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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! 🙂

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?

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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.

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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.

####

 

ARGH! If Menu Foods is confusing the mass media outlets, I guess it’s okay if I’m beginning to get confused about their press releases, too? Why don’t they just dispense with any further confusion on ANYONE’S part by just doing what they should until the mystery of how aminopterin (rat poison) got into their foods is solved: just CLOSE THE TWO PLANTS where the tainted food was manufactured and have ANY pet food manufactured there during that time (whether on the recall list or not) be pulled until some sort of answer is found? Oh wait, silly me, $$$. Doh!

I’m including today’s Menu Foods full press release, along with the opening statement from their press conference last Friday.

Here’s today’s press release, supposedly clarifying their press release from two days ago:

March 26, 2007

Clarification From Menu Foods: No Expanded Recall

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(CCNMatthews – March 26, 2007) –

NOT FOR RELEASE OVER US NEWSWIRE SERVICES

Media outlets have reported conflicting and incorrect information, including that Menu Foods has expanded its recall to include all products produced.

To clarify, late last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”) and various media outlets reported that some retailers still had recalled product on their shelves. In response, Menu Foods issued instructions for retailers to remove from their shelves all cuts and gravy products of the flavours listed on the recall list, regardless of the dates produced. For many retailers, this had already been completed as their standard operating procedure.

This step did not expand the recall but provided the remaining retailers with an efficient means of withdrawing the recalled product. The full recall list is available at www.menufoods.com.

In addition, Menu Foods reiterated that there is no evidence of any problems in any products manufactured at either its Streetsville, Ontario, facility or its North Sioux City, South Dakota, facility. Furthermore, there is no evidence of problems in any of the products not on the recall list produced at Emporia, Kansas, or Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Menu Foods has also posted the opening statement made at their press conference from last Friday:

Opening statement
By Paul K. Henderson
President and CEO, Menu Foods Income Fund
23 March, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you for assembling on such short notice. I have some brief opening comments. And then we will take questions. The news conference will conclude at 4:30 sharp.
My name is Paul Henderson, and I am the President and CEO of Menu Foods. With me today is Dr. Richard Shields, Executive Vice President of Menu Foods. Rick is head of Menu’s technical services that includes research & development, regulatory and quality assurance. Rick is a PHD in Animal Nutrition.
We are happy and relieved that the experts from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Cornell University have discovered the root of the issue that has harmed North American cats and dogs. This important discovery caps an unprecedented search by top experts. Dedicated and knowledgeable researchers at universities, independent laboratories, and our own veterinary consultants worked tirelessly to defend and protect our cats and dogs. Over the past seven days, we have spoken with almost two hundred thousand consumers. They were scared; some like myself, are angry; they demonstrated a level of care and concern that only those of us who are pet-owners can understand. Our hearts go out to the many thousands of pet-owners across Canada and the U.S. for their losses and their worry. We are grateful to them for their patience as we hunted for the root of the problem.
I can anticipate some of your questions, so let me address them briefly.

Q. How did this substance get into our products?
A. At this stage, we do not know. Our immediate next steps will be to begin testing of all suspect raw materials with the goal of quickly identifying the means through which this substance entered our supply chain.

Q. Which specific products made by our company contain this substance?
A. Again, we do not know with certainty. This morning, the researchers advised us of their discovery as they investigated the recalled product. At this time we have no reason to suspect that this matter goes beyond the recalled product.

Q. What should pet-owners do?
A. Until we have these answers, we have the following advice for consumers:
* We want to reinforce our view that all consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product.
* If your pet is showing any signs of illness after consuming any recalled pet food, see a veterinarian immediately

Q. What about the future of Menu Foods?
A. We have a strong, sustainable business, and we’re confident about the future. Our customers and partners have been understanding, supportive and loyal. And for that, we are grateful.

As I have explained, we have a lot of work to do. And we are eager to get back to it. But we will take questions for about 20 minutes.

I also ran across an interesting article at globeandmail.com, which does a good job chronicling the rise and fall history of Menu Foods before this latest catastrophe.

Just a reminder, too, about Petrapport, Inc.’s recall of Berkley & Jensen pig ear dog treats due to salmonella.

And here’s my initial Menu Foods recall post with links, or you can click the Pet food recall info/posts page at the top of this blog.

[4/5/07: ***Just got another recall notice (American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chew and Dog Chew [made from all American beef pizzle]) from the FDA in my mail, but this is another SALMONELLA-related one. (Not Menu Foods-related)***]

In the wake of the Menu Foods pet food recall I realized it’s really up to each of us to stay on top of things since we cannot assume that big business or our government will always (or ever) looking out for our best interest. With that in mind I signed up for the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recall listserv (yes, I know…it’s government, but... 😉) and thought I’d pass along the latest recall information they’ve posted. Unfortunately it is (yet again!) another pet-related item, but it is also harmful to humans who come into contact with it, having the possibility to inflict serious health issues for both humans AND pets–please read!

