Pet-food recall: Saturday news and open thread

April 28, 2007

  • If you have a sick pet or a question on your pet’s health, call your veterinarian.
  • If you’re new to the site, please check out our general information page (includes information on recalled foods).
  • If you want to report a sick or deceased pet, click here.

We completely updated the recall basics page. Take a look, and let us know if we missed anything. We’re trying to get everything into a single “quick take” page for people who haven’t been following this as closely as we have.

We’ll be adding to this post with news links and more throughout the day.

Don’t forget to send your postcards today!

Update: The Chicago Tribune takes on the food-safety issue (as reader Mike points out in sending the link, “This is a universal issue, everyone’s issue: Repubs, Dems, Liberals, Conserv’s, Independents, Libertarians, Vegetarians … everyone has to eat … something. The Safe Food Act — Senate bill 654 and House bill 1148 — belong to all of us”). From the article:

The tainted pet food scare, which has swelled into a serious crisis for animal lovers, now has spread to humans.

[…]

The effects of melamine on people are thought to be minimal, but no one really knows. Its consumption by humans is considered so improbable that no one has even studied it.

But they are studying now. What last month was a limited recall of canned pet food is on the verge of becoming a full-fledged public health scare, potentially overwhelming government agencies and raising troubling questions about U.S. food safety in the global economy and in the post-Sept. 11 era.

The Food and Drug Administration, criticized by some in Congress for responding too slowly, is struggling to catch up with the implications of the spread of melamine-contaminated glutens from China to hogs, and the human food chain. The FDA is still trying to get its investigators into China, where a skeptical government only last week assented to investigators’ visa requests.

At a time when food imports are growing, and only 1 percent to 2 percent of food imports receive any government scrutiny, critics say the scare reveals the shortcomings of a weakened food safety bureaucracy, the inadequacy of existing regulations and the inability of the FDA, which has suffered significant cutbacks, to protect the food supply.

ConsumerAffairs.com has provided strong coverage throughout. From their latest:

“Uncontrolled distribution of low-quality, imported food ingredients is a great threat to U.S. public health,” said Dr. Gary Weaver, Director of the Program on Agriculture and Animal Health Policy for the University of Maryland’s Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy.

The problem, says Weaver, is the U.S. has very little direct, hands-on control over the pet food industry.

Incidents like pet food contamination will continue, he says, until the U.S. completes an effective overhaul of its food safety programs.

“FDA appears to be some 30 years behind as they use pre-global economy border food inspection strategies in our new global economy world of massive international food trade from many countries with food safety standards much lower than ours,” Weaver said.

Also: Before the first recall was announced, the PetConnection folks were trying to launch a couple of new Web sites. Our target date was April 1, but under the circumstances that got moved back a bit.

Anyway … both Web sites went live yesterday, thanks to the pack at Black Dog:

  • CanineKisses.com is fully functional, and lets you upload your favorite picture of you and your dog together. You can vote on other pictures, too. It’s our seriously fun site, and Dr. Becker and I came up with it while decompressing over a couple of … um … adult beverages after meeting in Kansas City with our editors at Universal Press.
  • DogCars.com is still having reviews moved from this blog to the new Web site, so it’ll keep growing over the next couple of weeks. We’ve developed it because we realized the reviews of dog-friendly vehicles had become extremely popular, and adding them to the blog was a terrible way to archive them, since nobody could find anything. The new site will have all the reviews, plus reviews of pet travel products and a forum for talking about dog cars, dog gear, great destinations for traveling with pets and more.

Cat-lovers, don’t feel slighted. We have more Web sites in development.

In the meantime, send us your links, your thoughts and more. Dr. Becker and I are on book deadline all weekend, and Christie is off icing her wrists, but we’ll be checking in and updating as needed.

Update 2: Remember I will delete any comments that are uncivil, racist or off-topic. You are welcome to debate the issues, but we won’t be allowing personal attacks here. Again, calling someone a “skank” is not civil discussion, and comments that do so will be deleted. We’ve let pretty much every comment go through except ad spam, porn and outright personal attacks and racism, and we’ve only had to ban one person completely from commenting. I truly appreciate your continued helpfulness in finding and posting information, and doing so in a way that shows civil discussion even on heated topics is possible.

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Filed under: media,pets, connected,recalls — Gina Spadafori @ 8:03 am

332 Comments »

  1. China will not modify its behavior without the outside pressure of the US consumer.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  2. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/04/27/melamine-cfia.html

    It says that last July, the same Chinese company that supplied melamine-contaminated wheat gluten for pet food also shipped wheat gluten to a British Columbia feed mill, which turned it into food for fish farms that has since been consumed by people.

    But the CFIA said it believes the risk to people is low, even if the fish had been contaminated.

    Comment by Sue — April 28, 2007 @ 8:47 am

  3. Steve, you sure china could “modify” its communism behavior with presure from u.s.consumer?
    naaaa..

    Comment by johnypaycut — April 28, 2007 @ 8:50 am

  4. I just came back from the annual No Fleas Flea Market to benefit Good Mews, a no-kill cat shelter here in Atlanta.
    One of the items that I came home with is a platter that I bought to feed my cats their dry food on.
    I was taking the price tag off when I noticed the stamp on the bottom, it is made of melamine and is from China!!!
    That’s right, melamine is for feeding cats ‘on’ not for ‘in’ the cat food!!!
    Ironic!

    Comment by Alexis Mills — April 28, 2007 @ 8:53 am

  5. Saturday news — Has THE cause been found?

    “Cyanuric acid, which was found in urine samples from animals that died, and melamine, a compound identified in the gluten found in the recalled pet food, react with one another to form crystals that may block kidney function, researchers at the University of Guelph said yesterday.”

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2007/04/28/4136982-sun.html

    Comment by Christi — April 28, 2007 @ 8:58 am

  6. Comment by Alexis Mills — April 28, 2007 @ 8:53 am

    Guess you might want to think twice about heating their food on it in the microwave. Think if you didn’t know what you know now. And how many others that don’t. What a world we live in.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:03 am

  7. The outside pressure of the US needs to be DON’T BUY CHINA’S FOOD EXPORTS. gAStly! the worst. See: http://www.fda.gov/ora/oasis/ora_oasis_ref.html

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 9:08 am

  8. __________________________

    XIAOMING YANG, MD, PhD
    __________________________

    Yang received an appointment at the State of Washington University in the School of Medicine at the Dept. of Radiology in July 06. [See Page 13}

    http://www.washington.edu/regents/meetings/meetings06/july/items/acad/a-1.pdf.

    Had been at Johns Hopkins.

    http://cigi.rad.jhmi.edu/Xiaoming%20Yang.htm

    Curriculum Vita (9-24-04):

    http://cigi.rad.jhmi.edu/Yang%20cv%20Promotion-2.htm

    Comment by Nadine Long — April 28, 2007 @ 9:11 am

  9. The Chicago Tribune article that Gina quotes from in the intro to this thread is a good one. But again, why should anyone (who isn’t as educated as those reading this blog)pay attention when it repeats the FDA’s #s as “17 or 18″ pets died.

    See the article: http://tinyurl.com/yt7auv

    Suggest that others write to the reporters (whose e-mail addresses are at the end of the article)and REQUEST A CORRECTION. It’s otherwise an important article and they should be commended for that, IMO. Here’s my e-mail to them. I include it here because it quotes the FDA at Friday’s press conference from their own website.

    to the Chicago Tribune reporters:

    I appreciate your article on what began as a pet food problem. It’s important that articles such as yours continue as we need to know that the FDA isn’t capable of even basic safeguards of the food supply, whether for humans or pets.

    I write this as I understand that the #s of pets reported as dead or ill is misleading and trivializes the problem. The safety of our food will not be taken seriously unless the magnitude of the damage we have recently discovered is correctly reported. That is not to say you should hypothesize, but the FDA is only considering those animals that died at Menu Foods when originally testing the foods — so “17 or 18″ is not correct and trivializes the story. If I didn’t have dogs and a cat and didn’t read all the news coverage and blogs, I would be a food consumer who thinks this isn’t a big deal. Why should anyone care when the losses are so low.

    You attempt to qualify the “17 or 18″ by saying “more have likely died without being reported.” If you don’t want to quote the self reported #s of deaths at just one blog, petconnection.com (4,526 as of today), or the extrapolated # reported by the chain of pet hospitals (39,000 dead or very ill), then look at the source for the “17 or 18″, the FDA itself, and see how they qualify that number. The FDA says, “We’ve had multiple, thousands of calls from consumers…maybe 17 or 18 that we’ve confirmed…But again that’s not our focus.” They are not keeping track! That’s the point. It’s not that they aren’t “being reported”; the FDA isn’t keeping track.

    The following is from the FDA’s Friday transcript. Please print a correction to the effect that “Our article “Food Safety Worries Mount” quotes the FDA’s self-reported number of dead animals as “17 or 18.” However, the FDA is not tabulating the deaths reported to them by the many thousands of consumers who are calling them. They say “that’s not our focus.”

    From the transcript of the April 27th FDA press conference http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal?contentidonly=true&contentid=2007/04/0119.xml

    REPORTER: Thank you. Jim Kirshner with WDIV-TV in Detroit. I think this was asked earlier, and I may have missed the answer or it didn’t get answered. Do you have a total number of pets either killed or sustaining some sort of injury from the pet food contamination? What figures do you have confirmed at this point?

    DR. MCCHESNEY: This is Dan McChesney from FDA. What I previously said I believe in response to the Washington Post question was that it’s in the high teens, maybe 17 or 18 that we have confirmed. But again that’s not our focus. Our focus is to remove product that was contaminated, contained either wheat gluten or rice concentrate from commerce so we don’t involve other animals or get it into other parts of the supply system.

    REPORTER: At some point will you make a count, take a count, of the number of dogs, cats involved?

    DR. MCCHESNEY: I don’t know. We’ve had multiple, many thousand calls from consumers, and we are looking at that, but I’m not sure we will ever come up with a final number here. It’s just, I just don’t think we can ever get there.

    Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 9:13 am

  10. Shelly- actually, the platter should be safe.. melamine dishes aren’t dangerous. Most grocery stores and Target/Wal-Mart type stores sell them.. they’re generally marketed for children, as they’re rather difficult to break. They’ve been around for ages.. I know I had a few sets while growing up.

