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Yesterday I received information (copied below) on quite possibly ANOTHER harmful product manufactured in China. When I tried to verify the information I found no solid news stories on the subject. That would normally keep me from posting something in this public venue, but as we’ve all seen over the past seven months of pet-related recalls, there have been several times when vital recall information has been withheld from the public (Wal-Mart pulls chicken jerky dog treats produced in China) which has ultimately resulted in the sickness and/or death of beloved pets. If there is ANY chance that Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats ARE causing health issues for our pets, then the information needs to get out ASAP. We can’t wait for big business and governments to take their own sweet time testing products first if there is ANY evidence out there that problems might exist.

As I said, I have not found any conclusive information as to the validity of this bulletin, other than seeing the same information posted around the internet on various animal-related sites. Ultimately it’s up to each pet owner to decide what is valid and what is not, faced with as much information as possible. Truth be told, if I was faced with the same situation as Bella’s owner, where my pet suddenly became ill after ingesting a product from a country with as many health/safety issues as we have been seeing from China, I would be doing the same thing and trying as hard as I could to plaster the information in as many venues as possible.

There IS always a chance this story is not true, but honestly I can’t imagine why anyone (other than someone with an ax to grind with Smokehouse) would go to such lengths. If the story proves to be false, I would much rather have erred on the side of any pet’s safety than to withold information just because the mainstream media and/or our government or big business has not relayed the facts to us. Hopefully we will soon hear from some legitimate agency, or from the company that owns Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats, as to the validity of the claims against the product. In the meantime, buyer beware–again! (***Added 9/13/07 at 1PM PST: Blog reader, Buck, posted a comment below which includes an AVMA press release [release was updated by AVMA on 9/14/07] which would lead one to believe the Smokehouse issue is valid–thanks, Buck!***)

Here is the body of the bulletin I received yesterday, minus the city in New York of the PetSmart location mentioned:

PLEASE READ AND SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE WHO HAS DOGS, ESPECIALLY SMALL DOGS

New York:

Bella, 3 years old, 4 pounds

Product – Smoke House Chicken Breast Tenders Treats

Bella became suddenly ill ,and now hospitalized with her life threatened due to Smoke House Chicken Tenders. I recently purchased at Pet Smart.

It doesn’t matter where you purchase them, just don’t purchase them.

This was the first time I bought the Smoke House treats. Having read the label, it was listed as all natural, no additives, dyes etc. The treats were purchased on or about August 17. She loved them and I was happy because she typically only likes one treat. By August 23 she vomited bile, and again on August 24. Her personality began to change becoming lethargic, wanting to stay in her bed, loss of appetite. excessive drinking, urinating frequently in excessive amounts. urine became orange like in color. By August 28 she was severely dehydrated and lost one of her three pounds.

Sugar was found in her urine which would typically indicate diabetes. Bella was put on IV and given an antibiotic to take while tests were being done over Labor Day weekend.

Test results showed “irregularity in the lower part of her kidney. Possibly a hole in the kidney because of the malfunction.

By today Sept 7, she was no better and very low on energy and interest in being around anyone. I brought the package of Smoke House Chicken Tenders with me to the vet because it was the only thing that was different in her diet.

My wonderful vet, a graduate of Cornell University searched the Cornell Veterinarian site where veterinarians report unusual cases which are tracked. The search was done by symptoms. A second search by chicken treats.

There were numerous cases on the Cornell University Veterinarian web site, all with the same symptoms, test results and yes, related to chicken tender treats made in China. Never did it cross my mind that this product was made in China. When Dr. didn’t find complete listing of ingredients on the package he called the number listed on the back of the package identifying himself and asked for ingredients to help understand what was happening to my pet. The only thing the person on the phone with a strong Chinese accent was “all natural, all natural”. Sure enough looking at the small print on the bottom back of the package is “product of China”, the same source of other products that have been killing our pets. I sat beside my vet and read along with him.

Following are primary repeated findings;

-severe damage to the kidney often resulting in complete renal failure and death -numerous reports in the past four to five weeks, a larger number on the East Coast

– chicken and beef treats promoted as all natural -it does not matter what the label is, if it is a product of China -if caught early enough, hospitalized on IV hydrating and flushing the kidney over days with nutrients may help the kidney heal itself and the pet could then live with the damaged kidney -if not caught early complete renal failure is expected -most cases reported are related to small dogs -initial symptoms indicate diabetes -mold is often found when flushing the kidney (found in Bella)

I have been in touch with Pet Smart requesting them to help get the ingredients. Time is lost analyzing the food. Today a vet at Cornell purchased a bag after reading the report my Vet posted on Bella. He then contacted my vet to say the bag he bought had mold in it despite an expiration date one year from now. I was asked to look closely at whatever was left in my bag, but saw none.

After Bella was admitted to the vet I went directly to Pet Smart in ****** NY, told the Manager what happened and asked her to assist getting the ingredients identified. I was met with a hostile attitude. She was only interested in getting my name because she felt I was going to file a complaint. The person at PS headquarters responsible for knowing food ingredients at Pet Smart headquarters is trying to help.

The information available to vets on the Cornell web site is not public information. No one seems to be aware of this. Dogs are misdiagnosed

PLEASE SEND THIS ON TO YOUR PET LOVING FRIENDS AND SAVE A PET AND LOTS OF HEARTACHE.

PLEASE POST THIS INFORMATION ON ANY WEB SITE YOU CAN CONCERNING PETS.

Here we go again: another pet food-related issue (this time treats) traced back to China. Seems this one is just breaking and has yet to be classified as an official recall, but as we’ve all learned over the past months with anything China-related “better safe than sorry” is the way to go, so if you have these products STOP giving them to your pet ASAP!

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. quietly stopped selling two brands of dog treats in July, after customers voiced concerns that the Chinese products may have caused their pets to fall ill, but no recall has been announced, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

The world’s largest retailer started pulling Chicken Jerky Strips from Import-Pingyang Pet Product Co. and Chicken Jerky from Shanghai Bestro Trading on July 26, spokeswoman Deisha Galberth said late Monday.

washingtonpost.com

Here are other related areas: My Pet Food Recall Updates post, blog search results for “China”, and a page I composed with information and link to many Pet Product Recalls.

Good luck and CHECK YOUR LABELS!

***UPDATE 8/21/07 PM***: A blog reader, Julie, posted the link to a press release by ADI Pet, Inc. regarding their chicken jerky dog treats, on Pet Product Recalls, but I thought I’d post it here as well. One thing I noticed is that it was not mentioned anywhere whether ADI Pet, Inc. manufactures any of their products in China. Buyer beware is all I have to say.***

***8/22/07 SALMONELLA-related dog food recall:Pet food recall: Mars Petcare, Inc. recalls Krasdale AND Red Flannel dog food due to possible SALMONELLA contamination***

***Added 9/13/07:Possibly another “made in China” tainted dog treat: Smokehouse Chicken Breast Tenders Treats***

Totally disturbing. Totally disgusting. And who knows how long this has been going on. Read on–if you dare.

Will China’s Practices Hurt Food Sales?: Melamine May Be Banned, But Rampant Pollution And Lack Of Inspections Could Deter Buyers-CBS Evening News-CBSNews.com (Accompanying video)

“Melamine is a cheap way to fake high protein levels in wheat gluten. The Chinese government — moving to protect its multibillion-dollar exports of fruits and vegetables — has now banned melamine and shuttered plants that may have used it.”

Chinese businesses say animal feed commonly laced with mildly toxic melamine-(AP)-Canada.com

“The mildly toxic chemical melamine is commonly added to animal feed in China, a manager of a feed company and one of the chemical’s producers said Monday, a process that boosts the feed’s sales value but risks introducing the chemical into meat eaten by humans.”

Melamine in big demand in China-News24.com

“Melamine is so popular as a protein lookalike feed additive that at least one Chinese manufacturer is believed to have torn down buildings to get to leftover scraps, industry officials said on Monday”

A look at the additive Melamine-(AP)-Chron.com

“Melamine can serve as a fertilizer, since it’s high in nitrogen. Typically in the U.S., however, Kapin said melamine is used to make melamine resin, a polymer similar to plastic and used to coat countertops or cabinets because it is hard and largely heat resistant.”

