Monday, April 02, 2007

Pet Food Recall Widens

Del Monte Foods, Nestle Purina PetCare Co., Hills Nutrition and Menu Foods are all part of a growing list of pet food manufacturers who are recalling specific brands of pet food which have been formulated with the contaminated wheat gluten imported from an Asian source.

The latest disturbing news on this is that according to Del Monte (quote):
Del Monte Foods has confirmed that the melamine-tainted wheat gluten used in several of its recalled pet food products was supplied as a "food grade" additive, raising the likelihood that contaminated wheat gluten might have entered the human food supply....

Del Monte issued a voluntary recall Saturday for several products under the Gravy Train, Jerky Treats, Pounce, Ol' Roy, Dollar General and Happy Trails brands.
Wheat gluten is sold in both "food grade" and "feed grade" varieties. Either may be used in pet food, but only "food grade" gluten may be used in the manufacture of products meant for human consumption. Wheat gluten is a common food additive used as a thickener, dough conditioner, and meat substitute. It is widely used as an additive in commercial bakery items and special purpose flours.

Persons suffering from celiac disease must avoid foods containing all forms of gluten. If this particular shipment of gluten has indeed entered the food supply chain, it could have far reaching consequences.
Meanwhile, the FDA now says the contamination in wet pet food that has injured and killed pets across the country may not have been the pesticide aminopterin but possibly a fertilizer and plastics agent called melamine.

...FDA investigators are not certain how melamine would sicken or kill dogs and cats; there is little scientific information available about melamine exposure in animals.
One firm in New York disputes the melamine theory as the source of the many peat deaths and illnesses. They claim the traces of aminopterin discovered are a more likely source owing to its known toxicity as a rat poison and cancer drug treatment.
Earlier in the day, the FDA said its labs found no aminopterin in its tests. Neither did labs at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in New York. Cornell has been involved in testing of the Menu Foods since the first indication of the problem, "We have not been able to confirm aminoptrin in the food or body samples," says Donald Smith, dean of the college.
For details on the wide range of pet foods recalled by Menu Foods, vist their pet food recall information website here. You can also find the "Frequently Asked Questions" on the Menu Foods pet food recall this site.

Purina's recalled products include:
13.2-ounce and 22-ounce ALPO Prime Cuts cans and 6-, 8-, 12- and 24-can ALPO Prime Cuts Variety Packs. They have four-digit code dates of 7037 through 7053, followed by the plant code 1159. Those codes follow a "Best Before Feb. 2009" date. This information should be checked on the bottom of the can or the top or side of the multi-pack cartons.

Purina's 5.3-ounce Mighty Dog pouch products, manufactured by Menu Foods, were previously withdrawn from the market as a precaution on March 16 as part of the Menu Foods recall.
Hill's Science Diet Savory Cuts Feline canned cat foods, manufactured by Menu Foods, were previously withdrawn from the market as a precaution. Hills Nutrition products are generally only available through a vetrinarian source. Hills' affected products include:
The affected products:

• Prescription Diet™ m/d™ Feline dry food, 4 pound bag, 52742 42770(all lot numbers)

• Prescription Diet™ m/d™ Feline dry food, ten pound bag, 52742 42790(all lot numbers)

The company advised consumers to stop using the product and return it for a refund. Hill's is reformulating the food so that it will not contain wheat gluten, the company said.
Please don't consider the above the ony products affected. There are more not mentioned above which can be found at the various manufacturers' websites.

And as I mentioned, the recall is widening ...the list is still growing as this story continues to evolve.

Yesterday, the FDA announced that it has traced the contaminated wheat gluten to a single processor, Xuzhou Anying Biological Technology of Peixian, China, but has not released the name of the U.S. distributor who supplied the product to Del Monte, Menu Foods, Nestle Purina, and Hills Nutritional.

In all, more than 70 brands and over 60 million cans and pouches of dog and cat food are now part of this massive recall, as well as at least one brand of dry cat food.

We'll bring you more on the subject as the story unfolds.