    Of course, just because it’s safe to eat *off* of doesn’t mean you actually want to eat the raw materials it was made from.. but I’d say that that probably goes for most anything we eat off of, whether it’s made of plastics, ceramics, glass, styrofoam.. you name it.

    Comment by Gwen — April 28, 2007 @ 9:16 am

  11. People Ate Tainted Pork, We May Be On the Verge of Crisis
    April 28th, 2007

    The Chicago Tribune has detailed information on how a pet food recall has brought a federal agency to its knees. The agency admits being behind the curve, while the bulk of the investigation has yet to begin.

    Also, FDA is investigating an Illinois shipment of rice protein used in human food.

    Here are the highlights:

    The end of this pet food crisis appears more elusive than ever…

    About 45 [California] state residents ate pork from hogs that consumed animal feed laced with melamine from China.

    What last month was a limited recall of canned pet food is on the verge of becoming a full-fledged public health scare.

    The FDA’s real detective work may be just beginning. Having found many sources of contamination, investigators must now determine exactly how widespread the problem is and how it began.

    http://www.itchmo.com/

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  12. Response to my inquiry from Pedigree on April 26th:

    In response to your email regarding PEDIGREE Brand Food for Dogs
    website.

    Thank you for your email.

    The recent pet food recalls do not include any Mars Petcare US brands.

    All of our brands, including PEDIGREE, CESAR, and THE GOODLIFE RECIPE®
    food for dogs, and WHISKAS, SHEBA, TEMPTATIONS®, and THE GOODLIFE
    RECIPE® food for cats, as well as our snacks and treats, are safe for pets
    to enjoy.

    Mars Petcare US sources its corn gluten from domestic sources and not
    China, and its brands, do not include any rice protein or wheat gluten
    from the foreign suppliers linked to the recall.

    None of our brands are involved in the recalls and all of our brands
    continue to be safe for pets to enjoy.

    We want to make it very clear to pet owners that Mars Petcare US pet
    food brands are not involved in the recalls.

    The safety and nutritional quality of our pet food is our top priority
    because for many people, their pets are their top priorities.

    For details on wheat gluten, rice protein or corn gluten, please
    contact the US Food and Drug Administration at 1-888-463-6332 or visit its
    web site at http://www.fda.gov.

    Tim Mengel
    Masterfoods USA, a Division of Mars, Incorporated
    Consumer Care Department
    1-800-525-5273
    DIRECT ALL E-MAIL REPLIES TO:
    pet.care@masterfoodsusa.com

    Comment by Deanna — April 28, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  13. “Consumer Care”. . . Right.

    “Mars Petcare US sources its corn gluten from domestic sources and not China, and its brands, do not include any rice protein or wheat gluten from the foreign suppliers linked to the recall.”

    Oh but Tim, did it ever occur to you that these US Sources import the ingredients you buy from them from China?

    Think about it Doc.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 9:30 am

  14. Chicago Tribune this morning!

    Food safety worries mount
    Does melamine hurt humans? Why isn’t food supply protected?

    By Stephen J. Hedges and Mary Ann Fergus
    Tribune staff reporters
    Published April 29, 2007

    WASHINGTON — The tainted pet food scare, which has swelled into a serious crisis for animal lovers, now has spread to humans.

    California officials have revealed that the contamination got into the food chain: About 45 state residents ate pork from hogs that consumed animal feed laced with melamine from China. Melamine is used to make plastics, but it also artificially boosts the protein level—and thus the price—of the glutens that go into food.

    It was already fatal for some pets: 17 cats and dogs are confirmed dead, more have likely died without being reported, thousands have suffered kidney problems, and 57 brands of cat food and 83 of dog food have been recalled. On top of that, roughly 6,000 hogs will be destroyed because they ate tainted feed.

    The effects of melamine on people are thought to be minimal, but no one really knows. Its consumption by humans is considered so improbable that no one has even studied it.

    But they are studying now. What last month was a limited recall of canned pet food is on the verge of becoming a full-fledged public health scare, potentially overwhelming government agencies and raising troubling questions about U.S. food safety in the global economy and in the post-Sept. 11 era.

    The Food and Drug Administration, criticized by some in Congress for responding too slowly, is struggling to catch up with the implications of the spread of melamine-contaminated glutens from China to hogs, and the human food chain. The FDA is still trying to get its investigators into China, where a skeptical government only last week assented to investigators’ visa requests.

    At a time when food imports are growing, and only 1 percent to 2 percent of food imports receive any government scrutiny, critics say the scare reveals the shortcomings of a weakened food safety bureaucracy, the inadequacy of existing regulations and the inability of the FDA, which has suffered significant cutbacks, to protect the food supply.

    “They’re reactive, not proactive,” said Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), whose House subcommittee on investigations last week held a hearing on food safety. If the problem was imported pet food additives, he asked, “How does it then get to hogs? They’ve known about this for some time. What did they do with it?”

    In a statement, the FDA said that “food safety funding” for the year ending last Sept. 30 “was $376 million.” But funding for the agency’s Center for Food Safety has dropped from $48 million in 2003 to about to $30 million in 2006, according to the center’s 2006 budget priority statement. Full-time jobs in the Center for Food Safety have also been cut from 950 in 2003 to about 820 in 2006, according to the budget statement.

    FDA looking for origins
    The FDA’s real detective work may be just beginning. Having found many sources of contamination, investigators must now determine exactly how widespread the problem is and how it began.

    The importer of the bad wheat gluten, ChemNutra Inc. of Las Vegas, contends that its Chinese manufacturer, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., illicitly added melamine to the gluten in order to boost the measurable protein level and thus the price of the shipment. If so, the FDA may find itself pursuing criminal charges against the Chinese company.

    FDA officials Friday searched ChemNutra’s offices, as well as a pet food plant operated by Menu Foods in Emporia, Kan., according to The Associated Press. Menu Foods has recalled millions of cans of pet food in recent weeks.

    In China, the central government has been defensive about charges that an export shipment had been deliberately contaminated, at first denying that any tainted wheat gluten was even shipped to the U.S. But that tone has softened as the extent of the pet food recall expanded. On Friday, a government spokesman told USA Today that some shipments were contaminated.

    Scores of pet food brands have now been recalled in the U.S. for fear that melamine-contaminated glutens were used in their manufacture. They include canned and dry dog food and dog biscuits that are made in places as widely scattered as Utah, Missouri and South Carolina.

    The FDA is also examining imported vegetable proteins earmarked for human products like pizza, protein bars and baby formula. That investigation, still in its early stages, hasn’t uncovered any contaminated ingredients, but the agency, an FDA doctor said, wanted to “get ahead of the curve.”

    The melamine-laced food reached hogs because surplus pet food—crumbled and broken food bits rejected as unsuitable for dogs or cats—was sent to hog farms and turned into feed. The FDA says bulk shipments of feed were delivered to hog farmers in California, Utah, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina. FDA officials said they were also concerned that contaminated livestock feed may have been shipped to Missouri.

    “It’s absolutely a terrible nightmare story,” said Eric Nelson, a Wisconsin feed specialist and president of the Association of American Feed Control Officials. “It just doesn’t seem to get any better, and I’m sure it’s not over.”

    Rice protein also a problem
    Even as the tainted wheat gluten cases have multiplied, the FDA has learned of another problem: Chinese rice protein. U.S. importer Wilbur-Ellis told the agency that a single bag of rice protein that it had imported tested positive for the presence of melamine. Wilbur-Ellis imported the rice from Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. in China’s Shandong province. In the U.S., the protein went to five U.S. pet food makers in Utah, New York, Kansas and Missouri.

    While the FDA has targeted select states for hog inspections, the pet food recall and the large number of sick cats and dogs have overwhelmed state agencies that often only investigate a dozen pet food complaints a year. The FDA says about 400 employees across the country are collecting pet food samples, monitoring the recalls’ effectiveness and preparing complaints.

    The investigation’s progress in Illinois alone illustrates the problem.

    About half of the 32 FDA investigators in the state have worked on responding to more than 500 complaints of sick or deceased dogs and cats since the recalls began March 16. They must collect medical records from veterinarians and gather samples of contaminated pet food.

    The office is also involved in recall effectiveness. “It’s very taxing on our resources,” said Scott MacIntire, director of the FDA’s Chicago office, which oversees state operations.

    MacIntire said his office is investigating a shipment of rice protein concentrate imported to Illinois and potentially used in a human product.

    Nationwide, the FDA has only enough inspectors to check 1 percent to 2 percent of the 8.9 million imported food shipments in 2006.

    “We don’t have the resources or the capabilities to test every single shipment of every single food item that crosses into our country or into our state borders,” said Frank Busta, director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.

    Stupak is among a small number in Congress who for several years have pressed for stiffer food safety regulations. He said legislation likely to pass this year could include a provision giving the FDA authority to order food processors to recall questionable items.

    Currently, the FDA can issue mandatory recall orders only for baby formula, while other government safety agencies can demand the recall of goods such as unsafe toys and tires.

    “It took Menu Foods almost a whole month to do a full recall of the dog food,” Stupak said. “If they’re dragging their feet on the recall of dog food, in the meantime this tainted wheat gluten is going to hogs.”

    Other fixes could include expanded funding for food safety inspections and labs, the right to conduct spot inspections, subpoena power for the FDA and country-of-origin labeling on food products. Congress has already passed the labeling law, but the Bush administration has declined to implement it, citing cost concerns.

    FDA officials acknowledged that they are closing seven labs but said they are older facilities that needed renovation and that other labs are being expanded to compensate.

    What price safety?
    The end of this pet food crisis appears more elusive than ever, shedding light on issues beyond the largely self-regulated pet food industry to America’s growing dependence on cheap imported ingredients from China and other countries, where safety precautions may be more lenient.

    But just as troubling, federal officials and congressional critics of the FDA say, is the ease with which the bad gluten was passed along once in the U.S. After the Sept. 11 attacks, food and water safety were an issue of great concern, they say, but those concerns seem to have eroded.

    America’s increasing reliance on low-cost food creates a complicated food distribution system, Busta said — and that leaves “many potential vulnerabilities.”

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:38 am

  15. If the FDA is primarily concentrating on clearing a backlog of potentially tainted ingredients, it makes perfect sense to test for melamine or any of its derivatives/metabolites.

