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Limited time, so just a couple of quick items hitting the news today on the pet food contamination front.

So yesterday we saw Blue Buffalo lambasting American Nutrition, Inc. for adding rice protein to products American Nutrition, Inc. (ANI) manufactured for Blue Buffalo WITHOUT the knowledge of Blue Buffalo. Today we are getting the FDA’s “firm” press release from Natural Balance echoing the same sentiments:

“It should be noted that the products being recalled were not formulated or labeled to contain rice protein concentrate. While the FDA is investigating this, current information indicates this error is a result of a manufacturing deviation by American Nutrition. Natural Balance is working with the FDA in this matter.”

It was bad enough to find out that imports from China of rice protein, wheat gluten, and corn gluten were obviously tainted with melamine (if not more), but now discovering (via Blue Buffalo and Natural Balance press releases) that American Nutrition, Inc. was adding rice protein WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE of the companies contracting ANI for pet food manufacturing has me really freaking out. How naive have we all been to assume that companies are “somewhat” ethical in their commitment to consumer safety, let alone ethical in their business practices with companies who contract with them, by actually manufacturing what said companies have agreed to as ingredients in their pet food formulas? Weeks ago when I said that this pet food contamination debacle was just the tip of the iceberg, I TRULY had no idea it would uncover such blatant disregard for business ethics, safety of food, morality, and just plain old common sense. And that’s just in the pet food industry. Perhaps it’s time to take another vicodin even though the root canal tooth isn’t bothering me. Anyone else? 😉

Also, Andrew Bridges continues his excellent coverage of the pet food industry scandal with this latest story of the FDA raiding a Menu Foods plant and the Las Vegas offices of ChemNutra. Day late and a dollar short, FDA–in my opinion.

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Natural Balance Press Release (dated 4/27/07):

Recall — Firm Press Release

FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company. This listserv covers mainly Class I (life-threatening) recalls. A complete listing of recalls can be found in the FDA Enforcement Report at: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/Enforce.html

Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. Recalls Products in Response to American Nutrition Inc. Pet Food Recall

Contact:
Natural Balance Consumer Contact:
1-800-829-4493

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Pacoima, CA — April 27, 2007 — Because of the pet food recall initiated today by American Nutrition Inc., Natural Balance Pet Foods has announced it is issuing a nationwide recall of a number of canned products manufactured by American Nutrition. This action is limited to four specific Natural Balance canned formulas: Chicken Canned Dog Formula 13 oz , Beef Canned Dog Formula 13 oz, Lamb Canned Dog Formula 13 oz, and the 3oz and 6 oz Ocean Fish Canned Cat Formulas.

Natural Balance Pet Foods is taking this voluntary action after learning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed rice protein concentrate used by American Nutrition contained melamine, a substance not approved for use in food. These products are being recalled in addition to our previously recalled Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.

Natural Balance Pet Foods has not received any indication of quality or safety issues, including pet illness, with the four withdrawn formulas. However, because American Nutrition informed the company that these four specific products may include rice protein concentrate, Natural Balance Pet Foods felt this action was necessary for the protection of its customers and their pets.

It should be noted that the products being recalled were not formulated or labeled to contain rice protein concentrate. While the FDA is investigating this, current information indicates this error is a result of a manufacturing deviation by American Nutrition. Natural Balance is working with the FDA in this matter.

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FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts Page: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html

Back from the root canal and off to vicodin-land in a few minutes, but did just see these in my inbox from the FDA. Sure wish the FDA could get these “firm” press releases out as soon as the company posting them does, and NOT a day later. Have to say that after 6 weeks of companies NOT naming other companies involved in this pet food contamination mess, and holding strictly to their “code of silence”, it’s QUITE interesting to see Blue Buffalo ALL OVER American Nutrition, Inc.’s patootie! I must applaud Blue Buffalo for making the following statement and action:

So while no BLUE or Spa Select canned product has tested positive for the presence of melamine, and there has been no reported illness due to any of our canned products, we simply cannot be sure of what ANI has been including in our formulas. For this reason, we have decided to remove all of our canned and biscuit products from retail distribution. While this may seem to many to be a major over-reaction, as other ANI customers will probably only recall the products that tested positive for melamine, we see this as a matter of integrity.

