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May 28, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, books, Captain and Tennille, cats, China, corn gluten, cyanuric acid, Dick Durbin, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, government, health, House of Representatives, human food supply, life, LiveSmart, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, politics, Purina, RC2 Corporation, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, VA Tech, wheat gluten | Leave a comment
Who would have thought this exasperating pet food contamination situation would STILL be dragging along TEN WEEKS later?! Here are some interesting articles covering: Menu Foods bullying of those filing claims against them, Seattle owners filing lawsuits, the response of web sites and blogs to the recall madness, the possibility of subpoenas being issued to the FDA, and the far reaching concern of the quality of exports from China.
Hope everyone had a safe Memorial Day!
Court: Menu Foods Harassed Pet Owners– USA Today-News10.net
“The pet food company that recalled 60 million cans of contaminated dog and cat food repeatedly made harassing phone calls to pet owners who had lawyers and said they didn’t want to talk, even after a judge ordered the firm to leave them alone, court records show.”
Seattle Pet Owners Part Of Class-Action Suit Over Tainted Food– SeattlePI.nwsource.com
“About 75 class-action lawsuits have been filed against Menu Foods around the country, said Tom Baisch, an attorney with the Seattle law firm Myers and Co. Baisch said his firm, along with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, has consulted with more than 500 people — many from the Seattle area — who believe they’re owed reparations.”
Pet Food Scandal Unleashes Once-Obscure Web Sites-BaltimoreSun.com
“The Internet has changed all the rules here in terms of mobilizing public opinion on important issues, and this pet-food contamination is a clear illustration,” Durbin said in a telephone interview from his Chicago office.”
House: FDA Unresponsive To Information About Pet Food Recall-NorthCountryGazette.org
“A Congressional committee has given the U.S. Food and Drug Administration until June 1 to produce requested records concerning drug and food safety in the United States or they will subpoena them.”
Menu Foods: Tainted Pet Food Raises A Bigger Concern-LawyersAndSettlements.com
“Now comes news on Friday that officials in Canada have intercepted a shipment of corn gluten contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid.”
(5/10) US investigators in China on contaminated pet food case/Incorrectly labeled wheat flour the culprit/FDA-USDA release info/Science lesson/Menu Foods delays financial reports
May 10, 2007 in animals, ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., books, Brian Molko, Captain and Tennille, cats, ChemNutra Inc., China, cyanuric acid, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, government, health, human food supply, life, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, politics, Purina, RC2 Corporation, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rudy, science, Sunshine Mills, toy soldiers, USDA, VA Tech, wheat gluten, wheat industry, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | Leave a comment
Unfortunately the news doesn’t seem as if it will ever improve, and instead only becomes more concerning as tainted products are finding their way into the human food supply more often. Sad that so many beloved pets had to die in order for us all to have a huge “wake-up call” on the incredible inadequacy and incompetency of food regulation in our country and others. Also, time constraints for the next month will pretty much prohibit me from a lot of posting, but I will do my best to continue getting you at least some news headlines and links on the pet food contamination debacle. What a shame we’re still unsure of so much about all of this EIGHT WEEKS INTO IT!
U.S. melamine probers find empty Chinese factories-ReutersAlertNet
“U.S. investigators found shuttered factories when they arrived at the Chinese food processors blamed for putting the chemical melamine into vegetable proteins shipped to America, officials said on Thursday.”
“China has long suffered adverse publicity tied to its notoriously lax enforcement of food and drug safety…China’s government body responsible for overseeing food safety said it had detained an unspecified number of managers from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. and Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd.”
China to start mobile food testing-(AP)-SFGate.com
“The business hub of Shanghai will soon employ mobile testing units that officials say can check the safety of most food within 30 minutes, as fears grew at home and abroad over contaminated Chinese products ranging from cough syrup to pet food.”
Fish Hatcheries Got Contaminated Feed-Forbes.com
“Fish feed made with a contaminated Chinese ingredient was distributed to about 120 fish hatcheries and farms, roughly split between the United States and Canada, officials said Thursday.“
Chicago-area company implicated in tainted pet food scandal: Cereal Byproducts. Co. of Mt. Prospect issued recall-Chicago Tribune (free subscription)
“Cereal Byproducts Co., which has plants in five states and a headquarters in Mt. Prospect, issued a recall for the rice protein products on May 4. The company’s products went to three pet food manufacturers… Word that yet another company has been implicated two months into the pet food contamination scare suggests that the scope of the problem is expanding, despite an ongoing FDA investigation. “
“Government officials say they have been wrong about calling the melamine-contaminated product imported by two Chinese firms “wheat gluten” and “rice protein concentrate.” These products were incorrectly labeled and were, in fact, wheat flour. The FDA is investigating the possibility that these products were intentionally mislabeled by the Chinese companies.”
“MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. I am Rob Ali from the FDA’s Media Relations Shop. And thanks, and welcome to this briefing this afternoon on the melamine investigation. We have speakers today from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We also have several FDA officials here and officials from USDA and Customs and Border Protection available to answer any questions later on in this briefing.”
“In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that pet food was contaminated by wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate that contained melamine and its compounds. Subsequently, scraps of contaminated pet food that contained only low levels of melamine were distributed to farms in a limited number of states and added to the feed consumed by swine and poultry. These scraps constituted only a small percentage of the farm animal rations. In addition, melamine is known to be excreted in animal urine. When exposure levels are much higher, as was the case with cats and dogs, the melamine and its compounds appear to cause the formation of crystals in the kidney systems, resulting in kidney damage. There was no indication of kidney damage in hogs. Both hogs and chickens known to have been fed contaminated feed appear to be healthy.”
Menu Foods delays filing of financial statements– Reuters.com
“The pet food maker — at the center of a massive recall due to tainted wheat gluten imported from China — said the delay was primarily due to ongoing discussions with lenders over additional financing for, among other things, product recalls.”
How two innocuous compounds combined to kill pets-WashingtonPost.com
“Scientists seeking the chemical culprits in the widening pet food scare have come across some unusual chemistry that may help them understand how two largely nontoxic compounds ended up killing an unknown number of cats and dogs.”
(5/4) Combination of melamine & cyanuric acid may be key to deaths/Another pet food recall/Crisis far from over/Transcript of USDA & FDA update
May 4, 2007 in ASPCA, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., books, Captain and Tennille, cats, ChemNutra Inc., Chenango Valley Pet Food, China, cyanuric acid, Doctors Foster & Smith, dogs, Don Imus, FDA, government, health, life, LiveSmart, melamine, Menu Foods, Pennsylvania, pet food, pet food recall, pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, RC2 Corporation, recall, Rudy, SmartPak, Sunshine Mills, University of Guelph, USDA, VA Tech, wheat gluten, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | Leave a comment
Only time for a smattering of news and info right now. Have a good Friday night!
- Another pet food recall: SmartPak’s LiveSmart Adult Lamb and Brown Rice formula (copied below)
“With Menu Foods yesterday greatly expanding its recall of pet food products due to new evidence of cross-contamination, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today warned pet parents that this crisis is far from over, and urged them to watch their pets closely for any symptoms that may be related to the recall.“
- Cyanuric Acid-Wikipedia.org
- Melamine and Cyanuric Acid Interaction May Play Part in Illness and Death from Recalled Pet Food-AVMA.org
“The investigation into contaminated pet food has focused on melamine contamination of ingredients imported from China, such as wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate and corn gluten (imported into South Africa). It is now believed that cyanuric acid, as well as melamine, has been found in urine samples from animals that died.”
- Pet Doctor–Toxicologists closer to answer on tainted food-PostBulletin.com
“Recent tests revealed that when melamine is combined with cyanuric acid, the same distinctive crystals form in cat urine as in the urine of pets who became ill or died from the tainted food.”
- Report on Pet Food Recall Company-BusinessWeek.com
“The exporter of a contaminated pet food ingredient blamed for the deaths of dogs and cats in the United States may have avoided Chinese export inspections by labeling it a nonfood product, a U.S. government report says.”
- Transcript of FDA-USDA Update on Adulterated Animal Feed (5/3/07)-USDA.gov
“This is David Acheson, assistant commissioner for Food Protection at FDA. What I would propose to do on this call is to go over some old ground to make sure that we are all on the same page, and I’m going to cover five principal topics. The first is just to reiterate the whole story around wheat gluten and how some of it can wind up in pet food and some in human food. The second is to briefly mention an expanded recall from Menu Foods. The third is to discuss the human health impact of the findings in the investigations to date. The next is to discuss our current proactive strategy looking at both imports and domestics. And the third point is just to mention where we are on the investigation in China. So that’s five points that I propose to cover.”
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.
SmartPak Canine Voluntarily Recalls LiveSmart Adult Lamb and Brown Rice Formula
Paal Gisholt 774 773-1100
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Plymouth, MA – May 3, 2007 –On 5/02/07, SmartPak Canine executed a voluntary nationwide recall on all lots of LiveSmart Adult Lamb and Brown Rice food. This product tested positive for presence of melamine in a test received earlier in the day.
The LiveSmart Lamb formula is only sold in portion-paks shipped straight to the consumer’s home each month, so there are no bags of potentially affected product on store shelves anywhere in the country. The focus of the recall has been informing affected customers via telephone, email, and letter. Ninety-nine percent of the roughly 220 pet owners feeding LiveSmart Adult Lamb via its portion pak pet food subscription service were contacted by live phone contact or message, and/or email. The company has had live contact with the majority of affected pet owners, and is continuing an aggressive outreach program to ensure that the notification has been received. To reduce likelihood of pet owners continuing to feed the food, replacement product is being shipped to affected customers free of charge.