    For the longer term, we can be confident that any questionable, international suppliers will look for an alternate form of nitrogen which might slip through the tests currently devised.

    Pet food companies and their suppliers can no longer use the “fast and dirty” test for “nitrogen” as an indication of protein content. They are surely aware of this.

    The best test combination might be to test for protein directly and then for nitrogen separately. If they find a notable discrepancy, the product is most likely tainted.

    Comment by Eva — April 28, 2007 @ 9:40 am

  16. The bottom line.

    It takes a hell of a lot longer to get out of a mess then it does to get into one.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 9:47 am

  17. Do we know who the second importer is and I missed it?

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  18. Why does the FDA announce no more recalls when obviously they are wrong? The answer: to appear to be out of the loop.

    Exactly. It is S.O.P. If they announce more recalls at a press conference, then they open the door to questions and I’m sure the official position is we don’t know so we can’t tell or be responsible for what we don’t know.

    And why does it take two weeks to test for the toxic elements? This two weeks gives time for the businesses, the corporation, to get their ducks in order.

    So the F.D.A. needs to look good – hard to do -but their answer No More Recalls is the better P.R. position. It’s equivalent to – “I take the Fifth”

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 9:50 am

  19. ChemNutra, Steve Miller
    Mr. Pet Food Supplier goes to Washington

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/cover042507.htm

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  20. Juicy: Got Steve’s home address-

    Stephen Miller’s Summerlin home, at 10396 Noontide Ave., near Charleston and Hualapai Way.

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2007/Apr-04-Wed-2007/news/13571149.html

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:03 am

  21. REPORTER: At some point will you make a count, take a count, of the number of dogs, cats involved?

    DR. MCCHESNEY: I don’t know. We’ve had multiple, many thousand calls from consumers, and we are looking at that, but I’m not sure we will ever come up with a final number here. It’s just, I just don’t think we can ever get there.

    =======

    “I just don’t think we can ever get there.”

    You have got to be frelling KIDDING me, right?!!!

    Comment by Ally — April 28, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  22. This will make you sick.

    http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/guide/Listing.asp/li/49724

    Chem Nutra imports raw materials from China for distribution to the energy drink and nutritional supplements industries. They supply:

    Ingredient Supplier
    Vitamins
    Cobalamin (B12)
    Inositol
    Niacin (B3)
    Pantothenic Acid (B5)
    Pyridoxine (B6)
    Riboflavin (B2)
    Vitamin C

    Specialty
    Amino Acids
    Creatine
    Inositol
    L-Alanine
    L-Arginine
    L-Carnitine
    L-Isoleucine
    L-Leucine
    L-Taurine
    Protein, Rice

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:06 am

  23. Does this bother anyone else?

    “Many of the companies recalling food said in statements on their Web sites that American Nutrition added the rice protein concentrate to their products without their knowledge or approval, reports the AP.

    “It appears that ANI (American Nutrition Inc) had been adding the unauthorized rice protein concentrate to Harmony Farms products for some time and only told the company when the FDA was about to conclude that some of ANI’s rice protein concentrate (supplied by Wilber-Ellis) was contaminated with melamine,” said a statement on the Harmony Farms site.

    Other companies making similar allegations are The Blue Buffalo Co., Natural Balance, Canine Caviar, Diamond Pet Foods and Mulligan Stew Pet Food.

    http://www.postchronicle.com/news/health/article_21277507.shtml

    Comment by Christi — April 28, 2007 @ 10:06 am

  24. Steve Miller’s contact info:

    10396 Noontide Ave.
    Las Vegas, NV 89135
    Phone: (702)883-8928
    Fax: (702)920-8958
    Email: steve@chemnutra.com
    Web: http://www.chemnutra.com

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:08 am

  25. “How pet food makers get their supplies a tawdry tale”

    Interesting Read

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/cover040607.htm

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:13 am

  26. http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/guide/Listing.asp/li/49724

    We import raw materials from China for distribution to the energy drink and nutritional supplements industries

    Chem Nutra

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:17 am

  27. Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:08 am

    I doubt the Millers are answering the phone or sipping umbrella drinks in the back yard working on their tans at this point.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  28. Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:17 am

    Oh great. Thats all we need.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 10:20 am

  29. Comment by Issy

    “Why does the FDA announce no more recalls when obviously they are wrong? The answer: to appear to be out of the loop.”

    They’re all the same mentality. The first words:

    FBI – “It wasn’t terrorism”
    USDA – “No madcow entered the food chain”

    Comment by Gary — April 28, 2007 @ 10:23 am

  30. Quote:
    China will not modify its behavior without the outside pressure of the US consumer.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 8:37 am

    ————– End Quote ————-

    Neither the government of the USA nor any industry will modify their behaviour without pressure of the US consumer.

    We can’t regulate the rest of the world – but we can (and *have to*) modify what happens in our own country.

    IMHO

    Comment by MaKo — April 28, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  31. Interesting survey on Itchmo about pet deaths and whether they were on antibiotics or fungicides at the time of eating tainted foods.

    ATTENTION: ANYONE WHOSE PET DIED DUE TO CONTAMINATED FOOD

    Was your pet taking an antibiotic or fungicide shortly before death? On 04-27-2007 the University of Guelph determined that cyanuric acid and melamine, when combined, cause a toxic reaction.

    In my research I discovered that some pharmaceuticals use cyanuric acid in some antibiotics and fungicides. Could either of these types of drugs have hastened your pet’s death? I don’t know. But I’d like to survey those whose pets died to find out.

    http://64.79.216.38/~itchmo/forums/index.php?topic=183.msg1254#msg1254

    Comment by mal — April 28, 2007 @ 10:26 am

  32. This is interesting from the Chicago Tribune article:

    What price safety?
    The end of this pet food crisis appears more elusive than ever, shedding light on issues beyond the largely self-regulated pet food industry to America’s growing dependence on cheap imported ingredients from China and other countries, where safety precautions may be more lenient.

    MacIntire said his office is investigating a shipment of rice protein concentrate imported to Illinois and potentially used in a human product.

    What price safety?
    The end of this pet food crisis appears more elusive than ever, shedding light on issues beyond the largely self-regulated pet food industry to America’s growing dependence on cheap imported ingredients from China and other countries, where safety precautions may be more lenient.

    http://tinyurl.com/26aae2

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 10:27 am

  33. Rice Protein Buyers were warned about Chinese Fakes before the recall and were told how to identify them. WHAT THE F%&*??????????????
    @#$%^&*()_+$%^&*#$%^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    http://tinyurl.com/2cevuj

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:28 am

  34. Just in…

    FDA-RECALLS-L@LIST.NIH.GOV

    Recall — Firm Press Release

    FDA posts press releases and other notices of recalls and market withdrawals from the firms involved as a service to consumers, the media, and other interested parties. FDA does not endorse either the product or the company. This listserv covers mainly Class I (life-threatening) recalls. A complete listing of recalls can be found in the FDA Enforcement Report at: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/Enforce.html

    Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. Recalls Products in Response to American Nutrition Inc. Pet Food Recall

    Contact:
    Natural Balance Consumer Contact:
    1-800-829-4493

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Pacoima, CA — April 27, 2007 — Because of the pet food recall initiated today by American Nutrition Inc., Natural Balance Pet Foods has announced it is issuing a nationwide recall of a number of canned products manufactured by American Nutrition. This action is limited to four specific Natural Balance canned formulas: Chicken Canned Dog Formula 13 oz , Beef Canned Dog Formula 13 oz, Lamb Canned Dog Formula 13 oz, and the 3oz and 6 oz Ocean Fish Canned Cat Formulas.

    Natural Balance Pet Foods is taking this voluntary action after learning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed rice protein concentrate used by American Nutrition contained melamine, a substance not approved for use in food. These products are being recalled in addition to our previously recalled Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.

    Natural Balance Pet Foods has not received any indication of quality or safety issues, including pet illness, with the four withdrawn formulas. However, because American Nutrition informed the company that these four specific products may include rice protein concentrate, Natural Balance Pet Foods felt this action was necessary for the protection of its customers and their pets.

    It should be noted that the products being recalled were not formulated or labeled to contain rice protein concentrate. While the FDA is investigating this, current information indicates this error is a result of a manufacturing deviation by American Nutrition. Natural Balance is working with the FDA in this matter.

    ####

    FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals and Safety Alerts Page: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html

    Comment by Nadine Long — April 28, 2007 @ 10:31 am

  35. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biuret

    Biuret. Biuret is a chemical in the pet food. They knew it before the recall. THEY KNEW!

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:31 am

  36. Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:17 am

    Now we need to find out which “natural foods” and supplement and vitamin companies have been purchasing raw materials from the Millers.

    The gift that keeps on giving.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 10:32 am

  37. I’m leaving a big THANK YOU to all those who posted reports of sick pets who ate Purina dry food. It was NOT on the recall list. I’ve been homecooking for my dog but still giving him some Purina dry. I’ve stopped and am giving him a handfull of whole grain cereal instead. If not for the great people at this site, I would believe dry foods like Beneful are still safe. Thanks again

    Comment by Falcon K — April 28, 2007 @ 10:36 am

  38. I’m so pissed right now I can’t sit still

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:37 am

  39. Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:28 am

    I’ve seen that warning before but don’t know exactly who received the warning. Also I don’t know if buyers would be capable of immediately testing their imports for the things specified in the warning (assuming they took it seriously) or if it would take some time to investigate how to get those tests done.

    Comment by slt — April 28, 2007 @ 10:38 am

  40. Important info for non-symptomatic pets who ate recalled food –

    Here is a link to Antech’s website, they are doing alot of the lab testing for vets. Although some of the affected pets they have tested are in renal failure, most have normal BUN/Creatinine (blood test) but have crystals in the urine.

    http://www.antechdiagnostics.com/

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 10:44 am

  41. Thank you Catlover for that link. That’s what we had- awful urine.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:49 am

  42. This has probably been going on for awhile and someone just got the levels too high this time. I bet I’ve got melamine in MY urine! God knows what we’re all consuming.

    Comment by Christi — April 28, 2007 @ 10:56 am

  43. http://www.zoasis.com/zoasis_news_alerts.html

    I arrived at this link via Antech’s site.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:59 am

  44. Comment by Eva — April 28, 2007 @ 9:40 am

    , et al….