I will copy the entire FDA press releases from both Blue Buffalo AND American Nutrition, Inc., below. I noticed that a Kirkland (Costco) product is on the American Nutrition, Inc. recall list, and while I don’t use it I know many of you do shop Costco, so check what you have. Keep in mind there was another press release earlier today regarding Diamond Foods. May post more this weekend depending on the tooth…and the vicodin. 😉

Blue Buffalo Press Release (dated 4/26/07):

Recall — Firm Press Release

FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company. This listserv covers mainly Class I (life-threatening) recalls. A complete listing of recalls can be found in the FDA Enforcement Report at: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/Enforce.html

Blue Buffalo Recalls Can and Biscuit Products Due To Tampering By American Nutrition Inc.

Contact:

Consumer Inquiries:

1-800-919-2833

Media Inquiries:

David Petrie

1-203-762-9751

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Wilton, Connecticut, April 26, 2007- We at the Blue Buffalo Company have just learned that American Nutrition Inc. (ANI), the manufacturer of all our cans and biscuits, has been adding rice protein concentrate to our can formulas without our knowledge and without our approval. This is product tampering, and it apparently has been going on for some time. The can formulas that we developed, and trusted them to produce, never contained any rice protein concentrate. It appears that only an FDA investigation of ANI’s rice protein concentrate supplies forced them to reveal this product tampering to us.

While this activity by ANI is in itself unlawful, the situation is further clouded by the fact that ANI has been receiving rice protein concentrate from Wilber-Ellis, some of which the FDA has determined to be contaminated with melamine.

So while no BLUE or Spa Select canned product has tested positive for the presence of melamine, and there has been no reported illness due to any of our canned products, we simply cannot be sure of what ANI has been including in our formulas. For this reason, we have decided to remove all of our canned and biscuit products from retail distribution. While this may seem to many to be a major over-reaction, as other ANI customers will probably only recall the products that tested positive for melamine, we see this as a matter of integrity.

We founded Blue Buffalo on the principle of providing dogs and cats with the highest quality and most nutritious food, and we will not sell any product that doesn’t meet this standard. And under these circumstances, we cannot say that any products manufactured by ANI measure up.

The obvious question is “how could Blue Buffalo not know that ANI was putting rice protein concentrate into our canned food?” The answer is we trusted them. In business and in life, we all trust our partners to deal with us honestly. When we buy produce from our local grocery store, we are trusting growers, shippers and a series of handlers to have delivered a product that is safe and nutritious for our family. If any one of these parties betrays our trust, contaminated products can make their way to our dinner table.

And while we test for known toxins and contaminants, we don’t test for protein sources, like rice protein concentrate, especially when we did not formulate our products to contain them.

In the end, this all comes down to an issue of integrity, and ANI has not been honest with us and with the pet parents who buy our products. We will not put any product made by ANI on the shelf, and are temporarily withdrawing an important part of our business in order to be true to our pet parents.

We have already started the process of identifying a can and biscuit manufacturer with whom we can build a partnership based on trust. Once we have accomplished this, BLUE and Spa Select cans and BLUE Health Bars will be reintroduced with the high quality and superior nutrition that our brand stands for and that dogs and cats deserve.

We have informed our retail partners and the FDA about this action and will be cooperating with them to complete this recall quickly. The specific product involved includes all “BLUE” brand can dog foods, all “Spa Select” brand can cat foods and all “BLUE Health Bar” treats.

Consumers who have unused or partially used packages of any of these products should return them to their place of purchase for a complete refund.

All “BLUE” dry natural food for dogs and “Spa Select” dry natural foods for cats are not affected by this recall and are safe for consumption. Should consumers have a specific question, they can call the Company at 1-800-919-2833, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT, to receive more information.