At the time the recall was initiated, there had not been any ill effects reported in dogs. Through the efforts to reach out to all customers, the company has become aware of two instances of vomiting and learned that a 10 year old Rottweiler had passed away two weeks previous to the recall. These reports have been forwarded to FDA and are being investigated by the company’s Medical Director to determine if they are connected with the LiveSmart Adult Lamb formula. The company has asked that any dogs showing signs of kidney illness (loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst) be seen by their veterinarian.
The company is presently investigating the source of the contamination in conjunction with its contract manufacturer, Chenango Valley Pet Food. The LiveSmart Adult Lamb formula does not contain rice protein concentrate nor wheat gluten. All the meat and vegetable matter, with the exception of New Zealand lamb, is of US origin. It appears that the product may have been cross contaminated at the Chenango plant by a prior batch of food unassociated with SmartPak that contained an ingredient that had been contaminated with melamine.
SmartPak has also tested each of its other four brands for melamine contamination, and there was no melamine detected in the samples of these foods. Those brands are LiveSmart Adult Chicken and Brown Rice, LiveSmart Senior Chicken and Brown Rice, and LiveSmart Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice.
Questions regarding this recall may be directed to Paal Gisholt, the company’s president and CEO, who may be reached at 800 461-8898. Affected customers are asked to call the company’s toll free customer service number at 800 461-8898, which is available 24/7. Additional information will be reported on the company’s website as it becomes available.
Consumers with questions about the pet food they use should visit the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov.
March 17, 2007 in Alpo, American Bullie, American Nutrition Inc., Aminopterin, animals, ASPCA, AVMA, Berkley & Jensen, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Ltd., Blue Buffalo Co., CA Dept of Food/Ag, cats, CBS, Cereal Byproducts Co., ChemNutra Inc., Chenango Valley Pet Food, China, corn gluten, cyanuric acid, Dennis Kucinich, Diamond Foods, Dick Durbin, diet, Doctors Foster & Smith, dog treats, dogs, FDA, government, health, Hill's, homemade pet food, House of Representatives, human food supply, Humane Society of the United States, LiveSmart, Maria Cantwell, melamine, Menu Foods, Natural Balance, Nutra Nuggets, Nutro, NY Dept. of Agriculture and Markets, Ol' Roy, pet food, pet food recall, PETA, Petrapport, Inc., pets, pig/hog farm, politics, Purina, rat poison, recall, rice protein concentrate, Rosa DeLauro, Royal Canin, salmonella, Science Diet, SmartPak, Sunshine Mills, University of Guelph, USDA, wheat gluten, wheat industry, Wilbur-Ellis, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. | 40 comments
POSTS for 3/17-8/22:
- 3/17/07: Fairly long lists came out yesterday (3/16/07) for a PET FOOD RECALL. Press Release, Cat food (cat food list updated by Menu Foods on 3/23/07), Dog foods (dog food list updated by Menu Foods on 3/23/07) PLEASE take the time to follow the links I’m including to see if the brand of food you feed your pet is listed. On behalf of your pets, thank you!
- 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.
- 3/21/07: Menu Foods Recall: Good video
- 3/22/07: Pet Food Recall: Who provided Menu Foods wheat gluten?
- 3/23/07: Pet food recall: NY Dept. of Ag says “Aminopterin” (AKA rat poison)(<–2:15 PST: Click for links to videos of the Menu Foods media teleconference held today)
- 3/24/07: Pet food recall: Menu Foods updates recall web site (includes FAQ)–dog and cat recall food lists updated, too!
- 3/25/07: Pet food recall: Menu Foods recalling ALL wet food (There’s been a non-Menu Foods pet pig ear treat recall)
- 3?25?07:Pig ear dog treats recalled: SALMONELLA contamination (NOT Menu Foods recall related)
- 3/26/07: Pet food recall: Menu Foods “clarifies”?
- 3/29/07: Pet food recall: Where to register complaints
- 3/30/07: Pet food recall: First rat poison, now melamine! How about trying to put FOOD in the food? (Also includes a link to the Menu Foods press conference on 3/30/07 and link to recall of Science Diet feline m/d)
- 3/31/07: Pet food recall: Items added 3/30 & 3/31!