Poultry farms in Indiana given contaminated feed-Reuters.com

“The U.S. government said on Monday 38 poultry farms in Indiana were given contaminated feed in early February containing melamine, with some of the chickens likely to have entered the food supply.”

Here is the FDA news release from today (4/30/07) tracing the tainted animal feed to poultry farms:

FDA News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2007

Media Inquiries:
FDA Media Relations Office, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:
888-SAFEFOOD

Joint Update: FDA/USDA Trace Adulterated Animal Feed to Poultry

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2007 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have learned that byproducts from pet food manufactured with contaminated wheat gluten imported from China have been used in chicken feed on some farms in the state of Indiana. This information came to light as part of the continuing investigation into imported rice protein concentrate and wheat gluten that have been found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds.

At this time, the investigation indicates that approximately 30 broiler poultry farms and eight breeder poultry farms in Indiana received contaminated feed in early February and fed it to poultry within days of receiving it. All of the broilers believed to have been fed contaminated product have since been processed. The breeders that were fed the contaminated product are under voluntary hold by the flock owners.

As with exposure from hogs fed contaminated pet food and for similar reasons related to the dilution of the contamination, FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating chicken fed the contaminated product is very low. Because there is no evidence of harm to humans associated with consumption of chicken fed the contaminated product, no recall of poultry products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.

Because the poultry being held have been fed adulterated products, USDA cannot knowingly approve products derived from these poultry for human consumption. USDA is offering to compensate producers who euthanize this poultry. USDA is also offering the expertise and assistance of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) personnel in carrying out depopulation activities, to ensure adherence to Federal and State laws.

FDA and USDA anticipate that as the investigation continues additional farms will likely be identified that received contaminated feed. As indicated in previous updates, FDA and USDA have also traced contaminated feed to swine farms in several states. The same procedures are being followed in relation to both swine and poultry; animals are being quarantined by state order or voluntarily held by the owners and USDA is offering compensation for depopulation and disposal of both swine and poultry that have been fed contaminated products.

USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full, comprehensive examination to protect the nation’s food supply and will provide updates as new information is confirmed.

Government: Hogs That Ate Contaminated Pet Food Will Not Be Recalled-(AP)-FoxNews.com (yes, I actually am using a Fox item…shocking! 😉)

“The government said last week that 345 of 6,000 hogs that may have the food are believed to have been placed on the path to slaughter, but that almost all are still on farms in California, New York and South Carolina.”

Here is the FDA news release (4/28/07) regarding the hogs who were fed melamine-tainted feed:

FDA News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2007

Media Inquiries:
FDA Press Office: 301-827-6242
USDA Press Office: 202-720-4623
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA

Joint Update: FDA/USDA Update on Tainted Animal Feed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue their investigation of imported rice protein concentrate which has been found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds. Based on information currently available, FDA and USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating pork from swine fed the contaminated product would be very low. The agencies are taking certain actions out of an abundance of caution. As announced on April 26, swine known to have been fed adulterated (contaminated) product will not be approved to enter the food supply. (Because the animal feed in question was adulterated, USDA cannot rule out the possibility that food produced from animals fed this product could also be adulterated. USDA cannot approve potentially adulterated meat.) This update provides additional information regarding the ongoing investigation.

As reported on April 22 by FDA, the Agency determined that rice protein concentrate imported from China was contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds. The product was imported by Wilbur-Ellis, an importer and distributor of agricultural products. Although the company began importing product from China in August 2006, the company did not become aware of the contamination until April 2007. As part of the ongoing investigation, FDA has determined the rice protein was used in the production of pet food and a portion of the pet food was used to produce animal feed. The ongoing investigation is tracing products distributed since August 2006 by Wilbur-Ellis throughout the distribution chain.

At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.

The assessment that, if there were to be harm to human health, it would be very low, is based on a number of factors, including the dilution of the contaminating melamine and melamine-related compounds from the original rice protein concentrate as it moves through the food system. First it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet. Neither FDA nor USDA has uncovered any evidence of harm to the swine from the contaminated feed. In addition to the dilutional factor and the lack of evidence of illnesses in the swine fed the waste pet food, we are not aware of any human illness that has occurred from exposure to melamine or its by-products. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention systems would have limited ability to detect subtle problems due to melamine and melamine-related compounds, no problems have been detected to date. To further evaluate any potential harm to humans, the FDA is developing and implementing further tests and risk assessments based on the toxicity of the compounds and how much of the compounds consumers could be expected to actually consume.

The ongoing investigation and product reconciliation and testing have led to certain farms. We expect the investigation will continue to find more places where product may have been distributed. As of April 26, sites in the following states are believed to have received and used contaminated product: California, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah. As we confirm additional sites that have received and used contaminated product, we will provide additional updates.

USDA and FDA continue to conduct a full, comprehensive examination to protect the nation’s food supply and will provide updates as new information is confirmed.

***Latest pet food recall “firm press releases” from the FDA***

Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd Issues Nationwide Recall of “Blue” Canned Dog Foods, “Blue Spa Select” Canned Cat Foods and “Blue” Dog Treats Manufactured At American Nutrition, Inc.

Sierra Pet Products, LLC Issues Nationwide Recall of “Harmony Farms” Canned Dog Foods, “Harmony Farms” Canned Cat Foods and “Harmony Farms” Dog Treats Manufactured at American Nutrition, Inc.

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.

_________________________________________________________

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.

####

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.

####

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.

####

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

Please note that there HAS BEEN ANOTHER RECALL, this one (SmartPak’s LiveSmart Weight Management Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Food) is mentioned at the bottom of the “Hogs Ate Pet Food Tainted with Chemical” story linked below. Here is the link for SmartPak, but I see no notice of the recall at this point (6:35 PM PST). My time will be limited for the next eight weeks, so posts will more than likely be news links. Then again, when I get on a rant there’s no stopping me. Guess we’ll just see. 😉

Peril At the Table: U.S. Lawmakers Explore “Serious Flaws” in Food-Chain Oversight-MarketWatch.com

“”What has the FDA done to prevent food-borne illnesses? It appears the FDA has decided to centralize food safety decision making in Washington D.C., cut back on inspections, and hope that food producers and manufacturers will self-police their industry based on voluntary guidelines,” said Stupak, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

U.S. Food Supply at High Risk of Terrorist or Profit-Driven Tampering: House Hears Testimony on Pet Food Poisonings; FDA’s Lack of Authority Cited-ConsumerAffairs.com

“The suspicion of international contamination is eerily similar to past incidents in China,” Barton said. “A dozen years ago, 89 children in Haiti died after taking cough medicine made with, believe it or not, poisonous antifreeze that was traced back to China. The world never got an answer from the Chinese on how this crime occurred.”

Tainted pet food found in hogs in several states-Forbes.com

“Ten pet food manufacturers sent unusable dog and cat food containing the toxic chemical melamine to hog producers in California, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and possibly Ohio, FDA officials announced during a late afternoon press conference. Contaminated pet food was also sent to one chicken farm in Missouri, the officials added.”

Hogs Ate Pet Food Tainted with Chemical-AP-PawtucketTimes.com

“However, the Food and Drug Administration said the urine of some hogs tested positive for the chemical, melamine, in North Carolina and South Carolina as well as California.

Also Tuesday, the FDA said another pet food company, SmartPak, had recalled products made with tainted rice protein concentrate. The company said the recall covered a single production run of its LiveSmart Weight Management Chicken and Brown Rice Dog Food.

Canada to review need for pet-food regulation-DVMNewsMagazine.com

“It doesn’t mean Canada should or will impose regulations, he says, adding that regulations didn’t keep pets from dying in the United States.