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FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts Page: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html

American Nutrition, Inc. Press Release (dated 4/26/07):

Recall — Firm Press Release

FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company. This listserv covers mainly Class I (life-threatening) recalls. A complete listing of recalls can be found in the FDA Enforcement Report at: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/Enforce.html

American Nutrition, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall

Contact:

Bill Behnken, 801.394.3477, bill@amnutrition.com

Naomi Keller, 801.554.0023, naomi@amnutrition.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 26, 2007 — The Denver office of the FDA informed American Nutrition, Inc. today that certain samples of rice protein shipped to its production facility have been contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers that may be harmful to animals if consumed. The rice protein in question was obtained from San Francisco-based Wilbur-Ellis Company.

The FDA is investigating the use of rice protein, an ingredient found in a number of canned pet food products and baked pet food treats to fortify protein levels, after a portion of Wilbur-Ellis’ rice protein supply was found to be contaminated with melamine. American Nutrition immediately discontinued the use of rice protein after learning of the melamine contamination.

The FDA has urged American Nutrition to issue a voluntary recall of pet foods manufactured using Wilbur-Ellis rice protein. None of these products is sold under an American Nutrition brand, but are sold through other independent companies. No American Nutrition brands or other products they manufacture for other businesses are affected by this recall.

The products subject to this recall are as follows:

CANNED CAT FOOD

Blue Buffalo Spa Select Hairball Control Oven Roasted Chicken 3oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Blue Buffalo Spa Select Kitten Recipe Oven Roasted Chicken 3oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Kitten Formula 5.5oz 15 AUG 08 15 APR 09

Harmony Farms Country Chicken Entrée 3oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Natural Balance Ocean Fish Formula 3oz and 6 oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

CANNED DOG FOOD

Blue Buffalo Beef Dinner 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Blue Buffalo Chicken Dinner 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Blue Buffalo Hearty Venison Dinner 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Blue Buffalo Lamb Dinner 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Blue Buffalo Salmon Dinner 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Blue Buffalo Turkey Meatloaf Dinner 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Canine Caviar Gourmet Beaver 13.2oz AUG 21 08 APR 15 09

Canine Caviar Gourmet Turkey 13.2oz AUG 21 08 APR 15 09

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Puppy Formula 13oz 21 AUG 08 15 APR 09

Diamond Lamb & Rice 13oz 21 AUG 09 15 APR 10

Harmony Farms Beef 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Harmony Farms Chicken 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Harmony Farms Lamb 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Harmony Farms Salmon 12.5oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Kirkland Signature Premium Dog 2-Flavor Variety Pack 14oz (24-pack) AUG 21 08 APR 15 09

Mulligan Stew Chicken 13.2oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Mulligan Stew Turkey 13.2oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Natural Balance Beef Formula 13oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Natural Balance Chicken Formula 13oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Natural Balance Lamb Formula 13oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

Natural Balance Venison & Brown Rice 13oz AUG 21 09 APR 15 10

BAKED DOG TREATS

Natural Balance Venison & Brown Rice Formula Baked Dog Treats 14oz AUG 21 07 APR 15 08

Blue Buffalo Health Bars Baked With Apples & Yogurt Dog Treats 20oz AUG 21 07 APR 15 08
Pet owners who purchased these pet foods should immediately discontinue using the products and return unused portions to the place of purchase for a full refund.

These products represent a small percentage of those manufactured by American Nutrition. To reiterate, no American Nutrition brands or other products manufactured for other businesses are affected by this recall.

We at American Nutrition care immensely about the quality of the products we manufacture and the health of the pets that consume them. We want to express our deep concern over this situation. Feeding pets has been our business and passion for more than 35 years. We take that responsibility seriously and are very proud of what we do and how we do it. We will continue to work closely with the FDA in their ongoing investigation.

For more information, we encourage you to visit the FDA website: www.fda.gov. Consumers with additional questions can contact us by calling 1.800.257.4530 or by e:mailing us at feedback@amnutrition.com or by visiting www.americannutritioninc.com.

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FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts Page: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html

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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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