Petrapport Issues Recall of Pig Ear Dog Treats Because of Salmonella Contamination

Contact:
Luciana DeLeon
201-854-6157

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — North Bergen, NJ — March 23, 2007 — Petrapport, Inc. is voluntarily recalling pig ear dog treats it imported from a Chilean company during the period August 2006 through December 2006 because the pig ears have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious infections in dogs, and, if there is cross contamination, young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Laboratory testing has confirmed that samples of Full-Cut Pig Ears dog treats sold by BJ’s Wholesale Club in 25-count packages under the “Berkley & Jensen” brand with no lot number and only the expiration advisory “BEST IF USED BY 2009” (without referencing a specific month) were contaminated with Salmonella. Additional testing of other pig ear dog treats from shipments during the above time period has not revealed any additional evidence of Salmonella contamination, but Petrapport nonetheless is voluntarily recalling them out of an abundance of caution due to concern that the pig ears imported during this period may not have been effectively irradiated for Salmonella before shipment from Chile.

The voluntary recall includes dog treats sold by BJ’s Wholesale Club in its 25-count packages of “Berkley & Jensen” Full-Cut Pig Ears dog treats with no lot number and only the expiration advisories “BEST IF USED BY 2009” (without referencing a specific month) as well as “BEST IF USED BY SEPTEMBER 2009,” “BEST IF USED BY OCTOBER 2009,” “BEST IF USED BY NOVEMBER 2009,” and “BEST IF USED BY DECEMBER 2009.”

Also included within this voluntary recall are the following lots of pig ear dog treats sold in bulk by other retailers under the “Petrapport” brand:

ITEM #

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

RECALLED LOT #S

8915

Bulk Low Fat Pig Ears

101808 & 102108

8772P

Two Pack Bulk Pig Ears

101707

8770P

12 Pack Bulk Pig Ears

101707

8774P

24 Pack Bulk Pig Ears

101907

7416

1 lb. Bulk Pig Ear Strips

101907

7425

24 oz. Bulk Pig Ear Strips

5039

Salmonella can potentially be transferred to people handling these dog treats, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the product or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Dogs that become ill from Salmonella generally will have a fever and diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus. Affected animals may seem more tired that usual, and may have vomiting. Some dogs do not have diarrhea, but will have decreased appetite, fever and excess salivation. If your dog has consumed the recalled product and is exhibiting these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

While there have been no confirmed illnesses to date, consumers should immediately stop feeding these treats to their dogs. These products have been removed from the sales floors and the sales inventories of all retailers.

Consumers who purchased any of the above-identified pig ear dog treats should discontinue use of the products and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers who have further questions may contact Petrapport at 800-447-3872 extension 110.

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POSTS for 3/17-8/22:

  • 3/18/07: Science Diet has added some of their foods to the voluntary recall list. Pets HAVE died and others are suffering severe health problems, so PLEASE check this new list AND the ones I listed above. Thank you! Science Diet Recall (On 3/30/07 Science Diet recalled feline m/d)
  • 3/18/07 10:15PM PST: The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is even posting information which shows just how far-reaching this has become. They even have a web page with information on how to register adverse reactions/consumer complaints. I appreciate that so many of you are reading as much as you can about this and staying on top of the situation. What wonderful owners your pets have! 🙂 And PLEASE continue to spread the information to AS MANY folks as you can, and have THEM stay on top of it as well. I’ll definitely continue to add information as I find out about it.
  • 3/19/07 11:10 AM PST: Looks like Menu Foods has another press release, which interestingly enough says it’s not for US newswire services, whatever THAT really means. It’s in PDF format and can be accessed from their main recall page.
  • 3/20/07 11:20 AM PST: It is disconcerting to hear that in February, Menu Foods apparently was notified of the problems with pets eating certain Menu Foods produced food, did their own testing in which approximately 17% of the tested pets died, yet it wasn’t until March 16th that the recall was announced?!?! I am obviously no expert on how these things work, but it sure seems to me that the motto of “better safe than sorry” should have been in place LONG BEFORE March 16th! Menu Foods recall notice states:

“We take these complaints very seriously and, while we are still looking for a specific cause, we are acting to err on the side of caution” said Paul K. Henderson, President and CEO, Menu Foods. “We will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our products maintain the very highest quality standards.”

Seems to me that “acting to err on the side of caution” would have meant alerting consumers about the problems MUCH sooner than they did. According to news reports, Menu Foods was alerted by pet owners about deaths and renal failure on February 20th, Menu Foods began their own tests February 27th where between 15%-20% of the pets they tested died, yet the recall was not announced until March 16th, THREE WEEKS AFTER they were first alerted of the deaths and health issues?!?!

I certainly hope to hear SOME type of logical explanation SOON from Menu Foods, but until then all I can assume is that $$$$ (especially since in their initial press release on 3/16/07 they repeatedly mention how much the recall could cost their company) and probable financial loss is what had Menu Foods dragging their feet, while their consumers were unknowingly feeding their beloved pets food which could possibly kill them, if not leave them with painful health issues and enormous veterinary bills which many owners cannot truly afford. I worked in the veterinary field for nearly 7 years and know the high cost of health care for pets, along with having had expensive medical situations with my own pets. But that is what pet owners do, they care for their pets as if they were members of their family, which they are (just four-legged instead of two-legged), and will put themselves into debt just to make sure their pets get the best care possible. Unfortunately there will be pets whose health care costs related to the issues from the tainted food will be too high for some owners to absorb, and they will then have to make the heartbreaking choice to have their beloved pet euthanized.

Come on Menu Foods, let’s get cracking on finding some solutions here. I think everyone understands that “accidents” and “mistakes” do happen in life, which might possibly explain how the food became tainted in the first place, but the part I’m having the hardest time understanding right now is why the recall took so long to be announced to consumers. What do you have to say Menu Foods? You have countless pet owners looking to you for answers.

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