    Go check out the world trade boards: Alibaba, Made-in-China, Fuzing, just to name a few. They have NUMEROUS LISTINGS for vegetable proteins with to BOOST THE poor PROTEIN sources! Mrs ChemNutra IS A CHINESE FOOD SPECIALIST.

    Xuzhou Anying on Alibaba: http://www.alibaba.com/company/10926883.html

    Binzhou Futian Biology on Alibaba:
    http://chinafeed.en.alibaba.com/group/0.html

    They’ll even tell you how to do it:
    Use Methods:
    1. For poultry feed: adding 2. 0% is capable of increasing protein by 3. 2% -6. 0% .
    2. For cattle / sheep / pig / fish / shrimp feed: adding 3. 0% is capable of increasing protein by 4. 8% -9. 0% .
    3. For raw materials such as Fish Meal, Meat and Bone Meal, Bean Meal, Rice Protein Meal and other protein feed ingredients: adding 1kg of ESB Protein Powder per hundred kilos can improve protein by 1. 6% -3. 0% .
    Quality Standard: The product is yellow, dust-colour or white powder form and free flowing. This product also resists iodin, and is able to bear high temperature, the reaction of ammania nitrogen Contain 160% protein, 70% water-soluble and 8% moisture. Contain 300% protein, 80% water-soluble and 8% moisture. Keeping in dry and ventilate condition, agglomeration will not influence quality.
    Guaranteed shelf life: 1 year.

    They’ve known — don’t think they didn’t. Esp. ChemNutra — the “EXPERTS”. (my opinion)
    :[

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 10:59 am

  45. Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 9:13 am

    That is a really good letter. The tiny number of pets listed continues to be a problem and based on the FDAs response will NOT be answered for months. But the press feel the need to use only official numbers.

    Nice connection to the FDA transcript too hopefully they will get the idea that they must qualify the small numbers too when they are understated not just the big numbers.

    Comment by spocko — April 28, 2007 @ 11:01 am

  46. Whatever happened the the Professor & his PhD student & the rig they made for instant field tests?? Who’s using that?? It kind of fell through the cracks. I sent him an email thanking them.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 11:05 am

  47. I apologize in advance if this has already been posted, as it is quite long. However, it’s also an informative read.

    The Great Pet Food Scandal
    How one supplier caused a huge crisis, and why it’s just the tip of the iceberg
    CHARLIE GILLIS AND ANNE KINGSTON | April 30, 2007 |

    Sometime in the next couple of years, when the public gaze has drifted from the tainted pet food epidemic and we’ve all forgotten what melamine is, a judge in Ohio or California or Ontario will take up the daunting question of what a dog or cat is worth. There was considerable legal debate on this topic even before the current uproar. But if an animal’s curative effect on the human heart plays any part in the calculation, the courts might start at a small house in Floral Park, N.Y., where the wounds wrought by the poisoning epidemic will stay raw for a long time to come.
    Continued Below

    It was here in the Long Island suburbs that Donna Opallo and a couple of relatives brought home Checkers, a chocolate-eyed beagle puppy, three years ago, figuring she might lend solace to Opallo’s grief-stricken sister, Debbie DiGregorio. The previous week, DiGregorio’s 16-year-old son, Louis, had died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Frantic for ways to help, the family took a flyer on the dog, and their instincts proved correct. “That dog filled a very big void in her life,” says Opallo, 47, who lives with her 45-year-old sister. As the months passed, it became clear that Checkers possessed healing powers no psychiatrist, friend or relative could equal.
    Then, in mid-February, the family was thrown back into crisis. Checkers began vomiting incessantly and defecating blood, sending the sisters on a series of futile visits to a local veterinarian. Test after test proved inconclusive, and only after Mississauga, Ont.-based Menu Foods issued its first recall of contaminated food on March 16 did the penny finally drop. Both Checkers and Opallo’s own dog, an 11-month-old Bichon-Shih Tzu cross named Taco, had been eating food from foil pouches sold under the Nutro brand name, one of the products on Menu’s list. Checkers survived the initial illness, but her gruesome symptoms persisted. Today her vets can’t say whether she’ll survive. Taco, who hadn’t showed any outward signs of trouble, turned out to be in near-total renal failure. He spent more than a week in an animal hospital in nearby Westbury, with an intravenous line attached to his leg and his owner by his side. “Three-quarters of his kidneys are destroyed, and I don’t know what his life expectancy will be,” says Opallo. “It’s like there’s a little ticking time bomb inside of him.”
    The plight of Checkers and Taco is by no means unique: it is believed some 40,000 pets who ate Menu Foods products made with melamine-laced wheat gluten have been sickened in the U.S. and Canada. While mortality estimates vary, a recent survey by the Davis, Calif.-based Veterinary Network estimated the death toll in the U.S. in the thousands. But it does give some sense of the debacle’s reach — as well as its ruinous effect on each family it touched. Quite apart from the collective US$6,200 in vet bills Opallo and DiGregorio have paid out of their line of credit, or the thousands more they’re willing to spend, they quake knowing they might lose one or both of their beloved animals. “I don’t think I could ever buy another dog,” says Opallo. “I’m basically in denial.”
    The scope of the tragedy — emotional and financial — continues to widen. The recall has been expanded four times in the last four weeks, with 889 separate items under 100 different brand names yanked off the market. The company’s explanations raise more questions than answers, and there’s been predictable talk of reform at the government level. In Canada, talks between pet food makers, vets and a variety of federal agencies have already begun, with a view to imposing rules on an unregulated industry. In the U.S., members of the Senate’s agriculture appropriations subcommittee have held hearings into the Food and Drug Administration’s handling of the crisis, while the FDA itself continues to investigate the cause of the contamination.
    But the economic model that led to the poisoning shows little sign of change. Even in the throes of a PR nightmare, the big grocery chains continue to support Menu, a production behemoth with whom they share a mutual dependency. Loblaw Companies, for one, which sells Menu products under its President’s Choice and No Name brands, has no plans to switch suppliers. “They’ve been a valued partner,” says spokeswoman Elizabeth Margles. “We do have confidence about them at this point.”

    ——————————————————————————–
    Loblaw may remain unshaken, but for the average dog or cat owner the entire affair has been a faith-testing experience. Little did pet owners know that, whether they were buying a budget supermarket brand or splurging on top-of-the-line fare at a specialty pet store or from a veterinarian, the food was being produced at the same factory and even shared some of the same ingredients. How could they? Menu Foods’ name appeared nowhere on the label. The company existed as an invisible cog in the food chain, churning out most of North America’s most popular wet food in cans and foil pouches to its customers’ blue-chip specifications — Science Diet for Colgate Palmolive, Iams for Procter & Gamble, Whiskas for Purina. It also manufactured an estimated 75 per cent of private label brands in Canada, including Wal-Mart’s, Sobey’s and Pet Valu’s. In the United States, where its customers include PetSmart, Safeway and Wal-Mart, Menu supplies between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of wet pet food.
    The story of how a tiny, shoestring operation in Toronto’s western suburbs came to dominate its industry reflects the seismic shifts in the manufacturing food chain over the past three decades. Increasing power wielded by the margin-obsessed, cutthroat supermarket industry has forced manufacturers to source cheaper ingredients globally. Those forces have favoured faceless giants — players capable of supplying myriad products demanded by retailers, retooling and remixing recipes as the orders came in. But as the Menu case demonstrates, the system also ensures a continent-wide catastrophe when something goes wrong. Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, doesn’t see the Menu tragedy as an aberration. Rather she calls it “the tip of the iceberg.”
    Suffice to say, no such spectre troubled Robert Bras, the sharp young supermarket executive who bought into Menu Foods in the late 1970s and turned the plodding company into a trailblazer. At the time, Bras was working for Loblaw Companies, a firm in the midst of its own astounding turnaround from down-at-the-heels grocery chain. Central to its recovery strategy was a private-label program that would rival the big national brands in quality and sales. Without the advertising and distribution costs that inflated the prices of national labels, executives reasoned, a supermarket could sell its own brand — often made at national brands’ factories — at a lower cost for a higher margin. Pet food was a critical part of the scheme: it is a high-frequency purchase that brings people into the store. Desirable proprietary brands presented a way to cultivate customer loyalty. Sensing untapped opportunity, Bras left Loblaw in 1977 and bought a 50 per cent stake in Menu, a manufacturing generalist that made everything from bargain-basement pet food to bleach.
    Bras quickly stripped away extraneous product lines and purchased a factory in New Jersey with an eye to expanding into the U.S. But his big break came in 1979, with a contract to produce Loblaw’s “no-name” canned pet food. The first offering, a No Name Luxury meat mix, claimed to match brand leader Dr. Ballard’s formula in quality at a lower price. The “luxury” reference was a master stroke: it seduced pet owners into believing they were buying status for the same price as “maintenance” — an industry term for standard product. Within six months, it was the No.1-selling product at Loblaw’s Ontario stores.
    Menu’s sales grew 25 per cent a year on average during the 1980s, fuelled by the growing number of supermarkets cluing in to the fact they could make margins of 35 to 40 per cent profit on their own premium house-label pet food. Business was buoyed by the fact that pets were increasingly viewed as full-fledged family members — “furkids” as they came to be called. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the pet bowl. When canned dog food was introduced in 1922 there was no pretense of nutritional benefits; the only benefactors were meat packers who seized on a profitable way of disposing of surplus offal and horse meat. By the 1980s, however, pets’ diets were mirroring their owners’ own peccadillos, food phobias and culinary dispositions, be they kosher, hypo-allergenic, vegetarian or low-fat.
    “We have anthropomorphized our pets,” says Kelly Caldwell, editor of Dogs in Canada. “You want to feel you’re giving your dog the best possible food. It’s a way to show we care, that we’re not scrimping, that they’re valuable.” Caldwell buys only “organic” feed for her purebreds because that’s what she eats. “I’ve bought into the packaging and promises,” she says. Nutrition tops the concern of Dogs in Canada readers, she says. Bras understood the business was “counter-economic.” Pet food wasn’t sold on price alone; if your dog or cat isn’t going to eat it, you’re not going to buy it. And if people believed they’d improve the health or extend life of their pet, they’d spend more on higher-priced premium labels.
    Menu’s expansion in the United States was ramped up in the 1990s when Cott Corporation, a Toronto-based manufacturer of private-label soft drinks with grand plans for global domination, bought the remaining 50 per cent stake in the company. Wal-Mart and Safeway were added to Menu’s customer roster. The company also benefited from the fact that national brands, under assault from retailer labels, were increasingly outsourcing their manufacturing so they could focus on “managing the brand.” It was an ironic twist: managing the brand became synonymous with distancing itself from the grimy business of production.
    Menu, meanwhile, invested heavily in a U.S. infrastructure. A state-of the-art factory was built in Emporia, Kan. In 2001, Menu bought the wet food operations of Doane Pet Care for US$15 million. The following year, the company went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange as an income trust, a structure that avoids most corporate taxation because most of the company’s income is paid directly to its unit holders. If there’s a discernible turning point in the company’s history, however, it is 2002, when Bras died of cancer. He was replaced by Paul Henderson, a former chief operating officer at Cott. In 2003, Menu assumed US$85 million in new debt to purchase a Procter & Gamble plant in North Sioux City, S.D. With that purchase came a five-year supply agreement to be the exclusive supplier of Iams and Eukanuba wet foods, which now account for about 11 per cent of Menu’s sales.
    But even as Menu’s business grew exponentially, its margins were reportedly under constant pressure. It was rumoured within the industry that Wal-Mart and Loblaw, eager to maintain their own margins in a competitive pricing environment, kept a lid on prices that squeezed Menu’s profits. Specifically, Menu was expected to deliver expensively made foil packs — now at the centre of the contamination controversy — at the same price as cans. “They definitely had to eat margins to a point they weren’t making any money selling to Wal-Mart,” says an industry insider who explains Menu couldn’t afford to lose the contracts because they provided credibility with potential customers. Loblaw says there was no freeze on prices. “We always try to keep prices down but didn’t say you couldn’t raise prices,” Margles says. “We always try to keep costs down for our customers. We have to remain competitive.”
    At the end of 2005, Menu reported a loss of $54.6 million and suspended payments to its unit holders, blaming the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar. The next year Menu returned to profitability, yet its cash distributions remain suspended. By early 2007, with a revived Canadian dollar and new price increases, prospects appeared on the upswing. Improved cash flow was being used to pay down debt and industry analysts were expecting it to resume distributions to unit holders.

