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Class action against Purina dog treats handed a setback

Plaintiffs say Yam Good chicken treats killed their dogs

A class action charging that Nestle Purina's Yam Good chicken treats killed the plaintiffs' dogs has suffered a setback. A federal judge in Illinois ruled that the consumer protection laws of the plaintiffs' home states take precedence.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman also dismissed most of the allegations against Walmart, Costco, Target, BJs, CVS, Walgreens, Pet Supplies and other retailers who sold the treats, Courthouse News Service reported.

The jerky treats are made in China by Waggin' Train, a Nestle Purina company. Chinese chicken has been blamed for numerous cases of death and illness in dogs. Until recently, Chinese chicken could not be imported into the U.S. for human consumption but the USDA recently announced that four Chinese chicken plants would be allowed to import their products and would not have to label them as originating in China. 

Yam Good

Consumers rate Purina Pet Foods

In the Yam Good case, lead plaintiff Dennis Adkins says he bought Yam Good dog treats from WalMart in March 2012 for his 9-year-old Pomeranian, Cleopatra. 

"Between March 13, 2012 and March 15, 2012, Mr. Adkins gave one of the treats to Cleopatra daily, which he chopped into two to three pieces," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Adkins made no other changes in her diet."

"Immediately thereafter, Cleopatra became sick and, on March 26, 2012, died of kidney failure."

"Mr. Adkins owns another nine year old Pomeranian, named Pharaoh," the complaint continues. "Mr. Adkins did not feed any of the 'Yam Good' treats to him. Pharaoh did not become ill."

Other class members made similar claims, but Judge Gettleman said their cases should be heard in the states where they reside. 

"In the instant case, 19 out of 21 plaintiffs allege that they reside in states other than Illinois and that they purchased the chicken jerky treats and fed them to their pets in their home states. With the exception of the two plaintiffs who reside in Illinois, the complaint alleges no other facts tying any of defendants' alleged misconduct or the plaintiffs' alleged injuries to Illinois," the judge said.

A class action charging that Nestle Purina's Yam Good chicken treats killed the plaintiffs' dogs has suffered a setback. A federal judge in Illinois ruled ...

FDA Disputes Pet Food Pain Killer Findings

But Texas Lab Stands by Its Test Results


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is disputing the findings of a Texas laboratory that reported it discovered the pain killer acetaminophen in some brands of pet food.

The FDA said it didnt find acetaminophen in a handful of samples of dog and cat food it tested in the past week, according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"We cannot validate their finding, Julie Zawisza, assistant commissioner of public affairs for the FDA told the newspaper.

But ConsumerAffairs.com learned the FDA cannot confirm it tested the same lots and brands in which the Texas laboratory -- ExperTox, Inc. -- detected the pain medication.

This case is not closed, Donna Coneley, lab manager with ExperTox, Inc. told us. Theyre (FDA) still requesting samples and data from us. Weve talked to them three times today. I dont see by any means that this is over. If it was over and done with, why would they bother spending so much time with us on the phone and arranging for samples to be released?

Asked about the FDAs comment to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Coneley responded: I dont know their reasoning. What I do know is that when they told me they tested a few samples of cat and dog food, I asked them if they were the same lots and brands that we tested. And they couldnt confirm that any of them were the same ones we tested.

Were using two completely different testing instruments to detect those chemical, and the difference comes into play with the instruments and the instrumentation (used) to detect those chemical, she added.

Coneley said her lab tested 100 to 150 samples of pet food -- and detected acetaminophen in five of those samples.

The FDA, she said, tested just a few samples of pet food for the pain killer.

Its easier to say that we cant confirm something by looking at a few samples than to really investigate and continue investigating until you know something for sure, Coneley said. I think this might have been a quick way to get everyone off their (FDA) backs.

"Imaginary Experts"

Could those everyones be the Pet Food Institute (PFI), which represents the makers of 98 percent of all dog and cat food produced in the United States and calls itself the voice of U.S. pet food manufacturers?

Maybe there was pressure from them, Coneley said.

As we reported on Wednesday, PFI cast doubts on ExperToxs finding.

Through our contacts in Texas, which is where the lab is located that conducted the analysis, we have learned there is genuine concern among key toxicological and analytical experts about the lab and the actual test results, said PFI spokesman Kurt Gallagher.

Coneley questioned what experts PFI was talking about.

They never name the experts theyre working with, she said on Wednesday. When someone says people I know say this, it sounds to me like theyre trying to say there are experts who have looked into this and dont agree with the findings. But I dont believe there are.

To me, it sounds like theyre talking about imaginary experts. The (scientists at the) FDA are the only people weve been talking to about our findings.

Coneley told us today that her lab will continue working closely with the FDA and hopes to foster its relationship with that federal agency.

We dont want to build any animosity with the FDA, she said. Its in our best interest to help them see what were seeing.

Other Contaminants

As we reported, acetaminophen isnt the only contaminant ExperTox discovered in the samples of pet food it tested in May.

The lab found the chemical cyanuric acid -- commonly used in pool chlorination -- in some samples.

And in other samples, it detected the chemical that triggered the March 2007 recall of millions of containers of dog and cat food: melamine.

The FDA discovered melamine in the wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China and used in the more than 5,600 products that pet food makers have recalled in the past three months.

The chemical -- used to make plastics and fertilizers -- is blamed for the illnesses and deaths of thousands of pets nationwide. It is not approved for use in pet or human food.

ExperTox did not identify the brands of food it tested because of a confidentiality agreement.

Menu Foods

But ConsumerAffairs.com confirmed one of the brands that tested positive for acetaminophen is Menu Foods Pet Pride.

Pet owner Don Earl of Port Townsend, Washington, told us he hired ExperTox to analyze samples of Pet Pride "Turkey and Giblets Dinner" and Pet Pride "Mixed Grill.

He says he took that action because his cat Chuckles suffered kidney disease and died in January after eating those flavors of Pet Pride food.

He also told us that ExperTox analyzed the same lots and styles of Pet Pride food that he fed Chuckles before she died.

We reviewed ExperToxs findings of the samples Earl submitted, which confirmed the lab detected acetaminophen in the food.

The tests also detected cyanuric acid in the samples of Pet Pride food. Those samples, however, did not contain any melamine, the report stated.

Menu Foods declined to comment on ExperToxs finding and referred calls to the PFI.

As usual, the FDA did not return our telephone calls or e-mails seeking comment.

Pet owner Earl, however, criticized the FDA for making what he called unsubstantiated claims about ExperTox and its findings.

At the time of the article, the FDA had not tested any of the samples tested by ExperTox, he told us today. It is also of interest that in an attempt to get a second opinion on one of the two varieties of pet food I had tested by ExperTox, I submitted a separate sample to UC Davis, only to later find that UC Davis is a major recipient of pet food company funding. Under the circumstances, it is my firmly held belief that if the FDA is going to make these kinds of unsubstantiated claims, their methods should be publicly examined along side those on the cutting edge of these findings.

He added: It has been three months since the recall was announced and pet owners still don't have any hard answers as to how and why this happened, or what is safe to feed their pets.



FDA Disputes Pet Food Pain Killer Findings...

Del Monte the Latest to Recall Pet Food

Melamine Hazard in Dog Snacks, Wet Dog Food


Del Monte is the latest to recall some of its pet food products. The company said it's recalling pet treats sold under the Jerky Treats, Gravy Train Beef Sticks and Pounce Meaty Morsels brands as well as select dog snack and wet dog food products sold under private label brands.

 

A full list of the recalled products appears below.

The company said it learned from the FDA that wheat gluten supplied to Del Monte Pet Products from a specific manufacturing facility in China contained melamine. Melamine is a substance used in floor tiles, kitchenware, and fire retardant fabrics, blamed for the massive recall of Menu Foods and other pet products.

The company said the recall affects less than one-tenth of one percent of Del Monte Pet Products' annual pet food and pet treat production. It said the adulterated ingredients were used over the last three months.

Earlier, and Nestle Purina added some of their products to the growing recall of products blamed for a wave of dog and cat deaths throughout North America.

Nestle Purina recalled all sizes and varieties of Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy dog food marked with specific date codes. The company said some of the cans might be contaminated with melamine, the toxin suspected of causing the pet illnesses.

"We're very confident that we've isolated this problem," said Keith Schopp, a spokesman for Nestle Purina. "This is just one canned variety of Alpo, and it's one of many varieties of Alpo canned products. No dry products are involved. No cat products are involved."

But soothing corporate statements come as little comfort to affected pet owners, like Nicole of Key West, Fla.

"I have two small chihuahuas that ate Alpo Prime Cuts dog food. One of my dogs is currently in the hospital because her kidneys are failing. Sophie is only 6 months old and is very ill," she told ConsumerAffairs.com. "My other dog Charlie is beginning to show signs as well. This has caused me a great deal of stress, time off work, money and possibly the lives of my animals."

Del Monte Recall

Here are the products recalled by Del Monte, according to the company's Web site:

BRANDED

Production Code/Best By Date

Jerky Treats Beef Flavor Dog Snacks

Code:
Best By:

TP7C05
Aug 05 08

TP7B07
Aug 07 08

TP7B08
Aug 08 08

TP7B09
Aug 09 08

TP6B10
Aug 10 08

Code:
Best By:

TP7B15
Aug 15 08

TP7C05
Sep 02 08

TP7C06
Sep 03 08

Gravy Train Beef Sticks Dog Snacks

Code:
Best By:

TP7B19
Aug 19 08

TP7B20
Aug 20 08

TP7B21
Aug 21 08

Pounce Meaty Morsels Moist Chicken Flavor Cat Treats

Code:
Best By:

TP7C07
Sep 04 08

TP7C12
Sep 09 08

 

PRIVATE LABEL

Production Code/Best By Date

Ol' Roy Beef Flavor Jerky Strips Dog Treats

Code:
Best By:

TP7B06
Aug 06 08

TP7B07
Aug 07 08

TP7C05
Sep 02 08

TP7C06
Sep 03 08

TP7C07
Sep 04 08

Code:
Best By:

TP7C08
Sep 05 08

Ol' Roy Beef Flavor Snack Sticks Dog Treats

Code:
Best By:

TP7B19
Aug 19 08

TP7B20
Aug 20 08

TP7B21
Aug 21 08

TP7C08
Sep 05 08

TP7C09
Sep 06 08

Ol' Roy Bark'n Bac'n Beef & Bacon Flavor Dog Treats

Code:
Best By:

TP7C14
Sep 11 08

Ol' Roy with Beef Hearty Cuts in Gravy Dog Food

Code:
Best By:

BC6M21
Dec 21 09

Ol' Roy with Beef Hearty Strips in Gravy Dog Food

Code:
Best By:

BC7A19
Jan 19 10

Ol' Roy Country Stew Hearty Cuts in Gravy Dog Food

Code:
Best By:

BC6M15
Dec 15 09

 

Dollar General Beef Flavored Jerky Strips Dog Treats

Code:
Best By:

TP7C06
Sep 03 08

Dollar General Beef Flavored Beef Sticks Dog Treats

Code:
Best By:

TP7B20
Aug 20 08

TP7B21
Aug 21 08

Happy Tails Beef Flavor Jerky Strips

Code:
Best By:

TPY7B08
Aug 08 08

TP7B09
Aug 09 08

Happy Tails Meaty Cuts with Beef in Gravy Dog Food

Code:
Best By:

BC7A29
Jan 29 10

 

Del Monte said customers can call (800) 949-3799 for more information about the recall and for instructions on obtaining a product refund.

Recall Began Two Weeks Ago

The massive recall began two weeks ago, when Canada-based Menu Foods recalled 60 millions cans and pouches of "cuts and gravy" moist dog and cat food produced at its plant in Emporia, Kan., between Dec. 3 and March 6. It has since affected such national brands as Procter & Gamble's Iams and Eukanuba, Nestle SA's Purina Mighty Dog and others, including some sold at Wal-Mart and Safeway.

Joanne of Bentleyville, Penn., was an Iams customer. When her cat refused to eat the Iams Select Bites pouches Joanne brough home, she let her border collie eat them. The dog died a slow death from kidney failure.

"She loved cat food ... so I gave it to (her) as a treat she never gets. The following day I tried the food again with the cat but again he would not eat it so again I gave it to the dog. I had no idea that I thought the food was a treat for my dog was actually poison."

"My life will never be the same. I feel I poisoned one of my family," Joanne said in a complaint to ConsumerAffairs.com. "I trusted a company. I will never do that again."

Menu Food's President and CEO says his company still doesn't know how wheat gluten contaminated with a chemical commonly used in plastic wound up in its products.

President Paul K. Henderson also said the contaminated wheat gluten is not in any of its other product that are outside the scope of the company's massive recall of 60 millions containers of "cuts and gravy" style pet 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 doesn't involve any other Prescription Diet or Science Diet products, the company said.

The Food and Drug Administration -- and an outside laboratory -- announced on Friday that tests found a chemical called melamine in samples of the tainted pet foods involved in the recall.

"Melamine has been found in the finished product that was the subject of recall and has not been found in other Menu Foods pet food outside of the recall," Henderson said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Cornell University officials also confirmed they found melamine -- used in floor tiles, kitchenware, and fire retardant fabrics -- in the urine and kidney of a sick cat. New York officials say they've detected that chemical, too.

Henderson said the melamine-tainted wheat gluten came from a new supplier, who imported the ingredient from China. He said the company stopped using that supplier after dogs and cats across the country showed symptoms of kidney disease or died after eating Menu's pet foods.

"Needless to say, we have a great deal of interest in finding out why we were supplied with this kind of product," Henderson said of the tainted wheat gluten. "This is a subject of very great interest to us and our lawyers and you can expect that we will be following up."

He added: "For litigation purposes, we cannot elaborate at this time."

Grieving pet owners in the United States and Canada have filed lawsuits against Menu Foods, alleging the company was negligent and should have warned consumers about its tainted products before the March 16, 2007, recall.

Problem Solved?

Henderson said pet owners shouldn't worry about the safety of the cat and dog food the company is now producing.

"Let me be clear on this -- we have removed that (tainted wheat gluten) problem from our system," he said. "Our products are safe. We continue to engage in the highest levels of monitoring and testing in the pet food industry. These tests will be expanded as a result of this experience."

He also pointed out: "Melamine has not been found in the wheat gluten that we obtain from our other suppliers ... all of the testing that has been conducted, including the routine taste tests that were underway prior to the discovery of this problem, have demonstrated that those products not associated with the suspect wheat gluten performed very well and in a manner consistent with historic norms."

The tainted wheat gluten, however, might have been used to make dry dog food.

Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said the melamine-tainted ingredient was shipped to an unnamed company -- one that manufactures dry pet food.

The federal agency is now investigating whether that contaminated ingredient was used to make any dry pet foods.

When asked if pet owners could be feeding unsafe food to their animals, Sundlof said: "It is possible, but I think we've been following every lead that we can. My sense is that we have gotten most of it under control."

Last week, New York officials announced they discovered the toxin aminopterin -- used as rat poison in other countries and as a cancer drug in the United States -- in Menu's contaminated products.

But the FDA said its tests -- and those by the outside lab -- did not reveal the rat poison in the recalled pet food. Or in the wheat gluten.

Wheat gluten is used a thickening agent and source of protein in pet foods, but it's also used in some human foods.

The FDA said today that it has found no indication the contaminated ingredient is in any food humans eat. The agency said it would alert the public if it found melamine in any other foods.

The FDA has confirmed at least 16 deaths linked to Menu's contaminated pet foods, but officials expect that number to dramatically increase. The FDA said it has received calls from more than 8,000 veterinarians and pet owners.

Earlier this week, the Veterinarians Information Network, a Web site of 30,000 veterinarians and veterinary students, announced its members have reported 104 deaths linked to Menu Foods' contaminated products. The majority of those deaths -- 88 -- involved cats.

The Web site also received 11 reports of dogs dying after eating Menu Foods' tainted food. The remaining five deaths did not list a species.

In addition, VIN said its members have seen 471 cases of kidney failure since Menu Foods announced its massive recall on March 16, 2007.

The Web site PetConnection.com says it has -- as of March 30, 2007 -- received 2,400 unconfirmed reports of dog and cat deaths linked to Menu Foods.

Henderson offered his company's condolences to grieving pet owners.

"All of us at Menu Foods want to express our sympathy to those people who have suffered with sickness and loss of pets," he said. "We are pet-people and we have almost 1,000 caring employees who are dedicated to making food that is safe, nutritious and palatable."

He added: "We are angered that a source outside of the company has apparently adulterated the product causing this regrettable loss."

As the investigation continues, pet owners are advised to watch their dogs and cats for symptoms of kidney failure, including loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, excessive drinking and either excessive or no urination.

Veterinarians, however, warn that animals do not show symptoms until about 70 percent of the kidney function is lost.

A complete list of the recalled Menu pet foods is available at Menu Food's Web site: www.menufoods.com/recall or contact the company at (866) 463-6738 or (866) 895-2708.

 

 

 

Del Monte the Latest to Recall Pet Food...

Better understanding pet food contamination

Expert says Salmonella can occur between the factory and the food bowl

Pet food recalls seem to be on the increase. A number of brands from different manufacturers have been recalled this year because of a risk of foodborne illness, primarily Salmonella.

Consumers who complain that a particular brand of pet food has sickened their dog or cat may have acquired a small quantity of contaminated product, or even contaminated it themselves, according to Dr. Mian Riaz, director of Texas A&M's Food Protein R&D Center. Recent recalls, he says, have come in spite of what are mostly strict precautions.

“The pet food manufacturers buy their ingredients based on the understanding that they are toxin-free,” Riaz said. “But in the truck one grain might be contaminated with a toxin and that one grain has the ability to spread the toxin throughout the whole truck.”

Sometimes the ingredients are fine but get contaminated once they arrive at the plant. During one small part of the manufacturing process, for example, the ingredients might come in contact with a contaminated piece of equipment, such as a mixer. The entire batch is then compromised.

Common bacteria

Salmonella is a bacteria that is a common cause of food poisoning in humans. In the U.S. there have been a number of recent Salmonella poisonings that have killed of sickened the human population, such as the widespread 2007 contamination of peanuts. In addition to harming humans this bacteria can take a deadly toll on animals.

In recent years manufacturers have stepped up internal controls to keep outbreaks to a minimum, including product tests.

“They are responsible for that and most of them do test, not every single batch but I'm sure they do it internally,” Riaz said. “If I'm running a chart I have a print-out showing I hit my required temperatures and I can prove that.”

Temperature is important because heat at a certain level will kill Salmonella and render it harmless. By ensuring that pet food ingredients are subjected to the required level of heat during the process, manufacturers are better able to control toxins and reduce the instances of food poisoning.

Post-production contamination

But once the product leaves the factory the manufacturer loses control, and it turns out that some of the contamination – perhaps a lot – occurs after the finished product is shipped out.

“If you go to the grocery store most of the dog food is stored at a controlled and proper temperature,” Riaz said. “If you buy a large supply at one time, you need to make sure you also store it properly when you get home. Read the instructions on the back. It will tell you exactly how you should store it.”

In some respects, pet food is a lot like people food. The container should be properly closed after use and stored in a cool, dry place not subject to humidity. Pet food, like people food, is subject to spoilage.

While manufacturers have a responsibility to prevent contamination of pet food before it leaves the factory, Riaz suggests consumers also have a responsibility to make sure the food is free of toxins once it is in the home. It's very possible, he says, that consumers themselves are responsible for some of the salmonella poisonings that have been reported.

Consumer responsibility

“It's definitely true,” he said. “Let me give you an example. Sometimes it is the children in the household who feed the dog. Their hands have been everywhere and can be covered with germs. Those germs can then get on the food.”

Just as you wash your hands before preparing food for people, Riaz says consumers should have clean hands when they handle their pet's food. It's a two-way street. After handling pet food you should wash your hands. If there is salmonella on the pet food, that prevents its spread elsewhere.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to tell if pet food is contaminated. However, extreme cases may be visible to a keen eye.

“Some of the toxin can be identifiable,” Riaz said. “It might be a green fungus that forms on it if the food is not properly stored. If it's very humid and not properly stored you could see a lot of fungus grow on it. Obviously you don't want to feed that to your pet.”

Another way to avoid coming in contact with contaminated food is to carefully inspect the package. In the store if you see a bag that is damaged or has a small tear, its contents could easily be contaminated. Not only should you not buy it, you should bring it to the attention of store managers so they can remove it from the shelves.

Pet food recalls seem to be on the increase. A number of brands from different manufacturers have been recalled this year because of a risk of foodborne il...

Another Recall of Kasel Industries Dog Treats Because of Salmonella Fears

This time, Kasel is recalling Boots & Barkley pig ears and variety pack dog treats sold at Target

It was just a few weeks ago that FDA inspectors found Salmonella bacteria in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats at Kasel Associated Industries of Denver during a routine sampling inspection. In September, the company recalled Boots & Barkley beef bully sticks. 

Now the Colorado Department Of Agriculture says a routine sampling finds that  Boots & Barkley pigs ears and variety treats made at the Kasel plant contained the Salmonella bacteria.

The company says it has "ceased distribution of any lots that have possible contamination of the bacteria." No other products made by Kasel Associated Industries are included in the recall of the 12 count packages of Roasted Pig Ears and the 32oz Variety Pack Dog Treats.

The recalled products were sold at Target stores.

The recalled Roasted Pig Ears and Variety Pack Dog Treats were distributed nationwide through Target retail stores in August 2012. The Roasted Pig Ears product comes in a clear plastic bag containing 12 pig ears marked with UPC bar code 647263899158. The Variety Pack product also comes in a clear plastic bag weighing 32oz and marked with UPC bar code 490830400086. 

The company did not furnish any photos of the recalled products, as is customary in such cases. Located at 3315 Walnut Street in Denver, Kasel Industries maintains a low profile. 

The company's website says it started its business in 1986, "to serve the refrigeration and boiler needs of the local food processing industry." It does not mention pet food and describes itself as a manufacturer of industrial refrigeration and boiler systems as well as "new slicing equipment, primarily for the meat processing industry."

Long history

There's nothing new about this, of course. Pets have been dying of poisoned food and snacks for years and, in many cases, their owners have been infected as well. The pet food companies argue that there is no definitive diagnosis in many cases but angry pet owners say that even when they send a sample of the suspect food to the manufacturer, nothing is done.

The FDA, long lambasted by critics for being lax in policing pet and human food supplies, insists it is looking into the problem, although the agency recently took the unusual step of posting a commentary questioning the seriousness of the problem. 

Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA echoed the pet food manufacturers as she wrote that it is often difficult to pin down the cause of a specific pet's malady. She urged consumers to report their pets' illnesses to the FDA but critics were not encouraged.

Earlier this year, the FDA insisted it has been "unable to determine a definitive cause of reported dog illnesses or a direct link to chicken jerky products" and said that "extensive chemical and microbial testing ... has not uncovered a contaminant or cause of illness from any chicken jerky treat."

The FDA does note that jerky and other snacks "should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities."  

Sarah Alexander, the education and outreach director of Food & Water Watch, a Ralph Nader-founded consumer organization, says the FDA "has a poor track record of ensuring the safety of food from China for people and pets."

"Despite the flood of reports of dogs dying from imported dog treats going back as far as 2007, the FDA has done nothing to fix the problem," Alexander said in a recent email to the organization's supporters.

More about Pets & Pet Food

Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO is voluntarily recalling its BOOTS & BARKLEY ROASTED AMERICAN PIG EARS AND BOOTS & BARKLEY AMERICAN VARIE...

NUTRO Pulls Greenies Dental Chews from Supermarkets

Snacks will be distributed only through veterinarians, specialty retailers

By Truman Lewis
ConsumerAffairs.com

May 4, 2009
NUTRO Products, Inc. says it is pulling its Greenies line of pet dental chews from supermarkets and other mass markets. Beginning in June, the Greenies — which have been blamed for illness and deaths in some dogs and cats — will be distributed only through veterinary hospitals and pet specialty retailers.

We believe that pet medical professionals at veterinary hospitals and well-trained, knowledgeable staff at pet specialty stores are best equipped to answer pet owners questions about our products and to make the right recommendation, said Carolyn Hanigan, vice president of marketing for Nashville, Tenn.-based NUTRO.

The company said that staff education was a primary concern for the Greenies dental chew line, as each of five sizes is formulated for a corresponding weight range

It's the latest attempt to resolve highly-publicized incidents of pet deaths attributed to the popular treats. Pet owners said the treats failed to be properly digested and led to fatal intestinal obstructions.

In February 2006, the company said it would clarify the instructions on the packaging. The green-tinted treats are in the shape of a toothbrush and are promoted as an effective way to prevent gum disease in animals and promote oral health.

Reformulated

The dental chews were reformulated to be "more highly soluble and thus safer, yet effective as a daily preventive of oral disease," the company said in a November 2007 statement. Independent studies conducted by the University of Illinois confirmed the high solubility of Greenies, according to the statement, which said that the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) had awarded its Seal of Acceptance to Greenies for plaque and tartar control.

In 2005, a New York couple filed a $5 million lawsuit against Greenies' then-manufacturer, S&M NuTec, charging the treats are unsafe and inadequately labeled. The couple charged an undigested Greenie caused the death of their four-year-old Dachshund. The company was later acquired by NUTRO.

Jennifer Reiff and Michael Eastwood say their minature dachshund died two days after they fed him a petit-sized Greenie.

The couple told WCBS-TV in New York that the day after giving the dog the treat, they took him to the vet where he underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. Reiff and Eastwood say it was a portion of a Greenie that caused the problem. Their pet died two days later.

KIRO-TV in Seattle reported in 2005 that the Food and Drug Administration had begun an investigation of the complaints but nothing more was ever heard of the supposed probe.

Pet owners complain

ConsumerAffairs.com has received complaints from several pet owners whose pets died or became ill after chewing the popular treats.

"We gave such a treat to our Japanese Chin on Friday and she is dead," said Mary of Sayville, N.Y. in September 2007. "The vet did an autopsy and she choked on a piece of this allegedly digestive greenie. My vet told me that a number of dogs have either choked to death or died as a result of intestinal blockages caused by Greenies."

Rose of Phenix City, Ala., said in September 2006 that her Maltese became ill after eating a Greenie: "She couldn't eat or drink. She almost died. ... My dog was sick for 2 weeks and was in the intensive care and given IVs."

Lisa of Simi Valley, Calif. was luckier.

"My Standard Poodle, Hummer, got into a bag of Greenies which had not even been opened — they were still sealed in the bag in the shipping box. He weighs around 54 pounds and ate appoximately 8oz. Later he was rushed to the pet Emergency Clinic had to spend the night and we were told to watch him carefully the next several days," she said in a 2006 complaint.

Lisa said Hummer was rushed back to the hopsital in Noctober for emergency surgery.

Developed by dog owners

Greenies were developed in the late 1990s when two dog owners, Joe and Judy Roetheli, teamed with a well-known board-certified veterinary nutritionist to develop a dog chew treat formulated to control dental tartar, plaque and gingivitis, and formulated to taste great while reducing bad breath.

NUTRO is owned by Mars, Inc., one of the world's largest producers of pet food, confectionary, beverage, food and health food. The privately-held company is headquartered in McLean, Va.

A division of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied that it is investigating NUTRO Products Inc., whose pet foods are the subject of more than 700 complaints from consumers who say their dogs and cats became ill and, in some cases, died after eating NUTRO products.

NUTRO Pulls Greenies Dental Chews from Supermarkets...

Complaints Mount About Pet Treats From China

Suit against Purina gains class-action status

Pet food maker Nestle Purina now faces a class-action suit by pet owners in eight states who say the company's jerky treats killed or sickened their pets.

Yet the product remains on store shelves and NBC News reports the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is unable to pinpoint a contaminant that could be causing the problem.

The original lawsuit was filed back in April by an Illinois pet owner. Six other pet owners have now joined it and are also suing the retail stores that carry the product, Walmart, Costco and Target.

Complaints

Consumers writing to ConsumerAffairs continue to report adverse results when they feed Waggin' Train treats to their pets.

“I began to notice things just weren't right with her,” Dennis, of Bellport, NY, wrote about his pug in a ConsumerAffairs post. “She had become lethargic, had loose bowel movements, and seemed to drink a lot more water than usual. When she started to not want to eat her food, I knew something was wrong. I cook everything she eats, and give her no store bought dog food, so the Wagg'n Train treats were the only thing she was given besides freshly prepared foods.”

Steve, of Franklin Park, NJ, reports he had purchased Waggin' Treats for years and that his dogs loved them. But last month, his Westie suddenly got sick after eating them and died.

“My regular vet ran several logical tests – but came up clueless as to what was causing his lethargy, lack of eating, and vomiting,” Steve wrote. “He thought it was colitis – so we tried antibiotics. That made my “Max” feel no better – even worse. He was then tested for Addison’s Disease. Nope – that was not it, as well.”

Common link?

Both Steve and Dennis noted that they prepared their dog's food themselves, which might suggest the animals has particularly sensitive digestive systems. Whether that's a possible contributing factor is unknown.

Since last November the FDA has been cautioning pet owners about chicken jerky products for dogs. The FDA notes that it has seen an increase in the number of complaints about the products, but as yet it does not know why.

“FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination,” the FDA says on its site. “If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours.”

The FDA says the illnesses may not be associated with the jerky treats and that it continues to investigate the origin of the animals' sickness.

Pet food maker Nestle Purina now faces a class-action suit by pet owners in eight states who say the company's jerky treats killed or sickened their pets....

FDA Finds Salmonella in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

Contaminated treats found at company's Denver plant

FDA investigators found Salmonella bacteria in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats at Kasel Associated Industries of Denver during a routine sampling inspection, the agency said today.

Once notified of the results, the company recalled and ceased distribution of its product.

The product comes in a clear plastic bag with the Nature's Deli logo containing 2.5 lbs chicken jerky marked with UPC bar code 647263800208. Kasel Industries is recalling lot number BEST BY 091913 DEN because this lot code tested positive through analysis by the FDA.

The FDA said the incident is unrelated to jerky pet treats from China that are associated with reports of illness in dogs and cats. 

Since 2007, there have been increasing numbers of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but others include duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.

The FDA said it has received approximately 2,200 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected.

Over the past 18 months the reports have contained information on 360 canine deaths and one feline death. There does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports. Cases have been reported from all 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces in the past 18 months.

ConsumerAffairs has also received thousands of reports of pet illnesses attributed by owners to food and treats. In the vast majority of cases, no definitive diagnosis is made.

Consumers rate Nutro Pet Foods

"It has only been a couple of days since I have purchased a new bag of Nutro senior dog food," Tiffany of Austin, TX, posted on ConsumerAffairs earier this week. "My dog has diarrhea and has vomited. I actually feel somewhat lucky that I came across this site. As of today, he is no longer eating Nutro brand foods."

Although the FDA said it has been actively investigating the reports of illnesses, no definitive cause has been determined.

"The ongoing global investigation is complex, multifaceted and includes a wide variety of experts at the FDA including toxicologists, epidemiologists, veterinary researchers, forensic chemists, microbiologists, field investigators and senior agency officials," the agency said in a statement. 

86 million pounds

In the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in importation of pet food from China. Human consumption of poultry in China largely consists of dark meat, leaving a large amount of light meat poultry products available for export.

From 2003, when China first approached the USDA about poultry exports, to 2011, the volume of pet food exports (regulated by the FDA) to the United States from China has grown 85-fold.

It is estimated that nearly 86 million pounds of pet food came from China in 2011. Pet treats, including jerky pet treats are currently considered the fastest growing segment in the pet food market. 

FDA said it is "concerned about any food found to contain Salmonella and will post information for the public on any new bacterial outbreak that has the potential to sicken animals and humans who handle potentially contaminated products." The agency cautions consumers to thoroughly wash their hands after having contact with pet products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella may have some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Consumers exhibiting these symptoms 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. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

Read more about pets

FDA investigators found Salmonella bacteria in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats at Kasel Associated Industries of Denver during a rou...

Nutro Recalls Dry Cat Food Products

Incorrect levels of zinc, potassium

May 21, 2009
Nutro Products has announced a voluntary recall of select varieties of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE COMPLETE CARE Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO MAX Cat Dry Foods with Best If Used By Dates between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010. The cat food is being voluntarily recalled in the United States and ten additional countries. This recall is due to incorrect levels of zinc and potassium in our finished product resulting from a production error by a US-based premix supplier.

Two mineral premixes were affected. One premix contained excessive levels of zinc and under-supplemented potassium. The second premix under-supplemented potassium. Both zinc and potassium are essential nutrients for cats and are added as nutritional supplements to NUTRO dry cat food.

The company said the probelm was identified during an audit of the documentation from the supplier. A company spokesman said an "extensive review confirmed that only these two premixes were affected." The recall does not affect any NUTRO dog food products, wet dog or cat food, or dog and cat treats.

Affected product was distributed to retail customers in all 50 states, as well as to customers in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Israel. The company said it is working with all of its distributors and retail customers, in both the US and internationally, to ensure that the recalled products are not on store shelves. These products should not be sold or distributed further.

Consumers who have purchased affected product should immediately discontinue feeding the product to their cats, and switch to another product with a balanced nutritional profile. While the company said it has received no consumer complaints related to this issue, cat owners should monitor their cat for symptoms, including a reduction in appetite or refusal of food, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea. If your cat is experiencing health issues or is pregnant, consumers should contact their veterinarian.

Consumers who have purchased product affected by this recall should return it to their retailer for a full refund or exchange for another NUTRO dry cat food product. Cat owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-800-833-5330 between the hours 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM CST, or visit www.nutroproducts.com.

Recalled Pet Food

The varieties of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE COMPLETE CARE Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO MAX Cat Dry Foods listed below with Best If Used By Dates between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010 are affected by this recall.

U.S. Product Name

Bag Size

UPC

NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Kitten Food4 lbs0 79105 20607 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food8 lbs.0 79105 20608 2
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food (Bonus Bag)9.2 lbs. 0 79105 20695 2
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food20 lbs0 79105 20609 9
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult4 lbs0 79105 20610 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult8 lbs.0 79105 20611 2
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult (Bonus Bag)9.2 lbs0 79105 20694 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult20 lbs0 79105 20612 9
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult Oceanfish Flavor4 lbs0 79105 20622 8
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult Oceanfish Flavor8 lbs0 79105 20623 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult Oceanfish Flavor (Bonus Bag)9.2 lbs. 0 79105 20698 3
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult Oceanfish Flavor20 lbs0 79105 20624 2
   
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor3 lbs0 79105 10228 5
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor6 lbs0 79105 10229 2
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor16 lbs0 79105 10230 8
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor3 lbs0 79105 10243 8
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor6 lbs0 79105 10244 5
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor16 lbs0 79105 10245 2
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Salmon Flavor3 lbs0 79105 10246 9
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Salmon Flavor6 lbs0 79105 10247 6
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Salmon Flavor16 lbs0 79105 10248 3
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Weight Control3 lbs0 79105 10249 0
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Weight Control6 lbs0 79105 10250 6
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Weight Control16 lbs0 79105 10251 3

Read verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.

