems to me that “acting to err on the side of caution” would have meant alerting consumers about the problems MUCH sooner than they did. According to news reports, Menu Foods was alerted by pet owners about deaths and renal failure on February 20th, Menu Foods began their own tests February 27th where between 15%-20% of the pets they tested died, yet the recall was not announced until March 16th, THREE WEEKS AFTER they were first alerted of the deaths and health issues?!?!

I certainly hope to hear SOME type of logical explanation SOON from Menu Foods, but until then all I can assume is that $$$$ (especially since in their initial press release on 3/16/07 they repeatedly mention how much the recall could cost their company) and probable financial loss is what had Menu Foods dragging their feet, while their consumers were unknowingly feeding their beloved pets food which could possibly kill them, if not leave them with painful health issues and enormous veterinary bills which many owners cannot truly afford. I worked in the veterinary field for nearly 7 years and know the high cost of health care for pets, along with having had expensive medical situations with my own pets. But that is what pet owners do, they care for their pets as if they were members of their family, which they are (just four-legged instead of two-legged), and will put themselves into debt just to make sure their pets get the best care possible. Unfortunately there will be pets whose health care costs related to the issues from the tainted food will be too high for some owners to absorb, and they will then have to make the heartbreaking choice to have their beloved pet euthanized.

Come on Menu Foods, let’s get cracking on finding some solutions here. I think everyone understands that “accidents” and “mistakes” do happen in life, which might possibly explain how the food became tainted in the first place, but the part I’m having the hardest time understanding right now is why the recall took so long to be announced to consumers. What do you have to say Menu Foods? You have countless pet owners looking to you for answers.

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Wow, if everything else on MADtv is as well written and dead-on (pun not initially intended, but…) then I need to start watching MADtv! Watch this entire video and you’ll see what I mean. Bravo, MADtv!

 

Okay, so I already tried to pound some Two Shoes CD (The Cat Empire) into your noggins few days back, but figured I needed to mention them again since they, and Amy Winehouse, are two bands to look out for as rising stars in the United States, now that they’ve both released their big CDs stateside.

The Cat Empire released Two Shoes in their native Australia April 14, 2005, where it went platinum within three weeks! It wasn’t until February 2007 Velour Recordings released Two Shoes in the United States, with it debuting at #49 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers chart. Look for them to be doing a stateside tour starting this July, so hit iTunes or your local record store to prepare yourself with Two Shoes.

As for Amy Winehouse(received the Brits British Solo Female Artist Award, and Back to Black has gone triple-platinum in the UK), it’s been torture the last weeks since first being introduced to her music because it wasn’t available in the states. I had to pacify myself with the paltry offerings her MySpace page gave, but no longer since TODAY is the day that anyone who loves a great earthy, soulful voice with equal parts Nina Simone, Etta James, and any 60’s girl group you can think of (including the beehive hairdo!), all shaken to witty real-life lyrical perfection, can run out to their local record shop OR hit up iTunes as I did, for Back to Black. There are two versions available, the clean or the explicit lyric versions, on iTunes for $9.99. I did see that amazon.com and bn.com had the CD for under $9 each–quite the bargain!

Since I’ve already posted a couple of The Cat Empire‘s videos in my previous entry on them, I’ll treat you to three from Amy Winehouse. Enjoy!

From Back to Black, here’s the video for “Rehab”, the video/song that got me addicted to the gal, pun intended. 😉

Here’s the video for the second single from Back to Black, “You Know I’m No Good.”

And for all-around fun, here she is with Paul Weller doing “Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

Yes, I realize most of you have no clue who Jackson is (am quite sure he’d say that it’s your loss ;)), BUT since I do adore the boy and it IS his birthday today (will be nice and NOT say how old since he’s having ‘issues’ with it…you can pay me later, Jackson!), I feel the need to post a couple videos of his obsession (Placebo…more to the point, Brian Molko ;)), since I posted some of mine yesterday. (And yes, that WAS the longest run-on sentence ever. ;))

 

Much love and HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to you, my betch. 😉

(And here’s hoping the “Lucy Syndrome” doesn’t occur today!)

 

From your fave CD

My pick

Hilarious interview

OH-MY-GOSH, I am BEYOND addicted to this band!!! And I only heard about The Cat Empire for the first time last week when my TV crush, Craig Ferguson (sigh…drool…), had them on The Late Late Show. Bought “Two Shoes” on iTunes the next morning, and CANNOT stop playing it! Just wish iTunes had all of The Cat Empire CDs available…fingers crossed that will happen soon.

It’s hard to try and fit their music into any particular genre. To me they’re a cross between Sublime, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Common Sense (local SoCal band), Ozomatli, B-Side Players, with a heavy dose of the Buena Vista Social Club ensemble of musicians thrown in for good measure. (They did record “Two Shoes” at the same studio BVSC did in Cuba!) They are a high-energy, body-shaking, positive, up-beat band, with the frosting on the cake being the fact they have brass in their band! Gotta love it! (Well, except for you, Jackson! ;)) I can only imagine the energy created at one of their live performances…can’t wait to find out!

Guess they’re just starting to ‘hit it big’ in the US now with the release of “Two Shoes” stateside. They have been around a few years and according to their web site, have had a couple of tours in the US since May 2005. I was SO incredibly disappointed when I saw that they JUST played one of my favorite venues, The Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA, just ONE FREAKING MONTH AGO!! Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the video of The Cat Empire performing “Sly” on The Late Late Show last week (they also played it on Letterman), and another video, “Days Like These”, that’s bound to put you in a care-free, gorgeous summer day mood (takes about 20 seconds to start). And being the giver that I am, here’s a link to YouTube so you can have a blast discovering their fun, energetic, positive music for yourself. Enjoy!

Additional The Cat Empire-related posts:

Sniffin’ out the info

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