    ——————————————————————————–
    If the engines of Menu’s success were humming again, they cut out abruptly on March 16, 2007. The recall notice the company issued that morning downplayed the implications, describing the removal of 60 million units from the market as “precautionary” and omitting all reference to any potential contaminant. Within days, however, the FDA was asking awkward questions about wheat gluten shipped from China, and pet owners were starting to exchange horror stories on the Internet.
    What the company did next will surely go down as a case study in how not to manage a crisis. Far from tackling the matter head-on — by, say, quickly withdrawing all products made with suspect material — it left items on the shelves for what by human food-safety standards seemed an eternity. On March 24, eight days after its original notice, Menu expanded its recall to include all varieties of its wet pet food, a rearguard action that encompassed those household names it had so assiduously cultivated, from Iams to Wal-Mart’s house brand Ol’ Roy. Two more recalls would follow, the first on April 5 for all Menu products made with the suspect wheat gluten, including dry food; the next on April 10, when Menu pulled products made at its plant in Mississauga (previous recalls affected product made at the Kansas plant).
    At the centre of all of this was an ingredient few North Americans had heard of before the crisis. Wheat gluten — essentially, destarched flour dough — is used in pet food to bind and add texture. Menu had previously been buying it from U.S. sources, but had switched last November to an obscure Chinese manufacturer called XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Menu cited a gluten shortage in North America for the change, but a cynic would point to other potential motivations: in 2006, wheat gluten from China sold for about 20 cents per pound less than that made by U.S. competitors.
    Whatever the savings Menu realized, however, could not possibly have been worth what followed. By Feb. 22, according to timelines provided by the company, Menu was receiving warnings from consumers that its food was sickening pets. On Feb. 27, routine taste tests of its own products resulted in the deaths of at least two and, by some accounts, as many as 10 animals. Still, it took Menu until March 8 to notify ChemNutra, the Las Vegas-based distributer of the Chinese product, that it was investigating the possibility the gluten was causing illness. The recall, however, wouldn’t come for another eight days.
    The contempt implicit in this tardiness infuriates pet owners. Jody Tomlinson of Coquitlam, B.C., lost his job as a warehouse supervisor after spending hours on the phone last winter researching the mysterious kidney ailment that eventually claimed the life of his two-year-old mastiff, Binky. The idea that Menu may have sat on vital information leaves the 38-year-old fuming, and calling for government regulation. “Greed started this,” he says, “not common sense.” Lance Ganske, a Calgary sheet-metal worker who lost Blackie, one of several pet cats, now distrusts the entire industry. “When I buy something, I don’t know whether it’s going to be good or not,” he says, “and I still have to feed my animals.”
    Menu officials haven’t helped matters, allowing their phones to ring unanswered for hours at a time, according to angry consumers, and providing confusing explanations for what went wrong. (In one interview, vice-president Randall Copeland blamed part of the contamination on a “clerical error” that saw the wheat gluten bags receive false U.S. labelling; photos supplied by the product’s U.S. distributor clearly show the words “Made in China” printed directly on the bags.) In an email to Maclean’s last week, Menu CEO Paul Henderson disputed suggestions that the company dragged its feet. While Menu did receive reports of cat illnesses on Feb. 22 and 28, he said, “the vets who attended these cats informed Menu that they each had access to various contaminants and could have gotten into something they should not have, such as antifreeze.” A third call reporting a cat death came in on March 5, Henderson said, and while Menu did not receive veterinary information about the third case, the consumer did send in the unused food. “We tested the food, but the testing did not reveal anything wrong with it,” he wrote.
    The irony in all of this is that Menu was blindsided as well — the company just can’t seem to communicate it. In the end, lab tests performed in late March on the Chinese gluten identified the likely cause of the poisoning as melamine, a plastic by-product that is entirely foreign to the production of wheat gluten — or, for that matter, pet food. “It’s unheard of,” says Steve Pickman, a vice-president at Atchison, Kan.-based MPG Ingredients Inc., which makes wheat gluten for human and pet consumption. “You’d never think to test for it.”
    Indeed, reports out of Washington last week said the FDA was investigating the possibility that workers at the XuZhou Anying factory tainted their product deliberately — that they were using the substance to amp up the apparent nutrient value of their product. Melamine, it turns out, mimics protein when mixed into wheat gluten, creating the illusion that the substance is packed with value. Whether the supposed saboteurs knew it was fatal to animals is one question. How you guard against miscreants half a world away is quite another.

    ——————————————————————————–
    Despite what seems to be an unsurmountable crisis, analysts remain optimistic about Menu’s future. Aleem Israel, an analyst at Cormack Securities in Toronto, currently rates Menu Foods Income Fund a “buy,” noting that its status as the primary supplier of wet pet food, as well as the only source of foil pack pet food, ensures its survival. And while most of its customers aren’t locked into long-term supply contracts, no other manufacturer has the economies of scale that can provide the same profits.
    That retailers have an economic stake in maintaining the status quo also works to Menu’s advantage. No grocery giant is standing by the company more staunchly than the one that helped create it. “To say [the contamination] is extremely unfortunate is an understatement,” says Margles, the Loblaw Companies’ spokeswoman. “People feel very strongly about their pets and we feel very strongly about product integrity. Still, they’ve been a valued partner and we have a very detailed recall process here and we are keeping on top of it, as we’re sure they are with any products they’re manufacturing.”
    Margles, like others, blames the tainted raw material, not the manufacturer, for the catastrophe. “It does seem to be linked to the wheat gluten in China,” she says. Such a rationale doesn’t reassure nutritionist Marion Nestle, who compares the Menu case to last summer’s E. coli outbreak in the continental spinach supply. “What this has exposed about globalization issues is just breathtaking,” she says. “No one knew this kind of thing. People knew that spinach was centralized because of what happened over the summer. But the idea that one ingredient from China could go into 100 brands of pet food is something no one had any idea about.”
    Nestle, currently writing a book about pet food, believes the recall should make customers question the price differentials in the pet food market. “The disclosure is particularly striking for people who were paying a lot of money for Iams or one of those expensive brands,” she says. “The idea that the same ingredients are going into cheap brands as expensive brands disturbs pet owners to no end. It’s not that the formulas are the same but that they’re using the same ingredients.”
    It certainly upsets Benjamin DeLong, 33, and his wife Jennifer, 32, a Wadsworth, Ill., couple who believed they were doing their cats Freddie and Rita a favour when they upgraded from no-name brands to Iams’ “Tuna and Sauce” and “Salmon and Sauce” in foil packs. They now blame the products for Freddie’s death and Rita’s illness, and have joined a class-action lawsuit launched in Chicago. “We thought, let’s spend a little more on our pets, get them a little better food and maybe they’ll last a little longer,” Benjamin DeLong says ruefully.
    DeLong was particularly incensed by a full-page newspaper ad taken out shortly after the first recall announcement by Iams-Eukenuba, asking pet owners to keep buying product that was made in its “own” factories in the U.S., and not by Menu Foods. “Hey, you know what, I thought I was buying Iams,” he says. “Obviously there was not enough oversight and management responsibility for somebody over at Menu Foods to stop this from happening. So not only do I hold Menu Foods responsible, but Iams as well.”
    The tragedy has also laid bare the lack of pet food regulation in Canada. The U.S., United Kingdom and European Union all have government agencies that monitor pet food for safety. Though the Department of Consumer and Corporate affairs oversees labelling claims, the Canadian industry is left to police itself. The Pet Food Association of Canada, comprised of manufacturers, has imposed a voluntary nutritional assurance program, while the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association runs a voluntary standards program that certifies only about two per cent of Canadian-produced pet food. Without systematic oversight, however, it’s impossible to know whether the tainted pet food still sits on store shelves in Canada. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration said a random check of 400 retail outlets across the U.S. found some still stocking previously recalled dog and cat food; consumers north of the border have access to no such information.

