Pet Food Recall Update - April 15, 2007

 Pet Food Recall Information - Planet-Pets.com


It’s the middle of the night and you’re startled awake by the disturbing sounds of your pet vomiting down the hall from your bedroom... You pull yourself out of bed to investigate, slowly making your way across the dark room.  As you walk down the hallway towards the front of the house, you begin to notice several spots where your pet has thrown up.  Reflecting over the past few days, you remember noticing that he seemed a little disoriented and had been drinking more water than usual.  

What could be happening?

On March 16th, 2007, an unprecedented pet food recall by Menu Foods, Inc. was implemented, which removed more than 60 million containers of wet pet food off the shelves nationwide, much to the dismay of millions of pet owners across America.  

Sold under Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger and other large store brands, the over 100 different product brands reportedly have caused sickness, vomiting, extreme thirst, kidney failure and even death. 

The full number of cats and dogs that have suffered is unknown but 16 deaths were reportedly related to eating the affected pet food. In announcing the North American recall, Menu Foods said product testing has not revealed a link explaining the reported cases of illness and death. 

Pet owners with animals showing symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy and extreme thirst are being told to bring them in for immediate examination.

In addition to manufacturing for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers, Menu foods said it is also a contract manufacturer for the top-branded pet food companies, including Procter & Gamble Co.

Menu Foods reports it received a number of pet owner complaints of vomiting and kidney failure in dogs and cats after they had ingested its products. 

Testing revealed the cause of the sickness is the presence of melamine, a chemical used to make plastics. In then recognized wheat gluten, but most recently added to the list is a second ingredient, rice protein concentrate

What is melamine?

CBS News reports it as, “Melamine is a chemical both associated with fertilizers and plastics, though it is neither alone. Combining it with formaldehyde can produce a durable resin that is used in housewares and other products in which plastic and plastic coatings are found. It can also be used as a cleaning product."

The FDA reported finding melamine in certain pet foods last month — and found it in crystalline form in the urine of ill animals. Once in an animal's body, melamine can cause harm to the kidneys, though it is usually not considered a toxic ingredient. 

What is rice protein concentrate?

Rice protein is a less expensive, less likely to cause allergies, protein that food manufacturers are using more and more in both their human and pet foods to boost the protein content.  The concentrate is derived from wholegrain brown rice, and uses the entire rice kernel in the processing (in which natural enzymes digest the kernel's carbohydrates, leaving the protein.)

What is wheat gluten?

Wheat gluten is what's left over when a dough made from wheat flour is washed and kneaded until its starch is rinsed away. A popular meat substitute in Asia, wheat gluten is also used in some Western markets. Wheat gluten is used for binding and serves as a protein source in some pet foods.

 

Wheat Gluten Ban

The U.S. government has banned the import of wheat gluten from China, suspecting a link between the melamine sometimes used in fertilizers in Asia and the wheat gluten imported from China.”

Class Action Lawsuit Against Menu Foods

The Pet Food recall has led to at least three lawsuits against Menu Foods from pet owners who allege their animals got sick or died after eating recalled food. The FDA has sent inspectors to Menu Food plants in New Jersey and Kansas. 

Most complaints stem from products made at the latter factory, though both received shipments of wheat gluten from the same suppliers in China, said Stephen F. Sundlof, the FDA’s chief veterinarian.  These ingredients are a protein source used to thicken the pet food gravy.

Updated List Of Recalled Pet Foods

For the most up to date list of recalled food, visit www.avma.org - the American Veterinary Medical Association.

END ARTICLE


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Pet Food Recall Information sources:

Fox News – www.foxnews.com

CBS News - www.cbs.com

Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/
Agriculture Department: http://www.usda.gov/

Organic Trade Association - www.ota.com
Pet Food Institute - www.petfoodinstitute.org

 

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