Looks like Sen. Durbin is continuing to stand up for pets and their parents by pushing forward with his pursuit of the truth in all this pet food contamination mess. He, along with Sen. Cantwell, sent a letter today (will copy it below…note to Sen. Durbin’s office, “You might want to proofread the letter before sending next time. United States Senator was spelled Untied States Senator.”…then again, I suppose we are ALL feeling a bit ‘untied’ lately. 😉) to Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D. (FDA) requesting action by the FDA on many fronts, most interestingly in regard to this alarming (yet not very surprising) discovery of a second importer of rice protein, which is more than likely melamine-tainted:

We have learned that in addition to Wilbur-Ellis, a second United States company imported a shipment of rice protein from China that is also likely to be contaminated with melamine. We request the FDA identify this second importer as well as those manufacturers to which it may have sold the contaminated product. Again, we request the FDA closely track this shipment and immediately press the affected companies to recall any food containing the imported rice protein.

Part of a Reuters Alert story “US Senators raise new concerns in pet food scare” reports:

An aide to Durbin said the senators found out about the second importer from industry sources.

If confirmed, that could further expand a pet food recall that so far includes more than 100 brands. FDA officials have confirmed 16 deaths of cats and dogs from kidney failure and have received more than 15,000 reports of illnesses.

The senators’ letter came ahead of a congressional hearing on Tuesday to examine the pet food scare as well as the larger issue of human food safety before a U.S. House of Representatives committee.

FDA spokeswoman Cathy McDermott said so far the agency is only aware of one rice protein importer, Wilbur-Ellis Co., but the investigation is ongoing.

Is anyone else as tired of the same old line of crap from the FDA? The, “Um, uh, the investigation is ongoing…we have our fingers up our patootie and can’t handle our jobs…what’s a little poison amongst friends?” line of malarkey they keep regurgitating. ARGH!!! I feel like a broken record bitching and moaning about the fact that the FDA should be able to track ANY DARN THING at ANY MOMENT. There is no reason,with technology such as it is, that someone can’t get on the phone or online and track things down. Heck, the blogging community has done a better job tracking down information than some of the media AND government agencies. Okay, gotta keep the blood pressure down…breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. The good news is that there is another hearing tomorrow, so hopefully some folks responsible for protecting our food supplies (both human and pet) will get their collective fannies nailed to the wall by Senator Durbin and others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On the quarantined hog farm (melamine) situation, here’s the latest update (4/22/07) from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Click here for their initial 4/19/07 news release.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DURBIN, CANTWELL ASK FDA TO STRENGTHEN INSPECTIONS AND DISCLOSE COMPANIES THAT PURCHASED CONTAMINATED RICE PROTEIN FROM CHINA

Monday, April 23, 2007

[WASHINGTON, DC] — U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) today sent a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach asking him to identify the companies that were recipients of the contaminated rice protein shipments from China and to request that the FDA identify and inspect all suspect pet food ingredients imported by the U.S. from China and other countries.

Recent reports indicate that in addition to the contaminated wheat gluten found during the first wave of pet food recalls, contaminated shipments of rice protein and corn gluten have been used for pet food and could have entered the human food supply. On April 2nd, a Chinese company, Binzhou-Futian, sold rice protein to Wilbur-Ellis and a second unknown importer. Wilbur-Ellis has said that the shipment was distributed to five pet food manufacturers. Three of those manufacturers have revealed themselves and recalled food, the other two have not.

Given the strong possibility that these two pet food manufacturers also received contaminated rice protein and that they have failed to implement voluntary recalls, Durbin and Cantwell today asked FDA to release the names of these manufacturers and require them to trace and recall any pet food made with the potentially contaminated rice protein. The Senators have also asked that the name of the second importer be released.

Last week, Senator Durbin and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) met with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach in Durbin’s Capitol office to discuss the latest recall of pet food, this time caused by contaminated rice protein imported from China. In the meeting, Durbin and DeLauro learned that the Chinese Government has blocked requests from the FDA to send personnel to China to inspect the facilities suspected of producing the contaminated products. The FDA first contacted the Chinese Government on April 4, 2007, but have not been granted permission to send food inspectors into the country. In response, Durbin and DeLauro sent a letter to the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzong, urging the Chinese Government to issue visas to U.S. food inspectors as quickly as possible.

Two weeks ago, Durbin and Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing the FDA’s response to the pet food recall. The hearing examined the timeline of the investigation, the source of the contamination, and the agency’s regulatory and inspection responsibilities. In the hearing, the Senators also questioned outside experts about the current state of the pet food industry, as well as regulatory or resource shortfalls that led to the widespread recall of tainted pet food.

Text of the letter appears below:

 


April 23, 2007Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.
Parklawn Bldg.
Mail Code: HF-1
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20856Dear Commissioner:We are writing today in light of the recent expansion in the pet food recall. Over the past week, shipments of imported rice protein and corn gluten have been discovered to be contaminated with melamine. In addition, we have learned that the human food supply may be at risk from tainted pet food sold to a hog feeding operation in California.Once again, our food supply has been put at risk by contaminated ingredients that originated overseas and were never inspected by the FDA. In addition to identifying those companies who were recipients of the contaminated rice protein and have yet to do the right thing by identifying themselves, we request that the FDA begin comprehensive testing and sampling of both rice protein and corn gluten, similar to the testing and sampling performed on wheat gluten. The FDA must assure Congress and the American people that the shipments of rice protein known to be contaminated with melamine imported by Wilbur Ellis and the second unknown importer are the only shipments of contaminated rice protein to reach the United States and that no contaminated corn gluten has reached the United States. Should any additional contaminated rice protein or corn gluten be found, the FDA should take immediate action to identify those companies receiving the contaminated products and press for removal of any contaminated food from the market. Additionally, we request that the FDA conduct comprehensive testing on all pet food about which it has received complaints regarding symptoms of kidney failure in dogs or cats. The FDA’s strategy thus far of waiting for companies to self-report contamination and make the individual decision to remove contaminated food in their own time frame has served to increase the number of animals sick and dying and magnify this sad situation.Repeatedly, American pet owners have been told that products not on the recall list are safe for their pets, only to discover that the recall has expanded and that their pets may still be vulnerable. In order to prevent further contaminated food from reaching our shelves, we are requesting the following of the Food and Drug Administration:1. Wilbur-Ellis Co., the San Francisco-based company that imported the shipment of contaminated rice protein has said that the shipment was distributed to five pet food manufacturers. Three of those manufacturers have revealed themselves and recalled food, the other two have not. Given the strong possibility that these two pet food manufacturers also received contaminated rice protein and that they have failed to implement voluntary recalls, we believe the FDA should release the names of these manufacturers and require them to trace and recall any pet food made with the potentially contaminated rice protein. If FDA is unable to reveal this information, we ask for a detailed legal explanation.2. We have learned that in addition to Wilbur-Ellis, a second United States company imported a shipment of rice protein from China that is also likely to be contaminated with melamine. We request the FDA identify this second importer as well as those manufacturers to which it may have sold the contaminated product. Again, we request the FDA closely track this shipment and immediately press the affected companies to recall any food containing the imported rice protein.3. The FDA has engaged in significant testing and sampling of wheat gluten. Given we now know contaminated shipments of both rice protein concentrate and corn gluten have also been exported from China, we ask the FDA to begin comprehensive testing and sampling of rice protein concentrate and corn gluten immediately.4. We have seen this recall expand dramatically, both in terms of the number of brands and different products recalled, and in the number of ingredients contaminated. In light of the strong possibility that these protein sources were purposefully contaminated for economic purposes, we are concerned about the safety of other imported pet food ingredients and the possibility of them being contaminated. Accordingly, we ask the FDA to proactively respond by:

· Identifying and inspecting all suspect pet food ingredients imported by the U.S. from China and other countries;

· Studying the feasibility of testing protein-based pet food ingredients imported from China and other countries for melamine;

· Taking steps to work with the Chinese Government and other foreign governments to inspect their facilities and provide technical assistance to improve their food safety standards.

Approximately 63% of Americans own a cat or a dog. The FDA owes the American public their best effort to prevent contaminated food from getting to store shelves and to remove contaminated food that is already on shelves before more pets die. We look forward to the Food and Drug Administration’s prompt and complete response to this letter.

Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
Untied States Senator

Maria E. Cantwell
Untied States Senator

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.