    ——————————————————————————–
    How, then, to respond? Who is to blame when poison makes it into an ingredient made by a foreign supplier for a U.S. distributor, who in turn sells to a Canadian processor who supplies retail outlets for pets across North America? How do you stop it from happening again?
    At least part of the fallout will take the form of legal retribution. Within days of the first recall, class-action lawyers assumed their customary circling pattern, in some cases posting sign-up sheets on their firm websites for potential clients. Frank Jablonski, an attorney from Madison, Wis., says he’s received 3,000 inquiries, nearly half from people whose pets have died. “The stories are devastating,” he says. “You end up spending a lot of time on each one of them because essentially you’re consoling the person.” Jay Strosberg, a class-action lawyer based in Windsor, Ont., who has filed suit against Menu, says he’s received more than 100 calls from people whose pets were sick or had died. The company says it faces more than 50 suits in the U.S.
    These actions are primarily aimed at recouping vet bills. But it’s a measure of how widely the case has resonated that some owners hope to break new legal ground by winning awards for emotional distress. “There’s no way you can tell me that emotion doesn’t factor into this,” says DeLong from Illinois. While courts on both sides of the border have resisted such findings, preferring to treat pets as property rather than family, both Illinois and Tennessee have legislation allowing damages for emotional loss. And in a precedent-setting decision last year, a Superior Court judge in Ontario awarded $1,417.12 to an owner whose dog was let out of a boarding facility and died. The ruling was significant because the judge specifically stated that pets should not be considered “owner’s chattel so as to preclude damages for pain and suffering.”
    The Canadian government, meanwhile, is reconsidering its hands-off approach to pet food safety. Bill Hewett, the executive director of policy and planning for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, says the Menu case highlights the importance of pets in modern households, and has prompted his branch to reassess its options, including all-out regulation of the industry. The review comes after meetings with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, which warned that the absence of rules and standards could expose humans to risk, as well as pets. “What if this had been something other than melamine, like a virus?” asks Dr. Paul Boutet, the association’s president. “Government needs to know these things, because a lot of things that affect pets affect people as well. Look how close these pets are to us now. They’re sleeping in our beds. You could probably find [homes] where pets are eating at the table.”
    Still, neither Boutet nor Hewett foresees a new era of risk-free pet food. The vastness and complexity of the industry, they acknowledge, make it difficult to police effectively. “We have everything from large, internationally competitive manufacturers to mom-and-pop, niche-type producers,” says Hewett. The Menu contamination, he adds pointedly, occurred despite FDA rules requiring pet food makers to ensure the safety of their products, demonstrating the “opportunity for failure” even in the context of government regulation.
    Under the circumstances, pet owners — even those who escaped this particular crisis — have little reason to feel confident. Barring a complete restructuring of the economics of food manufacturing — or a regulatory regime that would see Canadian inspectors combing through factories in China — the question is not how this contamination happened, or how it might have been handled better, but when the next crisis will strike. Henderson, Menu’s CEO, reassures customers that melamine testing will become standard operating procedure for his beleaguered firm. But the broader sentiment in the industry is best summed up in his prediction of Menu’s immediate future: “It will be a return to business as usual.”

    With Nicholas Köhler, Nancy Macdonald and Barbara Righton

    Comment by Eva — April 28, 2007 @ 11:06 am

  48. ooops – missed a word —

    They have NUMEROUS LISTINGS for vegetable proteins with ~NPN~, ie; non-protein nitrogen, to BOOST THE poor PROTEIN sources.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 11:08 am

  49. Frankenfoods: The Unnaturalizing of our Food Supply

    http://tinyurl.com/2qy7ua

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 11:10 am

  50. Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 8:37 am

    “China will not modify its behavior without the outside pressure of the US consumer.”

    Every US administration since Nixon has treated the Chinese government with kid gloves. The Chinese Communist government has one of the worst human rights records in the world and animal rights are non-existent. The vast majority of the Chinese people are suffering under China’s form of economic gangster capitalism and total political repression, while a few puppets of the government are becoming billionaires and a very small middle class serves as a false showpiece of economic improvement in the country for the general population. Communist China has violated every trade pact and treaty and our government always ignores it or caves in to China’s excuses.

    We will not see real change in the shipment of garbage and trash to this country until the American people wake up to how much power and influence the Chinese government has in Washington and in corporate America.

    How quickly we forget the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. Is this national lack of memory because we are so dependent on or addicted to cheap athletic shoes, cheap … and cheap pet food ingredients?

    Comment by MFEMFEM — April 28, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  51. Anyone seen the homes in Summerlin? A bit more than any of us could ever afford. Glad he’s got an expensive home & is relaxing in his backyard with his Mai Tai’s & little umbrellas….sure hope he doesn’t get poked in the eye. Wonder if any little four-legged creatures are enjoying the sunny afternoon with him. Maybe we should email & ask what he’s feeding his pets.

    As for the FDA’s “real investigation about to begin”…..oh, puuuulllleeezzzz….if we have to depend on them for the “investigation”, we are all SOL…..if you get my drift…..

    Comment by JanC — April 28, 2007 @ 11:17 am

  52. Gonna go to HEB to see what the deal is with Beneful & that rumor from last night. I called 2 24-hr stores. One said they didn’t have any of the medium sized bags, but the small & large were there. HEB didn’t know anything about a recall, nor did Purina’s answering service. Purina’s answer service was quick to grab the paper & start spewing off info about Mighty Dog, etc.

    I can’t find a post on another recall on bread with PIECES OF COTTON in it. Distribution in the NE.

    http://www.kptv.com/money/9736070/detail.html

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 11:18 am

  53. Comment by Kat:

    The FDA has posted new protocols for “melamine testing”. I wondered if they were using the latest advances we were reading about. Not a chemist…can’t tell.

    Comment by Eva — April 28, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  54. Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 8:37 am

    “China will not modify its behavior without the outside pressure of the US consumer.”

    Every US administration since Nixon has treated the Chinese government with kid gloves. The Chinese Communist government has one of the worst human rights records in the world and animal rights are non-existent. The vast majority of the Chinese people are suffering under China’s form of economic gangster capitalism and total political repression, while a few puppets of the government are becoming billionaires and a very small middle class serves as a false showpiece of economic improvement in the country for the general population. Communist China has violated every trade pact and treaty and our government always ignores it or caves in to China’s excuses.

    We will not see real change in the shipment of garbage and trash to this country until the American people wake up to how much power and influence the Chinese government has in Washington and in corporate America.

    How quickly we forget the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. Is this national lack of memory because we are so dependent on or addicted to cheap athletic shoes, … and pet food ingredients?

    Comment by MFEMFEM — April 28, 2007 @ 11:20 am

  55. Need to pick up pet food ingredients. Think I’ve finally come up with something my cats like. Doggies have been easy to please, except, they miss their kibble.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 11:22 am

  56. Dear FDA, PFI, et al:

    How many more trusting pets must die before ALL affected pet food companies come forward?

    *sound of crickets*

    Comment by Ally — April 28, 2007 @ 11:23 am

  57. “I’m so pissed right now I can’t sit still ”

    Aw come on,Shelly,you’re just SAYING that.
    LOL
    I can feel your energy jumping through the screen.
    By the way,I’m not laughing AT you!!!!
    I have been thinking as I’m reading your posts and others that Menu et al would never in a million years have guessed what it would really be like to tangle with pet parents whose kids they had killed/sickened.And the rest of us who do/don’t have pets and are disgusted/enraged beyond words by their heinous acts and all the ugly truths being uncovered daily about the pet food industry.
    I’m sure Henderson spoke for the bunch of them when he indicated that by mid ’08 it would be business as usual/have blownover/whater the heck he said way back in March.
    Ahem,notice anyone giving up yet,Henderson,Miller et al???Maybe you could try holding your collective breaths if you think that would help??

    Lorna

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 11:26 am

  58. Comment by catlover: “most have normal BUN/Creatinine (blood test) but have crystals in the urine.”

    IDEXX is saying the same thing. All pets who have eaten contaminated food should be tested whether they have symptoms or not. Follow-up tests should also be done, looking for an increase in creatinine – even if it is within normal range.

    Comment by Marilyn — April 28, 2007 @ 11:29 am

  59. Kat:

    Did I miss something? What about Beneful & the rumors from last night? I don’t feed it to my dog (thankfully) but have been hearing lots of stories about dogs getting sick & dying but nobody has done anything about it….gee, what a surprise. Sadly, I don’t think it’s the only one left out there that’s causing problems.

    I’d like to hear what’s going on….curious.

    Comment by JanC — April 28, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  60. I don’t know if this has been posted before – it’s from Kansas City about MenuFoods Emporia, KS plant being

    RECALL OF TAINTED PET PRODUCTS | FDA agents investigate Emporia, Kan., facility
    Menu Foods plant searched

    The company says it is cooperating with the federal agency in the misdemeanor inquiry.

    By DAN MARGOLIES

    The Kansas City Star

    Federal agents searched Menu Foods’ pet food plant in Emporia, Kan., on Thursday as part of a widening investigation into the recall of contaminated pet food products.

    The Canadian company issued a statement disclosing the search by agents of the federal Food and Drug Administration. The statement said Menu Foods had been informed by the U.S. attorney’s office in Topeka that it was the target of a ***misdemeanor*** inquiry into whether it violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

    click link for more: http://www.kansascity.com/194/story/86904.html

    Aren’t THEY about 5-6 weeks LATE???

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 11:40 am

  61. Here is a thread of a lot of pets getting sick on Beneful:
    http://quikonnex.com/channel/item/26035

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 11:54 am

  62. http://www.doggybling.com/newsarticle.php?id=1099

    Holy Cow

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  63. The article in the Chicago Tribune was a very important step. Chicago is economically a world class city with major trade alliances via the CBOT and the MERCANTILE exchange. Chicago is huge and has world renoun educational and research facilities. Illinois also has a robust farming economy centered on some of the richest farmland on earth. For those reasons Chicago can be a very key locus to the many pieces of this world impacting story.

    Several folks have posted ideas for responding to the reporters whose bylines are on the Chicago Tribune article. This is a fine idea and I hope many of you will do so. Letting them know you read the article and appreciate their efforts is so important. There is also another important thing you can do which I have learned about (and I hope perfected) over years of trying to get the public better aware of several important issues. If you are an activist at heart, and one with a cool head and good writing skills please read on…..

