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Menu Foods (Menu Foods US recall, Menu Foods Canada recall) and Del Monte have expanded their “voluntary” recall of pet food and pet treats to include items whose date of manufacture goes back to November 8th, 2006. That was when Menu Foods first began using wheat gluten provided by ChemNutra Inc., the company who imported the tainted wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. in China. (See prior post here.) The initial recall by Menu Foods on March 16, 2007 was for food products manufactured from December 3, 2006-March 6, 2007.

On 4/6/07 Purina updated the FAQ section of their 3/30/07 press release to state:

The FDA announced April 5 that Menu Foods is expanding the dates of its recall of all chunk and gravy pet food products it produced. Has anything changed with regards to the range of Purina products affected?

  • No. Purina previously directed that all Mighty Dog 5.3-oz. pouch products were to be removed from shelf, regardless of date code. Because Menu Foods produced Mighty Dog pouch wet dog foods, the date range of recalled Mighty Dog pouch items now includes products produced between November 8, 2006, and March 14, 2007. Consumers should not feed products within these affected date codes. ALPO Prime Cuts in Gravy canned dog food, which was recalled by Purina on March 30, were produced at a Purina facility and are not affected by the Menu Foods announcement.No other Purina products are affected by the recall. No other Purina dog food products, no Purina wet or dry cat foods and no Purina treats are included in this recall nor have been impacted by the contaminated wheat gluten.

Since they have now narrowed down the tainted wheat gluten to a specific importer, with specific dates of use for pet food processing, I’ll cross my fingers that this is the LAST of the constantly changing recall lists. (Updated lists here.) Of course the way this situation continues to evolve, I don’t suppose I would be too surprised to see more products added. But we can hope, right?

I was getting some information from folks about the FDA possibly holding out on who the wheat gluten supplier to Menu Foods was (we already know that Menu Foods, Nestle Purina PetCare Co. were holding out the info), and wouldn’t you know that when I did a search on the FDA site with the terms “wheat gluten” to verify the information being given to me, THIS popped up (will copy below)! If it was dated 3/30/07 WHY WASN’T IT RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC SOONER???

Mind you, the supplier mentioned at the bottom of the FDA document, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd, may in fact NOT be the one who supplied the wheat gluten to Menu Foods (sorry, but the notice gets a tad confusing…will refer to those of you with more knowledge on this subject to offer up some insight, please!), but it is, at the very least, one which has tainted wheat gluten. And this information posted by the FDA is a somewhat good sign that they seem to be checking supplies at some point. I would like to hear, though, why the FDA didn’t bother putting a link to this information on the page they’ve been posting all other pet food recall press releases. Oh wait, silly me, a press release means RELEASE (publicly) of information through the press and that is NOT what it seems they wanted to do with THIS particular information.

I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this entry as information comes along, and I sure as heck hope main media sources are working on this development, too. If you’d like to read more about the conversation we’ve been having here about wheat gluten, click here. Some great information by some fabulous posters in the comment section…many thanks to them! Please note that I had to adjust some formatting of the FDA notice below so that it would fit, but HOPEFULLY I didn’t delete anything except a bunch of spaces. For the EXACT document, click the link here. Also, I could NOT find the attachments mentioned in the document anywhere on the site. That, of course, does not mean they weren’t right in front of me. 😉

Added 4/2/07: Just found this page on the FDA site that shows the process of their “Pet Food Contamination Response” and have to say the typos on that page astounded me. 😉

From the US Food and Drug Administration, Office of Regulatory Affairs:IA #99-26, IMPORT ALERT #99-26, “DETENTION WITHOUT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND

INTENSIFIED COVERAGE OF WHEAT GLUTEN DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF MELAMINE”

TYPE OF ALERT: Detention Without Physical Examination

(Note: This import alert represents the Agency’s current guidance to FDA field personnel

regarding the manufacturer(s) and/or products(s) at issue. It does not create or confer any

rights for or on any person, and does not operate to bind FDA or the public).

PRODUCT: Wheat Gluten

PRODUCT CODES:

02F[][]08 Wheat gluten

02E[][]06 – Wheat flour gluten

71M[][]01 wheat gluten

PROBLEMS: Poisonous or deleterious substance

Unsafe food additive

PAF: PES FAD

PAC FOR COLLECTION: 71003A 09006A

COUNTRY: See Attachment

MANUFACTURER/FEI#: See Attachment

CHARGES: The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to

section 801(a)(3)in that it appears to bear or contain a poisonous or

deleterious substance, which may render it injurious to health

[Adulteration, section 402(a)(1)]” (Oasis Charge Code; POISONOUS)

and/or

The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to section

801(a)(3)in that it appears to bear or contain a food additive that

is unsafe within the meaning of section 409

[Adulteration, section 402(a)(2)(C)(i)]”

(Oasis Charge Code: UNSAFE ADD)

RECOMMENDING OFFICE: Division of Compliance, CVM (HFV-230)

REASON FOR ALERT:

In March 2007, FDA became aware of the illness and death of cats and

dogs associated with certain pet food. Subsequently, samples of the

implicated pet food were analyzed and found to contain melamine.

The consumption of pet food containing melamine may be

associated with acute renal failure in cats. Investigations have revealed

that the source of the melamine was wheat gluten which is an

ingredient in the pet food. The attachment to this alert includes

manufacturers whose wheat gluten products have been found to

contain melamine.

GUIDANCE: Districts may detain without physical examination,

products offered for importation from manufacturers and shippers

listed in the Attachment to this import alert. Report wheat gluten

samples found positive for melamine to Cathie Marshall, CVM,

Division of Compliance, HFV-232, at (240) 276-9217.

 

Appropriate screening criteria have been set for wheat gluten from

China and the Netherlands, as a country through which transshipping

of Chinese wheat gluten may occur. Sampling has been recommended.

Recommendations for detention without physical examination of firms

with violative product should be forwarded to DIOP, HFC-170.

For questions or issues concerning science, science policy, sample collection,

analysis, preparation, or analytical methodology, contact Tom Savage,

Division of Field Science, at 301-827-1026.

To enable the agency to assess whether the firm has identified the

source of the problem, and has taken the appropriate steps to correct

and prevent future occurrences, FDA recommends that a firm

requesting removal from detention without physical examination

provide the following information:

1. a. Results of the firm’s investigation(s) into the problem of

melamine contamination

b. Documentation showing corrective action(s)such as:

i. a description of the process(es) currently being used

ii. verification that the process is adequate

iii. measures that have been taken to prevent recontamination

c. Copies of three (3) production records showing the process, quantities

processed, lot numbers and dates of processing.

AND

d. Documentation showing that a minimum of five (5) consecutive

entries have been released by FDA based on third party

laboratory analyses that show the shipments of wheat gluten

do not contain melamine.

All requests for removal from DWPE should be forwarded to

DIOP,(HFC-170) which in turn will forward the requests to CVM

(HFV-230) for evaluation.

PRIORITIZATION GUIDANCE: I

FOI: No purging required

KEYWORDS: Feed, pet food, melamine, wheat gluten

PREPARED BY: Cathie Marshall, CVM, HFV-232, 240-276-9217 and

Linda Wisniowski, DIOP, HFC-172, 301-443-6553

DATE LOADED INTO FIARS: March 30, 2007

ATTACHMENT 3/30/07

Firms and products currently under detention without physical examination

CHINA (CN)

Firm: Date 3/30/07 DWPE Wheat gluten

Product /Code: 02F[][]08

Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology

Development Company Ltd.

Wangdian Industrial Zone,

Peixian, CN-32, China 221623

FEI# 2000023594

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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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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Sniffin’ out the info

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