OH NO! Not Dry Pet Food Now!!

United States
March 31, 2007 4:51am CST
Recall expanded to some dry cat food. How far is this going to go? Do we need to start only feeding our pets homemade food? Do you think we are we going to hear that it is also in some foods for human consumption? Federal testing of recalled pet foods turned up a chemical used to make plastics but failed to confirm the presence of a cancer drug also used as rat poison. The recall expanded Friday to include the first dry pet food. The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it found melamine in samples of the Menu Foods pet food involved in the original recall and in imported wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the company's wet-style products. Cornell University scientists also found melamine in the urine of sick cats, as well as in the kidney of one cat that died after eating some of the recalled food. Meanwhile, Hill's Pet Nutrition recalled its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry cat food. The food included wheat gluten from the same supplier that Menu Foods used. The recall didn't involve any other Prescription Diet or Science Diet products, said the company, a division of Colgate-Palmolive Co. FDA was working to rule out the possibility that the contaminated wheat gluten could have made it into any human food. However, melamine is toxic only in high doses, experts said, leaving its role in the pet deaths unclear. The FDA alone has received more than 8,000 complaints; the company, more than 300,000. Company officials on Friday would not provide updated numbers of pets sickened or killed by its contaminated product. Pet owners would be compensated for veterinary bills and the deaths of any dogs and cats linked to his company's products, the company said. The melamine finding came a week after scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified a cancer drug and rat poison called aminopterin as the likely culprit in the pet food. But the FDA said it could not confirm that finding, nor have researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey when they looked at tissue samples taken from dead cats. And experts at the University of Guelph detected aminopterin in some samples of the recalled pet food, but only in the parts per billion or trillion range. "Biologically, that means nothing. It wouldn't do anything," said Grant Maxie, a veterinary pathologist at the Canadian university. "This is a puzzle." Meanwhile, New York officials stuck to their aminopterin finding and pointed out that it was unlikely that melamine could have poisoned any of the animals thought to have died after eating the contaminated pet food. Melamine is used to make plastic kitchen ware and is used as a fertilizer in Asia. An FDA official allowed that it wasn't immediately clear whether the melamine was the culprit. The agency's investigation continues, said Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. Menu Foods said the only certainty was the imported Chinese product was the likely source of the deadly contamination, even if the actual contaminant remained in doubt. New York remained confident in its aminopterin finding, said Patrick Hooker, commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. Hooker added that neither aminopterin nor melamine should be in pet food, but that it was unclear why the latter substance would be poisonous to the cats in which it was found. "While we have no doubt that melamine is present in the recalled pet food, there is not enough known data on the mammalian toxicity levels of melamine to conclude it could cause illness and deaths in cats. With little existing data, many questions still remain as to the connection between the illnesses and what has caused them," Hooker said. Wheat gluten, a source of vegetable protein, is also used in some human foods, but the FDA emphasized it had found no indication that the contaminated ingredient had been used in food for people. The FDA said it would alert the public quickly if the melamine was found in any foods other than the recalled pet food. One veterinarian suggested the international sourcing of ingredients would force the U.S. "to come to grips with a reality we had not appreciated." "When you change from getting an ingredient from the supplier down the road to a supplier from around the globe, maybe the methods and practices that were effective in one situation need to be changed," said Tony Buffington, a professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State University. The FDA's Sundlof said the agency may change how it regulates the pet food industry. "In this case, we're going to have to look at this after the dust settles and determine if there is something from a regulatory standpoint that we could have done differently to prevent this incident from occurring," he said. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070330/ap_on_go_ot/pet_food_recall
4 people like this
9 responses
• United States
31 Mar 07
I hadn't heard this yet. Thank you for posting it. I will have to check my dry food now. Only thing is; we dump it into a bin, and throw away the bags. So I will have to make a trip to the store to check for wheat gluten. This is crazy. I can't believe the FDA, said "they MAY change how they regulate pet food". I think they should have said changes are in the works. Do they even really care? Makes one wonder.
2 people like this
• United States
31 Mar 07
Glad you caught that. It hit me right away too. How can they be so cold, to them it's just money business. (+)
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (98255)
• United States
31 Mar 07
Gluten is such a universal food additive, I fully expected to see the dry food make it to the recall list. I am not normally a Prophet of Doom, but I will say that I am fairly certain that it will also be found in human foods. I have had the experience of trying to find gluten free products for a student at a school where I worked, and then for my Aunt. It is almost impossible. And if this is a cheap source, people will have put it in lots of other foods, as well.
• United States
31 Mar 07
Thanks Gerty, Just a few minutes ago I saw an interview on the Today Show and it is being taken seriously and they advise pet owner not to feed their pets with any dry food which have wheat gluten in the ingredients I checked my Purina dry food and it has CORN gluten in it I wonder if that is safe?
1 person likes this
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
31 Mar 07
This is getting way out of hand!! You don't know what to do. I hope that it hasn't already made it to human food. It is so scary.
2 people like this
@jennybianca (12915)
• Australia
31 Mar 07
What! Not more cat food problems... and Hills again to. This is very bad, as Hills is the recommended brand our vets rave on about. I have one bag of Hills Dry dog food at the moment, for dental care. This is highlighting the problem of obtaining ingredients from overseas, which may not have our stringent regulations.
2 people like this
@lonewolfnan (4367)
• Canada
1 Apr 07
This sounds like a story that is just going to get bigger and bigger!The money spent on pets is in the billions a year,so this market is very profitable.The profits though went into the pockets of the owners and not enough was spent on research.Now the smaller companies of pet food supplies will suffer and wilt away while the big boys take over the whole industry.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
31 Mar 07
I think they need to scrub the containers better espcialy if they have had fertalizer in them before hand. The barges that go up and down the Miss. river wash and scrub them out after each load have been delivered no matter what was in them. And I was wondering befoe if it went to dry pet food too! now I know I just hope Purina isnt in on this recall for thats all we feed our dogs.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Apr 07
Wow. I am really troubled. Please keep us updated. I didnt think it had spread to dry food. I truly hope it doesnt affect my pets foods. I am getting freaked out. We switch all the time on dry foods but never hit up Hills stuff (which btw was supposed to be healthy!). :(( I keep my eyes open Pedigree is okay and Meow Mix for wet foods. Still freaky though! :((
• United States
1 Apr 07
I almost fell off the couch when the news reported the second pet food recall. At least none of the brands listed are the ones my cat ears, or else I would probably be a mess right now. I wonder what will be next---cat treats? The article makes me curious. What do they put in cat food?
• United States
1 Apr 07
It almost sounds like someone sabotaged the food at Menu. Has anyone heard that this may be a possibility? I just tknow that my dog gets veggies from the table and real meat and very little dog food. I'm taking no chances. Besides, he loves veggies and the vet is very happy about his health so that's good enough for me.