    I would like to suggest that your thoughts be sent directly to the editor of the paper, the person who actually has considerably more influence on getting stories published than reporters do. In fact, an anonymous reporter recently posted here to say she had been begging for the opportunity to provide more coverage on the pet food crisis but her editor kept turning her down. In past efforts my fellow crusaders and I have truly found writing “Letters to the Editor” to be a worthwhile and rewarding practice. Enough letters landing there can not only result in more in-depth reporting but also occasionally results in a letter, an editorial or opinion piece being published. The guide below has proven effective in other efforts and there is no reason they will not work for our pets.

    -If submitting by US Mail, make a photocopy of your letter for your records.

    -If submitting by the internet, send your “Letter to the Editor” in a standard email message.

    -Do not use web page forms or blog sites for the newspapers, unless you absolutely have to, because rarely do actual newspaper decision makers see these comments.

    -If you submit via email, you have the opportunity to cc: or bcc: a copy to yourself–submitting via other methods on the internet means you probably won’t have a dated copy of your response, if you get a copy at all. It is very important that you keep a copy for your records.

    -Letters must be civil, use proper grammar, and be informative. Sarcasm, swearing, yelling or calling the editor either a shill of the left or right or corporate America does NOT help our cause. Duplicate letters that sound as if they are part of a PR campaign do not get published and do not help the cause. Letters that sound as if they are written while “under the influence” do not get published and actually hurt the cause.

    -Your Letters to the editor of the Chicago Tribune should be sent to the following email address:
    ctc-TribLetter@tribune.com

    -Hard copy letters to the Chicago Tribune’s Editor should be mailed to: Voice of the People, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, Il 60611

    -Additional hints for successful letters to the editor are below.

    -The Chicago Tribune is today’s project.

    -But every paper in every other city in America and Canada needs to get a “letter to the editor” from their “pet loving” readers and “safe food” readers each time a story is run about this. If it is incorrect, then correct the facts. If the article was too short, thank them but give them additional story ideas. If your paper has been ignoring the issue completely, as so many have, chastise them for that and ask (politely) when they plan to cover this important and evolving event.

    -Please use your real name and include the city where you live. Remember to include a daytime phone number for verification purposes. The editor may wish to contact you to know you are a real person.

    -Be certain to indicate in your letter that it is “for publication.”

    -Do remember, items submitted to the “letters to the editor” section should generally NOT be cross-posted to other forums such as this blog. Most publications request exclusivity.

    -Be succinct as possible. Longer items generally don’t have as much of a chance of being published. While there are many many interesting facets to the story: China imports/pet death numbers/sad pet stories/high vet bills to save sick animals/possible food chain contamination/corporate malfeasance/fda inadequacy/American farmers, etc. etc., consider focusing on just one or two facets to help move the the larger cause along.

    -Even if your letter does not get published in print or web media, remember that the media decision makers do take note. Every letter reminds editors and news producers that this is, and will continue to be a very important issue.

    Please write.

    Comment by elizabeth R. — April 28, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  64. Comment by JanC — April 28, 2007 @ 11:37 am

    Hi JanC! There apparently isn’t a recall on Beneful, at least one that has been announced.
    I called 2 HEB 24-hr stores & tho the said they were out of the mid-size & didn’t know why they didn’t have it, they had not gotten an official recall.

    I also called Purina. The answering service just gave me the info about Mighty Dog, etc.

    So, officially there is no recall on Beneful… yet. I reported my dogs sick on it to the FDA. They were sick in Feb.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

  65. BLUE SKY PET FOODS (doing business as: (Subsidiary of TEJAS INDUSTRIES, HEREFORD, TX)
    FM 2943 EAST HIGHWAY 60
    HEREFORD, TX 79045
    (Headquarters location)
    (Trade style, aka, ‘doing business as’)
    MERRICK PETFOODS, INC.

    Solid Gold Health Food for Pets
    Canned foods are made by Blue Sky Pet Foods
    http://www.thepetfoodlist.com/petfoods_pg3.htm

    Comment by S — April 28, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

  66. The Great Pet Food Scandal

    How one supplier caused a huge crisis, and why it’s just the tip of the iceberg
    CHARLIE GILLIS AND ANNE KINGSTON | April 30, 2007 |

    Sometime in the next couple of years, when the public gaze has drifted from the tainted pet food epidemic and we’ve all forgotten what melamine is, a judge in Ohio or California or Ontario will take up the daunting question of what a dog or cat is worth. There was considerable legal debate on this topic even before the current uproar. But if an animal’s curative effect on the human heart plays any part in the calculation, the courts might start at a small house in Floral Park, N.Y., where the wounds wrought by the poisoning epidemic will stay raw for a long time to come.

    It was here in the Long Island suburbs that Donna Opallo and a couple of relatives brought home Checkers, a chocolate-eyed beagle puppy, three years ago, figuring she might lend solace to Opallo’s grief-stricken sister, Debbie DiGregorio. The previous week, DiGregorio’s 16-year-old son, Louis, had died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Frantic for ways to help, the family took a flyer on the dog, and their instincts proved correct. “That dog filled a very big void in her life,” says Opallo, 47, who lives with her 45-year-old sister. As the months passed, it became clear that Checkers possessed healing powers no psychiatrist, friend or relative could equal.

    Then, in mid-February, the family was thrown back into crisis. Checkers began vomiting incessantly and defecating blood, sending the sisters on a series of futile visits to a local veterinarian. Test after test proved inconclusive, and only after Mississauga, Ont.-based Menu Foods issued its first recall of contaminated food on March 16 did the penny finally drop. Both Checkers and Opallo’s own dog, an 11-month-old Bichon-Shih Tzu cross named Taco, had been eating food from foil pouches sold under the Nutro brand name, one of the products on Menu’s list. Checkers survived the initial illness, but her gruesome symptoms persisted. Today her vets can’t say whether she’ll survive. Taco, who hadn’t showed any outward signs of trouble, turned out to be in near-total renal failure. He spent more than a week in an animal hospital in nearby Westbury, with an intravenous line attached to his leg and his owner by his side. “Three-quarters of his kidneys are destroyed, and I don’t know what his life expectancy will be,” says Opallo. “It’s like there’s a little ticking time bomb inside of him.”

    The plight of Checkers and Taco is by no means unique: it is believed some 40,000 pets who ate Menu Foods products made with melamine-laced wheat gluten have been sickened in the U.S. and Canada. While mortality estimates vary, a recent survey by the Davis, Calif.-based Veterinary Network estimated the death toll in the U.S. in the thousands. But it does give some sense of the debacle’s reach — as well as its ruinous effect on each family it touched. Quite apart from the collective US$6,200 in vet bills Opallo and DiGregorio have paid out of their line of credit, or the thousands more they’re willing to spend, they quake knowing they might lose one or both of their beloved animals. “I don’t think I could ever buy another dog,” says Opallo. “I’m basically in denial.”

    The scope of the tragedy — emotional and financial — continues to widen. The recall has been expanded four times in the last four weeks, with 889 separate items under 100 different brand names yanked off the market. The company’s explanations raise more questions than answers, and there’s been predictable talk of reform at the government level. In Canada, talks between pet food makers, vets and a variety of federal agencies have already begun, with a view to imposing rules on an unregulated industry. In the U.S., members of the Senate’s agriculture appropriations subcommittee have held hearings into the Food and Drug Administration’s handling of the crisis, while the FDA itself continues to investigate the cause of the contamination.

    But the economic model that led to the poisoning shows little sign of change. Even in the throes of a PR nightmare, the big grocery chains continue to support Menu, a production behemoth with whom they share a mutual dependency. Loblaw Companies, for one, which sells Menu products under its President’s Choice and No Name brands, has no plans to switch suppliers. “They’ve been a valued partner,” says spokeswoman Elizabeth Margles. “We do have confidence about them at this point.”

    Loblaw may remain unshaken, but for the average dog or cat owner the entire affair has been a faith-testing experience. Little did pet owners know that, whether they were buying a budget supermarket brand or splurging on top-of-the-line fare at a specialty pet store or from a veterinarian, the food was being produced at the same factory and even shared some of the same ingredients. How could they? Menu Foods’ name appeared nowhere on the label. The company existed as an invisible cog in the food chain, churning out most of North America’s most popular wet food in cans and foil pouches to its customers’ blue-chip specifications — Science Diet for Colgate Palmolive, Iams for Procter & Gamble, Whiskas for Purina. It also manufactured an estimated 75 per cent of private label brands in Canada, including Wal-Mart’s, Sobey’s and Pet Valu’s. In the United States, where its customers include PetSmart, Safeway and Wal-Mart, Menu supplies between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of wet pet food.

    The story of how a tiny, shoestring operation in Toronto’s western suburbs came to dominate its industry reflects the seismic shifts in the manufacturing food chain over the past three decades. Increasing power wielded by the margin-obsessed, cutthroat supermarket industry has forced manufacturers to source cheaper ingredients globally. Those forces have favoured faceless giants — players capable of supplying myriad products demanded by retailers, retooling and remixing recipes as the orders came in. But as the Menu case demonstrates, the system also ensures a continent-wide catastrophe when something goes wrong. Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, doesn’t see the Menu tragedy as an aberration. Rather she calls it “the tip of the iceberg.”

    Suffice to say, no such spectre troubled Robert Bras, the sharp young supermarket executive who bought into Menu Foods in the late 1970s and turned the plodding company into a trailblazer. At the time, Bras was working for Loblaw Companies, a firm in the midst of its own astounding turnaround from down-at-the-heels grocery chain. Central to its recovery strategy was a private-label program that would rival the big national brands in quality and sales. Without the advertising and distribution costs that inflated the prices of national labels, executives reasoned, a supermarket could sell its own brand — often made at national brands’ factories — at a lower cost for a higher margin. Pet food was a critical part of the scheme: it is a high-frequency purchase that brings people into the store. Desirable proprietary brands presented a way to cultivate customer loyalty. Sensing untapped opportunity, Bras left Loblaw in 1977 and bought a 50 per cent stake in Menu, a manufacturing generalist that made everything from bargain-basement pet food to bleach.