Nutro Products has announced a voluntary recall of select varieties of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE COMPLETE CARE Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO MAX Cat Dry Foods....

Dog Owners Blame Jerky Treats for Their Pets' Health Problems

Animals, like people, need a well-balanced and nutritious diet

Any dog owner will tell you that dogs will eat just about anything. But that doesn't mean they should.  It's up to dog owners to be sure they're feeding their furry friends a balanced, healthy diet. 

Just like humans, dogs shouldn't gorge themselves on treats and snacks at the expense of healtheir fare. 

Snacks are often blamed, fairly or not, for canine health problems. One brand that's currently taking heat from dog owners is Waggin Train, which makes chicken jerky and other snack products.

"After wondering why our dog was getting so sick, I started hearing about the Waggin Train Jerky Treats. I checked in her box of different treats and discovered that I have an almost empty bag of Waggin Train Jerky Tenders!" said Lucinda of Strasburg, Va., in one of many similar  ConsumerAffairs postings. "I am so upset and broken hearted because my dog is dying! ... Our sweet girl is dying because of this poison!"

Waggin' Train insists its snacks are "made of premium chicken breast fillets" and says the "high-protein, low-fat treats are slow-cooked to seal in the natural flavors for a healthy and wholesome snack."

FDA indecisive

But if the snacks are so healthy, why are dogs getting so sick? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been studying the situation for years and still has not reached a conclusion.

The agency says it has been "unable to determine a definitive cause of reported dog illnesses or a direct link to chicken jerky products" and says that "extensive chemical and microbial testing ... has not uncovered a contaminant or cause of illness from any chicken jerky treat, including Waggin' Train treats."

The FDA does note that jerky and other snacks "should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities."  

"It breaks my heart to know I was giving treats to my dog that killed him," said Vivian of Macomb, MI, who said her four-year-old Golden Retriever died after being fed Waggin Train treats.  "I took him to vet and liver enzymes were off the chart."

Unsympathetic

Many pet owners who've written to ConsumerAffairs have complained that Waggin' Train was unsympathetic to their complaints.

"I gave my Shih Tzu a Waggin Train' Big Blast Treat yesterday and this morning she was very sick. She trembled and cried for over an hour. When I called the complaint hotline, they acted like it was no big deal," said Marsha of Adrian, MI. 

Besides making sure their pets are eating a healthy and well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise, dog owners might want to scan the reviews about various pet foods in the ConsumerAffairs Pet Care section, where it quickly becomes obvious that some pet food companies are more responsive to consumer concerns than others.

More responsive

Tiffany of Marblehead, Ohio, recently complained that her dog had refused to eat her Natural Balance food. She complained to Natural Balance, which refunded her money and suggested she try another bag.

"I did receive an email from a representative at Natural Balance asking me to contact her, and did so today. The representative was very pleasant," Tiffany said. "She feels that my dog has decided she doesn't like this food any longer. She said no significant changes have taken place with the Natural Balance formula, and that she has not had any other complaints. She is mailing me a voucher of one of the different formulas to try, and we will try it."

A cat owner, David of Optional, Ohio, posted a ConsumerAffairs complaint saying his cats had gotten sick eating Natural Balance. 

"Natural Balance voluntarily contacted me to understand my issue. We discussed the situation and settled on the fact that the bag of food may have been expired as they had not had other complaints about any batches of the salmon formula being bad. I was impressed with the way they handled the issue. I'm now using Natural Balance again," David said.

Shirley of Rhinelander, WI said that after her complaint was posted, Natural Balance contacted her and sent her a voucher for another bag of dog food.
 
"They also sent a label to have the food shipped back to the company that I purchased for testing. They told me they would share the results when they had them," Shirley said. "The person I talked with was very pleasant and called and talked with my vet. She then called me back with inconclusive reports and said my vet could not pin it on the dog food that was making my Hannah sick."
Any dog owner will tell you that dogs will eat just about anything. But that doesn't mean they should.  It's up to dog owners to be sure they're feedi...

Pet Owners Should Be Aware of Salmonella Threats

Foodborne illnesses affect pets a lot more than you think

The news that Diamond Pet Foods is recalling its Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food because it may be contaminated with salmonella should be a reminder for pet owners. Salmonella and foodborne illnesses can affect your pets, just like humans.

In the case of Diamond, the company said it has received no reports of people or animals getting sick. But it notes that pets who do get salmonella may have decreased appetite, fever, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Those symptoms are often cited by consumers describing their pets after eating a variety of commercial pet foods.

"Just got a female English bulldog about two weeks ago," Brandi, of Canon, Ga., wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. "After a week she started gasping and vomiting , then my male started. The only thing that has changed was the food that I recently bought."

It may not be what you think

When consumers report these often life-threatening ailments to their pets, they assume that there is some ingredient in the dog food that is causing the illness. Other consumers report feeding their pets the same brand with no ill effect. In many cases, the problem may not be the food itself, but simply that it has become contaminated with salmonella or some other bacteria.

“The problem of salmonella in pet foods and pet treats, even in pet supplements like vitamins, is something people should be aware of,” Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., told the New York Times last August.

Last fall the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began a stepped-up program of testing pet food samples for salmonella, mainly to prevent exposure to humans who handle the food. But pet owners are arguing more should be done to protect food given to animals.

Pay attention to recalls

The Humane Society says pet owners should remain vigilant about pet food recalls, when they occur, such as the one just announced by Diamond. The company has recalled:

  • 6-pound bag with the production code DLR0101D3XALW and best before Jan. 4, 2013;
  • 20-pound bag with the production code DLR0101C31XAG and best before Jan. 3, 2013;
  • 40-pound bag with the production code DLR0101C31XMF and best before Jan. 3, 2013;
  • 40-pound bag with the production code DLR0101C31XAG and best before Jan. 3, 2013;
  • 40-pound bag with the production code DLR0101D32XMS and best before Jan. 4, 2013.

 If your pet's food or treats are recalled, the Humane Society says you should immediately stop feeding the product to your pet. Recalled products may be returned to the store where they were purchased for a full refund or thrown away in a secure area not accessible to animals. If you have questions about recalled food or treats or require additional information contact the company that manufactures the product.

If your pet may have consumed a recalled product, consult your veterinarian, even if your pet does not appear to have any symptoms. If your pet has become ill or died because of a recalled food or treat, please you should report it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your state.

The news that Diamond Pet Foods is recalling its Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food because it may be contaminated with salmonella should be a ...

Pet Food Recalls Spread

Canidae, Wellpet, Natural Balance recall some batches of dry dog food

Add Canidae, Wellpet, Natural Balance and Apex to the list of pet food manufacturers recalling dry pet food because of Salmonella contamination. Diamond Pet Foods recalled its Puppy Formula and Chicken Soup flavors last week.  

The recalls follow the discovery of Salmonella at Diamond Pet Food's Gaston, South Carolina facility. Diamond earlier recalled several of its dry dog foods and federal officials said at least 14 people have been infected with Salmonella, apparently after coming into contact with the contaminated pet food.

It's the same South Carolina plant that a few years ago produced Nutra Nuggets and other dog foods contaminated with aflatoxin, a mold, which was blamed for the death of dozens of dogs. In 2008, Diamond agreed to a $3.1 million settlement to compensate dog owners.

It often comes as a surprise to consumers to learn that their trusted brand of pet food is manufactured, at least partly, at the same plant as other brands. Manufacturers keep costs down by outsourcing at least part of their production process, adding proprietary flavorings or ingredients to differentiate their products from the competition.

The recalls are a major embarrassment for companies that promote their products as being more "natural" than their competitors.

Peace of mind

"As a pet parent myself, I know how important peace of mind is when it comes to the health of our pets, and that is why we require that all of our products undergo testing forSalmonella, among other things," said Tim Callahan, chief executive officer of WellPet, the maker of Wellness products. "All of these lots tested negative prior to being released for sale. We are voluntarily taking this additional step to further safeguard our dogs and to put our customers’ minds at ease."

Callahan said the majority of Wellness natural products for pets are produced in WellPet's own facility in Mishawaka, Indiana, and he said WellPet "no longer purchases any products from Diamond Pet Foods."

On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food, the CDC said. A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility has also yielded Salmonella.

Public health investigators identified recent cases of human illness matching the Salmonella Infantis strain found in the unopened bag of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Seven of ten reported contact with a dog in the week before becoming ill.

More illnesses are likely to be discovered in the coming weeks as records are collected and analyzed from health departments around the country.

Danger to humans

If you're a pet owner, health officials say it's important to be careful handling pet food and pet dishes.  You should wash your hands thoroughly after handling pet food.  Pet food and feeding dishes should be kept out of the reach of children.  Dishes should be washed often and thoroughly.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets 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.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

Add Canidae, Wellpet and Natural Balance to the list of pet food manufacturers recalling dry pet food because of Salmonella contamination.The recalls fol...

Diamond Pet Food Expands Its Dog Food Recall

Adds Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food to recall

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a recall to include its Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 due to potential exposure to Salmonella. No illnesses have been reported.

The product was distributed in the following states:  Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Further distribution through other pet food channels may have occurred. 

Pet owners may call toll-free at 1-866-918-8756, Monday through Sunday, 8 am – 6 pm EST. 

The product is Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula. Only samples, 6 pound and 18 pound bag sizes are affected.

Production Code & Best Before Date            
DSL0801, 20-Oct.-2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 and packaged on Oct. 20, 2011) DSL0801, 26-Aug-2012        
DSL0801, 27-Sept- 2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 and packaged on Sept. 27, 2011)
DSL0801, 18-Oct- 2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 and packaged on Oct. 18, 2011)
DSL0801, (Samples)

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets 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.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a recall to include its Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food manufactured on Aug. 26,...

Mars Petcare Recalls Some Pedigree Dog Food

Company also makes Nutro, blamed for problems by scores of pet owners


A salmonella scare has forced Mars Petcare US to recall 100 of its 20-pound bags of PEDIGREE Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites sold at some Albertsons in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The company also makes Nutro pet food, which scores of consumers nationwide blame for the recent illnesses — and even deaths — of their dog and cats.

Nutro products, however, are not included in this recall.

Mars said a "component" that tested positive for salmonella was inadvertently shipped to its Tracy, California, plant and used in the production of 100 bags of PEDIGREE pet food.

The affected bags have the "best by" dates of July 7, 2009.

"Our primary concern is the safety and welfare of our pet owners and their pets," the company said in a statement. "Although the finished product tested negative and we have received no reports of illness of pets or their owners, out of an abundance of caution we are issuing a voluntary recall of the limited number of bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites containing the component in question."

Mars said it is working with Albertsons to retrieve any of the affected bags still on store shelves or in distribution centers. Consumers who bought the food should return it to Albertsons for a full refund.

Mars also said it is cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on this recall.

Salmonella can cause infections in dogs and cats. It can also be transferred from pets to people who ingest or handle contaminated products. Children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.

To prevent the spread of salmonella contamination, the FDA said consumers should wash their hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap before and after handling pet foods and treats.

Consumers should also:

• Wash pet food bowls, dishes, and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use;

• Not use their pets' feeding bowl as a scooping utensil. Pet owners should use a clean scoop or spoon;

• Dispose of old or spoiled pet food products in securely tied plastic bags and put them in a covered trash cans.

The FDA's Web site has additional tips on how to safely handle pet food.

More about pets ...



Mars said a "component" that tested positive for salmonella was inadvertently shipped to its Tracy, California, plant and used in the production of 100 bag...

Pet Food Fall-Out Continues, with Recalls, Raids, Lawsuits

Government Compensates Hog Farmers, but Not Pet Owners


The fall-out from the massive pet food recall continues as the scope of the contamination widens into the human food supply, more companies recall their products, and a major pet food manufacturer company sues its suppliers.

In the latest wave of pet food recall activity:

• Meat from 345 hogs that ate feed made with melamine-tainted rice protein has apparently entered the market, the Associated Press reported. The United States Department of Agriculture also reported that pigs from slaughterhouses in Kansas and Utah may have entered the food supply. In addition, federal authorities quarantined some 6,000 pigs -- on farms in eight states -- that were given feed made with tainted ingredients;

• Diamond Pet Foods recalled three canned products made by American Nutrition Inc.: Diamond Lamb & Rice Formula for Dogs, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Kitten Formula, and Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Puppy Formula. The company says these products contain melamine-tainted rice gluten imported from China;

• Chenango Valley Pet Foods recalled four of its dry dog foods: Drs. Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food; Drs. Foster & Smith Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Lite Cat Food; Lick Your Chops Lamb Meal, Rice & Egg Cat Food; and Bulk Chicken & Brown Rice Formula Adult Lite Dog Food sold to one consignee (SmartPak). The company took this action after learning the products contain potentially contaminated rice protein;

• The Blue Buffalo Company removed all its canned and biscuit products from retail distribution after learning that American Nutrition Inc. (ANI) -- the manufacturer of its cans and biscuits -- added rice protein concentrate to the products without its knowledge. This is product tampering, and it apparently has been going on for some time, the company said. The can formulas that we developed, and trusted them to produce, never contained any rice protein concentrate. ANI received the rice protein from an importer whose ingredients have tested positive for melamine. Blue Buffalo says none of its BLUE or Spa Select canned precuts have tested positive for melamine;

• Menu Foods, the company that announced the nationwide pet food recall in March, sued its supplier, ChemNutra, for allegedly sending contaminated wheat gluten to its plant in Emporia, Kansas, according to the Emporia Gazette. The lawsuit, filed in Lyon County District Court, seeks a judgment substantially in excess $75,000 and asks that ChemNutra protect Menu Foods from all costs associated with the recall and any related lawsuits. Menu Foods prides itself on providing customers with wet pet food products made with high quality ingredients, the companys attorneys stated in the court petition. In 2006, ChemNutra promised Menu Foods that it could supply one such high quality ingredient, wheat gluten, to Menu Foods. ChemNutra breached its promise.

• The Food and Drug Administration raided the Las Vegas office of ChemNutra. The FDA is investigating whether the company violated the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, according to wire reports out of Las Vegas. The FDA has told ChemNutra that the company be held accountable because it imported the melamine-tainted wheat gluten that triggered one of the current pet food recallseven though it had no prior knowledge that its Chinese supplier put the chemical in the product;

• FDA agents also searched Menu Food's production facility in Emporia, Kansas, news outlets reported. Menu Foods said the U.S. Attorney's offices in Kansas and the western district of Missouri have targeted the company as part of misdemeanor investigations into whether it violated the federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, the AP reported. The sale of adulterated or contaminated food is a misdemeanor. A Justice Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment. "Menu Foods has been doing everything it can to cooperate with the FDA," company chief executive officer Paul Henderson said in a statement. "Even before commencement of this investigation we have given the FDA full access to our plant and our records, have answered questions and provided documents to them any time they have asked." The FDA would not comment on the search warrants.

• China banned the use of melamine from its food products, the AP reported. Thats the chemical blamed for causing illnesses and deaths in scores of across the country. China, however, denied charges that the chemical caused the pets deaths. "At present, there is no clear evidence showing that melamine is the direct cause of the poisoning or death of the pets," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "China is willing to strengthen cooperation with the U.S. side ... to find out the real cause leading to the pet deaths in order to protect the health of the pets of the two countries."

Quarantined Hogs

The hogs that ate the contaminated pet food scraps are now under federal quarantine on farms in California, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma and Ohio, government officials said.

The pigs are believed to have eaten salvage pet food contaminated with two chemicals: melamine and cyanuric acid.

FDA officials say cyanuric acid -- detected in the rice protein and wheat gluten used in some pet foods -- is used to boost the protein content of foods. It also a stabilizer in outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs.

"The combination of melamine and cyanuric acid is of concern to human and animal health," said Captain David Elder, director of the FDA's Office of Enforcement Office of Regulatory Affairs. "Melamine, at detected levels, is not a human health concern.

The tainted pet food scraps were sent to pig farmers as salvage by companies that have recalled pet foods.

Elder said pigs that ate this contaminated feed will not be allowed to enter the human food supply.

He emphasized, however, that "based on information currently available, the FDA and the USDA believe the likelihood of illness after eating such pork is extremely low. However, the agencies also believe it is prudent to take this measure."

The pork from these animals will also be destroyed, officials said. And the USDA will compensate hog farmers affected by the tainted pet food. Owners of pets killed by the tainted pet food, on the other hand, get nothing.

The FDA is also investigating the possibility that contaminated pet food scraps found their way to a poultry feed mill in Missouri, according to AP.

In related news, the FDA said China has granted visas to U.S. food inspectors who want to examine the facilities that manufactured the tainted rice protein and wheat gluten.

Menu Foods Lawsuit

That tainted wheat gluten is at the heart of the lawsuit Menu Foods filed against its supplier, ChemNutra.

The tainted ingredient is blamed for the deaths and illnesses of scores of dogs and cats across the country and triggered Menu Foods recall of more than 60 million containers of pet food.

Earlier this week, Menu Foods President Paul Henderson told a Congressional hearing the wheat gluten may have been spiked with melamine to increase its protein content.

What this appears to be is a case of deliberate contamination of wheat gluten in order to pass off substandard product, Henderson told a U.S. House committee. For a seller who knows how industry testing methods work, this would allow them to cheat the buyers.

ChemNutra Chief Executive Officer Steve Miller said his company has been the victim of deliberate and mercenary contamination by its supplier.

We assure you that we will never again do business with the supplier of the suspect wheat gluten, XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., Ltd., Miller said in a letter posted on his companys Web site. ...We hope that U.S. and Chinese investigations of XuZhou Anying reveal what actually occurred.

Regarding this weeks raid of ChemNutras office, Miller said: We have cooperated and complied fully with FDA investigators both prior to and since being served with todays search warrant, and will continue to do so. We keep very good records, which has made it relatively easy for the investigators to retrieve what they needed.

We also now believe that our wheat gluten customer, Menu Foods, used significantly more wheat gluten monthly than we supplied to them, so we hope that Menu Foods will disclose its other sources to the FDA to ensure that any suspect product is quarantined, Mille added.

Miller said his company quarantined the suspect wheat gluten immediately after learning it might be linked to illnesses in pets.

We can only hope that Menu Foods has taken steps to ensure that this situation will not be allowed to spread even farther because of its inaction, he said, adding Menu Foods had apparently been aware (of this problem) for some time.

More about the Pet Food Recall ...



Pet Food Fall-Out Continues, with Recalls, Raids, Lawsuits...

Sick As a Dog -- It's Not Just Cantaloupes, Dog Food Is Blamed for Many Illnesses

Critics say FDA has "a poor track record" of assuring the safety of food, human and otherwise

ConsumerAffairs readers are long accustomed to stories like this one, from Jill of Lawrence, Kan.: "I picked up a bag of Nutro Max Senior to try for my aging collie. At first, I didn't see any problems, but she became progressively sick[er], throwing up at least once a day and becoming lethargic. The only thing that had changed in her life was her food.

"I stopped giving the collie this apparently toxic food, bought her familiar Science Diet, and all is well again. Shame on dog food manufacturers for not learning from the lessons of the past! We will never buy Nutro Max again."

Case closed?

Bernadette Dunham

There's no question that contaminated pet food can make pets sick, as a long history of recalls and pet illnesses and deaths indicates. But are consumers too quick to blame the food when their pet falls ill? Some veterinarians think so, including Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA).

The FDA has been in the middle of countless disputes over whether a pet food is to blame for animal illnesses, but in a recent FDA blog posting, Dunham says it is often difficult to pin down the cause of a specific pet's malady.

She offers these suggestions to pet owners:

1. Contact your veterinarian right away if your pet gets sick. Be ready to describe the symptoms and keep track of how soon after your pet's last meal or snack they occurred.

2. Always keep the original label or packaging of whatever you are feeding your pets. If you buy a large bag of feed and scoop it into a smaller container, be sure to save the original. The FDA needs not only the brand name but the lot number and other information that is only available from the label.

3. Report the incident to the FDA, either at its website or by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your state. Contact information is available online

Of course, none of this does much good for someone whose beloved pet is in extremis. It's already too late for them.

"Purina SmartBlend Lamb and Rice killed my dog," said Lisa of Wichita, Kan. She said her one of her dogs became ill and was undergoing treatment when her second dog began refusing to eat. 

"The vet came out again, gave more meds and he was doing better. That night, he died," Lisa said. "I called Purina after I began researching and found that many other dogs became sick and/or died while on this food. Of course, I heard the, 'This is the first time we have ever heard of it.' They promised to reimburse my vet fees. I am still waiting. I even sent them a sample of the food. I called not too long ago and they closed my case."

Critics: FDA is lax

Consumers rate Nutro Pet Foods

The FDA is with you all the way, Dunham assures us but not everyone agrees. Sarah Alexander, the education and outreach director of Food & Water Watch, a Ralph Nader-founded consumer organization, says the FDA "has a poor track record of ensuring the safety of food from China for people and pets."

"Despite the flood of reports of dogs dying from imported dog treats going back as far as 2007, the FDA has done nothing to fix the problem," Alexander said in a recent email to the organization's supporters.

Alexander quotes a pet owner named Rita, who experienced problems similar to those so familiar to ConsumerAffairs readers: "Heidi was a happy and healthy 8-year-old German Shepherd on May 23, 2012 when I gave her just two chicken jerky dog treats as a 'special' treat. Within two days she became ill, vomiting and diarrhea and lethargy, refusing all food but drinking water excessively. On Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, Heidi died a horrific death in my arms. The void her passing has left in my life is almost unbearable. I live alone and Heidi was my constant companion, my loyal friend, my fierce protector."

The FDA regulates the import of pet food and processed human food, but Alexander and other critics contend the agency has done too little to stop contaminated food from China from being sold in the U.S.

"This isn't the first time that tainted pet food from China has harmed our pets," Alexander noted. "Just a few years ago thousands of pets became sick and died after eating pet food contaminated with melamine, and right now there are more than 60 human food products that are banned from being imported from China because of unsafe substances, including milk products contaminated with melamine."

Alexander notes that the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by Congress last year has not yet been implemented. And just as critics say the Obama Administration's failure to adopt the rules in a timely manner is responsible for the current outbreak of salmonella contamination in cantaloupes, it is also being blamed for the failure to adequately regulate pet food. 

President Obama signed the bill into law in January 2011 and final standards were supposed to have been enacted within 12 months. But 19 months later, the standards are in limbo, awaiting final action by -- who else? -- the FDA.
  
Everyday ConsumerAffairs hears stories like this one, from Jill of Lawrence, Kan.: "I picked up a bag of Nutro Max Senior to try for my aging collie. ...

New FDA guidelines for animal feed

Surprisingly, these basic guidelines aren't already the law

The Food and Drug Administration, as part of its Food Safety and Modernization Act, has proposed new safety guidelines for animal food. But for the average consumer, the most surprising thing about this announcement might be the fact that the proposed new guidelines aren’t already the law.

The FDA itself concedes that it is only now "proposing preventive measures to protect all animal foods from disease-causing bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants."

The propsed new rules affect both pet food and the feed that is given to livestock. 

“Unlike safeguards already in place to protect human foods, there are currently no regulations governing the safe production of most animal foods. There is no type of hazard analysis. This rule would change all that,” says Daniel McChesney, Ph.D., director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

McChesney notes that human and animal health are intertwined. People can get sick when pet food is contaminated by disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella. When such food is handled by pet owners and placed on kitchen surfaces, the bacteria can spread to foods consumed by their family.

And if an animal has eaten feed contaminated with a chemical like dioxin and then enters the food supply, consumers could likewise absorb the chemical, putting their health at risk.

By helping to prevent the contamination of animal foods, the proposed rule protects pets and people alike, he says.

Jerky treats

Earlier this week, we reported that the FDA is asking for pet owners to help them figure out exactly why, since 2007, hundreds of American dogs and cats have died after eating presumably tainted beef jerky treats. Only last month could we report that the FDA would require pet food labels to list any artificial colorings included among its ingredients.

In one of the most infamous examples of pet food contamination, dogs and cats across the country were sickened and killed in 2007 when melamine, a chemical used to make plastic, was added to pet food ingredients imported from China. 

The requirements proposed in both the animal and import rules are designed to help prevent that from happening again, McChesney says.

Humane Society approves

The Humane Society of the United States is applauding the FDA's action, noting the thousands of pets sickened by jerky treats and contaminated dog food in recent years.

“As the recent shock over the deaths of hundreds of pets who consumed imported jerky treats illustrates, there is an urgent need for stronger regulations protecting the safety of our pet food and treat supply," CEO Wayne Pacelle said. "Pets reside in 68 percent of U.S. households and are cherished members of our families who deserve high-quality, safe, nutritious food and treats.

"We urge the FDA to continue investigating the cause of the pet food deaths, and encourage pet owners who suspect their pets may have consumed contaminated products to report their case to the FDA’s consumer reporting system,” Pacelle said.

Even if you’ve never owned an animal in your life the regulations are still likely to affect you because, as McChesney told NBC, “We have been pushing feed safety for a number of years. It’s not, ‘Oh, we’re just making food for animals.’ They’re the first part of the food chain. We're a part of the overall food industry.” 

The proposed new rules will be open for public comment for 120 days. If put into law, they would apply to all domestic and imported animal feed, as well as the raw ingredients used to make it.

The Food and Drug Administration, as part of its Food Safety and Modernization Act, has proposed new safety guidelines for animal food. But for the average...

Nature's Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats Recalled

The product poses a possible salmonella health risk

Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO, is recalling its Nature's Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats product because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.

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. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

The recalled Chicken Jerky Dog Treats were distributed to 57 Sam's Club locations in CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MO, MT, NE, OK, SD, UT and WY.

The product comes in a clear plastic bag with the Nature's Deli logo containing 2.5 lbs. chicken jerky marked with UPC bar code 647263800208. Kasel Industries is recalling lot number BEST BY 091913 DEN because this lot code tested positive through analysis by the FDA.

No illnesses have been reported to date in animals or humans in connection with this product.

The company has ceased distribution of any lots that have possible contamination of the bacteria. No other products made by Kasel Associated Industries are included in the recall of 2.5 lbs. packages of Chicken Jerky Dog Treats.

Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Anyone with questions may contact Kasel Associated Industries at (800) 218-4417 Monday thru Friday from 7am to 5pm MDT.

Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO, is recalling its Nature's Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats product because it may be contaminated with Salmonella. ...

Neighbors raise a stink over pig ear plant implicated in numerous recalls

Dog treat plant's smells offend neighbors' sensibilities, its products enrage pet owners

Dog owners have been raising a stink over some of the pet treats produced by Kasel Industries and now the company's West Denver neighbors are getting into the act as well.

The problem is the place stinks, according to more than 150 complaints the city has received in recent years. 

"Caller left message regarding terrible odor. Said he was 'throwing up'," was a typical complaint recorded last year, according to Westword, a community news site.

Pet owners outside the Denver area may not care what the place smells like but many of them are irate about products Kasel has recalled in recent years, products like:

  • Boots & Barkley pigs ears;
  • Nature's Deli chicken jerky dog treats; and
  • American Variety Pack treats, recalled today along with all other products made at the plant from April 20, 2012, thru September 19, 2012.

The recalls involve possible Salmonella contamination of the treats. This is particularly galling to pet owners who seek out pet food and treats made in the United States, hoping to avoid the dangers associated with products containing ingredients from China.

"I better start seeing this crap pulled from shelves at Petsmart... fat chance," said ConsumerAffairs reader Merri Krishnan in a Facebook posting after a batch of pig ears were recalled. 

But as Merri said, fat chance. Kasel is still operating, its products can be found in most pet stores and the neighbors are still beefing, despite the recalls and the efforts of the Food and Drug Administration and the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which have both found Salmonella in some of the company's products.

A citation

The city of Denver finally got into the act, responding last year to the neighbor's complaints. It issued an odor citation to Kasel, citing a section of Denver's air pollution ordinance and informed the plant's owner, Ray Kasel, that the fine would be $500.

Now you might say that $500 is a small price to pay for making West Denver smell like a rendering plant but Ray Kasel didn't take kindly to the citation. He filed an appeal, saying the neighbors were untrustworthy and claiming the wind was blowing the stench the other way on the days the neighbors complained.

The hearing officer was not impressed and the appeal was denied. So Kasel did what any respectable pig ear entrepreneur would do. He sued the city in federal court, claiming it was conspiring against him, harassing him and violating his constitutional property rights. He also sued various city officials and some of the complaining neighbors.

Leaving aside the legal niceties, Kasel appears to be arguing that it's not his fault that dead animals smell bad and that the nature of the neighborhood has changed since he went into business in 1986.

The West Denver neighborhood -- which for some reason is called RiNo -- was for decades an industrial area. Kasel's neighbors include a sausage factory, a company that cleans septic tanks and a corned beef plant, according to Westword. 

Probably none of these folks would say they should be run out of town just because some vacant industrial buildings have been turned into condos occupied by hipsters, artists and others not habituated to barnyard aromas.

As for pet owners looking for red-blooded American dog treats, our advice is to stick with baked snacks. Leave the pig ears out of it.

 

Dog owners have been raising a stink over some of the pet treats produced by Kasel Industries and now the company's West Denver neighbors are getting into ...

Purina defends Beneful, but will dog owners bite?

Veterinarian insists there is no scientific evidence food was the cause of any of the reported illnesses

 

Purina is defending Beneful dog food from consumers' allegations that it made their dogs ill. But whether consumers accept the explanation remains to be seen.

"We have reviewed our consumer contacts and are confident there are no product quality or safety issues with Beneful, and consumers can continue to feed Beneful with complete confidence," Beneful spokesman Keith Schopp said in a statement to ConsumerAffairs. "Purina’s quality control procedures are among the strictest—if not the strictest—in the industry, and our products are formulated by professional pet nutritionists and veterinarians."

Schopp was responding to complaints posted on ConsumerAffairs and elsewhere by pet owners who say their dogs became ill or died after eating Beneful.

While no one has been able to definitively determine whether or not Beneful or any other substance was responsible for the incidents portrayed in the consumer postings, that hasn't stopped pet owners, bloggers, reporters and others from speculating heatedly about the controversy, a process that veterinarians say doesn't accomplish much.

"These statements are not backed by any scientific studies, and the conditions described in the postings are amongst the most common conditions seen in everyday veterinary practice," said Dr. Stephen Ettinger after reviewing many of the posted consumer reports.

Ettinger, a Cornell graduate who has been a practicing veterinarian for 40 years, is a Nestlé Purina Fellow in Veterinary Medicine but is not a Purina employee. He is the editor and a contributing author of the Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a book used throughout the world by veterinary students and clinicians for peer-reviewed information on veterinary medicine, including nutritional aspects of medicine.

"When a pet is sick, pet owners often look first to the pet’s food as the cause. However, it is rare that their food is responsible for the illness," Ettinger said in an article published by DVM360.com, a trade publication for veterinarians.

"I’ve read through many of the current comments regarding Beneful and believe they do not provide any evidenced-based rationale for making such claims," Ettinger said. "[F]rom these internet descriptions, it seems possible that these animals were ill to begin with and thus the diet (Beneful or otherwise) likely had nothing to do with the illness."

"I do agree that ANY abnormalities noted by pet owners should be brought to the attention of their veterinarian, and any concerns with a particular product should immediately be brought to the attention of the manufacturer so that information can be collected and products appropriately monitored," Ettinger said. "The veterinarian and the pet owner then can decide whether to contact the FDA, as well. To date there has been no evidence that Beneful has caused any problems when fed to dogs."

Sincere but misguided?

While Purina and Ettinger seek to assure pet owners and veterinarians that there is no scientific evidence to tie Beneful to pet illnesses, others have gone after the pet owners themselves, accusing them of fabricating the complaints. Some have criticized ConsumerAffairs and other sites for posting the complaints. One blogger even suggested we made up the complaints.

We placed calls to several consumers whose complaints were recently published on our site, to verify that they had submitted the complaint and that they considered them truthful.

"Maxxie left us this morning," said Liz Korfin of North Miami Beach in her ConsumerAffairs posting. "We had the pleasure of 12 AMAZING years with an incredible doggie."

We telephoned Ms. Korfin, whose dog Max is pictured here, and got her permission to use her last name. Consumer reviews are posted to our site using just the consumer's first name but we collect additional information that is not normally published. Several of the consumers we talked to gave their permission to use their full names. Some, like Korfin, also supplied photos of their dogs to lend credibility to their postings.

"I can't say it was 100% Beneful that caused the problem but why won't someone help us -- help us figure out why all the dogs are dying?" Korfin said.  

We next contacted Katherine Hudson of Palm Harbor, Fla., who confirmed her posting, in which she said that she read complaints posted here by others when her dog began showing signs of illness and switched her to homemade food.

"I have no doubt that you saved my dog's life," Hudson said, referring to consumers who had posted their experiences on ConsumerAffairs. Hudson was less complimentary about Purina. She said Purina offered to reimburse her for some of her expenses when she called their corporate office.  

"I told them that wasn't necessary. I wasn't contacting them for money, I was giving them a heads-up," she said. Hudson also filed a report with the FDA and had heard nothing in response when we spoke on Feb. 26.

Tell the FDA?

Some who have criticized consumers for posting their complaints on sites like ours have said they should instead file a report with the FDA.

One consumer, Nina of Berrien Springs, Mich., took that advice to heart. She not only posted to ConsumerAffairs about the problems her dog Kopper had with Beneful, she also decided to file a complaint with the FDA, hoping to get some action beyond just posting her complaint publicly.

"It took me over three hours and multiple attempts to get the complaint submitted -- VERY frustrating -- so that is possibly why there's not many complaints filed," Nina said. 

Then there's Samantha Hyatt of Moore, Okla., who submitted her posting Feb. 26.  Her Westie died after exhibiting many of the symptoms described by others. 

"Yes, of course you can use my name," she said. "I want to share my experience in the hopes that we can save pets!"

 

Others we spoke with included Samantha Kellstrom of New Hampshire, who said her dog has been improving on a hamburger and rice diet, and Patty Hogan of Hopatcong, N.J., who said she has just passed the $500 mark in veterinary expenses but is beginning to see some improvement in her dog. 

Vets get blamed

Pet owners who bundle up their sick dog and rush to their veterinarian are often dismayed to find that the vet has heard nothing about problems with Beneful. Veterinarians respond that this is because there has been no evidence of problems with Beneful products. 