Phew! Just finished spending a good deal of time revamping and updating the Pet Products Recall page (changed the name from Pet Food Recall info/posts page since I decided to include ALL pet-related recalls, such as the salmonella-related recalls, not just the ones related to the pet food chaos), so give it a gander and let me know if there’s anything I need to change and/or add. Thanks! Too pooped out now to do a regular post, but did want to at least post some interesting news articles and links I have run across today.

Melamine and hogs/Intentional poisoning of products?:

US Wheat Industry assurances:

Homemade diets for pets? Pro and Con:

FDA:

While revamping and updating information on the Pet Product Recalls page, I found this 4/16/07 Consumer Health Information update titled “FDA’s Ongoing Pet Food Investigation”, which I hadn’t seen before. Also wanted to post the FDA’s search engine for recalled foods , but I would HIGHLY recommend continuing to check the web sites of individual companies or here. At least the FDA site is another tool for those interested in finding out the most information possible. I think we have all discovered that you cannot depend on just one media source, blog, or government agency to give you all the information you need, since it is always changing. While there are some fantastic sites and resources available, there just isn’t really one media outlet alone that has been able to keep up on EVERY bit of info that surfaces. That being said, I will still stick to my claim that the blogging community has been the primary source for the most updated information getting out to concerned lovers of pets in quick and effective fashion.

Probably won’t post tomorrow (unless some news breaks), so have a GREAT weekend, everyone! 🙂

Nice to see Senator Durbin and Congresswoman DeLauro are NOT giving up on keeping the pet food contamination investigation going, and pushing for revamped regulation, AND answers from China. Kudos to them both! 🙂 I am sorry to see that our already tenuous relationship with China seems to be getting even worse, though. Will be interesting to see what (if any) response we receive from the Ambassador. Also nice to see the name of the company Wilbur-Ellis imported the tainted rice protein from (Binzhou Futian Biology Technology, Ltd) before it made it’s way into pet food.

Here’s the press release from Senator Durbin’s web site:

DURBIN, DELAURO MEET WITH VON ESCHENBACH; URGE CHINESE GOVERNMENT TO COOPERATE ON PET FOOD CONTAMINATION INVESTIGATION

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

 

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today met with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Andrew von Eschenbach in Durbin’s Capitol office to discuss the latest recall of pet food, this time caused by contaminated rice protein imported from China.

In the meeting, Durbin and DeLauro learned that the Chinese Government has blocked requests from the FDA to send personnel to China to inspect the facilities suspected of producing the contaminated products. The FDA first contacted the Chinese Government on April 4, 2007, but have not been granted permission to send food inspectors into the country. In response, Durbin and DeLauro sent a letter to the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Zhou Wenzong, urging the Chinese Government to issue visas to U.S. food inspectors as quickly as possible.

“It is unacceptable that the Chinese government is blocking our food safety inspectors from entering their country and examining facilities that are suspected of providing contaminated pet food to American consumers,” said Durbin. “We have asked for two things in our letter today — that the Chinese government allow our inspectors in and that the Chinese ambassador to the United States meet with Congresswoman DeLauro and me to discuss the larger issue of contaminated food being sent to the U.S. These are reasonable requests and we hope that we can find a level of cooperation with the Chinese.”

“At time when China is exporting more foods into the U.S., the Chinese are refusing to allow our inspectors in to the country to investigate the source of the pet food contamination. The FDA needs to be allowed to investigate this so we can better protect our pets and identify the source of the source of the problem. While we have a significant trade relationship with the Chinese, the investigation of the contaminated product comes first,” said DeLauro.

Last week, Durbin, a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, along with Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, held a hearing to question witnesses on the timeline of the investigation, the source of the contamination, and the agency’s regulatory and inspection responsibilities. In the hearing, the Senators also questioned outside experts who about the current state of the pet food industry, as well as regulatory or resource shortfalls that led to the widespread recall of tainted pet food.

Additionally, DeLauro, the Chairman of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, will further explore FDA’s inspection of imported foods in a follow-up hearing before the subcommittee.

Durbin and DeLauro have been actively engaged on food safety issues for over a decade. This Congress they introduced legislation that calls for the development of a single food safety agency and the implementation of a food safety program to standardize American food safety activities (The Safe Food Act – S. 654 and H.R. 1148 in the Senate and House respectively). The Illinois senator said legislation he has introduced to consolidate all federal food safety responsibilities into a single, independent agency has taken on new urgency because of a possibly heightened need to respond quickly and effectively to any acts of bioterrorism or agroterrorism. Currently, there are at least 12 different federal agencies and 35 different laws governing food safety. With overlapping jurisdictions, federal agencies often lack accountability on food safety-related issues.

The non-partisan U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has been unequivocal in its recommendation for consolidation of federal food safety programs. In February of this year, the GAO deemed federal oversight of food safety as “high risk” to the economy and public health and safety. Over the past two decades, GAO has also issued numerous reports on topics such as food recalls, food safety inspections and the transport of animal feeds. Each of these reports highlights the current fragmentation and inconsistent organization of the various agencies involved in food safety oversight.

Text of the letter appears below:


April 18, 2007
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008 Dear Mr. Ambassador:

The ongoing investigation into the recent series of pet deaths and illnesses in the United States has revealed that contaminated batches of wheat gluten and rice protein responsible for these events were imported from China. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), China was the source of both the contaminated wheat gluten responsible for the recall of more than 60 million containers of cat and dog food, and the most recent recall of rice protein products.

Both products were contaminated with melamine, a chemical used for industrial purposes in the United States and in fertilizers in China. According to experts, no level of melamine should be found in pet or human food.

In the case of the contaminated wheat gluten, FDA has identified Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. as the source of the product. Although spokespeople for Xuzhou Anying have denied involvement in the incident, U.S.-based importer ChemNutra, Inc., has demonstrated that it imported the contaminated wheat gluten from Xuzhou Anying and various media reports show that the Chinese company was involved in purchasing significant quantities of melamine. In the case of the rice protein contamination, U.S. importer Wilbur-Ellis has said that it imported its products from Binzhou Futian Biology Technology, Ltd.

In response to these contaminations, on March 30, 2007, FDA took steps to block imports of Chinese wheat gluten thought to pose a risk to the safety of the human and pet food supply. The Agency has also made multiple requests to the Chinese Government to allow U.S. inspectors to look at the facilities that are suspected to have produced the contaminated product. On April 4, 2007, the FDA sent its first letter to the Chinese Government asking for visas to allow its inspectors visit China. The request was not granted, and on April 17, 2007, the FDA sent an additional letter emphasizing that it wished to be allowed to send its inspectors to China.

This incident has brought suffering to pet owners who have seen their animals fall prey to illness or death, and caused significant economic losses to U.S. companies that believed they were importing wholesome products.

Therefore, we strongly urge the Chinese Government to quickly issue visas to U.S. inspectors and cooperate in this investigation. Last year, the United States imported more than $2.1 billion of agricultural goods from China, up from nearly $1.8 billion the year before. Clearly, this is an important trading relationship.

We appreciate the courtesy of a timely response. We would also like to meet with you in the near future to discuss this issue.

Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
U.S. Senator
Rosa L. DeLauro
Chairwoman House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

As reported yesterday, Natural Balance has recalled pet food products found to have melamine in them. Yes, melamine. The same item found in the tainted wheat gluten which caused the massive Menu Food recall over the past month, and countless heartbreaking deaths. However, the twist on the Natural Balance recall is that it is NOT being attributed to wheat gluten (Natural Balance says they do not use it), but instead is being traced to rice protein concentrate, which Natural Balance recently added to their Venison products for dogs and cats,”The recalled products include Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. Recent laboratory results show that the products contain melamine. We believe the source of the melamine is a rice protein concentrate. Natural Balance has confirmed this morning that some production batches of these products may contain melamine.” USA Today is reporting, “The rice protein concentrate was imported from China by San Francisco-based Wilbur-Ellis. Herrick says the concentrate, which is being tested, is suspected to have melamine, as it was the only new ingredient.

