Was just checking out Natural Balance’s web site and see that they have expanded their recall since yesterday. It now includes: Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. (It’s nice to see a company taking a proactive step, instead of some VERY belated reactive steps other companies have taken.)

What is most disconcerting about this expanded recall is that, yet again, we are hearing that dreaded “M” word, melamine. While the Menu Foods recall had melamine in the wheat gluten, Natural Balance states they do not use wheat gluten, but that it appears the melamine was in a rice protein concentrate which they have recently added to their Venison products. So now the question is where did they get the rice protein concentrate? Considering how long it took for us to find out where Menu Foods got their wheat gluten (Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology, by way of ChemNutra) and how many other companies ended up recalling their products from that tainted wheat gluten, where might this new rice protein concentrate situation lead us?

Here is today’s complete Natural Balance press release from their web site:

Consumer Inquiries:
(800) 829-4493
Media Inquiries:
Daniel Bernstein

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Pacoima, CA — April 17, 2007–
Natural Balance, Pacoima, CA, is issuing a voluntary nationwide recall for all of its Venison dog products and the dry Venison cat food only, regardless of date codes. The recalled products include Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. Recent laboratory results show that the products contain melamine. We believe the source of the melamine is a rice protein concentrate. Natural Balance has confirmed this morning that some production batches of these products may contain melamine.

The recall was prompted by consumer complaints received by Natural Balance involving a small number of cats and dogs that developed kidney failure after eating the affected product.

Dogs or cats who have consumed the suspect food and show signs of kidney failure (such as loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting) should be seen by a veterinarian. We recommend our customers immediately stop feeding our recalled venison products regardless of date code and return unused product to their retailer for a full refund.

The products are packaged in bags, cans and zip lock treat bags and sold in pet specialty stores and PetCo nationally.
No other Natural Balance products are involved in this voluntary recall as none of our other formulas include the rice protein concentrate.

Although the problems seem to be focused on a particular production period of the venison products, over the last four days we have notified our distributors and retailers by phone and e-mail to immediately stop selling and return all recalled Venison dog foods and treats and the Venison dry cat food. Venison canned cat food is not involved.

The source of the melamine appears to be a rice protein concentrate, which was recently added to the dry venison formulas. Natural Balance does not use wheat gluten, which was associated with the previous melamine contamination.

None of Natural Balance’s other dry formulas, none of our other canned or roll products and none of our other treats are involved with this voluntary recall.

We continue to work closely with the FDA in their ongoing investigation.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-829-449 or email info@naturalblanceinc.com.