A review by ConsumerAffairs of the alerts sent to veterinarians by the FDA and professional organizations found nothing regarding Beneful.  

"Nothing had been provided through any of the professional channels about problems with Beneful," said Marie Steele, a Ph.D. candidate who has spent $650 so far on her ailing dog. "The vet hadn't heard a thing about it."

"My 3-year-old French Bulldog became sick two weeks ago. I took her to the vet that morning and they found her ALC Liver score was high," said Shannon Smith of Medford, Ore. "The vet keeps asking me, 'What could she be getting into?'"

Shannon told us her dog is kept inside except for short periods of time in a fenced yard, leading her to suspect that the food is the culprit.

It's not surprising the FDA has no information on it, said Steele, who said filing an online complaint with the FDA was nearly impossible because of the level of detail the online form asked for and the inability to save the form and come back to complete it later.

Timeline

Whatever is happening, if anything, it started about a year ago on Feb. 28, 2012. That's when we received the first complaint about Beneful. A total of 182 complaints were sbumitted in 2012. In the first 56 days of 2013, 275 were submitted. 

The geographic distribution of the complaints is not as uniform as one might expect. This chart shows the top 15 states for Beneful complaints to ConsumerAffairs:

Not surprisingly, most of the complaints come from the most populous states but there are far fewer complaints from California, New York, New Jersey and other megastates than would typically be the case in a nationally distributed product.

With a sample size of fewer than 500 complaints, however, it's not really possible to draw any meaningful conclusions. 

Purina's assurances

"We stand by the quality and safety of Beneful dog food," spokesman Schopp insisted. He listed these quality control measures that are applied to all Beneful products:

  • Suppliers of ingredients for Purina products must meet our stringent standards for ingredient specifications, product safety, sanitation and manufacturing practices.
  • We closely monitor and control each step of the pet food production process, from raw ingredients through finished goods.  We have a comprehensive food safety program, which is specifically designed to prevent food quality or safety issues from occurring in the first place.  HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) plans and preventative controls are a standard best practice not only for pet foods, but also for human foods, and the U.S. FDA will soon require these types of preventative controls. 
  • Additionally, we conduct physical inspections and analysis of finished products to ensure they meet our quality assurance specifications.
  • We carefully monitor and review all information provided to us by consumers and can confidently state that there are no product issues with Beneful.  

What to do

What should consumers do if their pet falls ill? The first step is to contact their veterinarian and take the animal in for examination as soon as possible.

If food is suspected, save all packaging and keep a sample of the food itself. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling pet food.

The consumer or, preferably, the vet can file a report with the FDA if food or snacks are thought to be responsible. The online report form is long and complicated and many consumers find it difficult to complete, so it may be a task best left to the vet.  

Schopp said consumers should also call the manufacturer of the pet food if a problem is suspected. 

"We take all comments from consumers seriously.  We encourage any consumer with a question or comment about one of our products to call and speak with us directly at the toll free number on every package," he said.

And, while critics may question the usefulness of consumer sites, filing an online report helps make other consumers aware of issues that may affect them. Even if it turns out that some consumers may reach the wrong conclusion in their postings, sparking a public discussion helps raise awareness of the importance of monitoring pets' health -- and it's worth noting that there have been cases of contaminated pet food and snacks that have come to light through online postings. 

 

 A few weeks ago, we wrote about a rash of complaints from pet owners blaming Beneful for the illness and, sometimes, death of their dogs.  A...

Milo's Kitchen treats poisoned dogs, class action charges

Chicken from China blamed for dogs' illness, deaths

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit that charges Del Monte subsidiary Milo's Kitchen produced chicken jerky treats that poisoned and killed dogs, a claim also leveled in many ConsumerAffairs postings.

"I just had to put my beautiful Shayna down from kidney failure, and am so irate to find out that it could have been my fault feeding her something that I thought was natural and from a company I thought was trustworthy," Leslie of Davie, Fla., said in a June 2012 posting.

Del Monte recalled the "home-style" dog treats in January after the New York State Department of Agriculture found trace amounts of antibiotics in several lots of chicken jerky treats.

The lawsuit, however, concerns a more wide-ranging problem -- one that the Food and Drug Administration warned pet owners about back in 2008 and on several occasions since then. In February, the FDA said it had received reports of 360 dogs dying and 2,200 becoming ill after eating jerky treats.

Chinese chickens

Many of the suspect treats are made with chicken from China, which is not approved for human consumption but can be legally fed to pets. 

Consumers rate Del Monte Pet Foods

In the lawsuit, Lisa Mazur says that her healthy seven-year-old dog, Riley Rae, suffered kidney failure and had to be euthanized after eating the Milo's Kitchen treats, and she charges that despite the FDA warnings, Del Monte did not recall the treats or put warnings on the packages, Courthouse News Servicereported.

"Defendants intentionally concealed known facts concerning the safety of their dog treats in order to increase or maintain sales," Mazur said in the complaint.

Del Monte is one of a dozen manufacturers in a $24 million settlement in 2011 for wet pet food contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid. The company also faces other law suits from pet owners.

The company moved to have the case dismissed in September 2012 but U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly recommended that the case proceed and U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon adopted Kelly's recommendation.

 Del Monte subsidiary Milo's Kitchen cannot dismiss claims that its Chinese chicken jerky treats poisoned and killed dogs, a federal judge ruled. ...

FDA coloring regulations finally apply to pet food

Labels don't list all the ingredients, making it hard to track down problems

If you’re a pet owner, being a responsible, informed consumer is arguably more difficult for you than it is for other Americans, because the labeling requirements for pet food are downright lax compared to the requirements applied to food for human consumption.

For example: not until 2011 did the FDA rule that color additives should be listed on the labels of pet food and animal feed, and even then, companies aren’t expected to be in full compliance until this November. On Sept. 26 the FDA released some guidelines intended to help business owners comply with these new regulations.

On another note, we often hear from readers who say that various brands of pet food made their animals sick — with almost every brand on the market generating its share of complaints. It's hard not to wonder if at least some of these animals’ health problems might be due to allergic reactions — after all, even if you know your pet is allergic to a particular additive, that won’t help you or your pet if you don’t know which foods contain those additives. And, of course, it’s a lot harder to diagnose a food allergy when you don’t know exactly what you (or your pet) have been eating.

Change of ingredients

Consumers rate Pedigree Pet Foods

Jeff G. from Franklin., North Carolina, wondered if a change of ingredients might explain why his dogs suddenly developed an inability to handle Pedigree-brand foods. As he told us, “We have 8 dogs. Various sizes and breeds…all fed Pedigree Healthy Digestion canned food for years. Two weeks ago our longhair Dachshund threw up a lot, and then the diarrhea started. Same time frame, our 13-year-old basset hound became unable to control her diarrhea and became disoriented …  When we took them to the vet for examination they of course don't feed Pedigree, so they switched brands for the time they were staying. … Since then we have thrown away the Pedigree foods and have started using the same brand food as the vet. No issues. All is quiet again.

“Now here's the weird thing. My daughter in another state told me that tonight her boxer has thrown up and had been dealing with diarrhea earlier this week. She was feeding the same Pedigree Healthy Digestion food! I asked her to contact our vet to get on the right track.

“Did something change? I know pet food companies alter formulas all the time but all of this coupled with the sheer number of very recent complaints are enough to steer me clear of Pedigree products forever.”

Amy R. of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, also wondered if an ingredient change might be to blame for her pet’s sudden digestive problems—although in her case, it was Hills Science Diet food, not Pedigree.

“My two cats have been eating the Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat dry food formula for over 4 years (and ate the Kitten formula before that). Both starting throwing up from the ‘new and improved formula’ ... They're both almost 5 and I can count on one hand the number of times she has ever been sick. The other one throws up some monster hairballs, but usually every few months at the most. Now, he has been throwing up for a week. On Sunday, he threw up five times; twice with food in it and three times just liquid. After a few good days, I came home tonight, fed them their dinner, and within 20 minutes, he threw it all up. That's been the pattern: within 30 minutes of eating this stuff, he throws it up.” 

Different brands, similar pattern

Amanda J. of Burleson, Texas, told a similar story about Blue Buffalo pet food: “Our family friend's vet recently went to a vet conference and she said there were many vets bringing up concerns about this brand. They said they had seen animals with pancreatitis, severe intestinal problems, and hair falling out. ... I switched my cats and dog over as soon as I heard this. The cats were losing lots of hair and my terrier was constantly gassy and bloated and her hair was so brittle, it was coming out in handfuls. After one week off BB, every animal was back to normal. ... All I know is something needs to be done about this. We need to be educated consumers when it comes to pet food.”

Mark S. of Bordentown, New Jersey told us another story: “We have been feeding our 3-year-old cat Blue Buffalo cat food since we adopted him three years ago. Over the past week our cat has started experiencing difficulty urinating and stopped eating. When he began to leave clear spots on the floor, we realized something was terribly wrong. We rushed him to our local vet and described to her our experiences. The first question she asked was if we were feeding him Blue Buffalo cat food. We said yes, we have been since we adopted him. She informed us that our cat is the second she saw this week with urinary and kidney damage due to Blue Buffalo cat food.”

Consumers rate Blue Buffalo Pet Foods

So Jeff’s veterinarian warns patients away from Pedigree food, Amanda and Mark both know vets who avoid Blue Buffalo, Amy and other pet owners who wrote us swear never to use Science Diet again — it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that whatever brand of pet food you can name, we’ve got a file full of complaints from readers who insist it sickened their pets: Iams, Purina, Beneful, Nutro, 9 Lives and more.

Maybe those readers all were unlucky enough to buy a bad batch, maybe their pets ate something else that made them sick — or maybe the pets are allergic to an ingredient their owners don’t even know they’re eating. We have no pat, easy answer for how to solve this problem, or even to figure out exactly what the problem is — but letting pet owners know exactly what they’re feeding their animals is bound to be a good start.

You can't avoid allergens if you don't know they're there...

FDA can't track down source of pet poisonings, asks for public's help

The agency wants to hear from consumers whose pets became ill

Everyone has a pet theory or two about what is making America's dogs and cats sick after they eat jerky treats but no one has managed to conclusively prove any of those theories.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration admits it is stumped and is asking for help from pet owners. It already has reports of jerky treat-related illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. since 2007. At least 580 of them died.

Now the FDA says it would like to hear from any pet owner whose animal became sick or died after eating jerky treats.

"This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D. "Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it." Dunham says the FDA has conducted more than 1,200 tests, visited pet treat manufacturers in China and talked with experts of all kinds without nailing down the source of the problem. 

"Our fervent hope as animal lovers," says Dunham, "is that we will soon find the cause of—and put a stop to—these illnesses."

Made in China

Most of the jerky treats implicated in the illnesses have been made in China and the FDA notes that by law, manufacturers of pet foods are not required to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.

A number of jerky pet treat products were removed from the market in January 2013 after a New York State lab reported finding evidence of up to six drugs in certain jerky pet treats made in China. The FDA says the drug levels were very low and claims it's unlikely that they caused the illnesses, but the agency concedes that it noted a decrease in reports of jerky-suspected illnesses after the products were removed from the market. FDA believes that the number of reports may have declined simply because fewer jerky treats were available.

What to do

The agency is publishing a fact sheet that it will send to veterinarians, asking them to use it to alert consumers to the problem and to provide instructions on reporting pet illnesses

The fact sheet also points out that the treats are not essential to a balanced diet.  Many pet owners bake their own treats. Others use pieces of the pet's regular kibble as a treat. If you do provide jerky treats and your pet becomes sick, stop the treats immediately, consider seeing your veterinarian, and save any remaining treats and the packaging for possible testing.

Be careful handling the treats. Humans are also susceptible to some of the conditions transmitted by pet food.

What next?

More than 1,200 jerky pet treat samples have been tested since 2011 for a variety of chemical and microbiological contaminants, from antibiotics to metals, pesticides and Salmonella. DNA testing has also been conducted, along with tests for nutritional composition, the FDA said.

In addition to continuing to test jerky pet treat samples within FDA labs, the agency is working with the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), an FDA-coordinated network of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories across the U.S. and Canada. (A summary of the tests is available on Vet-LIRN's webpage.)

Inspections of the facilities in China that manufacture jerky products associated with some of the highest numbers of pet illness reports did not identify the cause of illness. However, they did identify additional paths of investigation, such as the supply chain of some ingredients in the treats.

Although FDA inspectors have found no evidence identifying the cause of the spate of illnesses, they did find that one firm used falsified receiving documents for glycerin, a jerky ingredient. Chinese authorities informed FDA that they had seized products at the firm and suspended its exports.

To identify the root cause of this problem, FDA is meeting regularly with regulators in China to share findings. The agency also plans to host Chinese scientists at its veterinary research facility to increase scientific cooperation.

Everyone has a pet theory or two about what is making America's dogs and cats sick after they eat jerky treats but no one has managed to conclusively prove...

Abady brand cat food recalled

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

The Robert Abady Dog Food Co., of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is recalling its 2-lb, 5-lb and 15-lb boxes of "Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats.”

The product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The recalled product, distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders, comes in a 2-lb, 5-lb and 15-lb, corrugated boxes with plastic liners marked with lot # 14029/21 stamped on the right side top of the box.

Production has been suspended wpending an investigation into the source of the problem.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled product should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-845-473-1900, Monday – Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm, ET.

The Robert Abady Dog Food Co., of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is recalling its 2-lb, 5-lb and 15-lb boxes of "Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula fo...

Jerky treats implicated in 1,000 dog deaths, FDA reports

But the agency says it still hasn't been able to find a specific cause

For years, angry pet owners have accused jerky treats for causing their dogs' and cats' illness and deaths. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been collecting and studying case reports but says it still hasn't pinned down the exact cause of the problems, although it has confirmed the presence of a prohibited antiviral drug in treats containing chicken from China.

In its latest report, the FDA said it has combed through more than 4,800 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of them imported from China.  

The reports include more than 1,000 canine deaths and involve a total of more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and three people. Some consumers reported illness in more than one pet.

The symptoms reported will sound familiar to anyone who's kept up with the problem: approximately 60 percent of the cases report gastrointestinal/liver disease, 30 percent kidney or urinary disease, with the remaining 10 percent of complaints including various other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms.

About 15 percent of the kidney or urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rare kidney disease that has been associated with this investigation.

Veterinarian reports

Besides reports from consumers, the FDA said it has received "many well-documented case reports" from veterinarians, the result of an October 2013 "Dear Veterinarian" letter the agency sent to vets nationwide.

Following up on the vets' reports, the FDA conducted 26 examinations of dead dogs. It found that half of them had causes of death that appeared to be related to consumption of jerky treats.

While the other 13 did not appear to be directly related, the FDA said "an association with consumption of jerky pet treats could not be ruled out."

Help from CDC

The FDA has also asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for help. Although it normally deals only with human illness, the CDC is assisting with a study of cases involving sick dogs compared with a control group of healthy dogs.

The goal is to compared the foods eaten by the sick dogs compared with that eaten by the healthy dogs and to determined whether sick dogs ate more jerky and other pet treats than healthy dogs.

The study is still underway. Results will be released when it's finished.

Drug testing

Adapting a testing methodology used by New York, the FDA said it has found low levels of the drug amantadine in some jerky samples containing chicken. Amantadine is an antiviral that is approved for use in humans but is prohibited in chickens.

The FDA said it "does not believe that amantadine contributed to the illnesses because the known side effects or adverse events associated with amantadine do not seem to correlate with the symptoms seen in the jerky pet treat-related cases."

But the agency said there should be no amantadine in jerky treats and said Chinese officials have "assured us that they will perform additional screening and will follow up with jerky pet treat manufacturers."

What to do

What's a pet owner to do? The most obvious is to avoid feeding jerky treats to pets. The FDA notes in its reports that jerky treats are not required for a balanced diet.

Animal lovers who want to give their pets an occasional treat or need to use treats for training purposes should talk to their veterinarians about which treats are best for their dog. As in humans, too many treats can lead to obesity and can crowd out healthier foods.

FDA is still collecting information. If your pet has become ill after eating jerky treats, you are encouraged to report it to FDA.

"While FDA does not necessarily respond to every individual complaint submitted, each report is valuable and becomes part of the body of knowledge that helps to inform our investigation," the agency said.

For years, angry pet owners have accused jerky treats for causing their dogs' and cats' illness and deaths. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has...

Petco removes dog and cat treats from China -- first major chain to do so

The treats are suspected of being linked to pet illnesses and deaths

Petco, responding to a rash of unexplained illnesses in dogs and cats, says it has removed all China-made dog and cat treats from shelves at more than 1,300 retail stores nationwide, including Unleashed by Petco stores and online at Petco.com.

Walmart quietly pulled China-made treats from its shelves in 2007 following the well-publicized death of a two-year-old Chihuahua who died suddenly after eating Bestro chicken jerky strips. Walmart did not publicly comment on the action and did not commit to keeping Chinese treats off its shelves in the future.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been collecting and studying case reports of pet illnesses for years has still not pinned down the exact cause of the problems, although the agency said in May 2014 that it had confirmed the presence of a prohibited antiviral drug in treats containing chicken from China.

In its latest report, the FDA said it has combed through more than 4,800 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of them imported from China.  

The reports include more than 1,000 canine deaths and involve a total of more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and three people. Some consumers reported illness in more than one pet.

While there's no guarantee that pet treats made in the U.S. or other non-Chinese venues are safe, many pet owners have vowed to stop buying treats from China.

“As a trusted partner for pet parents, we believe this is the right thing to do, and we’re proud to take this step in the best interest of pets,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “What we feed our pets matters, and this milestone supports the company’s steadfast commitment to putting our customers, partners, animals and the communities we serve first.”

The safety and health benefits of food and treats continue to be top concerns for pet owners, according to a recent survey.

The survey by Packaged Facts found that 55% of dog owners and 48% of cat owners agree that fear of pet food contamination and product safety is a key consideration for the pet foods they buy. The survey also found that 61% of dog owners and 50% of cat owners seek out food made in the U.S.

Petco, responding to a rash of unexplained illnesses in dogs and cats, says it has removed all China-made dog and cat treats from shelves at more than 1,30...

Northwest Farm Food Cooperative recalls frozen raw cat food

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Northwest Farm Food Cooperative of Burlington, Wash., is recalling frozen raw cat food.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

No pet or consumer illnesses from this product have been reported to date.

The recalled product was sold from the company's facility in Burlington, Wash., in 50-lb. blocks and cases of six 10-lb. chubs packaged in a white plastic bag labeled “Cat Food.” They have the production code Jul12015B, which can be found on the outside of the case (box), and no UPC code.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should stop using it and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund, or dispose of it immediately.

Consumers with questions may call (360) 757-4225 Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (PST).

Northwest Farm Food Cooperative of Burlington, Wash., is recalling frozen raw cat food. The product may be contaminated with Salmonella. No pet or consum...

PetSmart recalls Grreat Choice adult canned dog food

One lot of the product may contain metal pieces that could cause a choking hazard

PetSmart has issued a voluntary recall of one production lot of its Grreat Choice adult canned dog food after a manufacturer informed the company of consumer complaints about metal pieces that could cause a choking hazard to pets.

The product is sold nationwide at PetSmart retail stores and online at PetSmart.com, Pet360.com, and PetFoodDirect.com. 

The dog food was sold between October 10, 2016 and Feb. 7, 2017 and has a "Best By" date of 8/5/19, which can be found on the bottom of the can. More information, including the full product name, lot number, and universial product code (UPC) can be seen below:

What to do

Customers who have purchased the recalled food are advised to stop feeding it to their pets and bring any remaining cans to a PetSmart store for a full refund or exchange.

PetSmart has stated that no other "Grreat Choice" brands have been affected by the recall and no cases of illness or injury have been reported at this time.

For more information, consumers can contact PetSmart customer service at 1-888-839-9638 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST. 

PetSmart has issued a voluntary recall of one production lot of its Grreat Choice adult canned dog food after a manufacturer informed the company of consum...

Against the Grain Pet Food recalls products over pentobarbital concerns

The barbiturate can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or even induce a coma

Against the Grain Pet Food is initiating a recall for one lot of its "Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs" dog food. Company officials say that the product may be contaminated with pentobarbital.

Pentobarbital is a barbiturate that can cause several side effects for dogs who consume it, including drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea nystagmus (wherein the eyes move back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand, and coma. 

The product was manufactured and distributed in 2015 and has an expiration date of December, 2019. The lot number on affected products is 2415E01ATB12 and the second half of the universal product code (UPC) is 80001. These figures can be found on the back of the product label. 

What to do

There have been no complaints reported to Against the Grain about the product at this time. However, consumers in possession of recalled cans are urged not to feed it to the food to pets. 

The company recommends returning the product to the place of purchase. Consumers who do so will receive a full case of Against the Grain food for any inconvenience.

For more information, consumers can contact the company at 1-800-288-6796, Monday through Friday, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. CST.

Against the Grain Pet Food is initiating a recall for one lot of its "Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs" dog food. Company officials...

Breeder's Choice Recalls AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog

The products contain a risk of Salmonella to pets and humans handling the product

Breeder’s Choice Pet Food is recalling a single manufacturing batch of Breeder's Choice AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula due to possible contamination with Salmonella. 

The product affected by this recall is identified below and has the following "Best Before" dates: 

Product Code/SKU/ Material #UPC CodeSizeProduct Name/DescriptionBest Before Code (day/month/yr)
10000650740 5290702043 826 lb.AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula28 Aug 2013
29 Aug 2013
30 Aug 2013

 

 

 

Product and product lots that do not appear on the list above are not subject to this recall. 

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. 

Healthy people exposed to 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. 

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. Infected but otherwise healthy pets 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. 

No human or pet illnesses have been reported to-date. 

The recall notification is being issued based on a single manufacturing batch wherein a sample with the "Best Before" dates of August 28, 29 and 30, 2012 had a positive result for salmonella. The AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula product was originally manufactured on August 29, 2012, and distributed on August 30 and 31, 2012. Salmonella testing was conducted by Silliker, Inc. (Southern California Laboratory). 

Recalled products were distributed to retailers and distributors in California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Virginia and Washington. 

Consumers who have purchased the AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula product with the above-referenced "Best Before" dates are urged to contact Breeder's Choice Customer Service representatives. 

A letter and instructions have been forwarded to all Breeder’s Choice Pet Food customers. Breeder’s Choice Customer Service representatives and company veterinarians are responding to inquires through the 1-866-500-6286 phone number and will answer any questions regarding pets that have been fed the product. 

Breeder’s Choice Pet Food is recalling a single manufacturing batch of Breeder's Choice AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula due to pos...

Turducken Canine Recipe patties recalled

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Steve’s Real Food of Murray, UT, is recalling its 5-lb. bags of "Turducken Canine Diet -- 8-oz. patties due to potential contamination of Salmonella.

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. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and have these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The recalled Turducken Canine Diet -- 8-oz Patties in a 5-lb. bag were distributed from October 2012, to January 2013, in retail stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, California, Minnesota and Tennessee.

Production of the product has been suspended while the company and the FDA continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.

The product comes in 5 lb. green and cream colored biodegradable film bags with lot number 209-10-27-13 with an expiration date of October 27, 2013.

Consumers who have purchased 5-lb. bags of Steve’s Real Food Turducken Canine Recipe are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions should contact the company at 801-540-8481 or gary@stevesrealfood.com Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm MST.

Steve’s Real Food of Murray, UT, is recalling its 5-lb. bags of "Turducken Canine Diet -- 8-oz. patties due to potential contamination of Salmonella. Pet...

Bravo! Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats recalled

The raw food product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Bravo! is voluntarily recalling its 2 lb tubes of Bravo! Raw Food Diet Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats, product code: 21-102, batch ID code 6 14 12, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recall involves 2 lb. Bravo! Chicken Blend frozen raw diet tubes (chubs) made on June 14, 2012 only; no other products or sizes are involved. The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets.

This batch tested negative by a third party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers, however routine testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture of product collected from a single retail location tested positive for presence of salmonella. While the testing discrepancy is unclear, Bravo said that it was issuing the recall "in an abundance of caution."

The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with this product.

The recalled product is distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers, and can be identified by the batch ID code 6 14 12 located on the white hang tag attached to the bottom of the plastic film tube.

Pet owners should return unopened frozen tubes of food to the store where purchased for a full refund. Pet owners should dispose of opened tubes of product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle) and return the washed plastic batch ID tag to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, 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. Infected but otherwise healthy pets 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.

Bravo! is voluntarily recalling its 2 lb tubes of Bravo! Raw Food Diet Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats, product code: 21-102, batch ID code 6 14 12, becaus...

Bailey’s Choice expands recall of dog treats in Georgia

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

An earlier recall of Bailey’s Choice dog treats is being expanded to include the following products:

  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 2 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 3 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Breast Treat, lot # “Jun 4 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 15 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jul 8 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jul 11 2013”
  • 100% Teriyaki Chicken Treats, lot # 132881

The products, which were sold in Georgia, may be contaminated with Salmonella. To date, no illnesses have been reported.

The earlier recall was for packages of chicken treats in various sizes marked with lot number #132881 and expiration date Feb. 2014, along with five-ounce bags of chicken jerky with a lot number of “Jun 5 2013.”

Consumers should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions should contact Bailey’s Choice at 770-881-0526 or thomdo4570@gmail.com.

An earlier recall of Bailey’s Choice dog treats is being expanded to include the following products: 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 2 2013” 100% Chicken ...

Why a pet might not make a good Christmas present

"How much is that doggie in the window?" is not the question you should be asking

The puppy under the tree with a huge bow around its neck makes for a great Christmas card but it might not be such a good idea in reality. Taking on a pet requires some careful thought that should be removed from the emotion of the holiday season, experts caution.

Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, writing in her Healthy Pets blog, say she isn't a big fan of giving pets as holiday gifts. 

“Gifting a family member or friend with a 10- to 20-year commitment to a live animal is not something one should do on impulse,” she writes.

People often don't think about the future – at least not the extended future -- when they think about bringing home a pet. The idea that the animal will be with them for years doesn't sink in until later. Before making such a long term decision, there are a number of questions that should be posed and answered honestly.

Questions to ask

For example, how much time each day can you and other family members commit to your pet? There are work and school schedules to consider and the needs of some animals are greater than others. With ample food, water and a clean litter box, a cat can be quite self-sufficient for occasional lengthy periods of time. A dog, on the other hand, is going to need regular outdoor time.

Some dogs are going to need more attention than others, so you have to know something about the breed you are taking on as a companion. Large energetic breeds are going to need at least a couple of walks each day.

Even if you feel you can't make that kind of commitment, remember that small dogs and cats are still going to require plenty of attention.

Like a baby without a diaper

Then there is the age consideration. Puppies are cute but are similar to bringing home a baby, but a baby that runs through the house without a diaper, chewing on everything. Puppies have to be house-broken but in the best of circumstances, accidents are going to happen in the process.

Families often consider their finances before deciding when to have children and doing the same for pets may be viewed as advisable, because having a dog or cat brings with it financial responsibilities.

In addition to upfront costs like adoption fees, there are other factors that raise the cost of a pet. Large dogs consume large quantities of food. Some breeds will need professional grooming services more often. And for particularly spirited puppies and kittens, obedience training might be needed.

Add up the costs

Before bringing home a pet, be sure to look into all the costs associated with that pet, including costs that could come later in the animals life.

If the pet is for a child, how do you know the child is really that interested? Is the child old enough and willing to take on responsibility? If not, an adult in the household will need to step in and do it.

Giving a pet to an adult friend as a gift is even dicier. You may know your own children and are there to provide back up. Not so with the case of a friend living in another household. And while you may think you know your friend very well, the choice of a pet is a very personal decision, best left to the individual themselves.

If you have children who want a dog, cat or other pet for Christmas, a better gift might be a collar, leash, scratching post or other pet paraphernalia, in anticipation of selecting a pet after the holidays. And when selecting a pet, it goes without saying that choosing an animal from a shelter makes the gift much more special, both for the recipient and the animal who gets a new home.

The puppy under the tree with a huge bow around its neck makes for a great Christmas card but it might not be such a good idea in reality. Taking on a pet ...

New York breaks up puppy-flipping ring

Fast-buck artists bought puppies online, then posed as breeders and resold them

We've all heard of investors who "flip" houses. But puppies? Yes, it's true: New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has tightened the leash on two individuals who bought puppies online, treated them shabbily, then posed as breeders and resold them online.

In one case, the Attorney General’s office reached an agreement with an individual in the Syracuse area who bought puppies on Craigslist, kept them in poor conditions without access to a veterinarian, and resold them illegally.

In another, the office obtained a court order against an individual in Buffalo who posed as a puppy breeder, when in fact the puppies she sold were purchased online, malnourished, and sold to consumers who reported fleas, filth, and near-death health conditions among the pets.

Both pet flippers have been permanently barred from selling animals or becoming licensed pet dealers.  

“Today’s developments are a win-win. By shutting down operations where animals are being illegally sold, we can help ensure that consumers are purchasing healthy pets, while protecting the animals themselves from those who break the law to turn a profit,” said Schneiderman. “In holding these individuals accountable, we are sending the message that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Flipping free dogs

Those who flip dogs not only purchase the dogs, but also flip dogs they have received at no cost. Obtaining a dog at little or no cost and then spending a minimal amount (if anything) on the dog’s care quickly maximizes the return. Current pet owners should be aware of this when considering giving up their pet, and should always go through an authorized facility, such as a local SPCA or shelter. 

Puppy flipper Stephanie Arcara bought puppies advertised on Craigslist and then sold them to unsuspecting customers in the Buffalo area. Arcara, who was not a licensed pet dealer, kept the puppies in her home, where they were poorly cared for.  According to one consumer, the puppy she purchased from Arcara was covered in feces and urine, had patches of hair missing on its body and was very thin. Another reported that a puppy he purchased from Arcara was dehydrated and suffered from constant seizures, while others reported that puppies sold by Arcara had worms, fleas and bladder infections. One puppy even died shortly after Arcara sold it.

Arcara illegally sold dozens of puppies to unsuspecting consumers, usually by advertising on Craigslist. She misrepresented herself to consumers as a breeder of the puppies when, in fact, she had purchased them on Craigslist. Arcara also misrepresented the breed of the puppies she sold, sometimes claiming they were purebreds when they were not, and told consumers that the puppies had been dewormed and were current on their shots, which was also not the case. 

Carissa Seaman, of Cleveland, NY, bought animals, or obtained them for free, from Craigslist and the trading post of a local radio station. She would then re-sell the dogs to other consumers for more money than she paid for them – flipping the dogs and pocketing the difference. In just one year, Seaman sold over two dozen dogs.

Seaman, who is not a licensed pet dealer, kept the dogs in her home, but cared for them poorly. None of the dogs sold by Seaman received veterinarian care.  In July of 2013, she offered to sell a five week old St. Bernard puppy that had fleas and flea feces on its skin to two undercover AG investigators. Another seven month old fawn pug for sale had two patches of fur missing from his back revealing raw and irritated skin.  

We've all heard of investors who "flip" houses. But puppies? Yes, it's true: New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has tightened the lease on...

Purina recalls poultry feeds

The products may have lower-than-expected vitamin and trace mineral levels

The Purina Animal Nutrition feed plant in Portland, Ore., is recalling certain poultry feeds due to the potential for lower-than-expected vitamin and trace mineral levels.

Inadequate vitamin and trace mineral levels can result in health problems, including mortality, in poultry.

No customer complaints have been received to date.

The products were distributed to retailers in Oregon and Washington.

The products and lot numbers involved in the recall are:

Formula No.Item Mo.UPC CodeProduct NameLot No.
54190001381804273029559PURINA GAME BIRD STARTENA CRUMBLE 50 LB4APR08RIV3
4APR09RIV2
510M0010736749394513269DEL’S POULTRY LAYER PELLET 50 LB4APR09RIV3
510T0010737749394513276DEL’S LAYER CRUMBLE 50 LB4APR08RIV1
60220015219883576010792HOME GROWN LAYER 16% CRUMBLE 50 LB4APR08RIV3
61R30052070804273038728PURINA LAYENA SUNFRESH RECIPE PELLET 40 LB4APR08RIV2
61X30057261804273029542PURINA START & GROW SUNFRESH CRUMBLES 25 LB4APR09RIV2
61V30057262804273029559PURINA START & GROW SUNFRESH MP 0.0125% MEDICATED 50 LB4APR07RIV3
4APR10RIV1
61Y30057265804273029573PURINA START & GROW SUNFRESH MP 0.0125% MEDICATED CRUMBLES 25 LB4APR08RIV2
61Z30057277804273029634PURINA LAYENA SUNFRESH RECIPE PELLET 25 LB4APR10RIV1
L55M5052155883576003237ALBERS BROILER STARTER/FINISHER CRUMBLES 50 LB4APR09RIV1
L55N5052156883576003251ALBERS CHICK STARTER/GROWER 18% AMP MEDICATED CRUMBLES 50 LB4APR09RIV2

The recalled products were packaged in typical brand-specific feed bags. Lot numbers are printed on the sewing strip of each bag. Lot numbers are interpreted as follows:

  • Example 4APR09RIV1: 4=Year / APR=Month / 09=Day of Month / RIV=Plant Code / 1=Shift code.

The problem was discovered during the investigation of an ingredient inventory discrepancy.

Retailers have been contacted and instructed to immediately withdraw from sale the recalled product and notify customers who purchased the product. Customers should discontinue feeding the product immediately. Customers who purchased this product should return remaining bags to their retailer.

Consumers may contact Purina customer service at 1-800-245-5333, Monday through Friday 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM PDT.  

The Purina Animal Nutrition feed plant in Portland, Ore., is recalling certain poultry feeds due to the potential for lower-than-expected vitamin and trace...

Bravo recalls dog and cat foods

The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

Bravo is recalling select lots and product(s) of Bravo Pet Food.

The products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The company has received a limited number of reports of dogs experiencing nausea and diarrhea that may be associated with these specific products.

There have been no reports of human illness as a result of these products.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (best used by date) printed on the side of the plastic tube or on a label on the box.