In that same article from USA Today, Wilbur-Ellis CEO, John Thacher, said five pet food makers purchased the concentrate, one of them being Diamond Pet Foods. He refused to name the other “major” customer, but said that the unnamed company had tested the concentrate and found no melamine in it. I question why that other “major” company won’t come forward. I mean if you tested the food and NO MELAMINE was found, wouldn’t you WANT consumers to know that you pet food is “safe”? (Whatever safe means anymore.)

Here we go again down the “hush-hush” path of big business companies keeping their “code of silence” with one another. Sigh. ChemNutra was informed on March 8th of the tainted wheat gluten they had imported from Xuzhou Anying in China, and according to their 4/3 press release, immediately began cooperating in investigations and quarantined their entire wheat gluten inventory, yet the public was not made aware of ANY of the involved companies or suppliers for several weeks! Is this the runaround we are now going to get from the rice protein importer, Wilbur-Ellis, and whomever their customers are that purchased the rice protein from them? Guess only time will tell. Looks like the “Quality Assurance” blurb on the Wilbur-Ellis “feed” web site page holds their accountability only at their customers, and not the subsequent consumers of products produced by those customers. “For over 80 years, Wilbur-Ellis has built a reputation for fulfilling contractual commitments to our customers. The process starts with ensuring that our suppliers provide the quality assurance that we guarantee in our sales contracts. Our network of international offices features specialists in every product market, thus ensuring that quality standards meet or exceed our customer expectations. Whether our customers require HAACP, APHIS , EU , UL or another form of quality assurance Co Products delivers what we guarantee.” It also appears from a must-read, interesting article over at Canada Free Press, that ChemNutra is giving the big brush-off to those requesting answers from them by having a PR firm take over inquiries, and has become quite mum on the whole thing, “PR flaks are paid to protect clients but the silence from ChemNutra CEO Stephen S. Miller and his wife Sally Qing Miller is deafening.

There’s something that is bothering me a bit with another aspect of this latest twist in pet food contamination. I realize we are all trying to get information out to worried pet parents as quickly as possible, and at times may have unintentionally passed along some information that may turn out to not have been 100% accurate. That being said, I’m sure bloggers and commenters were doing this with the best of intentions and no harm intended. However, I have read some comments and blog postings since the Natural Balance recall, which have been placing some blame on that company, saying that they knew about this issue and were delayed in reporting it. While these bloggers and commenters may be privy to some inside information I haven’t seen, from all of the accounts I have read online and seen on the news, it appears that Natural Balance DID test AND PULL affected products when they started getting complaints from consumers about pets becoming ill after eating some of their products. Natural Balance also appears to have quickly expanded their recall on 4/17/07 once they had fine-tuned where the problem may be: in the rice protein concentrate in their Venison products. Until I’m shown some evidence that proves otherwise, I commend Natural Balance for moving a lot faster than the companies that were involved in the Menu Foods recall did, most specifically Menu Foods who has been shown to have lagged MANY WEEKS on notifying consumers, thereby being guilty of allowing consumers to unknowingly continue feeding tainted food to their pets.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those having trouble accessing Natural Balance’s web site, I will copy the contents of their main page (as of 11:15AM PST on 4/18/07) and a FAQ which they posted today. You can click here for my previous posting which included their 4/17/07 press release.

Natural Balance web site (4/18/07):

NOTICE:
Below is our official press release regarding the Venison Only Voluntary Pet Food recall. We have worked very close with the FDA for the last two days to be able to give you the latest information available.

Due to the high volume of calls, we have created a page of
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
to help you better understand the current situation.

Click Here to read update on our voluntary recall.

NO OTHER NATURAL BALANCE PRODUCTS ARE AFFECTED.

Natural Balance FAQ:

Natural Balance Pet Foods,® Inc. Voluntary Nationwide Recall on Specific Venison Dog & Cat Food Products

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I’ve heard the brown rice is the problem, is this true?

NO. The rice and brown rice are not a problem. The problem is rice protein concentrate that is only used in the four products involved in the recall.

I’ve heard the venison is a problem, is this true?

NO. The rice protein concentrate is the problem, and is only used in the the Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food, Venison & Brown Rice Canned Dog Food, the Venison & Brown Rice Formula Dog Treats and the Venison & Green Pea Cat Food. These are the only products involved in the recall.

What products are affected?

Venison and Brown Rice Dry Dog Formula
Venison and Brown Rice Canned Dog Food
Venison & Brown Rice Formula Dog Treats
Venison and Green Pea Dry Cat Formula

What products are NOT AFFECTED?

None of our other products are affected:
Ultra Premium Formula Dry Dog Food
Reduced Calorie Formula Dry Dog Food
Ultra Premium Formula Dry Cat Food
Reduced Calorie Formula Dry Cat Food
Sweet Potato & Fish Dry Dog Food
Potato & Duck Formula Dry Dog Food
Organic Formula Dry Dog Food
Vegetarian Formula Dry Dog Food
Turkey Formula Dog Food Rolls
Beef Formula Dog Food Rolls
Lamb Formula Dog Food Rolls
Beef Formula canned dog food
Chicken Formula canned dog food
Lamb Formula canned dog food
Liver Formula canned dog food
Duck and Potato Formula canned dog food
Sweet Potato & Fish canned dog food


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

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

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

Contact:
Consumer Inquiries:
(800) 829-4493
Media Inquiries:
Daniel Bernstein
310-275-0777

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here we go again with ANOTHER alert of pet items being contaminated with salmonella. The first salmonella-related recall noted here was with Petrapport’s, Berkley & Jensen pig ear dog treats.

On April 5th the FDA issued this “health hazard alert” about American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews manufactured by T.W. Enterprises. So today I get ANOTHER notice from the FDA regarding T. W. Enterprises, and I naturally assume it is regarding another product T. W. Enterprises manufactures since on April 5th we were already warned about the American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews. When I checked the information from the “health hazard alert” of 4/5 and compared it to the information from today’s (emailed 4/17, dated 4/16) “nationwide recall” notice, the items mentioned are the same! In looking closely at the “health hazard alert” from 4/5 I found this at the end, “FDA is actively investigating this matter to determine the source of this problem, and will issue future updates as appropriate.” So I guess that means the 4/5 notice was indeed JUST A WARNING, but today’s “nationwide recall” is indeed a RECALL of the product? Sorry, but based on the information in the 4/5 notice I would have assumed the FDA was telling consumers to STOP using the product. So now, twelve days later, the FDA is deciding indeed the American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews ARE a safety issue? Gee, and the FDA wonders why Senator Durbin was so pointed in his remarks during the Senate oversight hearing on 4/12/07 regarding pet food contamination, stating that the FDA’s web site is VERY confusing to consumers? Even Dr. Sundlof (FDA) was forced to agree.

I’m a fairly intelligent gal, but these two notices from the FDA regarding T.W. Enterprises American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews are rather confusing. One would think the initial notice WAS a recall, but apparently it was an official FDA “health hazard alert”, whereas the 4/16 notice from the FDA was not something “officially” from the FDA, but instead them posting a recall notice from a company as a service to consumers. Let’s certainly hope that any consumers that either read the FDA “health hazard alert” notice on 4/5 or heard about it, DID indeed stop using the product since there have now been twelve days in between where pets might have been given the chews by unsuspecting owners. Also, in today’s “recall notice” I see that there are code numbers next to the recalled items, despite both notices from the FDA stating that T.W. Enterprises does not code products with batch or lot numbers. What is it going to take for regulations from manufacturing levels to the higher levels of our government to FINALLY be in place and protecting us (and our pets) as they should be?