- 4/1/07: Pet food recall: FDA memo naming recalled food WHEAT GLUTEN SUPPLIER?! (Also includes a link I found on 4/2 to the FDA’s chart of their “Pet Food Contamination Process)
- 4/3/07: Pet food recall: Taking action AND Pet food recall: Companies named & tainted wheat gluten reported in human food manufacturing plant
- 4/4/07:Pet food recall: Anderson Cooper 360° in China on wheat gluten story
- 4/5/07:Pet food recall: MORE products added on 4/5 (Sunshine Mills produced) (Also includes a link to the recall notice for American Bullie dog chews)
- 4/6/07:Pet food recall: Senate hearing on FDA/Kudos to Sen. Durbin “The FDA’s response to this situation has been tragically slow…”
- 4/7/07:Pet food recall: Yet AGAIN, recall EXPANDS (links to updated lists)
- 4/10/07:Changing AP story on Pet Food Recall deaths AND “Go Orange for Animals” with the ASPCA today!
- 4/10/07:Pet food recall: Menu Foods issues THIRD recall list today (4/10)
- 4/11/07:Animal news round-up: HR 137 passes, Oversight hearing on 4/12, CFO sold shares…
- 4/12/07:Pet food recall: Oversight hearing on CSPAN & FDA warns some recalled food STILL on shelves
- 4/13/07:Pet food recall: Headlines around the globe
- 4/16/07:Pet food recall: Natural Balance pet food notice from FDA
- 4/17/07:Salmonella AGAIN: Twelve days AFTER FDA “warning” American Bullie dog chews finally recalled (NOT Menu Foods recall related)
- 4/17/07:Melamine the culprit (again) in Natural Balance’s expanded recall today (4/17)
- 4/18/07:Pet food recall: Menu Foods adds another item
- 4/18/07:Pet food recall: Melamine in rice protein/kudos to Natural Balance/Wilbur-Ellis the new ChemNutra?
- 4/18/07:Sen. Durbin and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro continue investigation
- 4/19/07:Pet food recall: Melamine in wheat gluten/Corn gluten/Rice protein–Causes Blue Buffalo Co. to pull item
- 4/19/07:Stanislaus hog farm quarantined after “salvaged” melamine-tainted food fed to hogs
- 4/21/07:Updated Pet Products Recall page/Melamine and hogs/Intentional poisoning?/Homemade pet food/US Wheat Industry assurances
- 4/22/07:FDA update on investigation/CA Dept of Food&Ag press release regarding hogs and melamine/3 more contaminants found
- 4/23/07:Senators: Second importer of tainted rice protein found/CA Dept. of Food/Ag. update on hogs and melamine
- 4/24/07:Another recall/Hog concerns expand to several states/House hearing on food safety/Canadian pet food regulation
- 4/26/07:4/26 Pet food contamination news: More recalls/China bans melamine/hogs & human food chain/
- 4/27/07:4/27-FDA Press Release re: Additional Diamond Pet Food recall
- 4/27/07:(4/27)MORE firm FDA press releases: Blue Buffalo BLASTS American Nutrition, Inc.
- 4/28/07:(4/28):Natural Balance expanding recall after American Nutrition, Inc. altering comes to light/FDA raids Menu Foods and ChemNutra
- 4/30/07:(4/30)Melamine+China=Disgusting/Expanded pet food recalls
- 5/3/07:(5/3) No shocker here: Menu Foods expands pet food recall (again!) 7 weeks AFTER first recall
- 5/4/07:(5/4) Combination of melamine & cyanuric acid may be key to deaths/Another pet food recall/Crisis far from over/Transcript of USDA & FDA update
- 5/10/07:(5/10)US investigators in China on contaminated pet food case/Incorrectly labeled wheat flour the culprit/FDA-USDA release info/Science lesson/Menu Foods delays financial reports
- 5/14/07:(5/14) Royal Canin USA recalls 8 Sensible Choice dry dog foods and 7 Kasco dry dog and cat foods
- 5/15/07:(5/15) ChemNutra calls for a national Pet Food Ingredients Safety Summit/Kirkland recall/Hogs that ate tainted feed being released for consumption
- 5/18/07:(5/18) Chenango Valley Pet Foods expands recall: possibility of cross-contamination (includes ferret food)
- 5/28/07:(5/28) And the pet food contamination saga continues…
- 5/29/07:(5/29) Head of China’s Food and Drug Agency sentenced to death/Nutra Nuggets recall
- 6/7/07:Dog food recalled due to possibility of salmonella (Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition) (NOT related to melamine-tainted pet food recall)
- 7/11/07:Videos of Michael Moore on CNN (Parts I & II with Wolf Blitzer AND Larry King Live with Dr. Gupta)/Pet food recall update
- 8/21/07:Wal-Mart pulls chicken jerky dog treats produced in China
- 8/22/07:Red Flannel dog food (Mars Petcare) recalled in PA due to possibility of salmonella contamination
- 9/13/07:Possible new “made in China” tainted dog treat: Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats
- 9/19/07:Pet food recall: Bravo! recalls tubes of raw food poultry products for pets due to possibility of Salmonella/Listeria
- 9/13/08: Deja vu: Mars Petcare US announces 9-12-08 pet food recall of SEVERAL brands due to potential salmonella contamination (list included)