The recalled products are as follows:

1) These products are being recalled because they may have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes:

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand) 
All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes
Product Numbers: 52-102, 52-105, 52-110 
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand) 
All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes 
Product Numbers: 52-102, 52-105, 52-110 
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

2) These products are being recalled out of an abundance of caution because while they did not test positive for pathogens, they were manufactured in the same manufacturing facility or on the same day as products that did test positive:

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand)
All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes 
Product Numbers: 42-102, 42-105, 42-110
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BASIC FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand) 
2lb. tubes 
Product Number: 42-202 
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF & BEEF HEART FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand)
5lb. tubes 
Product Number: 53-130
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! 100% PURE & NATURAL PREMIUM GRASS-FED BUFFALO FOR DOGS AND CATS (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT) 
NET WT 2LBS (32 OZ) .91KG (Tubes)
Product Number: 72-222 
Best Used By Date: 1/7/16

PRODUCT: BRAVO! TURKEY BALANCE FORMULA (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT) 
NET WT 2 LBS (32 OZ) .09KG, Chub (tube)
Product Number: 31-402 
Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

NET WT 5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube) 
Product Number: 31-405
Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT)
5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube)
Product Number: 42-105
Best Used By Date: 2/11/16

Pet owners who have the affected product should dispose of this product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle). They can return to the store where purchased and submit the Product Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website www.bravopetfoods.com for a full refund or store credit.

Consumers may contact Bravo toll free at (866) 922-9222.

Bravo is recalling select lots and product(s) of Bravo Pet Food. The products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The comp...

Hearing scheduled on tainted pet treats from China

Ohio's Sen. Sherrod Brown has worked to remove tainted jerky treats from retailers' shelves

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently estimated that more than 1,000 dogs have died in circumstances that involved pet treats from China. But the agency said it still hadn't pinned down the exact cause of the deaths and illnesses.

That may well be but pet owners and their advocates have been demanding action, and tomorrow (Tuesday), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will chair a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) to examine the safety of its meat processing.

The hearing, entitled “Pet Treats and Processed Chicken from China: Concerns for American Consumers and Pets,” will ask if China’s food safety regulation is effective. Brown has repeatedly urged the FDA to take quick action to protect consumers and pet owners following an increase in tainted pet treats from China connected to animal deaths and illnesses.

Recently, major pet stores have announced that they would stop selling dog and cat treats made in China following the animal deaths linked to Chinese food products. Food safety advocates have expressed alarm at new rules that could allow chickens raised in the United States to be shipped to China for processing before being returned to and sold in the U.S. 

Researchers are also exploring the connection between the domestic outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in China.

These developments highlight concerns over the effectiveness of China’s food safety regulation, the effectiveness of U.S. government regulation of imported foods from China, and the overall safety of such foods, according to a Brown staffer.

There's also the question of whether current labels are adequate in helping American consumers tell when food products contains ingredients from China.

The CECC is a bipartisan commission made up of Senators, House Members, and senior Administration officials. The Commission was created by Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China.

Following the deaths of 1,000 dogs linked to tainted pet treats from China, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will chair a hearing of the Congressional-Execut...

PEDIGREE Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dog food recalled

The product may contain a foreign material

Mars Petcare is recalling 22 bags of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products.

The product may contain a foreign material.

The company has not received any reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product.

The recalled bags, which were sold between August 18 and August 25 in 12 Dollar General stores in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, may contain small metal fragments, which could have entered the packages during the production process.

Consumers who have purchased affected product to discard the food or return it to the retailer for a full refund or exchange. We have not received any reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product. The lot codes indicated below should not be consumed.

Only 15-pound bags of the product with the production code shown below are included in this recall. Each product will have a lot code printed on the back of the bag near the UPC code that reads 432C1KKM03 and a Best Before date of 8/5/15.

UPCDESCRIPTION
23100 10944PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 15 pound bags

The recalled product would have been sold in Dollar General Stores in these cities:

  • Arkansas:
    • Perryville
    • Cabot
  • Louisiana
    • Baton Rouge
    • Calhoun
    • Hineston
    • Jonesville
    • Pineville
    • Slaughter
  • Mississippi
    • Magnolia
    • Vicksburg
  • Tennessee
    • Memphis

 Pet owners who have questions about the recall may call 1-800-305-5206.

Mars Petcare is recalling 22 bags of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products. The product may contain a foreign material. The company h...

PEDIGREE expands recall of Adult Complete Nutrition dog food

The product may contain a foreign material

Mars Petcare is expanding its previous recallof PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products.

The product may contain a foreign material.

The initial recall, which affected 22 bags shipped to Dollar General in four states, has been expanded to include 55-pound bags of the product sold in Sam's Club in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Some of the affected production lot was originally said to be held in inventory but was instead released to consumers.

The company says it has received no reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product.

The lot codes indicated below should not be sold or consumed:

  • 55-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Sam's Club will have the lot code 432E1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/7/15. See below for a list of Sam's Club stores.
  • 15-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Dollar General stores will have the lot code 432C1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/5/15. See below for a list of Dollar General stores.
UPCDESCRIPTION
23100 10944PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 15 pound bags
23100 10731PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 55 pound bags

Affected 15-pound bags were sold between August 18 and August 30 at Dollar General stores in:

Arkansas

  • Perryville
  • Cabot

Louisiana

  • Baton Rouge
  • Calhoun
  • Hineston
  • Jonesville
  • Pineville
  • Slaughter

Mississippi

  • Magnolia
  • Vicksburg

Tennessee

  • Memphis

Sam's Club Affected 55-pound bags were sold between August 14 and August 30 at Sam's Club in:

Michigan

  • Comstock Park
  • Muskegon
  • Jackson
  • Roseville
  • Saginaw
  • Saginaw
  • Kokomo

Ohio

  • Dayton
  • Holland
  • Lima
Mars Petcare is expanding its previous recall of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products. The product may contain a foreign material. The...

Natura Pet recalls dry cat and ferret food

The products contain insufficient levels of vitamins and excess minerals

Natura Pet Products is recalling certain lots of dry cat and dry ferret food produced in its Fremont, Nebraska facility.

Due to a formulation error, the products contain insufficient levels of vitamins and excess minerals.

There have been no reports of animal health concerns to date,

The affected product and lot codes are:

PRODUCTSIZEUPCEXP DATELOT CODE
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food15.4 LB5148 54140002/19/20164300A700D2
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food2.2 LB5148 54140202/20/20164301A700A4
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food2.2 LB5148 54140202/20/20164301A700B4
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food2.2 LB5148 54140202/20/20164301A700C4
EVO® Grain Free Ferret Food6.6 LB5148 54210102/19/20164300A700D3

The recalled products were were distributed through independent retailers in California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Canada, as well as online. No other Natura products are affected.

Consumers who purchased the product should discontinue feeding the product immediately and discard as normal household waste.

Consumers may contact Natura consumer relations at 1-855-206-8297, Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST.

Natura Pet Products is recalling certain lots of dry cat and dry ferret food produced in its Fremont, Nebraska facility. Due to a formulation error, the ...

Pet International Inc. Recalls Buster's 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat

Possible Salmonella health risk

Pet International of Miami, Florida is recalling 1500 units of 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals (i.e. dogs) eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

The 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat was distributed to retail stores in the following Cities: Conifer, and Lakewood in Colorado.

If you have this product, use gloves and put it in a double bag and throw it away as soon as possible. Do not touch the product in any way, and if you do, it’s recommended you must wash your hands immediately with an antibacterial soap.

The potentially affected product will pertain to a particular lot number, and are specific to a particular size of the pouch it’s sold in. Anyone having these products should verify the following:

Brand: Buster’s Natural Pet Supply,
Lot Code: 8501450,
Size: 6” Beef Trachea/ 12 Pack Plastic Pouch,
UPC Code: 8501450

No illnesses have been reported to date. We are still warning consumers that if any of the above information is on the package you have, do not feed it to any animals at all. It may be hazardous and should be disposed of immediately.

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and analyzed by FDA, obtained from Buster’s Natural Pet Supply in Conifer, CO. and found to be positive for Salmonella. The product sampled had a Buster’s Label on it, but was manufactured by Pet International. Buster’s Natural Pet Supply recalled the entire product from the two stores that the distributor sells it. The Pet International Inc. continues their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Consumers with any questions about the recall product may contact the company at by phone at (305) 591-3338 Monday through Friday 9:00am too 5:00pm EST or via e-mail at sergioh@petint.com.

 

Pet International of Miami, Florida is recalling 1500 units of 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella....

EuroCan Manufacturing recalls pig ears pet products

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

EuroCan Manufacturing is recalling individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags of Barnsdale Farms, HoundsTooth and Mac's Choice Pig Ears pet products.

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

No illnesses of any kind have been reported to date.

The pig ears, lot number 84, were distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should return them to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (ET) at (888) 290-7606.

 

 

EuroCan Manufacturing is recalling individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags of Barnsdale Farms, HoundsTooth and Mac's Choice Pig Ears...

Woman Says Friskies Killed Her Cat

Similar accounts found online

A Florida woman is blaming Friskies cat food for the death of her beloved Smokey.

Kim Herget, of New Port Richey, told local news affiliate WTSP that after feeding her five-year-old cat, Smokey, Friskies  for several days, the animal fell ill. When Herget took him to the vet, he was diagnosed with acute kidney failure and put to sleep.

Cause and effect?

Herget had switched to Friskies from a different cat food. Her vet was unable to determine whether the food had caused Smokey's illness, and the cat was so sick that he couldn't draw enough blood to run additional tests. A medical chart prepared by the vet said the only difference before and after the kidney failure was the cat's change in diet.

Friskies was the subject of a class-action lawsuit several years ago. While Herget says she was aware of the suit, she assumed that the litigation had spurred parent company Purina to fix any remaining problems with the food.

But Herget started looking around on the Internet and soon found accounts of similar experiences from other cat owners. Many of those accounts included a switch to Friskies followed by throwing up, hair loss, and, in some cases, death -- all symptoms that Herget says Smokey experienced.

Pet food woes

While the cause of Smokey's death is still unclear -- and probably will remain so -- it raises old questions about the safety of pet food in general. In March 2007, Menu Foods recalled 53 brands of dog food and 42 brands of cat food after tests showed  the foods caused kidney failure. Many of the brands were found to be infected with rodent poisoning, a revelation that then-CEO Paul Henderson was unable to explain.

A number of lawsuits concerning that recall, which were eventually consolidated in a New Jersey federal court, were settled in late 2008.

A separate lawsuit targeted Canidae, after a number of consumers said their pets became sick after eating that brand of food. Canidae dismissed a lab report from 2007 showing that the food contained acetaminophen, a type of painkiller.

Importance of due diligence

Herget's experience also highlights the need for thorough research before making the decision to switch your cat or dog food. Consumer websites like ConsumerAffairs.com have both good and bad reviews of many brands of pet food, and let you know which behaviors following a switch are normal and which ones are not.

None of this is much comfort to Herget, who told WTSP that she cries herself to sleep on a regular basis. WTSP said that for Herget, as for many pet owners, “pets are not just animals, they are part of the family.”

Woman Says Friskies Killed Her CatFinds similar accounts online...

Dog Power Dog Food Recalled

High aflatoxin levels detected

Advanced Animal Nutrition has announced a voluntary recall of its dry Dog Power Dog Food due to aflatoxin levels that were detected above the acceptable limit. The affected products were manufactured between Jan. 4, 2011, and Nov. 18, 2011.

No illnesses have been reported in association with these products to date, and no other Advanced Animal Nutrition pet food products are involved in this recall. Affected products are:

  • DOG POWER ADULT MAINTENANCE FORMULA 21-12 Dog Food, 50 pound bags
  • DOG POWER HUNTERS FORMULA 27-14 Dog Food, 50 pound bags
  • DOG POWER HI-PRO PERFORMANCE FORMULA 26-18 Dog Food, 50 pound bags

The recall only applies to the above products with the following Packaging Date Codes (lot numbers):  K0004 through K1322.

The affected dry dog food products were distributed in the following states – Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana.  Retailers have already been instructed to remove the affected brands and products from store shelves.

Consumers are urged to return affected products – whether in opened or unopened packages – to their place of purchase for a full refund.  For more information, contact 866-648-7646.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold byproduct.  Pets that have consumed any of the above recalled products and exhibit symptoms of illness including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, or diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian.

Advanced Animal Nutrition has announced a voluntary recall of its dry Dog Power Dog Food due to aflatoxin levels that were detected abo...

Purina Recalls Dry Cat Food in Three States

Cat Chow, Friskies Grillers may be contaminated with Salmonella

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (NPPC) is voluntarily recalling approximately 870 bags of dry cat food shipped to Colorado, Idaho and Oregon. This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Only the following products with both the "Best By" date and production codes shown are included in this voluntary recall:  

Product NameBag Size"Best By" Date & Production Code*Bag UPC Code
Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Foot6.3 lb.AUG 2012 10331083 1317800 11320
Friskies Grillers Blend Dry Cat Food3.15 lb.AUG 2012 10381083 0650000 08450
Friskies Grillers Blend Dry Cat Food16 lb.AUG 2012 10381083 0650000 57578

 

 *"Best By" Date and Production Code is found on the back or bottom of the bag.

The bags of dry cat food in this recall were distributed in error in February, 2011 to a small number of customers in Colorado, Idaho and Oregon, which may have further distributed the product to other Western states. There have been no consumer complaints and no reports of illness.

No additional Purina cat or dog products are involved. Only products which match the "Best By" date and production codes above are involved.

Consumers who have purchased any of these dry cat food products with these "Best By" Dates and Production Codes should discard it.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the product and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products. People handling contaminated dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, 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 exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets 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.

For further information or to obtain a product refund, please call NPPC toll-free at 1-800-982-6559 weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time, or visit www.purina.com.

 

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (NPPC) is voluntarily recalling approximately 870 bags of dry cat food shipped to Colorado, Idaho and Oregon. This is ...

Pet Food Seen as Human Salmonella Risk

FDA steps up testing of pet food and treats

You don't want Spike getting salmonella from his dog food -- and you most certainly don't want to get it yourself.  Yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it's increasingly concerned about humans getting sick from exposure to contaminated pet food.

The agency says it is increasing its inspections of dry pet food and pet treats from distributors, wholesalers and retailers.  There've been numerous recalls of pet food tainted by salmonella and other contaminants in recent years.

While humans usually get salmonella poisoning by eating contaminated food, it's also possible to pick up the disease by handling contaminated pet food.  In January 2006, at least 70 people were sickened by selmonella-tainted pet food from a Pennsylvania plant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says pet owners should be sure to wash their hands after feeding their pets.  

What to do

Here are some more pointers from the CDC:

Purchase Tip

  • Purchase products (canned or bagged) with no visible signs of damage to the packaging, such as dents, tears, or discolorations.

Preparation Tips

  • Washing hands is the most important step to prevent illness. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with water and soap right after handling pet food and treats, and especially before preparing, serving or eating food, drinks or preparing baby bottles
  • Preferably, people should feed their pet in areas other than the kitchen.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes and scooping utensils with soap and hot water regularly. Avoid washing these items in the kitchen sink or bathtubs to prevent cross-contamination. In households where there is no alternative, the sink area should be adequately sanitized after these items have been cleaned and removed.
  • Infants should not be bathed in kitchen sinks because of the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Do not use the pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil – use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon, or cup.

Storage Tips

  • Pet food should not be handled or stored in areas where food for humans is prepared.
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded or closed.
  • Promptly refrigerate or discard unused, leftover wet pet food and containers (e.g., cans, pouches). Refrigerating foods quickly prevents the growth of most harmful bacteria. Refrigerators should be set at 40 degrees F. The accuracy of the setting should be checked occasionally with a refrigerator thermometer.
  • Dry pet food and pet treats should be stored in a cool, dry place under 80 degrees F.

Follow these simple guidelines to prevent getting a Salmonella infection from your pet:

  • After contact with animals, their food, or their environments, wash your hands well with soap and running water.
  • Clean up after your pet. If you have a cat, scoop the litter box daily and dispose of the stool in a tightly sealed plastic bag. If you have a dog, clean up the stool while on walks or from the yard daily and dispose of the stool in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age should not be allowed to touch or eat pet food, treats, or supplements and should be kept away from pet feeding areas. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths.
You don't want Spike getting salmonella from his dog food -- and you most certainly don't want to get it yourself.  Yet the Food and Drug Administrati...

Pet Owners Blame Nutro Products for their Dog's Illnesses

Menu Foods Phases Out Chinese Ingredients


A California pet owner is furious that Nutro Products continues to claim its dry dog foods are safe.That companys senior dry food, she says, nearly killed her two dogs.

In another development, Menu Foods said it is phasing out ingredients from China until it is assured they're safe. Chinese ingredients have been blamed for the wave of pet poisonings across the country.

I cannot even begin to describe the hell our pets have gone through, Cynthia H. of West Hills, California, says of her six-year-old Pomeranian, Killer, and her nine-year-old American Eskimo-Sheltie mix, Juliet. This has been weeks of vomiting and diarrhea and illness -- skin infections, bladder infections, not eating, lethargy -- basically, they were poisoned by this bad food.

Cynthia says shed just started feeding her dogs Nutro Maxs Senior Dry food around the first of this month, and chose that brand because it wasnt included in the nationwide recall of more than 60 million containers of pet foods.

Thats the irony of the whole thing. This food was something new that I started feeding them because of the pet food recall. I was being very careful not to give things on that recall list.

Since March, 18 companies have recalled more than 5,600 pet food products. That action came after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed two ingredients used to make the products -- wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate -- were tainted with melamine and melamine-related compounds.

Melamine is a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers. It is not approved for use in pet or human food.

The FDA also discovered the Chinese companies that exported those ingredients to the United States intentionally spiked the products with melamine to increase the protein content.

Thousands of dogs and cats that have eaten the contaminated pet food have suffered kidney problems or died.

In Cynthias case, her dogs became sick shortly after they started eating Nutro Maxs dry food. And their symptoms mirror those in pets that have eaten the tainted -- and recalled -- foods.

Juliet got sick first, Cynthia says, adding she bought the Nutro Max dry food in April, but didnt start feeding it to her dogs until May. And she has been very ill for nearly three weeks. Shes had bloody diarrhea, repeated vomiting, and her system also started shutting down, resulting in a bad bladder infection. She has also been on two different types of medications.

Cynthias Pomeranian experienced similar problems.

He has vomited and had severe diarrhea for more than a week. His system started to shut down, and he ended up with a serious skin infection. Hes still on antibiotics and is not yet well.

Both dogs, she says, were also extremely lethargic.

I was down at the vets office with both of them and I didnt think theyd come back. Theyve been through hell.

Is it possible that anything besides of the food made the dogs sick?

No way, Cynthia says.

My dogs have been incredibly healthy dogs. Theyre indoors dogs and only go outside with me supervising them. Theres nothing else they could have gotten into; theres nothing else that could have done this to them.

She adds: I just know it happened because of the food.

Her vet agrees. She concurred with me that I should stop feeding them Nutro Max.

Contacted FDA

To protect other dogs from getting sick, Cynthia contacted the FDA and Nutro Products with her concerns about the dry food.

I filed a compliant with the FDA, but theyre being very unresponsive. I called the Los Angeles office in Orange County and got a call back from someone in Arizona. Apparently, Los Angeles got a lot of bad pet food and there are a massive amount of people calling the FDA office in Orange County.

Orange Countys FDA office wanted samples of the food and they were going to send someone over to my house to pick it up, she adds. But they havent called me in three weeks. I thought there should be some urgency because this stuff is still on the shelves.

Deaf Ears

How did Nutro Products respond?

My concerns fell on deaf ears, Cynthia says. I did speak to someone in their corporate office and they kept saying that they feel their dry food is safe. They are also refusing to do anything for anyone. And Im out $500 in vet bills.

Cynthia isnt the only pet owner who has contacted ConsumerAffairs.com with concerns about Nutros dry food.

Consider some of the similar complaints weve received in the past few months:

• Kevin S. of Roseville, California, wrote: I have to put down my dog of six years today as she has the same symptoms as the other animals that have eaten contaminated foods. I realize that there has been no official recall of dry dog food, but my dog has only eaten two products in her life, Nutro Max dry dog food and Purina Beggin Strips. Please stop this nightmare and help keep other animals safe for this tragic event. I have spent over two thousand dollars attempting to save my dog. Today is her last day as she is being put to sleep this afternoon.

• Bonita L. Wachs of Germantown, Wisconsin, told us: My three-year-old Shih Tzu became very ill in the fall of 2006. She was extremely thirsty, drank excessively, lost her appetite, lost weight, had diarrhea and vomiting, was lethargic, and was very ill. She refused to eat her food, but, as many owners did, we forced her to eat the food she didn't want. She developed a high level of glucose in her urine and a urinary tract infection.

"The vet was stumped with her condition. I had asked if it could be her dry dog food -- Nutro Max. The vet said that was a good brand and did not think so. In the spring, when the pet food scare was in full force, I called the service line and reported my dogs illness to the company. They said they had not had any problems with the dry food or Nutro treats, but would document my complaint. I switched to Purina dog food back in January, and now my dog is clear of glucose in her urine. The vet is still stumped, but happy she is well. Molly had a rough few months, and we have a few hundred dollars in vet bills. We pray there is no physical damage to her kidneys.

• Angelique of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told us: My dog (only four-years-old) died within 4 days of me buying a new bag of Nutro Max dry dog food. This is not on the list of recalled foods, but this was the only major change in his diet and he was never out of my sight. He was fine on Sunday until 2 a.m. when he started having diarrhea,vomiting, lethargy, bloody diarrhea, and by the time I took him to the hospital at 1 p.m. the next day he was in shock. His system shut down and he died at around 4:30 p.m. This needs to be stopped. The company refuses to acknowledge there is a problem, but if you search on the Internet you will find many people saying the exact same thing happened to them. This food needs to be recalled now.

No Response

ConsumerAffairs.com tried to reach Nutro Products, but the company did not return our calls.

A press release on the companys Web site, however, states: Nutro wishes to reassure its customers that Nutro's dry dog and cat foods are safe to feed their petsand none of Nutro's dry pet foods are involved in the latest dry pet food recall announcements involving contaminated rice protein from China.

The press release also states: None of Nutro's dry dog or cat foods have been involved in any of the melamine related recallsand an independent testing laboratory has tested the rice protein used in Nutro's dry pet foods and no melamine was detected.

In the current environment, we want to communicate frequently with our customers about Nutro's products and reassure you that our dry dog and cat foods are safe.

Cynthia vehemently disagrees. And she plans to continue warning other pet owners about Nutros dry dog food.

This food was supposed to be safe and it isntit nearly killed our two dogs.

Menu Foods Makes a Change

In related pet food recall news, Menu Foods announced this week that it will no longer source vegetable proteins --like wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate -- from China until those ingredients are deemed safe.

Menu is phasing out all ingredients from China until such time as Menu and its customers are convinced of their safety, attorney David Lillehaug told ConsumerAffairs.com on Tuesday.

Menu isnt the only pet food manufacturer taking this stance against China.

Royal Canin USA announced last week that it will no longer source vegetable proteins from that country.

More about the Pet Food Recall ...



Pet Owners Blame Nutro Products for their Dog's Illnesses...

PETA Suggests Vitamin D to Blame for Animal Deaths

Group Demands FDA Head Resign for Ignoring Complaints about Dry Animal Food

The animal rights group, People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), says that excessive amounts of vitamin D in pet food might be the cause of the growing number of kidney problems and deaths in cats and dogs across the country.

PETA also called for the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration to immediately resign for his "complete failure" in handling the Menu Foods recall of 60 million containers of wet dog and cat food.

PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich -- citing laboratory evidence -- today urged the FDA to refocus its investigation beyond wheat gluten and consider other possible contaminants in the pet food.

In his letter to Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinarian Medicine, Friedrich said: "Wheat gluten is used almost exclusively in wet foods. However, the mounting number of complaints of illness and death in cats and dogs who had eaten only dry food strongly suggests that there is a second source of the poisoning, another toxic ingredient.

"Evidence from reputable laboratories indicates that an as yet unnamed ingredient may be to blame, perhaps a form of vitamin D."

Friedrich cited the following examples to illustrate his contention:

• A manufacturing error last year in the production of Royal Canin pet food resulted in excessive amounts of vitamin D3 in the food. This caused hypercalcemia, an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood that caused animals' kidneys to malfunction;

• Research in endocrinology at Cleveland Clinic has confirmed that high levels of vitamin D3 in animals' blood causes kidney malfunction;

• Symptoms associated with excessive vitamin D3 appear identical to the symptoms now being reported in dogs and cats. This has led "us to believe that this vitamin may be implicated in this new horror," Friedrich writes.

Friedrich asked Sundlof to let him know if the FDA is testing a wide sample of implicated cat and dog foods -- both wet and dry -- for vitamin D3 levels.

He also implored Sundlof to "please tell the public what other measures you are taking to get to the bottom of this crisis."

Wheat Gluten

FDA officials said last week the wheat gluten in the recalled pet foods is contaminated with melamine, a chemical commonly used in plastics.

But the New York Department of Agriculture and an agricultural laboratory in Canada dispute that finding. They say the pet food is contaminated with a rat poison called Aminopterin.

The New York lab has 42 scientists and support staff and a $3.5 million annual budget. It tests about 20,000 samples of food annually. It has some of the latest high-tech equipment, some of it purchased with Homeland Security funds as a safeguard against bioterrorism.

The director of the New York lab, Daniel Rice, told USA Today that all of pieces of the poisoning puzzle have not yet been found.

"I guess we don't think this is a closed case yet," he said.

PETA Demands Resignation

In other news, PETA has called for the commissioner of the FDA to resign in the wake of the agency's handling of Menu Food's massive recall. It issued a timeline that it said documented the agency's failings.

"The FDA is feeding the public a line, and the American people's faith in the government is dying along with dogs and cats," Friedrich says. "The agency's failure to pinpoint the cause of death for animals who have eaten only dry food is cause for the commissioner to resign or be fired."

In an April 2, 2007 letter, PETA's president Ingrid Newkirk, outlined four specific reasons for FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to resign:

• The FDA's failure to recommend a recall of Menu Foods' products -- or tell the public the pet foods might be harming or killing their animals -- before the company announced its recall on March 16, 2007. PETA says Menu Foods knew "its food was sickening animals as early as February 20, 2007, and killed more animals in a crude feeding test at the end of the month."

• The FDA's refusal to recommend a recall or advise the public that dry pet food might also be contaminated -- even though the "FDA knew from numerous consumer complaints that dry food has been implicated in this tragedy."

• The FDA's refusal to name the dry pet food manufacturer that received a contaminated ingredient used in the recalled pet foods. "The FDA refused to name the company or advise consumers which foods to avoid in order to ensure that no more beloved animals would be killed by the FDA-approved food fed to them," Newkirk wrote is the letter.

• The FDA's apparent cover-up of evidence that reveals melamine is not what's causing cats and dogs to become sick and die. "At the FDA's press conference on March 30, the agency did not report the fact that the New York Department of Agriculture and a top Canadian agricultural laboratory both dispute the FDA's finding," Newkirk wrote.

She also cited a New York Times article that quoted a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture saying: "We don't think this is the final conclusion. Melamine is not a known toxin ... we are confident we found Aminopterin, and it makes sense with the pathology."

Newkirk's letter to the FDA's commissioner also states: "Under your leadership, the FDA adopted a wait-and-see attitude while animals went into renal failure and households and children lost cherished members of their family.

"Your failure to act in a timely fashion, let along speedily, to demand a recall showed that your interests lie in the protecting the pet food industry's profit margin, not animals and those who love them."

FDA MIA

PETA Vice President Friedrich described the FDA as "MIA when it comes to protecting dogs and cats."

"The FDA has completely abdicated its responsibility of regulating the pet food industry," he told ConsumerAffairs.com today. "It has handed over pet food regulations to a non-governmental agency with no power at all-the Association of American Feed Control Officials."

PETA has also called for criminal investigations into Iams, Menu Foods, and other companies to determine if there were delays that caused more suffering and deaths of animals.

In a letter to the Prosecuting Attorney of Hamilton County, Ohio, PETA writes: "As we see it, Iams and its agents may have violated Ohio (anti-cruelty) law. Iams' manufacturer, Menu Foods, reportedly knew about the food contamination issues as early as February 20, yet a product recall was not announced until March 16 -- almost a full month later -- a month in which peoples' animal companions were sickened and may have died.

"Iams, by delaying its recall announcement, should be held fully accountable for every pertinent death, to the extent allowed by Ohio law."

Chinese Blamed

The Food and Drug Administration yesterday blocked the Chinese manufacturer suspected of producing melamine-tainted wheat gluten -- and linked to scores of kidney-related illnesses and deaths in pets across the country -- from importing the product into the United States.

In an import alert dated March 31, 2007, the FDA identified the Chinese manufacturer as Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company -- www.xzay.com -- of Peixian, China.

"In March, 2007, the FDA became aware of the illness and death of cats and dogs associated with certain pet foods," the alert states, referring to the massive recall of 60 million containers of wet pet food produced by Menu Foods of Canada.

"Subsequently, samples of the implicated pet food were analyzed and found to contain melamine. The consumption of pet food containing melamine may be associated with acute renal failure in cats. Investigations have revealed that the source of the melamine was wheat gluten, which is an ingredient in the pet food.

The alert adds: "Appropriate screening criteria have been set for wheat gluten from China and the Netherlands, as a country through which trans-shipping of Chinese wheat gluten may occur. "

A sales manager for Xuzhou Anying told MSNBC the company was aware of the FDA's import alert. But manager Geng Ziujuan said her company had not made the contaminated wheat gluten, claiming it purchased the product from companies in neighboring provinces of China.

The sales manager also said Xuzhou Anying sold the wheat gluten to another company called Suzhou Textile Import and Export Company.

"There are many other exporters and I don't see why they would just blame us," Geng told MSNBC, adding the company was inspecting its products. It's too early, she said, to announce any results.

Massive Recall

Menu Foods' massive recall affects such national brands as Procter & Gamble's Iams and Eukanuba, Nestle SA's Purina Mighty Dog and others, including some sold at Wal-Mart and Safeway.

Other pet food companies, including Del Monte Pet Products and Hill's Pet Nutrition, are now recalling products made with the same melamine-tainted wheat gluten imported from China.

Del Monte Pet Products recalled some of its wet pet foods and pet treats sold under the Jerky Treats, Gravy Train Beef Stick and Pounce Meaty Morsel brands.

It also recalled some of its dog snacks sold under private label brands. The company said it took that action after learning from the FDA that wheat gluten supplied to Del Monte Pet Products -- from a manufacturing plant in China -- contained melamine.

 


 

PETA Suggests Vitamin D to Blame for Animal Deaths...

Natural Balance Recalls Pet Food

One of the Few Brands to Use "Human Grade" Ingredients


Another pet food company has recalled some of its products after receiving complaints that dogs and cats are vomiting and experiencing kidney problems.

Natural Balance Pet Foods announced on its Web site that it is pulling all dates of Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food and Venison & Green pea Dry Cat Food from the market.

"We do not know what it wrong with the food at this time," the California-based company states on its Web site, "but we have heard that animals are vomiting and experiencing kidney problems. Although the problems seem to be focused on one particular lot, as a precautionary measure, we are pulling all dates of Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food and Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Food from the shelves."

The message adds: "We are working closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Please discontinue feeding all Venison and Brown Rice Dry Dog Food and Venison and Green Pea Dry Cat Food." The company said no other Natural Balance products are affected by the recall.

The FDA said that there is "no indication at this time whether this is related to the ongoing pet food recalls."

On the company's 800 number, a recorded message Monday night stated the only test results Natural Balance has received back are bacterial reports. And those tests did not reveal any abnormal findings.

Natural Balance's Web site said the affected brands of pet food contain no grains like wheat, barley, corn, and oats. And wheat gluten is not listed as an ingredient for either brand of Natural Balance's recalled pet foods.

The FDA says the nearly 100 brands of pet foods and treats involved in the nationwide recall -- announced on March 16, 2007, by Menu Foods of Canada -- were made with melamine-tainted wheat gluten imported from China. Melamine is a fertilizer and a chemical commonly used in plastics.

Expert Calls It "Very Upsetting"

Ann Martin's Books

Canadian author Ann N. Martin, who researched the pet food industry for five years, called Natural Balance's recall "very upsetting."

In earlier interviews with ConsumerAffairs.com, Martin said Natural Balance is one of the few pet foods on the market made with "human grade" ingredients.

"These are ingredients that have been inspected and passed for human consumption," says Martin, author of "Food Pets Die For ... Shocking Facts About Pet Food," and "Protect Your Pets ... More Shocking Facts." Martin says she feeds her dog Natural Balance Premium food when she boards him at the kennel.

When ConsumerAffairs.com contacted Martin late Monday night about Natural Balance's recall, she said: "I had heard about this yesterday morning and can't figure out what the heck is going on. If there is something wrong with this food, and it is one of the top foods on the market, I will just forget telling people what foods they should feed their pets. This is very upsetting. "

Pet owners can call Natural Balance's toll-free number at 800-829-4493 or visit its Web site for more information.

South Africa

In related news, the pet food recall has now spread to South Africa.

Royal Canin South Africa, which manufacturers Royal Canin premium dog and cat food -- and the cheaper brand Vets Choice -- announced that it was recalling the products because they'd caused kidney failure in dogs and cats, according to reports in The Namibian, an independent daily newspaper published in Windhoek, and allAfrica.com.

Royal Canin South Africa advised veterinarians in South Africa and Namibia to stop selling Vets Choice until further notice.

The paper said laboratory tests are being done to determine if the food is contaminated.

Nineteen dogs in Cape Town and Johannesburg -- that ate Vets Choice food -- have been diagnosed with acute kidney failure, according to News 24, South Africa's premier news source.

A statement sent to veterinary surgeons in South Africa said: "In the interests of patients and pending tests being conducted on Vets Choice products, Royal Canin South Africa has decided to suspend all sales of Vets Choice with immediate effect and vets are requested to advise clients to cease feeding Vets Choice products to their pets until further notice."

The South African subsidiary of Hill's Pet Nutrition previously recalled a batch of its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry food in the wake of the massive recall in the United States. The prescribed cat food is only available from veterinarians.

The South African Veterinary Association called Hills' recall "a precautionary measure" and said it hadn't appeared to affect cats in South Africa, The Namibian reported.

Dr Guy Fyvie, spokesperson for Hill's in South Africa, told News 24, the potentially affected products had never been released from the warehouse to South African veterinarians and all food sold in that country is safe.

This isn't the first time South African pet owners have worried about the food they're feeding their dogs and cats.

Earlier this year, approximately 35 dogs in that country died after eating toxic pet food. In that case, the pets died from ethylene glycol-contaminated food -- manufactured by Aquanutro -- and sold at Woolworths in South Africa.

Finger-Pointing Begins

The United States company that imported the tainted wheat gluten -- ChemNutra of Las Vegas, Nevada -- says it was victimized by its Chinese supplier, XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.