___________________________________________________

Recall Notice” mailed from FDA today 4/17, but dated 4/16:

T.W. Enterprises Issues Nationwide Recall of Dog Chews Due to Salmonella Contamination

Contact:
T.W. Enterprises
(360) 366-0408

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Ferndale, WA — April 16, 2007 — T.W. Enterprises of Ferndale, WA today alerted consumers that it is recalling certain dog chews it markets because they may be contaminated with Salmonella. Samples tested by FDA of the product indicate that the dog chew products manufactured by T.W. Enterprises may be contaminated. People handling these treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Salmonella can potentially be transferred to people handling these pet treats, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Well animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The following is a list of the recalled products (Product Name/ A.B. Dog Chew – Size / UPC):

  • A.B. Small Chew, 3 – 4 inch / 833234001105
  • A. B. Puppy Chew, 4 – 6 inch / 83323401112
  • A.B. Dog Chew Medium, 6 inch / 833234001051
  • A.B. Dog Chew Large, 10 inch / 833234001068
  • A. B. Dog Chew XL, 13 inch / 833234001075
  • A. B. Dog Chew Mega, 16 inch / 833234001082
  • A. B. Dog Chew Jumbo, 26 inch / 833234001099

T.W. Enterprises Inc. manufactured these dog chews and distributed them throughout the United States under its name. The affected products were distributed before March 22, 2007 to retail locations and are non-coded, i.e. they have no batch code or other identifying marks. T.W. Enterprises has made contact with all of its consignees and has been informed the affected product has been pulled from store shelves.

T.W. Enterprises has informed FDA of its action and is fully cooperating with the agency. The firm, FDA and other authorities are actively investigating this matter to determine the source of this problem, and will take any additional steps necessary to protect the public health. No reports of illness to date in connection with this problem.

Consumers who have the non-coded pet chews should not feed them to their pets, but should dispose of them in a safe manner (e.g., in a securely covered trash receptacle). Anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella infection after having handled one of these pet products should seek medical attention, and report their use of the product and illness to the nearest FDA office.

People should thoroughly wash their hands after handling any pet treat – especially those made from animal protein such as meat — to help prevent infection. People may risk bacterial infection not only by handling the chews, but by contact with pets or surfaces exposed to the chews, so it is important that they thoroughly wash their hands with hot water and soap.

Since elderly people, young children, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk from exposure they should avoid handling these products.

Consumers with questions may contact T.W. Enterprises at 1-360-366-0408.

####

Health Hazard Alert” from FDA on 4/5:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
P07-58
April 5, 2007

Media Inquiries:
301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA

FDA Issues Health Hazard Alert for Pet Chews Due to Contamination with Salmonella

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today warned consumers not to use American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews manufactured and distributed by T.W. Enterprises, Ferndale, WA, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, which can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, and, if there is cross contamination, in people, especially children, the aged, and people with compromised immune systems. Consumers who have the pet treats manufactured or distributed by T.W. Enterprises listed below should not feed them to their pets, but instead dispose of them in a safe manner (e.g., in a securely covered trash receptacle).

Salmonella can potentially be transferred to people handling these pet treats, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Well animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The products covered by this alert include all sizes and lots of:

American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chew and Dog Chew (made from all American beef pizzle)

Following is a list of the affected products:

  • A.B. Small Chew, small, 3-4 inch
  • A.B. Puppy Chew, 4-6 inch
  • A.B. Dog Chew Medium, 6 inch
  • A.B. Dog Chew Large, 10 inch
  • A.B. Dog Chew XL, 13 inch
  • A.B. Dog Chew Mega, 16 inch
  • A.B. Dog Chew Jumbo, 26 inch

FDA collected samples of packages of three different sizes of bull pizzle (beef) dog chews manufactured by T.W. Enterprises and, after analysis, found Salmonella in one of them. FDA is including in its alert all sizes and all lots of bull pizzle chews manufactured by T. W. Enterprises because pizzles used in manufacturing the chews are processed at the same time, cut into chews of the desired sizes, and then packaged for sale. Differently sized chews are thus obtained from the same batch or lot of pizzles and manufactured under conditions that facilitate cross-contamination within batches or lots. It is impossible to differentiate chews manufactured by T. W. Enterprises by lot or batch numbers or dates of manufacture because packages of the firm’s chews are not coded with batch or lot numbers, and do not specify the dates of manufacture or bear expiration dates.

FDA is actively investigating this matter to determine the source of this problem, and will issue future updates as appropriate.

####

 

Interesting, eclectic mix of news on the pet food contamination situation. As for the CBS story, I think anyone really following the developments knew long ago that the wheat gluten in some pet food was “food grade (suitable for human consumption products), so it wasn’t really any stretch of the imagination for the same situation to have occurred with Menu Foods. Also sad to see that the pet food has reached other continents such as South Africa. And maybe it’s just because I’ve been so consumed with this tainted pet food mess and reading so much on it, but I have a hard time believing the survey stating that most Americans aren’t changing anything with the diet of their pets on the heels of this scare. Then again, I suppose we’ve earned our “Lazy American” title for a reason, right? 😉

Don’t forget that today is the U.S. Senate oversight hearing on the pet food contamination situation. It is scheduled to begin at 2PM EST, and a press release from Senator Durbin said it would be webcast here. I just checked and C-SPAN IS airing the hearing! (UPDATED 5:45 PM PST: Just saw on C-SPAN’s site that they will be replaying the Pet Food Regulation hearing on C-SPAN2 tonight at 10:24 PM EST, and 2:50 AM EST)

**Here are my comments while watching the U.S. Senate oversight hearing**:

UPDATE at 2:02 EST: Oh my gosh, Sen. Kohl just quoted the 39,000 sick/dead pet quote from the AP story that kept changing…woo-hoo! Also, it seems that the webcast is NOT appearing on the link from Sen. Durbin’s press release, but CSPAN is airing it. If I see it will be replayed at a later time, I will post that. Wow, just SO impressed that Sen. Kohl used the 39,000 statistic!!!

UPDATE at 2:12 EST: Yippee, Senator Durbin just acknowledged that it is the BLOG community that is where most of the up-to-date information about the recall and everything surrounding it, is being spread to consumers and not the government who is getting that information out. Shout-out to all the hardworking bloggers out there–way to go fellow bloggers! I’m VERY proud to be among you. 🙂

UPDATE 2:18 EST: Dr. Stephen Sundlof, Director FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, in his opening remark just did SO much back patting of the companies, etc., involved in this recall, I thought for a moment he was trying to do his best impression of George Bush telling Michael Brown (FEMA) “And Brownie you’re doing a heck of a job!” during Katrina! Sheesh!

UPDATE 2:28 EST: Senator Durbin “No evidence contaminated wheat gluten in human supply?”, Dr. Soloman stated testing done, and the answer is no contaminated wheat gluten in human supply.

UPDATE 2:34 EST: Sen. Durbin pushed Dr. Sundlof to answer whether the delay of recall notice may have caused additional deaths, Dr. Sundlof said any delay would. OMG, Sen. Durbin just asked Dr. Sundlof if he admits that it is VERY difficult to find pet food recall information on the FDA website…Dr. Sundlof admitted it is! (SoCalMuchacha: It’s official, I ADORE Senator Durbin!!! 🙂)

UPDATE 2:43 EST: Sen. Byrd, what a colorful character. ‘Nuff said. 😉

UPDATE 2:45 EST: Sen. Byrd did ask why there is such a discrepancy in statistics being offered by the FDA and media outlets. Dr. Sundlof said, “There have been 15,000 phone calls to FDA…at this point just trying to make sure no other pets affected by this…Once sure all contaminated food off shelves, will assess true prevalence of the disease caused by this pet food.” Sen. Byrd, “How long has the tainted food been sold to the public” Dr. Sundlof said, “Traced back to beginning of November, 2006.” Sen. Byrd, “What screening systems are employed by the FDA to ensure harmful substances, such as contaminated wheat gluten, kept out of pet food?” Dr. Sundlof, “Pet food manufacturers are suppose to keep the products free of contaminants…FDA inspects on occasion to see if complying…company keeps records…in this case Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology (China) did supply certificates of analysis to the US importer which showed testing done…no testing for melamine…melamine not a substance we (FDA) would consider testing…manufacturer is responsible for products safely produced and have records showing they’ve exercised due diligence showing they are safe.”

UPDATE 3: 05 EST: Sen. Kohl thanked Dr. Sundlof and Dr. Solomon, they were excused. Second panel brought forward.

Dr. Claudia Kirk, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine spoke first: Lack of tracking of supply lead to additional month of confusion….establish a centralized site for veterinarians to report…some reports of affected pets exaggerated while current statistic unrealistically low.

Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM: Past 18 months there have been 3 major pet food recalls…no human food is allowed to bear such broad guarantees such as what you see on pet foods…no systematic inspections of suppliers…gov’t inspections of plants cannot prevent…need long term studies…proposes “Truth in Pet Food Labeling Initiative”.

Dr. Nelson, President, Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Duane Ekedahl, Executive Director, Pet Food Institute: Announced National Pet Food Commission…basically said the opposite of what Dr. Hodgkins said about pet food labeling…stated testing is very exacting, much analysis, highly regulated…says pet food industry acted quickly during this situation (SoCalMuchacha: not buying this guy’s comments…sorry…only thing he said I bought was that pets are members of our families)

UPDATE 3:30 EST: Sen. Kohl asked Dr. Kirk if all the foods at a plant are the same, if that plant contracts with various companies? Dr. Kirk stated that many are the same such as those contracted to Menu Foods, however, there are some companies that “rent” production facility space to keep their formula unique. Sen. Kohl asked Dr. Kirk her thoughts on consumers cooking their own pet’s food since unsure of pet food now. Dr. Kirk said she doesn’t normally recommend that because over time the consistency and balanced diet tends to wane. She feels products on shelf are generally safe, but that she would have the consumer check the label of the food they are using to see if there is wheat gluten in it.

Sen. Kohl and Dr. Hodgkins discussed no routine testing of ingredients, that every batch is not tested, that testing each batch of ingredients would be a daunting task. Dr. Hodgkins feels there is an unwarranted sense of safety in AAFCO label of guarantee…that there is a sieve of safety inadequacy assurances.

UPDATE 3:55 EST: Sen. Durbin basically called Ekedahl on the carpet for not having the information he should have had regarding details of why Menu Foods had such a delay in reporting the contaminated food and pet deaths. Sen. Durbin stated that he thought Dr. Hodgkins’ ideas are on the right track. (SoCalMuchacha: totally agree! Dr. Hodgkins totally appears to be the go-to person for how to rectify a very broken system.)

Hearing ended at 4:00 PM EST.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Overall I thought the hearing was quite an interesting event. I taped it and will have to watch it again to really process all that was said. The notes above are certainly not intended to be verbatim, since I was trying to type them as they were being said, but they are intended to convey a general idea of what took place. And yes, I still think Sen. Durbin is AWESOME and is one man (I hope!) we can count on to continue the investigation into all of this, and one to create change.

_________________________________________________

 

Also, I received the following recall notice from the FDA today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
P07-63
April 12, 2007

Media Inquiries:
Vash Klein and Catherine McDermott, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA

 

FDA Warns Consumers That Retailers May Still Have Recalled Pet Food on Shelves
Menu Foods Expands Recall to More Cat Food

FDA is advising pet owners that recalled pet food may still be on the shelves in some retail establishments. FDA urges retailers across the country to be vigilant in removing all products associated with the pet food recall, which began on March 16, 2007.

To verify the effectiveness of the recall, FDA has conducted approximately 400 checks of retail stores across the country. Based on the checks, FDA believes most companies have removed the recalled product; however, some have not. FDA will continue to monitor retailers’ efforts to remove these items from the shelves.

“FDA’s priority is to make sure that cats and dogs have safe food to eat, said Stephen Sundlof, D.V.M., director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.” Many of us are pet owners and animal lovers, and we want pet owners to feel assured that we are doing everything we can to make sure that all contaminated food is off the shelves.”

In related news, Menu Foods, Inc., a private label manufacturer based in Streetsville, Ontario, Canada, expanded its recall on Tuesday, April 10, to cat food not previously subject to the recall. The varieties of cat food in the United States and Canada now being recalled are included in the list at the bottom of this news release. A complete list of Menu Foods’ recalled products, including the new items, can be reviewed at www.menufoods.com.

The company acted after receiving information from FDA, which had confirmed test results it received from a laboratory at University of California, Davis. The UC-Davis lab found that canned cat food which had not been included in Menu Food’s earlier recalls tested positive for melamine, a chemical used as a fertilizer and in the manufacture of cutlery and kitchenware.

The company informed FDA that it had shipped wheat gluten purchased from China and contaminated with melamine from its Emporia, Kansas plant to its plant in Streetsville. Some of the products produced with the contaminated wheat gluten also were shipped to the United States. FDA investigators and officials with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency were in the Ontario facility on April 10.

Since March 16, recalls of pet food products, including certain varieties of dog food, have been conducted by Menu Foods, Inc., Hill’s Pet Nutrition, P&G Pet Care, Nestle Purina PetCare Company, Del Monte Pet Products, and Sunshine Mills, Inc. Extensive information about the current pet food situation can be found at the FDA Web site, www.fda.gov. There is now a single list of all recalled pet food located at http://www.fda.gov/ora/fed_state/recalls/Recall.xls which will be updated with any new recall information when announced.

LIST OF NEWLY RECALLED PRODUCTS:

Cat Food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brand

Look For This Date on The Bottom of Can or Back of Pouch

Variety Description

Can / Pouch

Size

UPC

 

Americas Choice, Preferred Pet

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 54807-59114

 

 

 

 

 

Your Pet

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 72036-29026

Jan/24/10

 

 

 

 

Nov 06 09

Sliced Variety Pack 3oz Can 3oz 72036-40013

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Pride

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 11110-86264

Jan/24/10

 

 

 

 

Nov 06 09

Sliced Variety Pack 3oz Can 3oz 11110-86003

Dec 05 09

 

 

 

 

Dec 06 09

 

 

 

 

Jan 23 10

 

 

 

 

Jan 24 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Lynn

 

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 86854-02407

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 86854-02406

 

 

 

 

 

Nutriplan

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 41130-06755

 

 

 

 

 

Price Chopper

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 41735-12828

 

 

 

 

 

Publix

 

 

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 41415-08327

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 41415-08827

Jan/2/10

 

 

 

 

Jan/24/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop & Shop Companion

 

 

 

Jan/2/10

Flaked Tuna 3oz Can 3oz 88267-00286

 

 

 

 

 

Winn Dixie

 

 

 

 

Dec/19/09

Sliced Beef/Gravy 3oz Can 3oz 21140-19419

 

 

 

Nutro Products

 

 

 

 

All Dates

Chicken Cacciatore 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35205

All Dates

Orleans Seafood Jambalaya 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35206

All Dates

Beef Ragout 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35207

All Dates

Alaskan Halibut/Rice 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35221

All Dates

Kitten Chicken/Lamb 3oz Can 3oz 79105-35202

All Dates

California Chicken 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30011

All Dates

Lamb/Turkey Cutlets 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30014

All Dates

Salmon/Whitefish 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30013

All Dates

Beef/Egg 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30015

All Dates

Turkey/Chicken Liver 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30016

All Dates

Seafood/Tomato/Bisque 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30017

All Dates

Hunters Stew with Duck 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30018

All Dates

Hunters Stew with Venison 3oz Can 3oz 79105-30019

####

Toothache still raging, so just a brief roundup today:

  • Menu Foods CFO sold shares 3 weeks prior to recall. (excerpt: “The chief financial officer of Menu Foods sold almost half his shares in the company just three weeks before a massive recall of its pet food products, Canadian insider trading reports show.”)
  • Chinese city holds clues to how wheat gluten contaminated. (excerpt: “Now, regulators with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are examining the possibility that melamine was intentionally mixed into the wheat gluten in China as a way to bolster the apparent protein content and to meet pet food requirements, according to a person briefed on the investigation.”)
  • Additional contaminant found? (excerpt: “Scientists at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine may have found a second contaminant in the wheat gluten used to make the tainted pet food blamed for the deaths and illnesses of scores of cats and dogs across North America, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.”)
  • Important info on homemade food for pets from the AVMA. (excerpt: “Dr. Tony Buffington, DVM, Ph.D., an Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine professor of clinical sciences and a member of the AVMA, agrees that preparing food for your pet can be tricky. In the event a pet owner is determined to make pet food at home, he recommends Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets: the Healthful Alternative by Dr. Donald Strombeck as a good cookbook for pets. Dr. Buffington also recommends http://www.petdiets.com/ as one the best Web sites on home-cooked pet diets.”)

