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So much for taking today off from posting and enjoying Earth Day instead. Was checking email and found news from the FDA titled “Update on Tainted Pet Food“, which included a link to the press release from the California Department of Agriculture, so I just had to come post about it. To read the articles in their entirety click on the links I’ve provide, and I would also highly, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you read a VERY informative article by Karen Roebuck at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She discusses the melamine situation with the hogs in California, and sheds light on laboratories finding three additional contaminants in pets who were sickened or died after eating tainted pet food:

Researchers also have identified three other contaminants in the urine and kidneys of animals sickened or killed after eating the recalled foods, including cyanuric acid, a chemical commonly used in pool chlorination, three researchers told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Cyanuric acid is what most likely sickened pets, one researcher said..Researchers in at least three labs found cyanuric acid, amilorine and amiloride — all by-products of melamine — in the crystals of animals’ urine, tissues and kidneys…

Another interesting, yet not surprising, nugget in her article was:

The Chinese government told the Trib and the FDA yesterday that the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd., which the FDA said supplied the tainted wheat gluten, did not export any wheat gluten intended to be used in food.

Anyone else getting some increasingly worrisome vibes about our continuously deteriorating relationship with China. Bad vibes I tell ya, bad vibes.

Okay, I really AM going to “try” and get away from the computer today, this beautiful Earth Day 2007, but knowing me I’ll keep checking for updates. 😉 In the meantime here is today’s (4/22/07) update from the FDA, and last Thursday’s (4/19/07) release from the California Department of Agriculture regarding the melamine and hogs. Usually, as a 14 year vegetarian, reading something like the news about the hogs would have me gently chiding non-vegetarians for eating meat, but considering many items vegetarians eat may be affected by the tainted glutens and proteins, there is really no one who can be happy about the state of our food supply. Until later, my friends.

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Really quick programming note that I, unfortunately, JUST found out about. Flipped on the TV and discovered that Anderson Cooper 360° is going to report from China regarding the pet food recall. Just now airing here on the West Coast, but maybe those in other time zones can check it out on a replay or perhaps they’ll have some info on his CNN site. Off to watch!

—Okay, I watched the segment and while I am grateful that they are helping to keep the spotlight on this situation, I was a bit disappointed in how short the segment was. It was about 5 minutes into the show, and was only about five minutes in length. They did replay the segment later in the show (about 90 minutes into the two hour show) and included with that airing some emails viewers had sent in thanking CNN for airing a segment the night before. I had missed the previous night’s segment, but did just find this video on CNN’s site about the company (Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.) that the FDA listed as the supplier of the tainted wheat gluten. If you type in “pet food recall” into the media player search engine, you’ll get about 6 other videos on the topic. I didn’t see one up yet from tonight’s Anderson Cooper 360° show. NOTE: I usually use Firefox, but had to open up Internet Explorer to get the media player to operate properly.

While tonight’s segment was short, it did at least point out the ridiculous inconsistencies in the pet death statistic the FDA continues to stand by (14 pets dead…and didn’t Menu Foods already tell us most of those were from their own tasting trials?), even though the FDA has said it has received approximately 10,000 complaints, and Pet Connection has had over 3,000 pet deaths recorded to their database by pet owners.

Also explained in fairly good detail was the melamine connection and how it may have affected the kidneys in pets. The University of Guelph (Canada) was mentioned, so of course I just HAD to head to their web site to see what I could dig up, and found this interesting list when I entered “melamine” in their search engine.

Again, while I wish the segment tonight was longer (apparently last night’s show focused on the situation more), I am very grateful to CNN for not letting this story slip on down the “Top Story” ladder.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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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