In a letter posted on the company's Web site, CEO Steve Miller also said he is "appalled" that Menu Foods took so long to recall the contaminated pet food.

"The possibility that any animal fell ill or died because of an ingredient we may have supplied to Menu Foods saddens us and also angers us because it means that ChemNutra has been victimized as well, by our own supplier," Miller wrote, adding his company will no longer do business with XuZhou Anying.

"We are concerned that we may have been the victim of deliberate and mercenary contamination for the purpose of making the wheat gluten we purchased appear to have a higher protein content than it did, because melamine causes a false high result on protein tests," Miller said.

Miller was referring to allegations that the melamine could have intentionally been added to the wheat gluten -- a theory raised earlier this month by the director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

"Somebody may have added melamine to the wheat gluten in order to increase what appears to be the protein level," the FDA's Stephen Sundlof said. "Wheat gluten is a high-protein substance and by trying to artificially inflate the protein level, it could command a higher price. But that's just one theory at this point."

Miller said his company had never heard of melamine before this recall.

"We had no idea that melamine was an issue until being notified by the FDA on March 29," he wrote on the company's Web site. "It's simply not a chemical even on the radar screen for food ingredient suppliers."

Miller also said his company is "distressed" with Menu Foods' handling of the pet food recall.

"We are appalled and distressed that Menu Foods took so long to recall its products, although it clearly suspected there was a problem for weeks prior to the first recall," he wrote. "And it wasn't until eight days before they issued their first recall that Menu Foods told us that wheat gluten was one of many ingredients it was investigating."

Questions Raised about ChemNutra

Questions, however, have surfaced in recent weeks about ChemNutra and its ties to China. The Canadian investigative newspaper, Canada Free Press, describes the company's Chinese headquarters as a "rundown warehouse in rural China."

That warehouse, the paper adds, is located within 50 miles of XuZhou Anying, the company blamed for supplying the tainted wheat gluten.

The Las Vegas Review Journal says ChemNutra's Las Vegas office -- at Durango and Charleston Streets -- is "very small ... without even a sign on the door."

ChemNutra touts its ties to China, stating it "imports high-quality nutritional and pharmaceutical chemicals from China to the US. We purchase our inventory from quality-assured manufacturers in China; most of whom we have strong relationships over the past twelve years."

The company's president, Sally Miller, also has strong ties to China.

ChemNutra's Web site states she has "more than 12 years experience in China as QA Manager and Purchasing Manager ... and was responsible for purchasing large quantities of nutritional and food ingredients in China for export worldwide."

The Web site also states Sally Miller has an MBA -- and an Engineering degree -- in Food Engineering, but doesn't state where she earned those degrees. Canada Free Press learned she "earned an MBA from City University in Seattle, as well as (an) Engineering degree in Food Chemical Engineering at Hanzhou Institute of Commerce in Hanzhou, China."

More about the Pet Food Recall ...



Natural Balance Recalls Pet Food...

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food Recalled

May be contaminated with Salmonella

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is recalling a limited number of 3.5- and 7-pound bags of its Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food from a single production run and shipped to customers in 12 states in December 2010. 

This is being done because some bags of the product have been found to be contaminated with Salmonella.  Only Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food with both the “Best By” date and the production code shown are included in this voluntary recall : 
 

Product Name

Bag size

“Best By” Date &     Production Code*   

Bag UPC Code

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+

3.5 lb.

   MAY 2012  03341084

17800 01885

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+  

3.5 lb.

MAY 2012  03351084

17800 01885

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+

7 lb.    

MAY 2012  03341084

17800 01887

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+  

7 lb.    

   MAY 2012  03351084

17800 01887

 

*”Best By” Date and Production Code are found on the back or bottom of the bag.

The product was distributed to customers located in California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin, who may have further distributed the product to other states.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company became aware of the contamination as a result of samples that had been collected in several retail stores.

No additional Purina cat or dog products are involved in this voluntary recall.  No other Purina ONE brand products are involved.   Only Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ brand products which match the “Best By” dates and production code above are included in this recall.

Consumers who have purchased Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food products with these specific “Best By” Date and Production Codes should discontinue feeding the product and discard it.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the product, and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products.  People handling contaminated dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.  Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for the following symptoms:  nausea, vomiting, 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 exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.  If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.  Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.  If you pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For further information or to obtain a product refund, please call NPPC toll-free at 1-800-982-6559 or visit www.purina.com.

 

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is recalling a limited number of 3.5- and 7-pound bags of its Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food from a singl...

Pet Owners Cheer Indictments in Toxic Pet Food Case

But additional indictments and safeguards are needed, they argue


Pet owners across the country applauded the indictmen of two Chinese companies -- and an American importer and its owners -- for their alleged roles in intentionally manufacturing and distributing melamine-tainted wheat gluten that was used to make dog and cat food.

Pet food makers last year recalled more than 150 brands of dog and cat food contaminated with melamine, a chemical that is not approved for use in human or animal food.

Thousands of dogs and cats nationwide suffered kidney disease or died after eating the adulterated food.

"When I first read about these (indictments), I was crying because I was so happy," said pet owner Carol V. of Rhode Island, whose two cats became gravely ill last February after eating melamine-tainted pet food.

"It was one year ago yesterday that my nightmare started. It made me feel really good that something was being done. I was shocked because I had not idea that these criminal investigations were going on. I thought they had fizzled," she said.

But Carol and other pet owners are adamant that the investigation into last year's pet food recall -- the largest in U.S. history -- must continue.

They say more companies should be held accountable for their roles in the deaths and illnesses of pets nationwide.

"I don't think the American company that imported the wheat gluten should be alone in this investigation," Carol said.

Indictments announced

On Wednesday, United States Attorney John Wood announced federal grand jury indictments against:

• Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., LTD. (XAC), a Chinese processor of plant proteins that exports products to the United States;

• Mao Linzhun, a Chinese national who was the owner and manager of XAC;

• Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products, Arts and Crafts I/E Co., LTD. (SSC), a Chinese broker used by XAC to export products to the United States;

• Chen Zhen Hao, 58, a Chinese national who was president of SSC.

The 26-count indictments specifically charged the companies and individuals with intent to defraud and mislead U.S. manufacturers -- and introducing misbranded food into interstate commerce.

In a separate but related case, Wood also announced federal indictments against:

• ChemNutra, Inc., of Las Vegas, Nevada, which buys food and food components in China and imports them into the U.S. to sell to companies in the food industry;

• Sally Qing Miller, 41, a Chinese national, who is president and controlling officer of ChemNutra, Inc,;

• Stephen S. Miller, 55, ChemNutra's owner and chief executive officer. He is married to Sally Miller.

The indictments alleged that the Millers and ChemNutra delivered melamine-tainted and misbranded food into interstate commerce.

Wire fraud conspiracy

The indictments further charged the Millers and ChemNutra with participating in a wire fraud conspiracy.

"In today's global economy, crimes that occur halfway around the world can seriously impact our lives," Wood said, adding the cases were filed in Kansas City, Missouri, because it was the port of entry for the melamine-tainted wheat gluten.

"Millions of pet owners remember the anxiety of last year's pet food recall. These indictments are the product of an investigation that began in the wake of that recall. We take seriously our responsibility to uphold the health and safety standards that protect America's food supply. Vigorous enforcement is an essential part of that effort," Wood said.

The indictments unraveled a web of fraud and deception that stretched from Nevada and China and ultimately across the country and into the homes of thousands of unsuspecting pet owners and their dogs and cats.

According to court records, more than 800 metric tons of wheat gluten was exported to the United States -- in at least 13 separate shipments -- between November 6, 2006 and February 21, 2007. Invoices reveal those shipments totaled nearly $850,000.

The indictments stated those shipments of wheat gluten were tainted with melamine and falsely labeled to avoid inspection in China.

Court records revealed that ChemNutra and the Millers received the melamine-tainted wheat gluten at a port of entry in Kansas City, Missouri, and then sold the products to their customers.

Those customers used the contaminated wheat gluten to make several brands of pet food, the indictments stated. Pet food makers use wheat gluten -- a natural protein derived from wheat or wheat flour -- as a binding agent to thicken the "gravy."

Wheat gluten

Wednesday's indictments stated that ChemNutra contracted with SSC to purchase the wheat gluten.

Under the terms of that contract, SSC agreed to provide ChemNutra with food grade wheat gluten that had a minimum protein content of 75 percent.

According to the indictments, SSC then entered into a separate contract with XAC to supply the wheat gluten needed to fulfill its contract with ChemNutra.

The indictments alleged that XAC added melamine to the wheat gluten to falsely inflate the protein content -- and meet the amounts specified in ChemNutra's contract.

It was cheaper for XAC to add melamine to the wheat gluten than to increase its actual protein content, the indictments stated.

But why didn't Chinese officials inspect the tainted wheat gluten before it left the country?

According to the indictments, SSC mislabeled the wheat gluten with a code used for products that are not subject to mandatory inspection by the country's General Administration of Quality supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

The Chinese government stated that XAC did not declare the tainted wheat gluten as a raw material for feed or as food. Instead, it falsely identified the wheat gluten as another product one that was not subject to inspection.

Wednesday's indictments further alleged that SCC provided ChemNutra and the Millers with documents that used the inaccurate product code. This is where the wire fraud conspiracy charge comes into play.

Citing e-mail messages, the indictments alleged that Sally Miller -- because of her background and training -- knew the wheat gluten would not be subject to inspections in China because the shipments were mislabeled with that product code.

Federal authorities said Sally Miller holds an engineering degree in food chemistry from Hangzhou University in China and has more than 10 years of work experience in China primarily as a purchasing manager for United States companies.

The indictments call for fines and jail time for executives at the Chinese companies -- and for Millers.

Wrongdoing denied

The Millers on Wednesday denied any wrongdoing.

"(They) deny the allegations by the Justice Department in the strongest of terms and look forward to the opportunity to prove their innocence at trial," a spokesman for ChemNutra told reporters. "Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Miller had any intent to defraud or knowledge of any wrongdoing."

In a written statement, the company also said that federal authorities did not accuse the Millers of knowing the wheat gluten was tainted with melamine.

"Although Mr. and Mrs. Miller strongly deny any intent to defraud or knowledge of wrongdoing, the government does not allege that Mr. and Mrs. Miller knew of the presence of melamine or any other substance that would cause death or injury to animals," the statement read. "The Millers unequivocally support the government pursuing those with knowledge of the dangerous contaminants."

The company, however, said the Millers were "deeply bothered by the government's failure to make these important distinctions in its press release related to their indictments."

A manager at Suzhou Textiles told The New York Times the company's owner was on vacation. He also said the company no longer ships food to the United States.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Wood acknowledged that it might be difficult to bring the Chinese defendants to the United States for trail.

The U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with China.

Wood, however, said his office will send arrest warrants for the Chinese defendants to international authorities action that makes it possible for the men to be detained if they travel to a country with a U.S. extradition treaty.

Wood also told reporters that Wednesday's indictments are accusations and not evidence of guilt.

The charges, he added, come on the heels of a long investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Pet owners respond

Meanwhile, pet owners hope additional charges will be filed in connection with the pet food nightmare.

"I think this is the tip of the iceberg and more indictments will come against other companies," said pet owner Doris B. of Georgia. "I think Menu Foods should face federal charges, too."

Menu Foods is the Canadian-based company at the heart of last year's pet food recall.

On March 16, 2007, Menu pulled more than 60 million containers of melamine-tainted dog and cat food off store shelves nationwide.

But weeks earlier, the company conducted routine feeding trials on pet food made with the tainted wheat gluten ChemNutra imported from China.

Menu Foods acknowledged that nine animals died during those trials.

The company, however, didn't report those deaths -- or five others that it learned about -- to the FDA until March 15, 2007.

"Think how many animals would have been saved if Menu Foods would have come out sooner -- and said they had a problem -- that animals were becoming sick and dying after eating their food," said pet owner Carol V. of Rhode Island. "Those feeding trials were between February 20-26 and these animals were dying, yet Menu Foods said nothing until March 15."

Canadian author Ann Martin, who has researched the pet food industry for years, agreed that U.S. authorities should investigate and perhaps charge -- Menu Foods and other pet food companies in connection with last year's recall.

"Menu Foods should have been part of this indictment as they, along with every other pet food company, neglect to test the raw ingredients that are being used in the foods they produce," Martin told ConsumerAffairs.com. "Menu knew weeks before the recall that there was a problem, yet chose to blame pet owner's for the illnesses and carried on with their shipping of the toxic pet food."

Do Wednesday's indictments represent justice for the pets that died after eating the tainted food?

Not at all, Martin said.

"These indictments are no justice for the thousands of dogs and cats that suffered and died because of this contamination," said the author of "Foods Pet Die For," and "Protect Your Pets."

"The only justice would be to put an end to the unethical practices that are perpetrated within this industry."

More about pets ...



Pet Owners Cheer Indictments in Toxic Pet Food Case...

Diamond Pet Food Linked to Samonella Outbreak in Humans

All of the contaminated food is from a single Diamond plant in South Carolina

Federal officials say at least 14 people have been infected with Salmonella Infantis, apparently from contact with dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods.

Public health investigators say they used DNA "fingerprints" to identify the strain of Salmonella, matching several of the cases with dry pet food produced at a Diamond plant in South Carolina. Illness in humans has been reported in nine states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The illnesses began between October 8, 2011 and April 22, 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ill persons range in age from less than one year old to 82 years old. Seventy-seven percent of patients are female. Among the 9 patients with available information, five were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The CDC cautioned that there may be cases that have not been reported, including any illness that occurred after April 1.

Lamb meal

On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food, the CDC said.

Public health investigators identified recent cases of human illness matching the Salmonella Infantis strain found in the unopened bag of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Seven of ten reported contact with a dog in the week before becoming ill.

Of five ill persons who could recall the type of dog food with which they had contact, four identified dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods that may have been produced at a single facility in South Carolina.

As part of this outbreak investigation, Ohio public health and agriculture officials collected and tested dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis was isolated from an opened bag of Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food collected from the home of an ill person, and an unopened bag of the product collected from a retail store.

A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility has also yielded Salmonella.

The investigation is continuing to determine if other brands of dry dog food produced at this facility may be linked to human illnesses. 

Federal officials say at least 14 people have been infected with Salmonella Infantis. apparently from contact with dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foo...

Diamond Expands Recall to Include Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Sampling found Salmonella in the dog food

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a voluntary recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food. The company took this precautionary measure because sampling revealed Salmonella in the product. No dog illnesses have been reported.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

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. Infected but otherwise healthy pets 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.

Only the Diamond Puppy Formula products meeting the following descriptions are recalled:

Description                                                                 Size                  Production Code       Best By Date
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0401B22XJW      6-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0401A21XAW     6-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0101C31XME      11-Jan-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0401B21XDJ       7-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 20 lb.                DPP0401B22XJW      6-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 20 lb.                DPP0101C31XME      11-Jan-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 20 lb.                DPP0101C31XRB       11-Jan-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 8 lb.                  DPP0401B2XALW      7-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 6 oz. samples DPP0401
 

The recalled Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food was manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods in Gaston, S.C., and distributed in the following 12 states:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

The product may have been further distributed to additional states through pet food channels. The company is working directly with distributors and retailers that carry these products to remove them as quickly as possible from the supply chain. Diamond Pet Foods apologizes for any potential issues this may cause pet owners and their dogs. 

Pet owners, who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like replacement product or a refund, may contact Diamond Pet Foods at 800-442-0402, 8 am – 6 pm EST, Monday through Friday, or visit www.diamondpetrecall.com.

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a voluntary recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food. The company took this precautionary measure because sampli...

WellPet Recalls Dry Dog Food

May be contaminated with Salmonella

WellPet LLC announced a voluntary recall of one recipe of Wellness® dry dog food after being notified by Diamond Pet Foods regarding the presence of Salmonella in Diamond’s Gaston, South Carolina facility.

The products involved in this voluntary recall are:

Wellness Complete Health® Super5Mix® Large Breed Puppy, 15 lb. and 30 lb. bags and 5 oz. sample bags with best by dates of JAN 9 2013 through JAN 11 2013.

Best by dates (lot codes) can be found on the back of the bag in the bottom right-hand corner.

No other WellPet recipes, sizes or brands of food are impacted by this voluntary recall

All Wellness products are tested for Salmonella and all lots tested negative prior to shipping to customers. The company is voluntarily recalling the select products below. This voluntary recall is being done out of an abundance of caution as these products were produced at the facility that has been linked to recent recalls of Diamond brand foods due to the threat of Salmonella.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets 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.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

"As a pet parent myself, I know how important peace of mind is when it comes to the health of our pets, and that is why we require that all of our products undergo testing forSalmonella, among other things," said Tim Callahan, chief executive officer of WellPet, the maker of Wellness® products. "All of these lots tested negative prior to being released for sale. We are voluntarily taking this additional step to further safeguard our dogs and to put our customers’ minds at ease."

The majority of Wellness natural products for pets are produced in WellPet's own modern state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. WellPet no longer purchases any products from Diamond Pet Foods.

Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, would like replacement product or have additional questions, may call us at (877) 227-9587 (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM through 6:00 PM Eastern time and Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM Eastern time).

 

WellPet LLC announced a voluntary recall of one recipe of Wellness® dry dog food after being notified by Diamond Pet Foods regarding the presence of&nb...

Salmonella Fears Prompt Spice Recall

August 28, 2005
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising processors and re-packers that Majestic International Spice Corporation of Montebello, CA, is voluntarily recalling its dried Extra Fancy Basil spice in 12.5 kilogram bags. The recall was initiated after FDA inspectors found the product contaminated with Salmonella Blockley.

Salmonella is a well-known cause of both outbreaks and sporadic disease in various parts of the world and as such poses a potential health threat. FDA said it is issuing the advisory out of concern that the firm has not adequately alerted its consignees to the problem.

The only identification on the 12.5 kilogram paper bags is a white paper label stating Extra Fancy Basil 12.5 KGS. The exact dates of sale are unknown but we believe the product was sold beginning in late April 2005.

Salmonella is a microorganism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella bacteria often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the microorganism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, endocarditis and arthritis.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The contamination was noted after routine testing by FDA revealed the presence of Salmonella Blockley. The recall was the result of the FDA sampling. The company has ceased the distribution of the product in question.

The agency said processors or repackers who received this product should discontinue using it and contact their local FDA office.



Salmonella Fears Prompt Spice Recall...

Pet Owners Not Thrilled with Poison Food Settlement

Despite compensation, many dog, cat owners still wary of commercial pet food


Grieving pet owners -- whose dogs and cats became sick or died last year after eating melamine-tainted food -- are one step closer to recovering their economic losses, though not all consumers are applauding a proposed settlement.

One called it "a slap in the face."

A U.S. District Court Judge in Camden, New Jersey yesterday gave preliminary approval to a $24 million settlement in a class action lawsuit that stems from the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

Last March, Menu Foods of Canada recalled 60 millions of containers of dog and cat food that were tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics.

Thousands of dogs and cats across North America suffered kidney disease after eating the contaminated food. Many died.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traced the source of that contamination to wheat gluten imported from China.

The $24 million settlement is in addition to the $8 million in claims some companies involved in the pet food litigation have already paid bringing the total figure to $32 million.

A hearing is set for October 14, 2008, on final approval of the settlement, which would resolve more than 100 class action lawsuits filed in U.S. and Canadian courts in the wake of the massive pet food recall.

Lawyers, company react

"We think this (settlement) is a win for consumers," said Sherrie Savett, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys in the case. "With this settlement, consumers will get as much or more than if they litigated the cases individually. The claims process allows people to recover as much as 100 percent of all their economic damages.

She added: "What we did get out of this settlement for consumers is the possibility of complete recovery of all economic damages -- even for lost carpets and time -- in addition to their veterinary bills. Even in cases where people do not have documentation of their damages, the settlement allows in some cases up to $900 for each person."

Menu Foods, which manufactures dog and cat food under nearly 100 brand names, applauded the settlement.

"Menu Foods is pleased with this negotiated settlement," Paul Henderson, the company's chief economic officer, said in a written statement. "If finally approved, the agreement will provide restitution to the pet owners affected by the 2007 pet food recalls.

"We feel that the pet owners, along with Menu and other pet food producers, were victims of a terrible fraud committed by a company in China," Henderson said.

Pet owners divided

Some pet owners, however, told ConsumerAffairs.com the settlement is not a victory for consumers.

Don Earl, whose beloved cat Chuckles died after eating Menu Foods' Pet Pride food, called the settlement "a slap in the face."

"Extrapolating from the best information available, over a quarter million pets were killed by the poisoned pet food epidemic," he said. "Take a third off the top for the attorneys, and divide by the number of pet owners harmed, they each will get $64."

An Arizona pet owner -- whose 13-year-old Sheltie suddenly died after eating some of the tainted pet food -- agreed.

"I feel that the $24 million is less than a slap on the wrist," said Jerry L. of Goodyear, Arizona. "It's a sad state of affairs and just goes to prove that until pet owners who really care about their pets push their government for stronger laws, these companies will continue to hold our pets at little or no regard.

"The only thing I can say is that I'm saddened and disappointed that our pets are held at so little value," she added. "Sandy Boy's ashes remain in my home and his picture remains proudly displayed around our home."

Pet owner Carol V., of Rhode Island, whose two cats became gravely ill last year after eating Menu Foods' Special Kitty food, echoed those sentiments.

"Twenty-four million dollars does not seem a lot before legal expenses," she said. "And if there are tens of thousands of affected pets (which I believe may be a low estimate), it seems unlikely that pet owners will get back all of their expenses.

"This amount also seems insufficient to me as we are talking about multi-billion dollar companies participating in this settlement."

A monetary settlement, Carol said, can never erase the pain and suffering her cats -- and her family -- experienced because of the tainted food.

One of her cats, Jessica, had to be euthanized last December because of the health problems she suffered after eating the contaminated food.

"There is no amount of money that will ever make this right in my home," Carol said. "Whether it is one penny or the close to three thousand dollars for my vet -- nothing will erase the memory of my cats struggling with trying to stand on their own, hanging over the water bowl, and hanging onto life for months as Smudge (her cat) did and now she struggles with chronic kidney damage and all because I fed them Association Of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) approved cat food."

Canadian author Ann Martin, who has researched the pet food industry for years, is pleased dog and cat owners will receive some compensation.

"Money, no matter how much, will never replace the pets they have lost due to the contaminated food," she said.

Lesson learned?

Martin and others said pet food makers and the government must now -- in the wake of the massive recall and settlement -- ensure the food that consumers feed their pets is safe. But they are not convinced that's happened.

"I really don't think the food on the shelves now is any safer than what we saw prior to the massive recall," Martin said. "How many of these pet food companies are testing for contamination in the raw materials they are purchasing? It is my understanding that some are now testing for melamine in the grains, but this is just one toxin that might be in the raw material. Are they testing the vitamin/mineral premixes, many which are coming from China or other countries with questionable practices?"

The settlement requires pet food makers to continue testing ingredients imported from China. That, however, doesn't make Martin feel any safer about feeding her animals commercial pet food.

"I'll continue to feed my pets a homemade diet," she said. "At least I know what they are eating, which is more than you can say with many of the pet foods on the market."

Carol is also leery about feeding her pets commercial food.

The system to protect dogs and cats from experiencing another pet food nightmare, she said, is still broken.

"I am not sure what makes me more mad -- that it took a courtroom full of lawyers to come to this decision (settlement), or the fact that I see no changes to our current food supply system to prevent this from happening again. The illness and deaths of beloved four-legged family members should have been a huge wake-up call that the system is broken."

Pet owners like Don Earl said some good has come from the massive recall.

"Many pet owners (including myself) have switched from the recycled garbage promoted as pet food to homemade," he said. "Their pets will live much longer and healthier lives."

Other consumers said the recall has made pet owners more aware of what's in the food their feed their dogs and cats.

And thanks to this settlement, that food should be safer than before the recall, said attorney Sherrie Savett.

"Pet food manufacturers know they will get hit with lawsuits that are meaningful (if their food isn't safe), she said. "I think that would cause pet food manufacturers to be much more careful."

What to do

Meanwhile, pet owners affected by the tainted food can still file claims for their losses.

Those consumers should not contact Menu Foods, the company said. Instead, they should contact the claims administration for the settlement at the following:

In re Pet Food Products Liability Litigation, Claims Administrator
c/o Heffler, Radetich & Saitta LLP,
P.O. Box 890,
Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890

1-800-392-7785

www.petfoodsettlement.com

Blizzard of litigation

Pet owners in 19 states -- and Ontario -- filed dozens of lawsuits against Menu Foods in the weeks that followed the March 16, 2007, nationwide recall of dog and cat food. Those cases were consolidated in a federal court in Camden, New Jersey.

The lawsuits alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices, negligence in failing to provide adequate quality control and breach of implied and express warranties.

Some consumers also claimed they suffered emotional trauma after their pets became sick or died.

Pet owners also sought compensation for their veterinary bills.

Companies named in the lawsuits -- besides Menu Foods -- included Del Monte Foods Inc. of San Francisco; Nestle of Stamford, Conn.; Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati; Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. in Pixian, China; and Suzhou Textile Import and Export Co. in Jiangsu, China.

Those defendants -- and Menu Foods' product liability insurance company -- will cover the costs of the settlement.

Menu Foods estimated the recall has cost the company $53.8 million.

Cause of death

Veterinarians now blame the dogs' and cats' deaths on the combination of two chemicals FDA officials found in the tainted pet food: melamine and cyanuric acid, which is used to chlorinate pools.

Neither chemical is approved in pet food.

Veterinarians said those two chemicals can combine and form crystals in the dogs' and cats' bodies. And those crystals can impair the animals' kidney function.

"Either one of those chemicals alone wouldn't cause these (deaths)," Dr. Barbara Powers, immediate past president of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and director of Colorado State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, told ConsumerAffairs.com. "It has to be the combination of the two. "

More about pets ...



Pet Owners Not Thrilled with Poison Food Settlement...

Canidae Recalls Dry Pet Food

May be contaminated with Salmonella

Canidae Pet Foods announced today that it is issuing a voluntary recall of certain dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011, and January 31, 2012 at the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, South Carolina plant.

Although there have been no animal or human illnesses related to Canidae Pet Food, and the product has not tested positive for Salmonella, the company has voluntarily initiated this recall out of caution to ensure the health and safety of consumers and their pets.

The below list of product with production codes that must have both a number “3” in the 9th position AND an “X” in the 10th or 11th position with best before dates of December 9, 2012, through January 31, 2013 which are being recalled.

  • Canidae Dog, All Life Stages
  • Canidae Dog, Chicken Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Lamb Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Platinum

Following is an example of how to read the production code and best before date:

The recall affects only products distributed in the following Eastern U.S. states which were manufactured at the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, South Carolina plant. Further distribution to other pet food channels may occur:

Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee

Canidae Pet Foods apologizes for any potential issues this may have caused pet owners and their pets.

Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like a replacement product or a refund, may contact Canidae Pet Foods via a toll free call at 1-800-398-1600, Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm PST. Consumers may also go to canidae.com for more information. The company is working with distributors and retailers to ensure all products affected by this voluntary recall are removed from shelves.

 

Canidae Pet Foods announced today that it is issuing a voluntary recall of certain dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011, and January...

Nutra Nuggets Recalled as Melamine Poisonings Continue

Humane Society of Canada Wants Criminal Investigation


The recall of melamine-tainted pet food continues as Diamond Pet Foods pulls a limited number of 40-pound bags of Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice dry dog food off the market.

Meanwhile in Canada, the Humane Society is calling for a criminal investigation of Menu Foods and other processors involved in the disastrous wave of pet food contamination.

The Nutra Nuggets follows reports by ConsumerAffairs.com earlier this week that samples of Nutra Nuggets tested positive for melamine and had caused kidney problems in at least four dogs in California.

The Missouri-based Diamond Pet Foods announced its recall of the product yesterday and cited melamine cross contamination as the reason.

The recalled product was manufactured at the same facility following production of other products that contained rice protein concentrate later found to be tainted with melamine, which is not an approved food substance,Diamond said in a press release posted on the companys Web site.

The company said its manufacturing plant in Lathrop, California, produced the tainted food and distributed it to retailers in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada.

The 40-pound bags of recalled Nutra Nuggets have the production codes of NLR0404A2SL or NLR0404B2SL, Best Before Oct. 9, 2008. No other Nutra Nuggets products are involved in this action.

Diamond Pet Foods said pet owners should immediately stop feeding their dogs the recalled Nutra Nuggets.

Pet owners with questions about this food -- or any other Diamond product -- can call the company at 1-866-214-6945.

Canada Inquiry

In Canada, the Humane Society is putting pressure on the government to investigate Ontario-based Menu Foods and other pet food makers. The group says its still waiting for an answer from government officials.

The society said it made formal requests to Canadas Prime Minister, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, called and the Ontario Securities Commission and other securities regulators asking them to conduct their own independent investigations to determine if criminal animal cruelty charges and securities charges should be laid.

We need hard answers about the names of key officials at these pet food companies. We need to find out what they knew about the problems, when they knew about it and if there were any delays in alerting the public and government agencies, said the animal charity's Western Regional Director Al Hickey.

Unlike other countries, here in Canada, for all intents and purposes, pet food companies are allowed to regulate themselves, with disastrous results. There are over 13 million dogs and cats living with their families across Canada and we need to do everything in our power to protect them right now. We need to take care of our own, said Hickey.

The group says any investigation should have four primary objectives:

1) to determine if criminal animal cruelty charges should be brought before the court;

2) to determine if charges should be brought with respect to insider trading by shareholders in pet food companies;

3) hold public hearings into how to best regulate the pet food industry;

4) to pass new laws to regulate the pet food industry.

Since the initial recall the number of other pet food companies, including Del Monte, Hills Pet Nutrition, Nestle Purina, Royal Canin and Sunshine Mills, product recalls continue to grow and now include more than 150 brand names and over 5,600 products.

The Canadian group notes that the pet food crisis continues to worsen and has now spread to the human food supply with contaminated "scrap pet food" fed to hogs and chickens; and contaminated feed ingredients from China fed to farmed fish.

The society cites published reports, indicating that Ontario based Menu Foods has received more than 300,000 complaints and there have been reports of deaths as high as 39,000 in the U.S. alone. Menu Foods says there have been only 16 confirmed pet deaths.

The Canadian group complains that U.S. officials and agencies have taken the lead in exposing the contamination, while Canada has done little.

Whatever you may say or think about U.S. politicians, they care about animals, said Humane Society of Canada's Chairman & CEO, Michael O'Sullivan. Here in Canada, the inaction and arrogance of Canadian politicians and civil servants is truly breath-taking.

Detective Work

California veterinarian Matt Humason of the Lone Oak Veterinary Clinic in Visalia, became suspicious of the Nutra Nuggets after four of his clients healthy dogs suddenly went into renal failure.

I saw the first two dogs around the beginning of May, Dr. Humason told ConsumerAffairs.com. These were normal, healthy dogs and they both had become lethargic, one was vomiting, they werent eating, and they were drinking lots of water.

Dr. Humason ran blood tests on the dogs and discovered they were both in renal failure.

At first I thought maybe somebody threw something over the fence and thats what made these dogs sick, he told us. The pet food recall didnt cross my mind because these dogs were both eating dry food and their food wasnt on the recall list.

A few days later, however, Dr. Humason saw another dog with the same symptoms.

This was a younger Lab who was also a healthy dog, but now was sick and vomiting, and in renal failure. The owners happened to bring in their other Lab, who is older, and wanted that dog tested, too. That dog didnt have any symptoms, but test shows its kidney values were elevated, too.

Using his own detective skills, Dr. Humason uncovered the following clues that helped him solve the mystery of these ailing dogs:

• All four dogs -- Labs and Lab-mixes -- ate Nutra Nuggets dry food;

• The dogs owners had purchased the food from the same Costco store in Visalia, California;

• The dogs owners made those purchases within days of each other -- in Mid-April.

To confirm his suspicions, Dr. Humason decided to have the food tested.

I sent samples to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, which is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Humason said. And those samples tested positive for melamine.

Melamine

Melamine is a chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers. It is not approved for use in human or pet food.

The FDA, however, discovered melamine and melamine-related compounds in the wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China used to make many brands of pet food.

That finding triggered one of the largest pet food recalls in U.S. history. Since March, 18 companies have recalled more than 5,600 pet food products.

Thousands of dogs and cats that have eaten tainted foods have suffered kidney problems or died.

Dr. Humason said the four dogs hes treated for renal failure are improving.

The first two are going home (probably today) and their owner is going to give them fluids under their skin. This will keep them hydrated; what were trying to do is flush out the kidneys. Theyve been here for about a week on IV fluids. Theyre still not quite back to normal, but theyre happy and eating again.

He added: The second two dogs are still here and have been on IV fluids since May 10th. Theyre having a little harder time, but theyre doing much better and they may go home by the end of the week.

Dr. Humason says hes only treated a few cats for kidney problems since Menu Foods announced its massive recall of 60 million containers of wet pet food in March.

I was actually starting to think this was getting more overkill until this happened. But now Im looking for this all the time.

In fact, I saw two other dogs yesterday that were showing the same signs (of renal failure), he told us on Tuesday. I tested them, but their blood work came back normal as far as their kidneys were concerned. But I sent their food for testing because they were eating that same Nutra Nuggets as the other dogs and their owners had purchased it about the same time.

More about the Pet Food Recall ...



Nutra Nuggets Recalled as Melamine Poisonings Continue...

P&G; Recalls Prescription Cat Food

Iams Veterinary Formulas lot may have Salmonella contamination


Procter & Gamble (P&G) is recalling two specific lots of its prescription renal dry cat food as a precautionary measure. The company says it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.

The recalled product is identified as Iams Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal 5.5 lbs; lot code 01384174B4; UPC code 0 19014 21405 1.

This product is available by prescription through veterinary clinics throughout the U.S.

No illnesses have been reported. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis identified a positive result on the lot codes listed above. Lot codes can be found in the lower right corner on the back of the bag.

Consumers who have purchased dry cat food with this code should discard it.

People handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian.



P&G Recalls Prescription Cat Food...

Veterinary Chain Puts Pet Food Injuries At 39,000

Senate Hearing Will Probe Pet Food Safety


A U.S. chain of veterinary clinics estimates as many as 39,000 dogs and cats were injured by eating tainted pet food manufactured by Menu Foods. The estimate, much higher than previous ones, is based on analysis of its database linking 615 pet hospitals and clinics.

According to the analysis by Banfield, The Pet Hospital, which it shared with the Food and Drug Administration, three out of every 10,000 dogs and cats that ate the contaminated product developed kidney failure. Banfield said the diagnosis of kidney failure in cats rose 30 percent during the three months when the contaminated pet food was sold.