ARGH!!! Seriously, what the ever-loving HELL is wrong with Menu Foods, the FDA, and ANY other company or agency involved with this disaster?!?! Sorry, but my frustration level has truly reached an all-time high after reading this most disturbing opening line in Menu Foods THIRD, yes THIRD recall list:

Prompted by reports from the US Food and Drug Administration as to the presence of melamine in cans of cuts and gravy pet food produced in Menu Foods’ Canadian production facility, Menu Foods undertook an accounting of all recalled wheat gluten supplied by ChemNutra Inc. to Menu Foods in the United States.

In this day and age with technological advancements running rampant, there is no, and I mean NO excuse for not being able to track anything at the drop of a hat. In this case that would mean Menu Foods should have done this “accounting” ages ago, along with the tracking of the tainted wheat gluten and ANY company affected by it being notified and recalling ALL their affected foods off the shelves—not days or weeks later.

And here is today’s Nutro press release recalling ALL wet pouched and canned foods made with wheat gluten.

Undoubtedly there is more to the story, but sorry folks, I have a raging toothache (so not fun) so I will research and post more later. I did want to make sure to at least get the latest Menu Foods and Nutro recall lists mentioned and posted for those who may not have heard about them. Click here for the most recent updates. (Well, as quickly as I can catch up with the never-ending stream of them.)

Pick a number. Any number between 14 and say, oh, how about 39,000? Well, it seems that is about as concrete as ANY number you’ll get regarding just how many poor, innocent pets have died due to the tainted wheat gluten used in possibly millions of containers of recalled pet food. The FDA and Menu Foods continue to stand by their statistic of 14-16 pets dead (majority of those from Menu Foods own “tasting trials”), while online pet web site, Pet Connection, had registered 3,598 owner-reported pet deaths by 4/9/07. Then to add even MORE mystery to the already shrouded in secrecy pet food contamination story, is what has the internet all abuzz: two “somewhat” different versions of an AP story by Andrew Bridges. I took screen shots of each and will also save the entire stories on a page on this blog so you can compare the differences yourself. And goodness knows how many more times the story might change. Kind of makes you wonder what sort of pressure Andrew Bridges and/or the Associated Press might be receiving (if any), and by whom?

Here’s the first version:

 

Then there is this later version:

 

 


_____________________________________________

Happy Birthday, ASPCA!

 

 

 

While the latest development in the pet food contamination scandal ended up taking me away from the blog entry I was going to do on today being ASPCA Day, I can’t go without acknowledging the organization and its incredible work on behalf of animals, such as the beautiful one pictured here in a birthday tiara, my dearly departed Bailey. I adopted her from a shelter in June of 1992, and I was unbelievably fortunate to share 14 1/2 memorable and loving years with her. There are thousands upon thousands of animals in shelters RIGHT NOW, just waiting for you to open up your heart and your home. Trust me, doing so is something you (and the pet) will not regret. Just ask my current shelter boy pictured below, my goofball Rudy!

So let’s all gather ’round and sing a hearty version of “Happy Birthday” to the ASPCA, celebrating their 141st year of looking out for those who cannot look out for themselves; our furry, feathered, and finned friends (and any others that don’t fall into those categories ;)). While we all celebrate this fabulous occasion and “Go Orange for the Animals” in some form or fashion today, let’s also do our best YEAR ROUND to assist the ASPCA in its various efforts to end animal cruelty and find loving homes for all those pets who need them. Keep up the good work, ASPCA!

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 previously posted about the steps some of our government officials are taking in getting to the bottom of the pet food contamination disaster. Here is the press release from Sen. Dick Durbin’s office regarding the impending U.S. Senate oversight hearing:

DURBIN ANNOUNCES SENATE HEARING ON PET FOOD CONTAMINATION
Thursday, April 5, 2007
[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced the U.S. Senate will hold an oversight hearing on the ongoing investigation and the regulatory mechanisms that govern the pet food industry as the widespread recall of contaminated pet food continues.

“Many cats, dogs and other pets, considered members of the family are now suffering as a result of a deeply flawed pet food inspection system,” said Durbin. “The FDA’s response to this situation has been tragically slow. Pet owners deserve answers. The uncertainty about what is safe to feed their pets has gone on far too long. I want to learn exactly when the FDA knew about the contamination, who is inspecting pet food manufacturing plants, and whether we need to force the FDA to update their regulations to protect our pets. Most importantly, I want to hear how the FDA is going to work to resolve the current crisis and ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Durbin, a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, is working with Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, to schedule the hearing shortly after the Senate returns from recess next week. Hearing witnesses will include FDA officials who will be questioned on the timeline of the investigation, the source of the contamination, and the agency’s regulatory and inspection responsibilities. The hearing will also include outside experts who will discuss the current state of the pet food industry, as well as regulatory or resource shortfalls that led to the widespread recall of tainted pet food.

While the FDA is reporting 15 animal deaths due to poisoning, the agency has received more than 10,000 complaints over the last several weeks. Reports of the actual number of animal deaths due to tainted food vary widely from other sources.

Durbin is urging the FDA to take action in three specific areas:

  • Delay in reporting. Menu Foods, Inc. first noticed a potential problem on February 20, 2007 but did not contact FDA until March 15, 2007. In the meantime, other companies were selling tainted product and the supplier wasn’t aware that it had provided wheat gluten contaminated with melamine. Durbin wants companies that delay reporting to the FDA and endanger human and animal health to face penalties.
  • Lack of inspections. The Emporia, Kansas Menu Foods facility where many of these products were made had never been inspected by the FDA. The agency has been relying on the states to conduct inspections, but the FDA has jurisdiction over all pet food manufacturing facilities and the ultimate responsibility to ensure facilities comply with FDA standards. Where there should be federal regulation, there is instead a patchwork of state inspection systems and voluntary guidance. Durbin wants to require the FDA to work with the states to establish a standardized set of regulations and inspection requirements.
  • Incomplete data and reporting from the FDA. Blogs and nonprofit websites have filled a gap and become the most efficient way to share information on contaminations. Durbin wants to direct the FDA to create a similar information sharing system that would allow state veterinarians, pet owners and others to alert the FDA of possible contaminations.

    TimelineOn March 16, 2007 Menu Foods, Inc. initiated a voluntary recall of 60 million cans and pouches of wet pet food. The recall involves 42 varieties of cat food and 53 varieties of dog food made at its Emporia, Kansas facility between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007.

    The FDA, which has jurisdiction over the regulation and inspection of pet food processing facilities, announced the recall on March 17, 2007. According to FDA, it was first notified of the contamination on March 15, 2007.

    In addition to the Menu Foods recall of 95 different labels of pet food, the recall was expanded between March 16 and March 31, 2007 to at least 4 more makers of pet food, all well-respected premium brand companies – Nestle Purina, maker of Alpo; Hill’s Pet Nutrition, maker of Prescription Diet; P&G Pet Care, maker of Iams and Eukanuba; and Del Monte.

    On March 26, 2007, in response to reports that Menu Foods and FDA were underreporting the number of animal illnesses (acute kidney failure) and deaths attributed to the contamination, Durbin and Congresswoman DeLauro sent a letter to Andrew von Eschenbach, Commissioner of the FDA, requesting that within 15 days the FDA provide information on the number of pet food manufacturing inspections and violations, a detailed timeline of the situation, an analysis of FDA’s oversight of pet food manufacturing facilities and a report of actions taken since the recent pet food recall. A response is due by April 10, 2007.

    On March 30, the FDA discovered that the source of the contamination was a melamine-contaminated batch of wheat gluten imported from China by a Chinese company called Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd, which is based in Wangdien, China. The same day, in response to the Xuzhou discovery, FDA issued guidelines blocking imports of wheat gluten from that company and stepped up inspections of all Chinese wheat gluten shipments.

    On April 3, Nevada-based ChemNutra announced that it was the firm that had imported the contaminated wheat gluten and that it then provided the gluten to pet food companies. According to ChemNutra, all the wheat gluten went to pet food companies and should not be in the human food supply. ChemNutra initiated a nationwide recall of the contaminated wheat gluten product on April 2, 2007.

  • Sniffin’ out the info

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