At the same time, the numbers show very little increase in kidney failure among canines, suggesting the toxin in the pet food was a more serious problem for cats than dogs.

At least six pet food manufacturers have recalled products over concerns that the toxin originated in wheat gluten imported from China. The FDA says about one percent of the pet food supply in the U.S. has been withdrawn.

The FDA has said injury estimates based on Banfield's database are likely "authoritative." So far, the agency has confirmed only 16 deaths from an estimated 3,000 cases.

ConsumerAffairs.com continues to hear from dog and cat owners about illnesses and deaths in their animals. And not all these illnesses and deaths are linked to products included in the recall of nearly 100 brands of pet food and treats.

Pet owner John S. of Little Rock, Arkansas, says his Cocker Spaniel became ill after eating Purina dry Dog Chow, which is not being recalled. John says the problems started last October.

"Our Cocker Spaniel had her first seizure in that month," he says, adding his dog hadn't had any previous problems with the food. "Since then, she had another seizure in March, which lasted longer than the first." His dog also developed a large rash after eating the dry Purina Dog Chow, he says.

"(It) covered her entire stomach and seemed to get worse as time went by. We took her to the vet and he ran a blood test on her and did a check-up, telling us she did not have worms or seem to have any other problems to cause the seizures.

"As far as the rash went, her white blood cell count was sky high and she was very sick," John says. "He (the vet) thought it might be an allergy, but was not sure ... and decided to put her on antibiotics for a week."

But the medication didn't help the rash. John says his dog's condition didn't improve until he stopped feeding her the dry Purina Dog Chow.

"The rash has cleared up a lot in the past three days . . . since she stopped eating the food," he says, adding he took her off that dry food even though it wasn't included in the recall. "And she seems to feel a lot better ... not sleeping all the time like she was. I don't know if the food caused the seizures as Cockers are know to have epilepsy, but the date when she had her first seizure dates back to the same month that the tainted pet food supposedly hit the shelves.

"I just hope if there is something wrong with this food, they take it off the shelves."

Another pet owner told us her dog became gravely ill -- and had to be put to sleep -- after eating Nutro dry food. That food isn't included in the recall, either.

Pet owner Judy R. of Williamston, South Carolina, also says she occasionally fed her Maltese two products that are part of the recall: Ol'Roy treats and Mighty Dog in pouches.

"The last canned food that I used was Mighty Dog pouches while traveling from South Carolina to Mississippi," Judy says. "My little Maltese, Angel, got really sick ... I took her to the vet and the blood work showed that she had been poisoned."

And with a specific type of poison: rat poison.

New York Agriculture officials said they discovered the rat poison, aminopterin, in some of the wheat gluten used to make the contaminated pet foods.

Judy wonders if there's a connection between all the pet food and treats her dog ate -- and Angel's rapidly declining condition.

Her veterinarian recommended one final option for Angel -- a complete blood transfusion.

"(But) Angel weighed three pounds, seven ounces, and the vet said that she had a 20 percent chance of making it through a transfusion," Judy said. "Angel was so very sick and we opted to have her put to sleep.

"This had been so very hard for our family, especially my nine-year-old daughter. I would like to find out if this (eating these pet foods and treats) could possibly have caused the death of our little Maltese."

Senate Hearing Scheduled

Durbin

So would U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill). The Senator, a member of Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, has called a special hearing this week to investigate the pet food recall-one of the largest in history.

"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," Durbin said in a press release. "The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) 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 said.

Witnesses expected to be called for the hearing later this week 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.

Other witnesses expected to testify include outside experts who will discuss the current state of the pet food industry and regulatory or resource shortfalls that led to the widespread recall of tainted pet food.

Durbin said he will urge the FDA to take action in three specific areas:

Reporting delays -- Menu Foods first noticed a potential problem on February 20, 2007, but did not contact the FDA until March 15, 2007, the Senator's office pointed out. In the meantime, other companies were selling tainted product and the supplier didn't know it had provided wheat gluten contaminated with the chemical, 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 the tainted products were made had never been inspected by the FDA, the Senator said. According to Durbin, the agency relied 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, the Senator said. Where there should be federal regulation, there is instead a patchwork of state inspection systems and voluntary guidance, he said. 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 Web sites have filled a gap and become the most efficient way to share information on the pet food contamination, Durbin said. The Senator 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.

Durbin is working with Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, on the hearing. Witnesses expected to testify are:

• Dr. Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M, Ph.D., Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration;
• Duane Ekedahl, Executive Director, Pet Food Institute;
• Eric Nelson, President, American Association of Feed Control Officers,
• Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, Veterinarian;
• Dr. Claudia A. Kirk, Associate Professor of Medicine and Nutrition, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

In a related development, Durbin and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) sent a letter on March 26, 2007, to the Commissioner of the FDA requesting the agency provide:

• Information on the number of pet food manufacturing inspections and violations;
• A detailed timeline of the situation;
• An analysis of the FDA's oversight of pet food manufacturing facilities;
• And a report of action taken since the recent pet food recall.

A response is due by April 10, 2007.



Veterinary Chain Puts Pet Food Injuries At 39,000...

Tests Find Melamine in Diamond Pet Foods Brands

Doubts Grow that All Contaminated Pet Food Been Found


Samples of another brand of dog food have tested positive for melamine and caused kidney problems in at least four dogs in California.

The dry dog food is Nutra Nuggets, manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods of Meta, Missouri.

Dr. Matt Humason of the Lone Oak Veterinary Clinic in Visalia, California, became suspicious of the pet food after four of his clients healthy dogs suddenly went into renal failure.

I saw the first two dogs around the beginning of May, Dr. Humason told ConsumerAffairs.com today. These were normal, healthy dogs and they both had become lethargic, one was vomiting, they werent eating, and they were drinking lots of water.

Dr. Humason ran blood tests on the dogs and discovered they were both in renal failure.

At first I thought maybe somebody threw something over the fence and thats what made these dogs sick, he says. The pet food recall didnt cross my mind because these dogs were both eating dry food and their food wasnt on the recall list.

A few days later, however, Dr. Humason saw another dog with the same symptoms.

This was a younger Lab who was also a healthy dog, but now was sick and vomiting, and in renal failure. The owners happened to bring in their other Lab, who is older, and wanted that dog tested, too. That dog didnt have any symptoms, but test shows its kidney values were elevated, too.

Using his own detective skills, Dr. Humason uncovered the following clues that helped him solve the mystery of these ailing dogs:

• All four dogs -- who are Labs and Lab-mixes -- ate Nutra Nuggets dry food;

• The dogs owners had purchased the food from the same Costco store in Visalia, California;

• The dogs owners made those purchases within days of each other -- in Mid-April.

To confirm his suspicions, Dr. Humason decided to have the food tested.

Positive for Melamine

I sent samples to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, which is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Humason says. And those samples tested positive for melamine.

Melamine is a chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers. It is not approved for use in human or pet food.

The FDA, however, discovered melamine and melamine-related compounds in the wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China used to make many brands of pet food.

That finding triggered one of the largest pet food recalls in U.S. history. Since March, 18 companies have recalled more than 5,600 pet food products.

Thousands of dogs and cats that have eaten tainted foods have suffered kidney problems or died.

Dr. Humason says the four dogs hes treated for renal failure are improving.

The first two are going home (probably today) and their owner is going to give them fluids under their skin. This will keep them hydrated; what were trying to do is flush out the kidneys. Theyve been here for about a week on IV fluids. Theyre still not quite back to normal, but theyre happy and eating again.

He adds: The second two dogs are still here and have been on IV fluids since May 10th. Theyre having a little harder time, but theyre doing much better and they may go home by the end of the week.

Dr. Humason says hes only treated a few cats for kidney problems since Menu Foods announced its massive recall of 60 million containers of wet pet food in March.

I was actually starting to think this was getting more overkill until this happened, he says. But now Im looking for this all the time.

In fact, I saw two other dogs yesterday that were showing the same signs (of renal failure), he adds. I tested them, but their blood work came back normal as far as their kidneys were concerned. But I sent their food for testing because they were eating that same Nutra Nuggets as the other dogs and their owners had purchased it about the same time.

Dr. Humason says hes not sure if the food is from the same lot, though.

The first two owners dont have the bags of food anymore. And there are some questions about the lot numbers on those bags.

That could present problems for Diamond Pet Foods and its distributors. And also to pet owners who feed their dogs this brand of food.

Without the lot number, it might be difficult to know where the tainted bags were distributed. And if any are still on the market or in pet owners homes.

Costco Concerned

Were in a real quandary here, Craig Wilson, with Costcos Food Safety Department, told ConsumerAffairs.com today. Were not the only ones who were selling this product. This was not a Costco brand; this went to many other sellers of this item. What were trying to do is get the batch (lot) number.

He adds: This happened so long ago sometime in April. The turnaround time in Costco for these items in less than in a week in other words, they dont sit on our shelves for more than a week. Id be more concerned about stores where theres not that much turnaround.

A spokeswoman for Diamond Pet Foods called this an isolated incident. When asked if the tainted bags are still on store shelves, however, she said she wasnt sure.

Spokeswoman Becky Johnson also said Diamond Pet Foods is running its own tests on the Nutra Nuggets.

Were not disputing those finding (of melamine), she told ConsumerAffairs.com. Were just waiting for our own results. We anticipate well have those back late Wednesday or Thursday.

More Concerns about Diamond

Meanwhile, an Indiana pet owner contacted ConsumerAffairs.com on Sunday with concerns about another brand of Diamond Pet Foods.

Sharen C. of La Fontaine, Indiana, says her two dogs became sick after eating Diamonds Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul.

I normally cook for my dogs, but I wanted to supplement them with this brand, Sharen says, adding her dogs, Cassie and Star, are Lab-mixes. When I tried it, though, my dogs became sick. They were lethargic and had diarrhea. And this lasted for a couple days.

Sharen immediately stopped feeding the food to her dogs.

When their conditions improved about a week later she tried giving them the food again.

But they got sick again and had the same symptoms, she says. So this wasnt a coincidence. It made them sick -- twice. Sharen contacted Diamond Pet Foods, but says the company downplayed her concerns.

The response I got from the company were simply suggestions on how to feed my dogs.

But shortly after her call, Diamond recalled its Chicken Soup for Puppy Lovers Soul and Chicken Soup For Kitten Lovers Soul. The company, however, didnt recall the brand that made Sharens dogs sick Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul.

And I have no idea why they didnt recall that brand, she says. It definitely made my dogs sick.

Sharen says Cassie and Star havent eaten that brand of food in weeks. And theyre now doing fine.

Will she ever feed them another brand of commercial dog food?

No, Im just not comfortable using commercial pet food, Sharen says. I cook for my dogs and my advice would be that everyone should cook for their dogs.

Diamond Pet Foods in April recalled its Chicken Soup for the Kitten Lovers Soul and Chicken Soup for the Puppy Lovers Soul after the FDA confirmed the products contained melamine-tainted rice protein concentrate.

Diamond said those products were not formulated or labeled to contain rice proteinand that ingredient was added to the products as a manufacturing deviation by American Nutrition.

Diamond also said no other Chicken Soup brands of canned or dry pet food were included in the recall and none of the companys dry food contain rice protein or wheat gluten.

Regarding the concerns Sharen raised about Diamonds Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul, spokeswoman Becky Johnson said her company takes all customers calls seriously. And she promised to have someone with the company contact Sharen.

Johnson also said customers with concerns about any Diamond products should contact the company at 1-866-214-6945.

More about the Pet Food Recall ...



Tests Find Melamine in Diamond Pet Foods Brands...

Tainted Dog Food Kills 23 Animals

Sold Under Diamond, Country Value and Professional Brands


The Food and Drug Administration reports contaminated pet food sold in 23 states killed almost two dozen animals and caused another 18 to become sick.

 

The FDA has traced the deaths to pet food processed at the Diamond Pet Food Company in its Gaston, South Carolina, manufacturing plant.

Diamond Pet Food issued a recall of 19 varieties of dog and cat food on December 21 because some of the pet food made at the Gaston plant was discovered to contain aflatoxin, which comes from a fungus sometimes found on corn and other crops

Aflatoxin can cause severe liver damage.

The recalled Diamond Pet food was sold in 23 states under the brand names Diamond, Country Value and Professional, and bears the date codes of March 1, 2007, through June 11, 2007.

Consumers are warned to immediately stop using the product.

In a December 20 press release, the company said it had notified distributors to hold up further sales of the pet food and a recall was issued the next day.

The company is still attempting to isolate specific lot numbers that were contaminated and provide the information to distributors, retailers and consumers.

The recalled pet food was distributed in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Vermont, and Virginia.

Tainted Dog Food Kills 23 Animals...

Kentucky Woman Blames Purina for Her Dogs' Deaths

Company defends its actions but breeder cites autopsy results


For the past year, professional dog breeder Julie N. has waged a one-woman campaign against pet food giant Nestl Purina.


Stryker


Beeble


Kayla

Shes convinced the companys food contributed to the recent and mysterious deaths of three of her healthy dogs -- two Bichon Frise and a Labrador Retriever.

And this spunky Harlan, Kentucky woman has evidence that suggests Purinas products might be the culprit in the death of at least one of her dogs.

Im not going away, says Julie, who fed her dogs Purina One, Purina ProPlan and Purina Dog Chow. I want justice for my dogs and peace of mind for myself.

Julies nightmare started last July when her 12-year-old Labrador Retriever, Stryker, suddenly died of liver complications.

He was a healthy dog, she says, but then his liver just shut down.

One month later, Julies puppy, Beeble, unexpectedly died.

She was a healthy 12-month-old Bichon Frise. But then she suddenly started drinking excessive amounts of water, was vomiting, and became very lethargic.

Julie immediately took Beeble to the veterinarian.

He put her on antibiotics, but that night she had a seizure. She also had a difficult time breathing. She was so weak that she couldnt hold up her head.

Julie rushed Beeble back to the vet.

And he admitted her and put her on IVs. Beeble also had some nasal discharge and our vet checked her for canine flu. But she passed those tests.

Beeble died on August 17 four days after she started IV treatments.

Theres no reason that puppy should have died, Julie says. Her parents had genetic clearance. She was a perfectly healthy dog.

Deaths Come In Threes

Theres an old saying that deaths come in threes. And thats what happened with Julies dogs.

On October 26 -- two months after Beebles death -- another one of her dogs died. In this case, it was Julies eight-year-old Bichon Frise, Kayla.

Kayla was a healthy female who did pet therapy. But then she started drinking enormous amounts of water. At first, I thought she might have diabetes. But the tests were negative on that.

What caused Kaylas death?

What about Beeble and Stryker?

And what role did Purinas foods play in their deaths?

Julie says she may never know why Stryker died. At the time, we didnt do an autopsy because we just thought it was old age. But she vowed to found out why Beeble and Kayla died.

I dont want anybody else to go through the same pain that Ive gone through, she says. These are my children. They were here after my dad passed away and when my brother was ill. They were my babies all my dogs are my babies.

Julie, however, didnt test Purinas food for possible toxins.

Her dogs died months before Menu Food recalled 60 million containers of melamine-tainted food. That action -- the largest pet food recall in U.S. history -- occurred in March 2007.

Thousands of dogs and cats that ate the contaminated food suffered kidney disease or died.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered melamine in the imported wheat gluten and rice protein used to make the pet food. FDA officials traced the source of that chemical contamination to two now-defunct companies in China.

It didnt dawn on me to save the food so I could have it tested, Julie says, unable to hide the regret in her voice. And Purina told me to throw the food away.

She did, however, have autopsies performed on Beeble and Kayla at the University of Tennessees Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Knoxville.

I wish we would have done the same with Stryker, she says of the Lab that was titled in obedience. But like I said, we just thought he died from old age. I dont think that anymore ... I think theres something wrong with the dog food.

According to Beebles autopsy report, thats possible.

Pathologists at the University of Tennessee discovered problems with the puppys liver that were consistent with exposure to a hepatotoxin such as aflatoxin.

Aflatoxins are poisons produced by fungus or mold. These toxins are often found in corn and other agriculture crops and commonly cause liver disease.

But how could Beeble become exposed to -- and ingest -- aflatoxins?

Simple.

The aflatoxins could have come from the (dog) food, Beebles veterinarian, Douglas Mickey, told ConsumerAffairs.com. He reviewed Beebles and Kaylas autopsy reports and -- with Julies permission -- agreed to discuss them with us.

Aflatoxins are known to be found in moldy grains, like corn that would be in dog food, he said, adding: If youre asking me if theres a possible connection between the pet food and Beebles death, the answer is: you cant rule that out.

Aflatoxins in pet food have contributed to the deaths of more than 100 dogs in recent year, including:

• The deaths of 25 dogs in 1999. In that case, Doane Pet Care recalled more than one million bags of corn-based dry dog food tainted with aflatoxins. Fifty-four brands of dog food, including OlRoy, were part of that recall;

• The deaths of 100 dogs in 2005. In that instance, Diamond Food recalled some of its pet food because the moldy corn in the products contained aflatoxins.

Kaylas Death Remains A Mystery

Aflatoxins, however, did not play a role in Kaylas death, Dr. Mickey said. That dog didnt die from anything in her food.

Her death remains a medical mystery.

Kaylas autopsy report revealed she had multiple organ mineralization, which Dr. Mickey said was likely caused by an adrenal problem.

But (the pathologists) couldnt pinpoint on the autopsy what caused the mineralization of all those organs, Dr. Mickey said. It would be consistent with adrenal or kidney problems, but her adrenal glands and kidneys were fine.

Kaylas death has puzzled everyone who has looked at it.

Everyone, that is, except Julie.

Despite the autopsy report, shes convinced Purinas dog food contributed to Kaylas death.

And she says a recent ConsumerAffairs.com investigation -- about the mysterious reproductive problems several Newfoundlands across the country have encountered -- confirmed her belief.

Our investigation revealed that healthy Newfoundlands -- in Idaho, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- had suddenly stopped getting pregnant or -- if they conceived -- delivered deformed and dead puppies.

All these gentle giants had previously delivered healthy litters, their breeders said. They were all two to five-years old, which veterinarians say is the best age for dogs to deliver healthy litters.

None of the dogs were related a factor that could have caused genetic problems. And nothing in the breeders protocols had changed.

The only factor the Newfoundlands had in common was their food: They all ate Purina dog food.

After I read your story, I was convinced that there was a link between the deaths of my dogs and what happened to those Newfoundlands, Julie says. What got me with your stories was how those breeders talked about the mummified fetuses (deceased puppies) their dogs had delivered. In Kaylas autopsy report, it talks about the mineralization of all her internal organs.

That made me think that theres a connection with those stone puppies and my dogs internal organs turning to stone.

Dr. Mickey, however, said theres no correlation.

Its not the same thing, he said. Kayla apparently had adrenal problems ... thats a metabolic disease.

I think they now realize something is wrong with their food.

If thats the case, Julie wonders why Purina is finally taking her concerns seriously.

In just the past two weeks, the pet food makers insurance company has requested copies of her dogs medical records and autopsy reports.

But when they called, they wanted me to know that my dogs deaths had nothing to do with the recall because they died before that action was announced, she says. I told them that stuff from China (melamine) could have been in the food long before anyone knew.

Purina, she says, downplayed her concerns when she first contacted the company last fall right after Kayla became sick.

One lady kept saying shed never heard of any adverse effects from the companys food. Purina also kept sending me letters (of condolences) and samples of their stinking food. That made me ever madder. I dont want their food. Ill never feed Purina again to my dogs. I cook for my dogs now and theyre much healthier.

Julie no longer recommends Purina to her customers, either.

Ive gone as far as to state in my puppy contract that if you feed Purina products, I have a right to void the health guarantee on the dogs, she says, adding her pups cost $1,000 to $1,500.

Of Purinas latest interest in her dogs deaths, Julie says: I think they now realize something is wrong with their food.

Purina Defends Its Products and Actions

A spokesman for Purina denied that assertion, saying theres nothing usual about his companys recent actions in Julies case.

He says it demonstrates Purinas commitment to its customers.

Weve been in contact with this consumer since last September and since weve worked with her that long, we like to follow up on the process, said spokesman Keith Schopp. We would want to gather the appropriate documents and any other records that we could look at and then take the appropriate action.

As part of our standard operating procedure, he added, we would initiate a claim and investigate a matter further if a consumer requested compensation above product replacement.

Schopp said he hadnt seen Beebles autopsy report, which stated the puppys liver problems were consistent with exposure to aflatoxins.

But there are no aflatoxins in our products in the United States, he said. Our veterinarians, however, would like to look at that autopsy report and talk her vet.

What about a possible connection between Julies concerns and those raised by the Newfoundland breeders?

Schopp said theres no link. This consumer is not reporting any reproductive issues.

He also defended his companys response to Julies concerns.

Weve expressed our sympathy for the loss of her dogs and told her that we want to find out more about her situation, he said.

What does Julie want from Purina?

The main reason I contacted them was because I didnt want any other dogs to die, she says. I wanted them to test the food and to apologize.

Julie says she didnt wage this battle against the St. Louis-based company for financial gain even though her vet bills total more than $2,750.

Im not out for money. I just dont want anyone else to go through a dogs mysterious death.



Kentucky Woman Blames Purina for Her Dogs' Deaths...

Tainted Dog Food Still Killing Dogs

Diamond, Professional, Country Value Brands Affected

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that at least 76 dogs nationwide have died as a result of eating contaminated Diamond Pet Foods.

According to the company, the pet food was distributed to stores in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia and West Virginia.

The tainted chow was sold under the brand names Diamond, Country Value and Professional, and bears the date codes of March 1, 2007, through June 11, 2007.

Diamond has promised to reimburse pet owners for vet bills and other costs associated with the aflatoxin poisoning.

"It's going to take some time to take care of all these customers, and we're going to do it," said the company's chief operating officer, Mark Brinkmann.

The company has recalled 19 varieties of dog and cat food because tests showed high levels of aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxic chemical that comes from a fungus found on corn and other grains that causes severe liver damage in animals.

The company recalled products manufactured at its Gaston, SC, plant from September to November 2005. Based on tests, Diamond has narrowed down the exposure to food produced on Oct. 11.

The FDA and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture have launched investigations.

 

Tainted Dog Food Still Killing Dogs...

Expert Finds Unexplained Pet Deaths 'Not Consistent'

But S.C. police dogs taken off Nutro food; pet owners still suspicious

There's still no definitive explanation for the health problems that scores of dogs and cats across the country have recently experienced after eating Nutro pet food. One expert says the illnesses are "not consistent" and not likely caused by the food. But others are not so sure.

Dr. Steven Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist who manages the Animal Poison Control Center for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), agreed to review the complaints ConsumerAffairs.com has received about Nutro pet food.

We gave Dr. Hansen unprecedented access to our complaint files in an effort to find out why so many pets have become sick — or even died — after eating Nutro food.

"Unfortunately the cases are not consistent and appear to be anecdotal with no real definitive diagnostic findings," Dr. Hansen told us. "Without any consistent trends in findings we can not do anything any further. This does appear to us to be a situation where bad things happen, but they are not likely food-related."

But another veterinarian, this one in South Carolina, suspects Nutro's food may have played a role in the May 22nd death of a dog that was under her care.

She is trying to find an independent lab to test the food and confirm her suspicions.

As a precaution, this veterinarian has told her local police chief to stop feeding Nutro to the dogs on the city's K-9 Unit.

In other developments:

• ConsumerAffairs.com continues to receive complaints about Nutro food and its possible connection to the illnesses and death dogs and cats nationwide. In the past three months, we have received more than 150 complaints from worried pet owners, many of them longtime Nutro customers;

• ConsumerAffairs.com has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for all the complaints the agency has received in recent months about Nutro food. Despite a Freedom of Information request, the FDA has not yet produced the complaints, which were gathered by public employees at taxpayers' expense and are a matter of public record ;

• Nutro Products Inc. is closing down and laying off a total of 118 employees in City of Industry, California, according to a story posted on CoStar.com.

• A pet safety organization recently tested the Nutro food that two puppies in North Carolina ate before they died in June. The group, Pet Food Products Safety Alliance, tested the food for salmonella and e-coli. The samples were negative for those specific toxins.

Artful spinning

Nutro has posted a statement on its Web site claiming a recent ConsumerAffairs.com story falsely reported that its food had caused some pets to become sick. "Every NUTRO product that was analyzed in relation to the June 23 posting on ConsumerAffairs.com has been shown to be safe," the company wrote in response to our story.

In fact, the story in question said, "A series of mysterious illness and death dogs Nutro pet food. Scores of pet owners report their animals became ill while eating Nutro products, then recovered when they were switched to another brand." It did not directly attribute the reports to Nutro products.

As we've reported, scores of healthy pets across the country — and even some in Hawaii and Italy — have recently experienced sudden and recurring bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

One common link among these dogs and cats is the brand of food they've eaten: Nutro.

Many pet owners who've written to us report that their pets' conditions immediately improved once they stopped eating Nutro.

An analysis of our complaints also revealed that at least seven healthy dogs have died after eating Nutro food. The owners suspect — but cannot prove — that Nutro's food played a role in their pets' deaths.

Employee reports

Former Nutro employees confirm that they have heard similar complaints about the company's food.

Several pet owners, they said, told them their dogs and cats had experienced the same types of health problems: diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.

The former employees reported their concerns to their supervisors, but said they were ignored. That's why they resigned.

Nutro, however, has repeatedly defended its food, saying it's "100 percent safe."

Cause still unknown

But if nothing is wrong with the food, why are so many pets getting sick after eating Nutro's products?

That's the mystery we hoped Dr. Hansen could help us solve.

He reviewed more than 50 complaints about Nutro, focusing on the cases in which pet owners had taken their dogs or cats to a vet. But those complaints, he said, revealed a myriad of illnesses.

"Right now, it looks like a mixture of reported clinical signs that reflect normal illnesses in the dog population," he said. "They don't speak to something consistently wrong with the pet food.

"Honestly, it is entirely possible that what we're seeing here (in these complaints) is a raised awareness of reporting illnesses."

In other words, pet owners are more aware of possible illnesses in their dogs and cats — probably because of the pet food recall.

What's Dr. Hansen's advice to worried pet owners?

"Speak to Nutro and your vet about your pets' illnesses. But based on what we see in these complaints, we don't suspect the food is related to these cases."

He added: "I appreciate you looking into these complaints. If we don't look at them, then we don't know what's going on. It's a good thing to ask questions and keep an eye out. And if there is a consistent pattern, then we need to keep looking. I'd rather have us be a little cautious than miss something serious."

K-9 alert

Meanwhile, a veterinarian in South Carolina is trying to solve her own mystery regarding Nutro.

Dr. Calley Hille suspects that food may have played a role in the recent death of one of her client's dogs — a 13-year-old German Shepherd named Elvis.

That healthy dog, she said, died one week after his owner switched him to Nutro's food with glucosamine. And he showed worrisome symptoms immediately after he ate the food.

"Within 20 minutes after eating the food, he started vomiting," Dr. Hille said.

A couple hours later, Elvis started having violent seizures.

"The next morning, his owners brought him in and we drew blood," she said. "The blood work indicated he had some type of food poisoning. He was vomiting, had diarrhea, and elevated pancreatic enzymes."

Dr. Hille immediately took Elvis off Nutro. A few days later, his owners found him in a puddle of water. They rushed him to Dr. Hille's office.

"I initiated CPR and also did a cardiac massage. I tried to pump his heart with my hands."

Despite her efforts, Elvis died.

"He was a healthy older dog," Dr. Hille said. "He was a beautiful 13-year-old German Shepherd. I wanted to know exactly what happened to Elvis. I wanted to know why he died."

That's why — with the owner's permission — she had the state vet do an autopsy on Elvis.

"I expected the necropsy to maybe show that he had a brain tumor, but he didn't have any neurological signs associated with that," Dr. Hille said.

Autopsy raises questions

The autopsy revealed that Elvis died of internal bleeding — apparently from a hematoma on his spleen. The findings surprised Dr. Hille — and raised more questions.

"The state vet couldn't give me any reason for Elvis to have a hematoma on his spleen," she said. "He also said there was no biological reason for Elvis to have had the seizures."

Dr. Hille, however, has a theory.

"In my opinion, the seizures caused the hematoma. It takes a blunt force for those to happen and Elvis had violent seizures. At one point, he was throwing himself against a wall. The seizures are what made the spleen start to bleed."

But what caused Elvis' sudden seizures? Could his pet food be a factor?

"It's most certainly possible that food poisoning could cause seizures," Dr. Hille said. "I'm not laying my credentials on the line and saying that Nutro caused them, but it makes sense."

She added: "Could it be a coincidence that Elvis died a week after he started eating the food? Yes. But no one can show me what that coincidence is. I asked the state vet why Elvis had the hematoma. He said he didn't know. I asked him why he had the seizures. He said he didn't know."

The state vet did not test for any toxins in Elvis' system. "I don't know why," Dr. Hille said.

But it makes her even more determined to test the food — and hopefully solve this mystery.

"We highly suspect there's a connection between the Nutro food and Elvis' seizures, which ultimately caused his death," she said. "His blood work showed signs of reaction to food. I think we can prove that if we test the food.

"But the state of South Carolina will not test it. They don't do that anymore. My problem is I don't know what to test for. I need to look into what toxins cause seizures."

There may be another culprit involved in this mystery — one that should also be tested.

"It's certainly possible that there is something in the (pet food) bags, especially if they're sitting in storage," Dr. Hille said. "If something is in the bag, the food is going to absorb it."

If those tests come back negative, is it possible that Elvis' age played a role in his death? That's not likely, Dr. Hille said.

"If it was an age thing, the state vet should have found it. And he didn't."

Baffled by Elvis' death, Dr. Hille has taken precautionary measures with other dogs she knows are eating Nutro food — specifically, members of K-9 Unit for the city of North Charleston, South Carolina.

Her husband is a handler for the dogs on that unit.

"I ran blood tests on all seven dogs in the K-9 unit," Dr. Hille said. "Three of the seven showed signs that they needed to get on better food. We have taken all the dogs off Nutro and put them on another food. "I ran those tests because of Elvis' case."

Elvis' owner applauds Dr. Hille's efforts to save her family's beloved German Shepherd. And she's just as committed to finding out what caused his sudden death.

"I don't want this to happen to someone else again," says Tracy H. of. North Charleston. "I am so distraught after having to watch my three kids see our wonderful dog die my 13-year-old son gave him CPR to try and keep him alive"

Tracy has searched for a lab — or state or federal agency — to test Elvis' food. But she's hit several roadblocks.

"I can't find anyone to test it. The Department of Agriculture (in S.C.) no longer does testing for toxicology. I called the FDA, but I got a recording. I did leave a message three times, but I never got a return call."

She's not giving up, though.

"It may cost me a great deal of money to pay for testing, but I will make sure that no one ever has to go through what my family has gone through. My sweet, sweet German Shepherd is gone forever and nothing will ever bring him back. But I will make sure that Nutro never does this to a dog again."

Nutro's response

ConsumerAffairs.com contacted Nutro about these concerns and Dr. Hansen's findings.

A company spokeswoman said all Nutro products undergo rigorous testing — beginning with the raw ingredients and ending with the finished products. And she said consumers should not worry about feeding their pets Nutro's foods.

"Nutro products are safe and conform to the standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)," Debra Fair, public relations manager for Mars Petcare, USA, said in a written statement. Mars acquired Nutro in May, 2007. "We are committed to working with these agencies and all stakeholders who share our goal of ensuring the safety of pet food products."

What about the concerns raised by Dr. Hille regarding Elvis' death?

Fair said it would be "irresponsible for us to speculate about the cause of the pet's illness" based on the limited information the company received from ConsumerAffairs.com.

"We encourage the attending veterinarian to contact us so that we can carefully review the details of the case," she said.

Fair also encouraged all consumers with concerns about Nutro to contact the company.

"While consumer concerns about Nutro product quality are rare, we take every complaint seriously. When we learn of an issue, we work with consumers to obtain information and request that samples of any product in question be submitted for testing at an independent facility."

She added: "An in-depth review is performed to determine if an issue does exist. All tested samples of product to date have been shown to be safe and conform to FDA, USDA and AAFCO standards."

She did not, however, state what toxins the company tested for or provide copies of any lab results.

Fair said that many consumers who have contacted ConsumerAffairs.com about Nutro have not shared their concerns with the company.

"A comprehensive review of our call center database shows that the vast majority of individuals posting on your site have not contacted Nutro or provided samples for testing."

Fair also said her company has made repeated efforts to contact all the consumers mentioned in a June 23 ConsumerAffairs.com story about the mysterious deaths of six dogs that had eaten Nutro. The story also focused on the sudden illnesses that pets nationwide and in Italy had experienced after eating the company's food.

"We've either spoken with or left multiple messages for all of the consumers cited in the June 23 posting," Fair said. "There is nothing that indicates that these pet health issues were caused by Nutro pet foods."

But pet owner Sharon A. of Cheektowaga, New York — who was included in our June 23 story — said no one from Nutro has contacted her.

"I've not heard from anyone at Nutro," she told us. Some of the other consumers in our June 23 story had already contacted Nutro.

But others would be hard for Nutro to find because we only identify consumers by their first names and last initials when their complaints are published. Nutro has never contacted ConsumerAffairs.com about those pet owners or asked how they could reach them, although a company spokesman said the information would be "immediately" provided.

"Whenever health and safety are involved, we are happy to immediately share consumer contact information with responsible company researchers, provided the companies agree that they will not take legal action against consumers making comments they object to," said ConsumerAffairs.com President James R. Hood. "No one from Nutro has ever bothered to contact us."

Meanwhile, Fair said her company concurred with Dr. Hansen's findings — and his suggestions to worried pet owners.

"We agree with his recommendation that it is important that consumers with concerns contact Nutro and their veterinarian."

Product shortages

Fair also addressed another issue we've raised before — the shortage of some Nutro products.

"The temporary availability issues that Nutro has experienced with certain products are operational in nature, not quality-related. Shortages of Nutro(tm) Natural Choice Lamb Meal and Rice products at some retail locations are due to the high demand for our products at a time of global shortages in lamb meal We have already secured additional, high-quality supply sources of most raw materials, and are currently working with suppliers in New Zealand and in the U.S. to establish an additional supply of lamb meal."

Some online bloggers have claimed that Nutro may recall some of its food. Fair denied that.

"We have no plans to recall Nutro products," she said.

What about the recent story about lay-offs by the company?

Fair declined to elaborate, stating: "As for the news item you shared regarding our locations in the City of Industry, we have no additional detail to add."

Fair said consumers or veterinarians with concerns or questions about Nutro can contact the company's Consumer Services Department at 1-800-833-5330.

Pet owners' experience

But grieving pet owners like Tracy say that doesn't do any good.

"I called Nutro and they said they have not had complaints of this nature and nor do they have any recalls on the dry food."

Worried pet owners can also contact their local FDA office to report their concerns about Nutro.

They can also call the ASPCA's Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

More about pets ...

 



Expert Finds Unexplained Pet Deaths 'Not Consistent'...

FDA's Melamine Decision Scares Consumers

But experts see it as a positive sign



The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recent announcement that some melamine in food products does not pose a health risk is frightening to consumers like Mary W. of Kansas. But the head of a global food testing company applauds the FDA's decision, saying it means the US is now checking for this contaminant.

On Friday, the FDA said that levels of melamine below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) in food does not pose a health risk to humans. The only exception is infant formula.

The FDA said it is "currently unable to establish any level of melamine and melamine-related compounds in infant formula that does not raise public health concerns. There is too much uncertainty to set a level in infant formula and rule out any public health concern."

The agency added, "It is important to understand that this does not mean that any exposure to any detectable level of melamine and melaminerelated compounds in formula will result in harm to infants."

The FDA released these findings--part of its safety and risk assessment of melamine and melamine-related companies in food--in response to the Chinese-milk scandal.

Earlier this month, Chinese officials discovered melamine in powered infant formula made it that country. That contamination is blamed for the recent deaths of four infants in China and the illnesses of 53,000 other children in that country.

Chinese officials learned some dairy plants may have intentionally added melamine to milk products to make them appear to have higher protein levels.

The melamine contamination has since spread from infant formula to dozens of other food products sold around the world, including candy, coffee, and pretzels.

Melamine is a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers. It is blamed for the illnesses and deaths of thousands of dogs and cats in the United States last year.

Doctors say melamine can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure. That's why Kansas consumer Mary W. is outraged by the FDA's decision to allow any levels of melamine in her food.

"I think they (the FDA) have opened a Pandora's Box," she told ConsumerAffairs.com today. "They have basically said they are going to allow the food supply to be contaminated.

"It seems to me that rather than finding a way to make our food supply safer by not allowing any toxin, the FDA has found a way to allow some to come in to the food supply," said Mary, who lives in Baldwin City, Kansas. "That just scares me."

Michael Prinster, chief operation officer of Romer Labs, said he understands Mary's concerns, but he has another view on the FDA's decision.

"I think it's a positive action because it means we (the FDA) are now going to start testing things for melamine. That is a good thing."

"My bigger concern," he added, "is that someone spiked the food products with a known contaminant--and with no regard for the consequences."

Prinster's company runs safety tests for the food, feed, and agriculture industry around the world. The Union, Missouri-based company now has a commercial kit that tests for melamine in milk and milk powder.

Prinster said his company recently tested 124 bags of Chinese-made White Rabbit Creamy candy for that chemical.

"We didn't find anything," he said. "We've tested a lot of other foods---milk or milk-power based foods--off the store shelves and did not found any melamine in them."

But melamine has been found in Chinese-made products that contain milk or power-milk ingredients in the United States and other countries around the world, including the following cases:

• Officials in California and Connecticut confirm they found melamine=-tainted White Rabbit Creamy Candy in their states. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection said the tainted candy was primarily found in Asian markets;

• Queensway Foods Company Inc. of California -- a U.S. distributor of White Rabbit Creamy Candy--recalled the products last week because of melamine contamination. The company distributed the candy in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington;

• Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority recalled the Chinese-made White Rabbit Creamy Candy after the products tested positive for melamine. It also said other Chinese-made food had tested positive for melamine, including Dutch Lady-brand banana and honeydew flavored milk, Silang-brand potato crackers, and two kinds of puffed rice balls;

• The New Zealand Food Safety Authority said it found high levels of melamine in Chinese-made White Rabbit Creamy Candy;

• The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently warn consumers not to eat, distribute, or sell White Rabbit candy because of possible melamine contamination;

• Canadian officials also warned consumers not to eat a popular brand of Chinese pretzels, which tested positive for melamine. The tainted products are Kaiser Strawberry Dressing Pretzels and Kaiser Choco Dressing Pretzels. The distributor of the pretzels, Dai Jung, has recalled the products;

• The British maker of the popular Cadbury candy has recalled 11 types of Chinese-made chocolates after the products tested positive for melamine. None of the Cadbury chocolates made in the US were involved in this action. The Hershey Company said it does not buy powered milk or other milk ingredients from China;

• The Taiwanese company that makes Mr. Brown instant coffee and milk tea has recalled seven of its products because of possible melamine contamination.

The FDA said it is not aware of any illnesses in the United States linked to the Chinese-made milk products products. It also said infant formula made in the United States is safe. Those companies are not importing formula or sourcing milk-based materials from China, the agency said.

FDA officials, however, warned consumers not to buy any Chinese-made infant formula. These products are often sold in Asian markets across the country. Meanwhile, the FDA said it will continue to screen imported products for melamine contamination.

"If products are adulterated because they contain melamine and/or a melamine-related compound, the agency will take appropriate actions to prevent the products from entering commerce," the FDA said in a written statement.

But those words offer little comfort to worried consumers like Mary in Kansas.

"I don't trust the FDA," she said, adding she has shared her concerns with her elected officials. "And now I'm struggling day-to-day on what to feed my family. When you go to the grocery story, how do you figure out what to buy?"

Mary has stopped buying any processed food and only eats meat sold by local farmers. She said she will continue to take these precautions until she is sure the food supply is safe.

But the FDA, she fears, can't give her that assurance anytime soon. "The FDA is galloping down a slippery slope."

FDA's Melamine Decision Scares Consumers...

Chenango Valley Recalls More Pet Food

Chickens Released; Are Bees Being Poisoned?


Chenango Valley Pet Foods announced today that its recalling even more of its dry dog and cat food -- and one brand of ferret food.

 

The products in this recall do not contain any melamine-tainted ingredients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today.

But they were made at the same time Chenango Valley Pet Foods manufactured other products containing melamine-tainted rice protein concentrate imported from China.

Melamine is a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizer. It is not approved for use in pet or human food.

Since March, 18 companies have recalled more than 5,600 pet food products made with imported melamine-tainted ingredients.

These adulterated ingredients are blamed for the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dogs and cats nationwide and triggered one of the largest pet food recalls in U.S. history.

The FDA said this latest recall of Chenango Valley Foods is precautionary due to the possibility of cross-contamination.

The products included in todays recall are:

• DOCTORS FOSTER & SMITH LAMB & BROWN RICE FORMULA ADULT DOG FOOD, NET WT. 6 LBS. (UPC 25141 28244), 15 LBS. (25141 30074), and 30 LBS. (UPC 25141 06043); Date Codes: Best By Feb 09 09 and Best By Feb 26 09;

• SHOP RITE REDI-MIXT DOG FOOD FOR DOGS, NET WT. 25 LB. (UPC 41190 00555), Date Code: Code C7107;

• LICK YOUR CHOPS KITTEN & CAT FOOD, NET WEIGHT 4 LBS. (UPC 32976 25915), and 18 LBS. (UPC 32976 25925); Date Code: Best Used By April 29 08;

• SHEP chunk style dog food, NET WT. 20 LBS. (UPC 41498 14142); Date Code: Best By March 14 08;

• Bulk Lamb & Brown Rice Formula Dog Food, Date Code: Feb 09, 08, sold to one consignee SmartPak;

• Health Diet Cat Food Chicken & Rice Dinner NET WT. 1.81 kg/4 LB (UPC 78198 01594), 4 kg/8.8 LB (UPC 78198 01599), and 8 kg/17.6 LB (UPC 78198 01585); Code C7072;

• EVOLVE KITTEN FORMULA, NET WT. 3 LBS. (UPC 73657 00250) and 7 LBS. (UPC 73657 00251); Date Code: Best Used By Sept 13 08. Evolve has recovered 99.5% of the product from its distributors and is working with dealers to recover the remaining inventory;

• 8 in 1 Ferret ULTRA-BLEND ADVANCED NUTRITION DIET, NET WT. 20 LBS, UPC 26851 00413, Code: C7072

The FDA has not received any reports of illnesses linked to these products, but warned pet owners to immediately stop giving their animals the food.

Chickens Release

In related news today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released for processing approximately 80,000 chickens that consumed melamine-tainted pet food scraps.

Tests confirmed meat from the chickens -- held on farms in Indiana -- is safe for human consumption. Federal testing also revealed that melamine does not accumulate in chickens and is quickly eliminated by the kidneys.

In a written statement, the USDA said: The testing also reinforces the conclusions of a human health risk assessment that there is a very low risk of illness from the consumption of meat from animals exposed to the feed in question. Poultry held on farms appear healthy, which will be confirmed upon the rigorous inspection that USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service conducts on all poultry during processing.

The USDA said a person weighing 132 pounds would have to eat more than 800 pounds of chicken a day -- that contained melamine and its compound cyanuric acid, at levels present in the poultry -- before it would cause a health concern.

In related pet food recall news:

• The FDA said Thursday that fish on two commercial farms -- one in Hawaii and the other in Washington State -- have tested negative for melamine. Those fish farms -- Kona Blue in Hawaii and American Gold in Washington State -- had received feed made with melamine-tainted ingredients from a Canadian company. Based on these latest test results, Kona Blue has resumed harvesting the fish;

• The FDA confirmed that 196 hatcheries also received melamine-tainted feed from that same Canadian company -- Skretting. But the FDA said those fish pose no public health risk because theyre small, theyre no longer exposed to the tainted feed, and theyll ultimately be released into public waterway -- not directly into commerce. Skretting received the melamine-tainted wheat gluten from China;

• The FDA said it has detained 46 shipments of vegetable protein products -- including wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate -- from China since April 27. None of the importers have proved that the shipments are melamine-free, so these products remain in detention, Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner for food protection with the FDA, told reporters Thursday. And before any of these shipments are released, the FDA will review the analytical reports for technical accuracy, and we may collect and analyze samples of the product to confirm any submitted reports . . . as I've said, (these products) will remain in detention until we are satisfied.

• The FDA has run tests for melamine on 63 samples of vegetable proteins imported from China and used by manufacturers in six states. Samples were taken from manufacturers in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota and New Hampshire. There have been no positive results for melamine on any of these samples collected so far, Acheson said Thursday. Of those 63, 37 of them were negative, 23 are pending, and 3 could not be analyzed because there was no method to do that-- and that was because essentially they were a mixture of rawhide dog chews, clearly of low risk, and gel capsules. So that's why there wasn't a method for those three samples.

• The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported on Thursday that it has not found any melamine in the imported wheat gluten, corn gluten, and rice protein concentrate its tested since April 30. Dr. Vera Adams with the CBP said her agency has tested these ingredients -- imported from China and other countries--that are destined for human or animal consumption. She said the CBP has tested samples from about 80 percent of all shippers of these products and the analysis is complete on about 80 percent of those samples. Adams said her agency started testing these products as a precautionary measure and to supplement federal efforts to detect and prevent the importation of specific products contaminated with melamine.

Bees Stung?

The Pittsburg Tribune-Review reported today the federal scientists are researching whether melamine --the chemical linked to the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dogs and cats -- is also responsible for destroying the honeybee population in the United States.

The paper said researchers at the Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory and the FDAs Center for Veterinary Medicine are testing commercial bee feed for melamine-related compounds and doing feed tests on honeybees. So far, no link has been found.

"I was curious enough and wanted to be complete enough that I thought it was worth doing," Jeffery Pettis, the bee lab's research leader, told the newspaper. The paper said honeybees in the United States started dying in unprecedented numbers late last year. That threatens the countrys human food supply because one-third of it is dependent on bee pollination. A quarter of the countrys 2.4 million honeybee colonies died last year from what scientists dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder, the paper reported.

More about the Pet Food Recall ...

 

 

 

Chenango Valley Recalls More Pet Food...

Mars Recalls More Pet Food

Possible salmonella contmination in dog, cat food


Mars Petcare US has recalled all of its dry pet food products manufactured at the company's Everson, Pennsylvania, facility between February 18 and July 29, 2008 because of possible salmonella contamination.

The voluntary recall involves such brands of dog and cat food as Pedigree, Special Kitty, Ol'Roy, and PMI Nutrition Gravy Crunches manufactured at that plant.

This the second time in recent weeks that Mars has recalled some of its products because of possible salmonella contamination.

In August, a salmonella scare forced the company to recall 100 of its 20-pound bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites sold at some Albertsons in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mars also manufactures Nutro pet food, which scores of consumers nationwide have blamed for the recent illnesses -- and even deaths -- of their dog and cats.

Nutro products, however, were not included in that recall. They are also not involved in this latest action.

Back in August, Mars said a "component" that tested positive for salmonella was inadvertently shipped to its Tracy, California, plant and used in the production of 100 bags of Pedigree pet food.

In this latest recall, Mars said it has not received any confirmed reports of illnesses caused by the contaminated pet food.

"Even though no direct link between products produced at the Everson manufacturing plant and human or pet illness has been made, we are taking this precautionary action to protect pets and their owners," Catherine Woteki, global director of scientific affairs for Mars, said in a statement issued by the company.

"We are continuing to work collaboratively with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine the nature and source of Salmonella Schwarzengrund at the Everson facility, and are committed to making sure our consumers and customers have the information they need regarding our voluntary recall," she said.

Mars said it stopped production at the Everson facility on July 29, 2008, when it learned of a possible connection between dry pet food produced at the plant and two isolated cases of people infected with salmonella.

Many of the pet food brands involved in the recall are produced at multiple facilities, the company said.

The products involved in this action have the number "17" as the first two digits of the second line.

This chart lists all the pet food involved in this recall:

Product Name / Bag Size

UPC

Product Name / Bag Size

UPC

Country Acres Cat Food40#

16603 02181

Retriever Bites & Bones Dog Food8#

79818 96757

Country Acres Ration Dog Food40#

16603 02333

Retriever Bites & Bones Dog Food20#

79818 96634

Country Acres 18% Dog Food40#

16603 02331

Retriever Bites & Bones Dog Food50#

49394 05666

Country Acres Hi Pro Dog Food50#

16603 02021

Retriever Gravy Blend Dog Food50#

49394 05665

Doggy Bag Dog Food40#

73893 40000

Retriever Gravy Blend Dog Food8#

79818 96756

Members Mark Complete Nutrition Premium Cat Food20#

81131 89881

Retriever Hi Protein Dog Food8#

79818 96755

Members Mark Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food50#

05388 67055

Retriever Hi Protein Dog Food25#

49394 00002

Members Mark Crunchy Bites & Savory Bones Adult Dog Food50#

05388 67309

Retriever Hi Protein Dog Food50#

49394 00003

Members Mark High Performance Premium Dog Food50#

81131 75479

Retriever Mini Chunk Dog Food8#

79818 96754

Natural Cat Food (Sam's Club)15#

81131 89883

Retriever Mini ChunkDog Food25#

49394 00006

Natural Dog Food(Sam's Club)25#

81131 89884

Retriever Mini ChunkDog Food50#

49395 00005

Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition4.4#

81131 69377

Retriever Puppy Blend Dog Food6#

49394 56221

Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition8#

05388 67144

Retriever Puppy Blend Dog Food8#

79818 96758

Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition 22#

05388 60342

Retriever Puppy Blend Dog Food20#

49394 00004

Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition50#

78742 01022

Retriever Puppy Blend Dog Food40#

79818 96706

Ol' Roy High Performance Nutrition Dog Food20#

05388 60345

Special Kitty Gourmet3.5#

81131 17546

Ol' Roy High Performance Nutrition Dog Food50#

78742 05815

Special Kitty Gourmet4#

78742 53199

Ol' Roy Meaty Chunks 'n Gravy Dog Food8#

81131 69629

Special Kitty Gourmet7#

81131 17547

Ol' Roy Meaty Chunks 'n Gravy Dog Food22#

81131 69630

Special Kitty Gourmet8#

78742 53200

Ol' Roy Meaty Chunks 'n Gravy Dog Food50#

81131 69631

Special Kitty Gourmet18#

81131 15748

Ol' Roy Puppy Complete4#

81131 79078

Special Kitty Gourmet20#

78742 53201

Ol' Roy Puppy Complete8#

81131 79079

Special Kitty Gourmet25#

78742 54314

Ol' Roy Puppy Complete20#

81131 79080

Special Kitty Kitten3.5#

81131 17553

Paws & Claws Delicious Mix Cat Food8#

79818 96632

Special Kitty Kitten4#

78742 53198

Paws & Claws Delicious Mix Cat Food20#

49394 05746

Special Kitty Kitten7#

81131 17554

Paws & Claws Delicious Mix Cat Food40#

79818 96676

Special Kitty Kitten8#

81131 24739

Paws & Claws Premium Choice Cat Food8#

79818 96633

Special Kitty Original3.5#

81131 17557

Paws & Claws Premium Choice Cat Food20#

49394 00008

Special Kitty Original4#

78742 04930

Paws & Claws Premium Choice Cat Food40#

49394 05747

Special Kitty Original7#

81131 17562

Pedigree Large Breed Adult Nutrition20#

23100 29158

Special Kitty Original8#

78742 05744

Pedigree Large Breed Adult Nutrition30.1#

23100 31484

Special Kitty Original18#

81131 17559

Pedigree Large Breed Adult Nutrition36.4#

23100 31479

Special Kitty Original20#

78742 05794

Pedigree Large Breed Adult Nutrition40#

23100 29154

Special Kitty Original25#

81131 68869

Pedigree Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition4.4#

23100 05104

Wegman's Bruiser Complete Nutrition Dog Food4.4#

77890 33654

Pedigree Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition8.8#

23100 05103

Wegman's Bruiser Complete Nutrition Dog Food20#

77890 32988

Pedigree Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition20#

23100 14719

Wegman's Bruiser Complete Nutrition Dog Food37.5#

77890 32994

Pedigree Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition32#

23100 31483

Wegman's Bruiser Puppy Dog Food4.4#

77890 33621

Pedigree Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition40#

23100 31478

Wegman's Bruiser Puppy Dog Food17.6#

77890 32991

Pedigree Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition44#

23100 05100

Wegman's Bruiser Small Crunchy Bites Dog Food4.4#

77890 33618

Pedigree Small Crunchy Bites Adult Nutrition52#

23100 05110

Wegman's Bruiser Small Crunchy Bites Dog Food20#

77890 32982

Pet Pride Indoor Cat3.5#

11110 74584

Wegman's Buju & Ziggie Complete Cat Food3.5#

77890 10005

Pet Pride Indoor Cat18#

11110 74585

Wegman's Buju & Ziggie Complete Cat Food18#

77890 10004

Pet Pride Weight Management Dog Food17.6#

11110 74578

Wegman's Buju & Ziggie Indoor Cat Food3.5#

77890 12038

PMI Nutrition Bites & Bones Dog Food50#

42869 00174

Wegman's Buju & Ziggie Indoor Cat Food18#

77890 12039

PMI Nutrition Canine Advantage50#

42869 00172

Wegman's Buju & Ziggie Kitten3.5#

77890 12036

PMI Nutrition Feline Medley20#

42869 00171

Wegman's Buju & Ziggie Original Medley Cat Food3.5#

77890 10006

PMI Nutrition Gravy Crunches Dog Food40#

42869 00033

Wegman's Buju & Ziggie Original Medley Cat Food18#

77890 10003

Red Flannel Active Formula Dog Food40#

42869 00063

Red Flannel Adult Formula Dog Food20#

42869 00055

Red Flannel Adult Formula Dog Food40#

42869 00054

Red Flannel Canine Select Dog Food20#

42869 00068

Red Flannel Canine Select Dog Food40#

42869 00067

Red Flannel Cat10#

42869 00059

Red Flannel Cat20#

42869 00058

Red Flannel Hi Pro Formula Dog Food50#

42869 00065

Red Flannel Prime Dog Food25#

42869 00052

Red Flannel Prime Dog Food50#

42869 00053

Red Flannel Puppy40#

42869 00056

FDA officials say salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats -- and in humans if there is cross contamination from handling the pet food.

Salmonella is especially dangerous in children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.

Symptoms of salmonella poisoning in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. In rare cases, salmonella can cause more serious ailments, such as arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers who have these symptoms after handling the pet food should immediately contact their doctor.

Pets with salmonella poisoning may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain, the company said. Any pets that have eaten the recalled products -- and show these symptoms -- should see a veterinarian.

The company said it is working with the FDA to determine the nature and source of the salmonella at the Everson facility. Mars will not resume production at the facility until the source of the salmonella is identified.

Mars also said it will also work with retail customers to ensure the recalled products are not on store shelves.

Consumers who have purchased products involved in this recall should return them for a full refund.

For more information about the recall, pet owners can contact the company at 1-877-568-4463 or visit its Web site: www.petcare.mars.com.

The FDA also has tips on safe pet food handling on its Web site.

More about pets ...



Mars Recalls More Pet Food...

Chemnutra Owners Sentenced for Melamine-Tainted Pet Food

Nevada couple gets probation and $25,000 fine



A federal judge today sentenced two Nevada business owners to three years probation for distributing a melamine-tainted ingredient that triggered a massive pet food recall in 2007 and caused the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dog and cats nationwide.

 

U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer also ordered Sally Qing Miller, 43, a Chinese national, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, 57, to each pay a $5,000 fine. In addition, Whipple ordered the Miller's company, Chemnutra, Inc., to pay a $25,000 fine.

Today's sentencing ends a long legal case that centered on the involvement of the Millers and Chemnutra with importing and distributing the melamine-tainted wheat gluten used in the recalled pet food.

A Rhode Island pet owner whose cats died after eating some of the tainted food said today's sentence was too lenient, and justice was not served.

"I feel the sentence is not appropriate, said Carol V. of Rhode Island, whose beloved cats, Smudge and Jessica, died of renal failure. "They (the Millers) did not follow the rules and thousands suffered because of it -- financially and emotionally."

"There is no justice for Smudge, Jessica, or the others," she added. "This was no elbow knocking over a bad ingredient. Whether or not they knew someone in China adulterated the product does not matter to me. This company did not abide by the laws and rules of importing a food product. Laws and rules exist for a reason. When they are broken, there should be consequences."

But federal officials applaud the judge's sentence and their investigation and prosecution of the case.

"Today's sentence sends a strong message that we will work tirelessly to stop dangerous goods from entering the American marketplace," said John Morton, the Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "ICE will continue to aggressively pursue individuals and organizations involved with illegally importing tainted or substandard goods that may jeopardize the safety of our families, communities and pets."

"We commend the action of the U.S. Attorney's Office against those companies and individuals responsible for many animal injuries and deaths from melamine contamination of pet food. The FDA will support strong enforcement of the law to protect the health and safety of our pets," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Chemnutra is a Nevada-based company that buys food products in China and imports them into the United States. The company then sells those products to pet food makers and other manufacturers in the food industry. Sally Miller is Chemnutra's controlling owner and president, while Stephen Miller is an owner and the company's chief executive officer.

From November of 2006 through February 2007, Chemnutra and Millers imported more than 800 metric tons of melamine-tainted wheat gluten from China in at least 13 separate shipments, according to a federal indictment. Melamine is a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers and is not allowed in human or pet food.

Chemnutra and the Millers received the melamine-tainted wheat gluten at a port of entry in Kansas City, Missouri, the indictment said. The company then sold and shipped the tainted wheat gluten to customers across the United States, who used the tainted product to make various brands of pet food.

A federal grand jury in 2008 indicted the Millers and Chemnutra for their roles in importing the tainted wheat gluten.

The Millers and their company later pleaded guilty to one count of selling adulterated food and one count of selling misbranded food.

"By pleading guilty, Chemnutra and the Millers admitted that melamine was substituted wholly or in part for the protein requirement of the wheat gluten so as to make it appear the wheat gluten was better or of greater value than it was," Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said in a statement released today. "They also admitted that the labeling of the wheat gluten was false and misleading because the wheat gluten was represented to have a minimum protein level of 75 percent, when in fact it did not. The labeling was also false and misleading because melamine was not listed on the label as an ingredient."

During today's federal court hearing, Judge Maughmer decided not to impose further restitution because of the $24 million settlement reached in a civil suit filed in the wake of the pet food recall.

The melamine-tainted wheat gluten forced pet food makers to recall more than 150 brands of dog and cat food during 2007. It was the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

Dogs and cats across the country suffered kidney failure after eating the contaminated food. While there is no coordinated national tracking system to monitor the number of pet deaths, the FDA said approximately 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating pet food made with tainted wheat gluten imported from China.

Wheat gluten is a natural protein used as binding agent in pet food to thicken the gravy. Adding melamine to the wheat gluten made the product appear to have a higher protein level than it did, FDA officials said.

Back in Kansas City, Phillips said her office will continue to aggressively prosecute companies and individuals who put consumers at risk.

"We are committed to protecting the health and safety of the public," she said. "We will vigorously prosecute those who violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other federal statutes designed to protect the public from this kind of criminal conduct."

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Porter and Joseph Marquez prosecuted the Chemnutra case. It was investigated by the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Chemnutra Owners Sentenced for Melamine-Tainted Pet Food...

NUTRO Bites Back; Denies Probe of Pet Deaths, Illnesses

Hundreds of pet owners say the company's food made their pets ill

NUTRO Products Inc. denies it's under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — even though an official of that agency told ConsumerAffairs.com on Monday that the pet food maker is the focus of a probe.

An FDA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that ongoing investigation is the reason the FDAs Division of Freedom of Information denied a ConsumerAffairs.com request for a list of complaints and lab results the agency has collected about NUTRO pet food. The FDA did not elaborate on the focus of its investigation, saying only that it could be criminal or civil in nature.

Hundreds of pet owners nationwide have told ConsumerAffairs.com their dogs and cats have experienced sudden and recurring bouts of vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems after eating various flavors of NUTRO. In many cases, the animals recovered after their owners switched them to another brand of pet food. Others died.

NUTRO has repeatedly defended its products, saying they are 100 percent safe, and also denies that it is being investigated.

We've been in contact with officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding your April 20th posting that claims there is an ongoing FDA investigation into NUTRO pet food, spokeswoman Monica Barrett wrote in an e-mail Tuesday night. This is not true. We have confirmed with officials of the FDA division responsible for regulating pet food, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), that there is no current or ongoing investigation of Nutro Products, Inc.

The FDA had not previously commented on complaints regarding NUTRO pet food. News of its investigation came to light only after the agency denied a request filed by ConsumerAffairs.com under the Freedom of Information Act for a list of all complaints and lab results the FDA has collected since 2007 about NUTRO.

The FDA said the release of those records could interfere with law enforcement proceedings.

The document (s) constitute record (s) complied for law enforcement purposes, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings, the FDAs George A. Strait Jr. wrote in a letter denying the FOIA request.

In a follow-up telephone call, an agency official confirmed that the request was denied because of an ongoing investigation. The official requested anonymity because he or she was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

Menu investigation

Another pet food company, Menu Foods, said in a recent financial filing that the FDA had commenced a criminal investigation to determine whether Menu violated the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act. The company noted that additional actions or investigations may arise in the future. It did not mention any other pet food companies. Menu last year settled a $24 million lawsuit that grew from the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

NUTRO is a division of privately-held Mars, Inc., which is not required to file the extensive financial disclosure statements required of publicly-traded companies. After NUTRO was acquired by Mars in 2007, Mars was fined a record 4.5 million (about US$5.8 million) by the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) for not observing the required waiting period before closing the transaction.

Mars had been by far the leading provider of cat and dog food in Germany prior to the merger. NUTRO also had extensive marketing operations in Europe, but under pressure from the German regulators, Mars divested NUTRO's Austrian and German businesses.

Worrisome trend

ConsumerAffairs.com filed its Freedom of Information request for NUTRO records last year after an analysis of consumer complaints revealed that scores of pets from California to South Carolina had experienced sudden and recurring bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

A common denominator among those dogs and cats was NUTRO pet food. In many cases, consumers said their pets conditions improved once their owners stopped feeding them NUTRO pet food. Some animals died, however.

ConsumerAffairs.com continues to receive complaints about NUTRO from dog and cat owners nationwide. In the past year, consumers have filed more than 600 complaints saying their dogs or cats suddenly became ill after eat NUTRO. The problems these pets have experienced are similar: vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.

Most of the complaints mirror one received last week from Linda P. of New Baltimore, Michigan.

For three years, I have been feeding my dog NUTRO Natural Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food, she said. The last bag I bought, I notice the food color was lighter than in the past. Me being who I am, I believed there was a changed in formula for the better. My Dachshund/Lab became ill, vomiting food chunks and yellow bile as well. We took him to the vet and I have been feeding him homemade chicken and rice and antibiotics and he is on the mend.

She adds: How can so many dogs get sick and nothing be done? Today I will start mixing his homemade food with a different brand of dry food. I never want anyone else to go through, what appears to be many, the same situation as our dogs. It will be a week or two before Im sure my dog is okay.

NUTRO denies it

NUTRO defends its products and insists its food is safe. Many NUTRO customers also tout the food, saying their pets have had no problems. And veterinarians say several factors can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs and cats, including changes in diet, newly developed sensitivities to pet foods, and viral infections.

But pet owners who complain to ConsumerAffairs.com on a nearly daily basis are convinced something is wrong with NUTROs food. And they say its no coincidence that so many dogs and cats have become sick — with the same symptoms — after eating various flavors of that pet food.

NUTRO makes dogs sick, says Erin of Encino, California. It is a fact and Im outraged that nobody is taking it off the shelf.

Erin says her three-year-old Puggle was a healthy active dog until she started eating NUTRO Natural Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula and NUTRO Max Beef & Rice Dinner Chunks in Gravy: After about two weeks of this food, she became sick. (She was) constipated for a few days, then had diarrhea, and finally vomiting and was always extremely thirsty. The last straw was her laying lethargic on the couch with white gums.

Thats when Erin rushed her dog to the vet.

The vet said she had allergies, prescribed an antibiotic and cortisone and gave me a bag of Science Diet. I feed her the Science Diet in place of NUTRO because it was free, and she was fine within a week.

Erin, however, says she made the mistake of switching her dog back to NUTRO after the Science Diet was gone.

She again had constipation, followed by horrible diarrhea, and finally vomiting yellow bile and white gums, Erin told us. There is no way that all these stories are just coincidences (not) if my dog is fine when she isnt eating NUTRO and when she is eating it, shes horribly sick. I have switched her back to Science Diet and all her symptoms are gone and her appetite has returned to normal.

Another California pet owner says her dog also became ill after eating NUTRO pet food.

My husband and I purchased NUTRO chicken and rice small bites for our two Chihuahuas, says Jessica of Larkspur. After about five days, our six-year-old male Chihuahua became lethargic, groaned a lot, developed a fever, was not excited to go on walks, and lost excitement for anything that used to bring him joy.

My husband began to suspect it was the new food as he had only developed these symptoms after eating NUTRO. He has always been a healthy and active Chihuahua.

The couple took the dog to their vet, who ran tests but couldnt pinpoint the problem. He was given antibiotics and we are crossing our fingers they work. Our Chihuahua can barely walk, he is groaning in pain, and is extremely depressed.

Across the country, a longtime NUTRO pet owner in Pennsylvania told us her dog suddenly became ill after eating the food.

I had been feeding my dog NUTRO for years, says Amy D. of Webster, Pennsylvania. I started feeding her NUTRO for sensitive stomachs about 6 months ago. At first everything seemed fine. Then my dog, who never urinated in my house, started having accidents (frequently). She needed to go out constantly and would squat repeatedly, come in, and ask to go right back out. I took her to the vet and began treatment for bladder infection. Upon finishing treatment it started all over again.

Amys vet discovered crystals in the dogs urine, which also had a high PH balance. The vet put the dog on another medication.

In the meantime other than the restless pacing to go outside, she seemed disinterested and lethargic, Amy says. Then she began having extremely loose bowel movements (an awful bright yellow) in the house.

Amy launched her own investigation and discovered the scores of complaints about NUTRO on ConsumerAffairs.com.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Could it really be the dog food I had trusted so much making my beloved pet ill? I immediately threw away all my NUTRO dog food.

Amy is now feeding her dog another brand of pet food. And Im thrilled to say she is her old self again. She no longer has to take any medicines and has no more accidents or uncontrollable urges. Thanks to this Web site and everyone who took the time to file a complaint, I have my healthy happy dog back.

Not a fluke?

A pet owner in New York said his puppy had the same experience as Amys dog after eating NUTRO. And hes convinced its not a fluke.

We got our dog two weeks ago and our puppy was healthy when we got her, says Manny of Fresh Meadows, New York. She started eating NUTRO Natural Choice for puppies, since it was recommended by a friend of ours. A week later, she started squatting to urinate, but only small drops or none at all came out. When she can urinate, it is frequent, in small amounts, and contains blood.

Manny took his puppy to the vet, who prescribed amoxicillin.

She received a sonogram, culture test, and urinalysis test. The results showed that she may have a stone in her bladder. The blood in her urine is caused by the stone scraping the bladder walls. The urinalysis test showed that she had a high PH balance. I don't think it is a coincidence that I have the same exact problem as Amy, adds Manny. I wonder if something is wrong NUTRO pet food again. Our puppy is still sick.

ConsumerAffairs.com's investigation into the complaints weve received about NUTRO pet food has also revealed:

• Six dogs unexpectedly died — or were euthanized — in 2008 after eating NUTRO pet food. Those dogs include two Italian Greyhounds in Indiana, a Beagle/Whippet mix in Pennsylvania, two German Shepherd puppies in North Carolina, and a Doberman Pinscher in Texas;

• The FDA investigated the April 2008 deaths of two Italian Greyhounds dogs in Indiana. The FDA tested samples of the NUTRO food those dogs ate, but did not find any toxins. An autopsy indicated the dogs died from antifreeze poisoning. The dogs owner doesnt believe those results, saying there is no antifreeze around her home. No one has tested the NUTRO food the other dogs ate before they died;

• Two Italian Greyhounds at a military base in Italy became sick after eating NUTRO food. The dogs owner told us she hopes the FDA is investigating NUTRO and urged the agency to move quickly. It is hard to tell how many people at overseas military bases are feeding this (food) to their dogs and possibly killing them, says Michelle M. who bought her dogs NUTRO food at the bases commissary.

• A pet nutrition specialist for NUTRO told us shes heard complaints about the companys food making dogs and cats sick. She reported those concerns to her supervisor, but said they were ignored. She later resigned.

Some pet owners, however, say NUTRO is the only brand of food their dogs and cats can eat.

My Shar-peis are the most sensitive dogs I have ever owned, says Allison R. of Nampa, Indiana. On the wrong food their hair falls out, their eyes weep and their ears get nasty. It takes me a good 3 months of only NUTRO dog food in order to reverse the affects of the other food. I have found that the senior diet is what works best, not sure why, but it seems to keep my Shar-Peis looking healthy.

A Tennessee pet owner also defends NUTRO pet food — and warns consumers not to jump to conclusions based on Internet complaints.

I feed all of my dogs and cats Nutro products and they are just as healthy as they have ever been, says Brenda of Springfield, Tennessee. They have healthy shiny coats and their stools are firm.

Gradual transition

Brenda also had some advice to pet owners switching brands of food.

Do a gradual transition from the old food, she said. If you dont, your dog will likely experience these issues. Not every bout of diarrhea, constipation, bladder infection, liver and kidney failure and loss of excitement to go on walks should be attributed to food. Your first responsibility as a pet owner should be to take your dog to the vet before you blame anyone. Do your research and don't let any Web site diagnose your pet.

NUTRO has repeatedly insisted its food is 100 percent safe and meets all standards set by FDA, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). A spokeswoman said all NUTRO products are tested for melamine, molds, toxins and other bacteria. And she called the complaints weve received isolated reports of inaccurate information posted online.

The company, however, set up a special a section on its Web site in response to the issues and concerns raised in the ConsumerAffairs.com stories. NUTRO said it takes all customer complaints seriously and encouraged pet owners with concerns about the food to contact the company at 1-800-833-5330.

Veterinarians have said its not uncommon for pets to have sudden bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. They also said a number of factors — pet food, stress, or a viral infection — could be the culprit.

Dr. Steven Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), reviewed some of the NUTRO complaints, in an effort to find out why so many pets have become sick — or even died — after eating NUTRO food.

Unfortunately the cases are not consistent and appear to be anecdotal with no real definitive diagnostic findings, Dr. Hansen said. Without any consistent trends in findings we can not do anything any further. This does appear to us to be a situation where bad things happen, but they are not likely food-related.

Hansen, however, said consumers who suspect NUTROs food is a factor in their pets illnesses should have their animals examined by a veterinarian and document the problems.

I would also recommend that if they suspect the food is the problem, they should take a freezer bag full of it — along with the label information that has the products name and lot numbers — to their vet, he told us. If the vet suspects the food is the cause, the vet should then contact the company and FDA. If theres a problem, we need to document it and get supporting lab results.

Owners anxious

The arguments back and forth don't mean much to anxious pet owners, who say its about time some federal agency investigated NUTRO and its products.

After so many complaints, how can this dog food still be on the market for consumers to purchase and feed to their dogs? Andrea G. of Sicklerville, New Jersey asked us. I have been feeding my Dachshund NUTRO Ultra dry dog food for many months. Suddenly, 10 days ago, he started vomiting yellow bile 1- 2 times daily.

It makes me sick to think that I might be the one responsible for my dog's vomiting by feeding him this food. I can only hope that something is done, very soon, to prevent other pets from becoming ill.

Read verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.

NUTRO Bites Back; Denies Probe of Pet Deaths, Illnesses...

Intentional Spiking Suspected in Chinese Ingredients Blamed for Pet Poisonings; Blue Buffalo Recalls Spa Select Kitten Dry Food

Blue Buffalo Recalls Spa Select Kitten Dry Food


Federal officials say ingredients imported from China -- and used in the more than 100 brands of recalled pet foods -- may have been intentionally spiked with an industrial chemical to boost their apparent protein content.

Rice protein concentrate
Source: Binzhou Futian Biology Technology, Ltd. Web site

That's one theory the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pursuing as it investigates how the chemical melamine contaminated at least two ingredients used to make the recalled pet foods, according to the Associated Press.

Tests revealed melamine in both wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate -- imported from China -- used in the pet foods linked to scores of kidney illnesses and deaths in dogs and cats across the country.

There are also reports from South Africa that suggest a third pet food ingredient -- corn gluten -- was tainted with melamine. The FDA, however, said that tainted ingredient has not been found in the United States.

"Melamine was found in all three of those it would certainly lend credibility to the theory that it may be intentional," Stephen Sundlof, the FDA's chief veterinarian, told reporters on Thursday. "That will be one of the theories we will pursue when we get into the plants in China."

But U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said China has blocked the FDA's efforts to inspect the facilities that manufactured these melamine-tainted ingredients. He and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on Wednesday sent a letter to the Chinese Ambassador to the United States urging his country to immediately issue visas to U.S. food inspectors.

"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," Durbin said.

"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."

In related news, agriculture officials in California placed a hog farm under quarantine after melamine was found in pig urine there, according to published reports. More testing was under way to determine whether the chemical was present in the meat produced by American Hog Farm in Ceres since April 3, the state Department of Food and Agriculture said.

Blue Buffalo Recall

Meanwhile, another pet food maker recalled some of its products on Thursday after discovering melamine in one of its ingredients.

The Blue Buffalo Company of Wilton, Connecticut, recalled one production run of its Spa Select Kitten dry food.

"We have taken this action because the rice protein concentrate used for this one production run was obtained from Wilbur-Ellis, the same company who supplied this ingredient to Natural Balance," the company's President, Bill Bishop, said in a statement on Blue Buffalo's Web site.

Natural Balance recalled its Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food earlier this week after discovering the rice protein concentrate used to make some of these products was tainted with melamine.

Melamine is a chemical in plastics and fertilizers, but is not approved for use in pet or human food, according to the (FDA). Blue Buffalo said it discovered melamine in the rice protein -- imported from China -- that was used in some of its food.

"Test results received late last evening (4/18) indicated that this rice protein concentrate tested positive for melamine," Bishop wrote on Blue Buffalo's Web site. "This is the first and only time our manufacturing partner sourced an ingredient from Wilbur-Ellis, and we had no knowledge that they had imported the ingredients from China."

California-based Wilbur-Ellis said it started importing rice protein concentrate from the Chinese company, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology, in July 2006. That company sent 14 containers holding 336 metric tons of rice protein concentrate to Wilbur-Ellis, which distributed 155 metric tons to date.

Blue Buffalo said it produced 5,044 bags of the Spa Select Kitten dry food in the run it's recalling.

"We were able to prevent the majority (of those bags) from ever entering retail distribution," Bishop said. "We are working closely with our retail partners to remove this product immediately and will be re-stocking the shelves with Spa Select Kitten dry food that was produced without any rice protein sourced from Wilbur-Ellis as soon as possible."

He added: "As a family owned company whose reason for being is to provide cats and dogs with the highest quality natural foods, we are extremely upset by this recall and can't begin to apologize enough to our customers. From our perspective, it is unacceptable to produce even one bag of food with the potential to cause a pet to become ill, and we will further tighten our ingredient sourcing and quality assurance procedures as a result of this incident."

The product code on the recalled bags is "Best Used by Mar.07.08 B."

The company said pet owners should immediately stop feeding their pets any of the recalled food. No other brands of Spa Select cat or dog food -- dry or canned -- are included in this recall.

Pet owners with questions or concerns about the recalled food can contact the company at 1-800-919-2833.

Senate Hearings

Last week, Durbin and Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) held a special hearing on the pet food recall. The hearing pitted FDA representatives and pet food lobbyists against the bipartisan Appropriations Subcommittee.

"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," Durbin said. "The FDA's response to this situation has been wholly inadequate -- we need to establish standardized inspections, impose penalties on companies who delay reporting health problems and increase communication between the FDA and the state inspectors so that we can catch problems more quickly. These sound like basic steps but the FDA has failed to put them in place."

After the hearing, Durbin told ConsumerAffairs.com that he is working on legislation to address this problem, but he did not specify the scope of his pending legislative action.

A North Carolina pet owner has one suggestion. She wants pet food manufacturers to be required to disclose the following information:

• The sources of their ingredients, including the country of origin;
• The names of the contract manufacturers for these companies;
• The names of the companies and countries they receive their products from.

"China is one of the most polluted and corrupt places in the world and the thought of any food products coming from there makes me want to gag," pet owner Aleda R. of Durham, N.C. told ConsumerAffairs.com. "There is no accountability."

This pet food debacle has struck a personal cord with Aleda.

"My dog has been eating IAMS dry food," she says. "She is a Chinese Crested, a small dog, who had a physical in October, with no problems. Because of the (pet food) scare, I just had her blood work (done) over again, and she has now experienced some 'off the chart on one of her kidney enzymes.'"

More about the Pet Food Recall ...



Intentional Spiking Suspected in Chinese Ingredients Blamed for Pet Poisonings...

Krasdale, Red Flannel Dog Food Recalled

Salmonella contamination a threat to dogs and humans alike


Mars Petcare U.S. has recalled two brands of its dry dog food because of potential salmonella contamination.

The Franklin-Tennessee pet food company this week recalled five-pound bags of its Krasdale Gravy dry dog food -- sold in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania -- and 50-pound bags of its Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula dry food sold in Pennsylvania.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested more than 150 sub-samples of the companys pet foods. Two of those samples tested positive for salmonella: one from the Krasdale Gravy dry food and another from the Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula dry food.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, the FDA said.

Pets with Salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will also have decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Dogs that ate the recalled foods and have these symptoms should see a veterinarian.

The FDA warned that Salmonella can be transferred to people handling pet food, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands.

The pet foods involved in this recall are:



Product: Krasdale Gravy dry dog food
Size: Five-pound bag
UPC Code: 7513062596
Best By Date: July 16, 2008 & July 17, 2008
Best By Date Location: Back of bag
Distribution: Stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

Product: Red Flannel Large Breed Adult Formula dry dog food
Size: 50-pound bag
UPC Code: 4286900062
Best By Date: July 12, 2008
Best By Date Location: Back of bag
Distribution: Stores in Reedsland and Richlandtown, Pa.

Pet owners with questions about the recalled product can contact Mars Petcare US, Inc. at 866-298-8332.



Krasdale, Red Flannel Dog Food Recalled...

Purina Denies Claim on Bichon Frise Deaths

ASPCA opens investigation into unexplained dog deaths


The insurance company that represents pet food giant Nestle Purina has denied any liability in the deaths of two Bichon Frise with champion bloodlines.

Meanwhile, ConsumerAffairs.com learned the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is now reviewing the dogs medical records and their unexpected deaths.

The dogs suddenly died last year within two months of each other. Their owner, Julie N. of Harlan, Kentucky, blames the deaths on Purinas dry dog food specifically Purina One, Purina ProPlan and Purina Dog Chow.

I think theres something wrong with the food, she says. Theres no other explanation for these dogs to suddenly die.

They were both healthy. They were bred from champion bloodlines. And one of the dogs -- Beeble -- was just a puppy.

She was a healthy 12-month-old Bichon Frise, says Julie, who breeds and shows Bichon Frise. But then she suddenly started drinking excessive amounts of water, was vomiting, and became very lethargic.

Julie immediately took Beeble to the veterinarian.

But she died four days after he put her on antibiotics and started I.V. fluids.

Theres no reason that puppy should have died, Julie says. Her parents had genetic clearance. She was a perfectly healthy dog.

Two months later -- On October 26 -- another one of Julies healthy dogs unexpectedly died. In this case, it was her eight-year-old Bichon Frise, Kayla.

Kayla was a healthy female who did pet therapy, Julie says. But then she started drinking enormous amounts of water. At first, I thought she might have diabetes. But the tests were negative on that.

Autopsy Reveals Possible Link

Heartbroken and baffled by the dogs death -- and determined to find answers -- Julie had autopsies performed on Beeble and Kayla at the University of Tennessees Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Knoxville.

The autopsy report on Beeble revealed a possible connection between the puppys death and the food she ate.

Pathologists discovered problems with Beebles liver that were consistent with exposure to a hepatotoxin such as aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are poisons produced by fungus or mold. These toxins are often found in corn and other agriculture crops and commonly cause liver disease.

But how could Beeble become exposed to -- and ingest -- aflatoxins?

Simple.

The aflatoxins could have come from the (dog) food, Beebles veterinarian, Douglas Mickey, told ConsumerAffairs.com. He reviewed Beebles and Kaylas autopsy reports and -- with Julies permission -- agreed to discuss them with us. Aflatoxins are known to be found in moldy grains, like corn that would be in dog food.

He added: If youre asking me if theres a possible connection between the pet food and Beebles death, the answer is: you cant rule that out.

Aflatoxins in pet food have contributed to the deaths of more than 100 dogs in recent year, including:

• The deaths of 25 dogs in 1999. In that case, Doane Pet Care recalled more than one million bags of corn-based dry dog food tainted with aflatoxins. Fifty-four brands of dog food, including OlRoy, were part of that recall;

• The deaths of 100 dogs in 2005. In that instance, Diamond Food recalled some of its pet food because the moldy corn in the products contained aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins, however, are not linked to Menu Foods massive recall in March of 60 million containers of dog and cat food. That pet food recall -- the largest in U.S. history -- is blamed on melamine contamination in the imported wheat gluten and rice protein used to make the food.

Thousands of dogs and cats nationwide suffered kidney problems or died after eating the melamine-tainted food.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traced the source of the melamine contamination to two now-defunct companies in China.

Kaylas Death Remains a Mystery

Aflatoxins also didnt play a role in Kaylas death, Dr. Mickey told ConsumerAffairs.com

That dog didnt die from anything in her food, he said. What caused her death remains a medical mystery.

Kaylas autopsy report revealed she had multiple organ mineralization, which Dr. Mickey said was likely caused by an adrenal problem.

But (the pathologists) couldnt pinpoint on the autopsy what caused the mineralization of all those organs, he said. It would be consistent with adrenal or kidney problems, but her adrenal glands and kidneys were fine.

Kaylas death has puzzled everyone who has looked at it. Everyone, that is, except Julie.

Despite the autopsy report, shes convinced Purinas dog food also contributed to Kaylas death.

Purina Denies Claim

Purinas insurance company, however, disagrees.

In a letter Julie received from Sedgwick Claims Management Services, a claim examiner states: After careful review of the records from the University of Tennessee Veterinary Teaching Hospital, I must respectfully deny liability on behalf of Nestle Purina PetCare Company for this claim . . . neither Beedles (sic) nor Kaylas medical problems would result from their diets.

The insurance company, which misspelled Beebles name, concluded the puppy died from severe hemorrhagic bronchopneumonia. It also stated Kaylas death appeared to be steroid induced and most likely the result of Cushings syndrome.

But Julie says the company reached that conclusion -- and sent its letter in mid-August -- without reading the entire autopsy reports.

I immediately called the insurance company after I received the letter and asked them how they could disregard the pathologists finding that the problems with Beebles liver were consistent with exposure to aflatoxins, Julie says. And the claims adjuster told me she didnt see that in the reportshe admitted that she didnt have a copy of the last page of the autopsy report.

Julie re-sent that report.

But a claim examiner called me later and said the company had reached the same conclusionit wasnt Purinas fault. I asked them again about the aflatoxins and they just said Beeble died from pneumonia. They also said Kayla died from steroid induced Cushings syndrome, but she was never on steroids.

No Comment

A spokesman for Purina declined to comment on the insurance companys finding.

In a previous interview, spokesman Keith Schopp defended Purinas handling of Julies concerns and said there were no aflatoxins in the companys products in the Untied States.

ASPCA Reviewing Records

Meanwhile, ConsumerAffairs.com confirmed today that Julies case has captured the attention of the ASPCA.

We learned an ASPCA veterinarian is now -- at Julies request -- reviewing the medical records and autopsy reports on Beeble and Kayla. A spokeswoman said its too early to comment on any findings because the organization just received the documents on Tuesday.

Fighting For Justice for Her Dogs

Julie is also considering legal action, saying shell do whatever it takes to get justice for her dogs and other pets that might be at risk.

Im not doing this to make a profit, she says. I never wanted to pursue legal action in the first place. All I wanted was for Purina to take my information and check its food. But now they need to acknowledge that this has happened and make sure no one elses pets die. I dont want any other animals to die like mine.

She adds: You know that old (Shakespeare) saying that something is rotten in the state of Denmark? Well, something is definitely rotten at Purina.



Purina Denies Claim on Bichon Frise Deaths...

Oklahoma Memorial Will Honor Pets Poisoned by Melamine

Tulsa couple donates five-acre site to honor dogs and cats felled by tainted pet food


A grieving pet owner is creating a memorial to honor the thousands of dogs and cats that died or became seriously ill during the 2007 melamine-tainted pet food recall.

The Oklahoma woman and her husband, who lost six pets in the recall that nuked their lives, have donated five acres of land near Keystone Lake in Tulsa for the sanctuary theyve named Vindication.

The memorial is scheduled to open on June 12, 2010.

The animals that were lost or are still suffering need to be counted and acknowledged, says the woman, who wants to remain anonymous. I want people to feel like their animals did matter. This memorial is to honor the bond between animals and humans.

Creating the memorial is also the donors way of helping pet owners deal with heartbreaking loss of their beloved dogs and cats.

Such a loss can shatter someones life, she says. It devastated hers.

She and her husband lost two dogs and four cats because of melamine-tainted food.

By March 17, one day after Menu announced its recall, I had three dead animals and three who were dying slowly, the woman says. I have cleaned vomit and bloody urine and know what happens when pets die of catastrophic kidney failure. And I cant tell you how it hurts me to open my door and walk into an empty house.

But this (memorial) isnt about my loss, she adds. Its about the thousands and thousands of pet owners out who are being stabbed in the backs. There is no justice or mercy for them or their pets. And there are no safer pet foods out there. Im doing this as one grieving pet family to the rest of those out there. And I honestly feel this will help their hearts heal.

The donor plans to transform the five acres of Oklahomas ancient Cross Timbers -- covered with 500-year-old oak trees -- into a memorial garden that will feature cascading pathways lined with flowers, park benches, and handmade stones. Each stone will bear the name of a dog or cat that died or is still sick because of the contaminated pet food, the donor says.

I will make all the stones at no cost to pet owners, she told ConsumerAffairs.com. I expect I will be overwhelmed, but I felt compelled to do this for the pet people. Its time somebody did something right for them.

Remembered 16

At the memorials entrance, the donor plans to create what she calls the Remembered 16 Circle. Shes making 16 stones to represent each of the animals that died during Menu Foods feed tests more than a month before the company announced the 2007 recall, the largest in United States history.

I gave them each a name, the donor says. They deserve to be honored. We need to lay their ghosts to rest.

The memorial will be divided into two areas -- one to honor the pets that died during the recall and the other for the dogs and cats that continue to suffer from the effects of the melamine-laced food.

Were going to show the names of the dead and tell the truth about what it costs to feed poison, the donor says. The dead wont lie; they died because of the pet food.

The donor also wants to honor the thousands of pets whose bodies are ravaged from the tainted food and the families who still struggle financially to care for their ailing dogs and cats.

Why were there no provisions made for the pets that are still sick in the lawsuits (filed in the wake of the recall)? the donor asks. Do you know the cost people are still paying for kidney failure in their animals? Its a staggering expense. Were going to collect stories about the economic devastation caused by the recall. Its costing pet owners hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The donor is all too familiar with the exorbitant costs of caring for pets with melamine-related illnesses. She and her husband planned to build a house and retire on the five acres they donated for the Vindication memorial.

But we cant afford to do that, not after all our (veterinary) expenses, she says. I guess the universe had different plans for us.

She adds: When I told my husband what I wanted to do, he said, Fine, lets do it for all the pet owners. And then he bought me a chainsaw.

Sorrow and anger

Traces of sorrow and anger are still etched in the donors voice when she talks about the heartache her family endured because of the melamine-tainted pet food.

Were still grieving, she says. It was unbearable to watch my husband hold our babies (pets) as they died. And it happened again and again.

She's furious that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didnt do more to prevent this unbelievable nightmare.

The FDA can say all they want about how they didnt know what was going on, but theyre lying through their teeth, the donor says. The FDA has intentionally inflicted pain on us.they knew melamine was flooding into the country.

The cruelties have been done to pets and their owners, she adds. The last three years have been an unbelievable nightmare for them.

The donor, however, doesnt want to continue waging a verbal battle with the FDA and others involved in the recall. Shes chosen an unconventional war tactic to address her concerns and help grieving pet owners nationwide.

Im not talking anymore, she says. Im going to be gardening. Im an unusually gifted gardener and one determined person. And Ive found peace doing this for others.

The donors generosity has already given a grieving pet owner in Rhode Island a sense of peace.

This is a gift to all the pets who suffered, says Carol V., who lost two cats because of the tainted food. It shows how many pets suffered. It makes them count for something. It means theyre not forgotten.

Carols beloved cats will never be forgotten by her family or other pet owners who tour Vindication.

The donor has finished a memorial stone for one of Carols cats, a Calico named Smudge. The 13-year-old feline died in December 2008 of renal failure.

I cried like a baby when I saw Smudges stone, Carol told us. It made me feel like shes part of something bigger.

I think she (the donor) understands the depths of sadness pet owners have endured and had to do something. And it gives me a personal sense of peace that Smudge is now part of this memorial.

Pet advocate Susan Thixton, who runs www.TruthaboutPetFood.com, also applauds the donors action and generosity.

This gift has been given to us because the donors wanted all the innocent pets to be remembered, says Thixton, the spokesperson for the anonymous donor and her husband. They wanted no one to forget why these pets died or became ill, and they wanted pet owners to have something that can never be taken away.

The donors are leaving the five acres in a trust and have set aside money in their estate to maintain the property, Thixton says. They wanted this (memorial) to go to all pet owners.

The donors are not independently wealthy people. Thixton says. They are an average family that has been shattered by pet food. They recognized that we (pet owners) have been crushed time and time again. No laws have changed, no lawsuits have been settled, (and) none responsible have been jailed.

Now, thanks to this compassionate family, all these pets will be remembered; why they died will be remembered.

Pet owners whod like their deceased or ailing dogs or cats memorialized at Vindication can fill out a form on Thixtons Web site.

God bless these pet owners, the donor says. Everything thats been done to them in the past three years dishonors them. This (memorial) is to honor them and their petsI hope it makes them feel better.



Oklahoma Memorial Will Honor Pets Poisoned by Melamine...

Pet Owners Eligible For $24 Million in Landmark Melamine Settlement

But many say money is no replacement for loss of beloved animals


Pet owners whose dogs or cats became ill or died last year after eating melamine-tainted food are now eligible for a piece of a landmark $24 million settlement. But some pet owners say no amount of money can replace the loss of their best friend.

"She was my constant companion and quite a character," Vicki W. of Sedona, Arizona, said of her cat, which died last year after eating contaminated pet food. "My husband and I miss her greatly."

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman on Tuesday gave final approval to the settlement, which resolves more than 100 class action lawsuits filed in U.S. and Canadian Courts in the wake of last year's massive pet food recall.

Hillman called the settlement "fair, reasonable and adequate," according to the Associated Press.

The $24 million dollar settlement is in addition to the $8 million in claims some companies involved in the litigation have already paid--bringing the total to $32 million.

Under the deal, pet owners can seek compensation for such expenses as veterinary bills, burial costs, time missed from work to take care of sick animals, and property damage caused by sick pets.

In some cases, the settlement allows consumers to recover up to 100% of "reasonable economic damages" if they can provide documentation for those losses. Even consumers who do not have any documentation can recover up to $900 per pet under the settlement.

Lawyers said more than 10,000 pet owners in the United States and Canada had filed claims as of September 30, 2008. The average cost of the claims analyzed so far is approximately $1,500, attorneys said.

More than 100 people kept their rights to sue the pet food companies and other parties separately.

And 28 people filed objections to the settlement, saying it didn't cover the pain and suffering they endured from losing their pets. They questioned how anyone could put a price tag on the loss of a beloved pet. They're pet owners like Vicki of Arizona.

"She can never be replaced because of her unique personality," Vicki said of her Abyssinian.

That healthy cat suddenly became sick in early 2007 months before Menu Foods of Canada recalled more than 60 million containers of melamine tainted food. "So I had the vet do blood work on her," Vicki said. "The vet said she had beginning kidney disease and if we changed her food she would be okay for a long time."

Her cat's condition, however, deteriorated.

"I took her back in a month and she had gotten much worse," Vicki said. "The vet was surprised at how fast she had gone down and recommended IV treatment. We gave her IV's at home every day for four months and she died anyway."

At that time, no one knew about the tainted pet food.

"I had an autopsy done on her because the vet was puzzled about why my cat went down hill so fast," Vicki said, adding her cat's medical bill totaled more than $1,000. "When we heard about the food problem, the vet said the autopsy made sense--she definitely was victim of (tainted) cat food."

Does Tuesday's settlement give Vicki any sense of justice? "Nine-hundred dollars is a small price for the vet bills and the months trying to save her," she told us. "The only consultation is that it hopefully won't happen again."

The settlement may also help other animals in need.

It stipulates that any money left after all the plaintiffs are paid--including the 55 law firms involved in the case-- will be donated to various animal charities. One attorney said the lead firms alone had done more than $5 million worth of work.

Consumers with questions about the settlement--or filing a claim--can find answers on the Pet Food Products Liability Settlement Web site.

As we've reported, this case started last March when Menu Foods recalled millions of containers of dog and cat food tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics. That marked the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

Thousands of dogs and cats across North America suffered kidney disease or died after eating the contaminated food.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traced the source of that contamination to the wheat gluten imported from China.

Sherrie Savett, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case estimated more than 1,500 died in the U.S. died last year after eating the tainted food. ConsumerAffairs.Com tried to reach her on Tuesday to discuss the settlement, but she did not return calls.

But in May, Savett said the settlement was a win for pet owners.

"With this settlement, consumers will get as much or more than if they litigated the cases individually," she said. "The claims process allows people to recover as much as 100 percent of all their economic damages.

"What we did get out of this settlement for consumers is the possibility of complete recovery of all economic damages--even for lost carpets and time--in addition to their veterinary bills," she added. "Even in cases where people do not have documentation of their damages, the settlement allows in some cases up to $900 for each person."

Some pet owners, however, have criticized the settlement. Don Earl, whose cat Chuckles died after eating Menu Foods' Pet Pride food, has called the settlement "a slap in the face."

"Extrapolating from the best information available, over a quarter million pets were killed by the poisoned pet food epidemic," he said. "Take a third off the top for the attorneys, and divide by the number of pet owners harmed, they each will get $64."

Another pet owner, whose 13-year-old Sheltie suddenly died after eating some of the tainted pet food, agreed.

"I feel that the $24 million is less than a slap on the wrist," said Jerry L. of Goodyear, Arizona. "It's a sad state of affairs and just goes to prove that until pet owners who really care about their pets push their government for stronger laws, these companies will continue to hold our pets at little or no regard.

Canadian author Ann Martin, who has researched the pet food industry for years, has called on pet food makers and the government to ensure the food consumers' feed their animals is safe.

But she is not convinced that's happened.

"I really don't think the food on the shelves now is any safer than what we saw prior to the massive recall," Martin told us in May. "How many of these pet food companies are testing for contamination in the raw materials they are purchasing? It is my understanding that some are now testing for melamine in the grains, but this is just one toxin that might be in the raw material. Are they testing the vitamin/mineral premixes, many which are coming from China or other countries with questionable practices?"

The settlement requires pet food makers to continue testing ingredients imported from China. That, however, doesn't make Martin feel any safer about feeding her animals commercial pet food.

"I'll continue to feed my pets a homemade diet," she said. "At least I know what they are eating, which is more than you can say with many of the pet foods on the market."

Pet owners like Don Earl said some good has come from the massive recall.

"Many pet owners (including myself) have switched from the recycled garbage promoted as pet food to homemade," he said. "Their pets will live much longer and healthier lives."

Dozens of lawsuits

Pet owners in 19 states and Ontario, Canada filed dozens of lawsuits against Menu Foods in the weeks that followed the March 16, 2007, nationwide recall of dog and cat food. Those cases were consolidated in a federal court in Camden, New Jersey.

The lawsuits alleged unfair and deceptive trade practices, negligence in failing to provide adequate quality control and breach of implied and express warranties.

Some consumers also claimed they suffered emotional trauma after their pets became sick or died. Pet owners sought compensation for their veterinary bills.

Companies named in the lawsuits -- besides Menu Foods -- included Del Monte Foods Inc. of San Francisco; Nestle of Stamford, Conn.; Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati; Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. in Pixian, China; and Suzhou Textile Import and Export Co. in Jiangsu, China.

Those defendants -- and Menu Foods' product liability insurance company -- will cover the costs of the settlement. Menu Foods estimated the recall cost the company $53.8 million.

Pet owners have until November 24, 2008 to file their claims. Those claims should be submitted to:

Claims Administrator P.O. Box 890 Philadelphia, PA 19105-0890 USA

claims@petfoodsettlement.com



Pet Owners Eligible For $24 Million in Landmark Melamine Settlement...

Salmonella Concerns Prompt Recall of Dog Treats

No reports of illnesses have been linked to the product


Fears of salmonella contamination have triggered a recall of nearly 75,000 dog treats by the The Hartz Mountain Corporation.

The New Jersey-based pet products company over the weekend voluntarily pulled one lot of its Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs off store shelves, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.

The recall is limited to the eight-ounce bags of the beef treats that have the lot code BZ0969101E and the UPC number of 32700-11519.

Hartz imported the treats from Brazilian supplier Bertin S.A. According to the FDA, Bertin tested the products before shipping them to the United States and did not detect any signs of the bacterium that can cause food poisoning.

Random sample testing by the FDA, however, uncovered the presence of salmonella in the dog treats, the federal agency said.

No ill effects

Hartz is "aggressively investigating the source of the problem," the FDA said. Although the company has not received any reports of illnesses -- in dogs or humans -- linked to the treats, it is pulling the products from all retail stores and distribution centers, the FDA said.

The agency warned that pet owners can become infected if they handle any salmonella-tainted products, especially if they don't wash their hands after touching them.

Salmonella cause serious infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems, the FDA said. Symptoms of salmonella infections in dogs and humans include fever, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. People or dogs experiencing those symptoms should immediately seek medical attention, the FDA said.

The agency also warned that infected -- but otherwise healthy -- pets can spread salmonella to other animals or people.

Dog owners who have any of the recalled treats should immediately throw them away, the FDA said. For more information about this action or how to obtain a refund, pet owners can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414.



Salmonella Concerns Prompt Recall of Dog Treats...

Natural Balance Pulls Sweet Potato, Chicken Dry Dog Food

FDA finds salmonella bacterium during routine testing

By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com

June 21, 2010
Natural Balance has pulled some of its Sweet Potato & Chicken dry dog food off the market because of possible salmonella contamination.

The California company took the action after a random sample analyzed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested positive for the bacterium that can cause food poisoning. That sample had a Best By date of June 17, 2011, the FDA said.

The only products involved in this recall are the Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken dry dog food in 5-pound and 28-pound bags with the "Best By" date of June 17, 2011, the company said. The UPC on the 5 pound bag is 7-23633-9000-4 and the UPC on the 28-pound bag is 7-23633-99002-8.

Natural Balance said there are no reports of any illnesses linked to the recalled food, which was manufactured on December 17, 2009.

Upon hearing from the FDA, I immediately went to our Director of Customer Service, a licensed Registered Veterinary Technician, to check call logs for any complaints with this product, the companys president, Joey Herrick, wrote in a June 18, 2010, letter posted on Natural Balances Web site. Our Customer Service department closely tracks and monitors complaints for any potential issues; and I heard no reports in our weekly meetings, so I was not surprised when I found we did not have a single complaint about this product.

Herrick said he also hired an independent lab to test the companys retention sample from the recalled lot.

Those test results also came back negative, he said, including a link to the findings by Zoologix. I reported our test results and call logs to the FDA, but due to the positive result they had found, they recommended a recall.

The company distributed the recalled food in pet specialty stores in the following 26 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Herrick said his company has strict testing protocols and he was surprised by the FDAs findings.

"In my mind, I asked, How can this happen? I spent over $900,000 putting in our laboratory to test our products before we release them. We tested samples from the production run when it was manufactured six months ago, and the results came back negative.

He added: I believe that we are the only pet food company that has built an in-house lab as an added check and gives you the test results in real time on our website. We hold the finished product in our warehouses for two to three days, until that testing is completed. We only release product to be shipped when the testing is negative.

Not perfect

Nonetheless, Herrick conceded there is no perfect testing protocol.

But the alternative is not testing at all, he wrote. That wouldnt work for me. I wouldnt be able to sleep at night knowing we arent testing every product before it goes out, to help make sure our products are the best in the business. Any testing is much safer for you and your pets than the alternative, which is not testing at all.

The FDA said salmonella can affect pets and humans who handle products contaminated with the bacterium. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning in humans includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. In rare cases, salmonella can cause arterial infections, arthritis, and other serious health problems, the FDA said. Anyone who experiences these symptoms after handling the recalled pet food should contact their physician.

Pets with salmonella infections can be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets may have decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain.

The FDA warned that infected -- but otherwise healthy pets -- can still spread the bacterium to other animals or humans. Pet owners with dogs that ate the recalled food and exhibit these symptoms should contact their veterinarians, the FDA said.

Natural Balance said pet owners can return any of the recalled food for a full refund. For more information, pet owners can contact Natural Balance at (800) 829-4493 or check the companys Web site.

 

 

 

Natural Balance Pulls Sweet Potato, Chicken Dry Dog Food...

Pet Food Recall Expanded to Sunshine Mills Dog Biscuits

Menu Foods Expands Its Recall to Foods Made in November


The Sunshine Mills Co. announced today that it's recalling some of its dog biscuits after learning the products were made with tainted wheat gluten imported from China.

The company said the dog biscuits involved in the recall were made at its Red Bay, Alabama, plant during part of March, 2007, and include such brands as Nurture Chicken & Rice, Pet Life Large, Lassie Lamb and Rice, and Pet Life People Pleasers Dog Treats.

The Red Bay, Alabama, company used wheat gluten that may contain melamine, the toxin blamed for a fast-growing number of animal deaths throughout North America.

"We still have a lot of work in understanding why melamine is involved," said Stephen Sundlof, the director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, at a news conference.

The company said no illnesses or deaths have been reported -- to date -- in connection with these dog biscuits. It also said none of its small and medium sized biscuits -- or its dry dog and cat food and soft and chewy treats for dogs and cats -- are involved in the recall. A complete list of the recalled products is available on the company's Web site: www.sunshinemills.com. Pet owners can also call the company at 1-800-705-2111.

In related news today, Menu Foods announced it's extending its original recall of 95 brands of "cuts and gravy" style cat and dog food to include a broader range of dates.

The company said it's expanding its recall to include all products manufactured with wheat gluten -- tha