    Bras quickly stripped away extraneous product lines and purchased a factory in New Jersey with an eye to expanding into the U.S. But his big break came in 1979, with a contract to produce Loblaw’s “no-name” canned pet food. The first offering, a No Name Luxury meat mix, claimed to match brand leader Dr. Ballard’s formula in quality at a lower price. The “luxury” reference was a master stroke: it seduced pet owners into believing they were buying status for the same price as “maintenance” — an industry term for standard product. Within six months, it was the No.1-selling product at Loblaw’s Ontario stores.

    Menu’s sales grew 25 per cent a year on average during the 1980s, fuelled by the growing number of supermarkets cluing in to the fact they could make margins of 35 to 40 per cent profit on their own premium house-label pet food. Business was buoyed by the fact that pets were increasingly viewed as full-fledged family members — “furkids” as they came to be called. Nowhere was this more apparent than at the pet bowl. When canned dog food was introduced in 1922 there was no pretense of nutritional benefits; the only benefactors were meat packers who seized on a profitable way of disposing of surplus offal and horse meat. By the 1980s, however, pets’ diets were mirroring their owners’ own peccadillos, food phobias and culinary dispositions, be they kosher, hypo-allergenic, vegetarian or low-fat.

    “We have anthropomorphized our pets,” says Kelly Caldwell, editor of Dogs in Canada. “You want to feel you’re giving your dog the best possible food. It’s a way to show we care, that we’re not scrimping, that they’re valuable.” Caldwell buys only “organic” feed for her purebreds because that’s what she eats. “I’ve bought into the packaging and promises,” she says. Nutrition tops the concern of Dogs in Canada readers, she says. Bras understood the business was “counter-economic.” Pet food wasn’t sold on price alone; if your dog or cat isn’t going to eat it, you’re not going to buy it. And if people believed they’d improve the health or extend life of their pet, they’d spend more on higher-priced premium labels.
    Menu’s expansion in the United States was ramped up in the 1990s when Cott Corporation, a Toronto-based manufacturer of private-label soft drinks with grand plans for global domination, bought the remaining 50 per cent stake in the company. Wal-Mart and Safeway were added to Menu’s customer roster. The company also benefited from the fact that national brands, under assault from retailer labels, were increasingly outsourcing their manufacturing so they could focus on “managing the brand.” It was an ironic twist: managing the brand became synonymous with distancing itself from the grimy business of production.

    Menu, meanwhile, invested heavily in a U.S. infrastructure. A state-of the-art factory was built in Emporia, Kan. In 2001, Menu bought the wet food operations of Doane Pet Care for US$15 million. The following year, the company went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange as an income trust, a structure that avoids most corporate taxation because most of the company’s income is paid directly to its unit holders. If there’s a discernible turning point in the company’s history, however, it is 2002, when Bras died of cancer. He was replaced by Paul Henderson, a former chief operating officer at Cott. In 2003, Menu assumed US$85 million in new debt to purchase a Procter & Gamble plant in North Sioux City, S.D. With that purchase came a five-year supply agreement to be the exclusive supplier of Iams and Eukanuba wet foods, which now account for about 11 per cent of Menu’s sales.

    But even as Menu’s business grew exponentially, its margins were reportedly under constant pressure. It was rumoured within the industry that Wal-Mart and Loblaw, eager to maintain their own margins in a competitive pricing environment, kept a lid on prices that squeezed Menu’s profits. Specifically, Menu was expected to deliver expensively made foil packs — now at the centre of the contamination controversy — at the same price as cans. “They definitely had to eat margins to a point they weren’t making any money selling to Wal-Mart,” says an industry insider who explains Menu couldn’t afford to lose the contracts because they provided credibility with potential customers. Loblaw says there was no freeze on prices. “We always try to keep prices down but didn’t say you couldn’t raise prices,” Margles says. “We always try to keep costs down for our customers. We have to remain competitive.”

    At the end of 2005, Menu reported a loss of $54.6 million and suspended payments to its unit holders, blaming the decline in the value of the U.S. dollar. The next year Menu returned to profitability, yet its cash distributions remain suspended. By early 2007, with a revived Canadian dollar and new price increases, prospects appeared on the upswing. Improved cash flow was being used to pay down debt and industry analysts were expecting it to resume distributions to unit holders.

    If the engines of Menu’s success were humming again, they cut out abruptly on March 16, 2007. The recall notice the company issued that morning downplayed the implications, describing the removal of 60 million units from the market as “precautionary” and omitting all reference to any potential contaminant. Within days, however, the FDA was asking awkward questions about wheat gluten shipped from China, and pet owners were starting to exchange horror stories on the Internet.
    What the company did next will surely go down as a case study in how not to manage a crisis. Far from tackling the matter head-on — by, say, quickly withdrawing all products made with suspect material — it left items on the shelves for what by human food-safety standards seemed an eternity. On March 24, eight days after its original notice, Menu expanded its recall to include all varieties of its wet pet food, a rearguard action that encompassed those household names it had so assiduously cultivated, from Iams to Wal-Mart’s house brand Ol’ Roy. Two more recalls would follow, the first on April 5 for all Menu products made with the suspect wheat gluten, including dry food; the next on April 10, when Menu pulled products made at its plant in Mississauga (previous recalls affected product made at the Kansas plant).

    At the centre of all of this was an ingredient few North Americans had heard of before the crisis. Wheat gluten — essentially, destarched flour dough — is used in pet food to bind and add texture. Menu had previously been buying it from U.S. sources, but had switched last November to an obscure Chinese manufacturer called XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Menu cited a gluten shortage in North America for the change, but a cynic would point to other potential motivations: in 2006, wheat gluten from China sold for about 20 cents per pound less than that made by U.S. competitors.
    Whatever the savings Menu realized, however, could not possibly have been worth what followed. By Feb. 22, according to timelines provided by the company, Menu was receiving warnings from consumers that its food was sickening pets. On Feb. 27, routine taste tests of its own products resulted in the deaths of at least two and, by some accounts, as many as 10 animals. Still, it took Menu until March 8 to notify ChemNutra, the Las Vegas-based distributer of the Chinese product, that it was investigating the possibility the gluten was causing illness. The recall, however, wouldn’t come for another eight days.

    The contempt implicit in this tardiness infuriates pet owners. Jody Tomlinson of Coquitlam, B.C., lost his job as a warehouse supervisor after spending hours on the phone last winter researching the mysterious kidney ailment that eventually claimed the life of his two-year-old mastiff, Binky. The idea that Menu may have sat on vital information leaves the 38-year-old fuming, and calling for government regulation. “Greed started this,” he says, “not common sense.” Lance Ganske, a Calgary sheet-metal worker who lost Blackie, one of several pet cats, now distrusts the entire industry. “When I buy something, I don’t know whether it’s going to be good or not,” he says, “and I still have to feed my animals.”
    Menu officials haven’t helped matters, allowing their phones to ring unanswered for hours at a time, according to angry consumers, and providing confusing explanations for what went wrong. (In one interview, vice-president Randall Copeland blamed part of the contamination on a “clerical error” that saw the wheat gluten bags receive false U.S. labelling; photos supplied by the product’s U.S. distributor clearly show the words “Made in China” printed directly on the bags.) In an email to Maclean’s last week, Menu CEO Paul Henderson disputed suggestions that the company dragged its feet. While Menu did receive reports of cat illnesses on Feb. 22 and 28, he said, “the vets who attended these cats informed Menu that they each had access to various contaminants and could have gotten into something they should not have, such as antifreeze.” A third call reporting a cat death came in on March 5, Henderson said, and while Menu did not receive veterinary information about the third case, the consumer did send in the unused food. “We tested the food, but the testing did not reveal anything wrong with it,” he wrote.

    The irony in all of this is that Menu was blindsided as well — the company just can’t seem to communicate it. In the end, lab tests performed in late March on the Chinese gluten identified the likely cause of the poisoning as melamine, a plastic by-product that is entirely foreign to the production of wheat gluten — or, for that matter, pet food. “It’s unheard of,” says Steve Pickman, a vice-president at Atchison, Kan.-based MPG Ingredients Inc., which makes wheat gluten for human and pet consumption. “You’d never think to test for it.”

    Indeed, reports out of Washington last week said the FDA was investigating the possibility that workers at the XuZhou Anying factory tainted their product deliberately — that they were using the substance to amp up the apparent nutrient value of their product. Melamine, it turns out, mimics protein when mixed into wheat gluten, creating the illusion that the substance is packed with value. Whether the supposed saboteurs knew it was fatal to animals is one question. How you guard against miscreants half a world away is quite another.

    Despite what seems to be an unsurmountable crisis, analysts remain optimistic about Menu’s future. Aleem Israel, an analyst at Cormack Securities in Toronto, currently rates Menu Foods Income Fund a “buy,” noting that its status as the primary supplier of wet pet food, as well as the only source of foil pack pet food, ensures its survival. And while most of its customers aren’t locked into long-term supply contracts, no other manufacturer has the economies of scale that can provide the same profits.

    That retailers have an economic stake in maintaining the status quo also works to Menu’s advantage. No grocery giant is standing by the company more staunchly than the one that helped create it. “To say [the contamination] is extremely unfortunate is an understatement,” says Margles, the Loblaw Companies’ spokeswoman. “People feel very strongly about their pets and we feel very strongly about product integrity. Still, they’ve been a valued partner and we have a very detailed recall process here and we are keeping on top of it, as we’re sure they are with any products they’re manufacturing.”
    Margles, like others, blames the tainted raw material, not the manufacturer, for the catastrophe. “It does seem to be linked to the wheat gluten in China,” she says. Such a rationale doesn’t reassure nutritionist Marion Nestle, who compares the Menu case to last summer’s E. coli outbreak in the continental spinach supply. “What this has exposed about globalization issues is just breathtaking,” she says. “No one knew this kind of thing. People knew that spinach was centralized because of what happened over the summer. But the idea that one ingredient from China could go into 100 brands of pet food is something no one had any idea about.”

    Nestle, currently writing a book about pet food, believes the recall should make customers question the price differentials in the pet food market. “The disclosure is particularly striking for people who were paying a lot of money for Iams or one of those expensive brands,” she says. “The idea that the same ingredients are going into cheap brands as expensive brands disturbs pet owners to no end. It’s not that the formulas are the same but that they’re using the same ingredients.”
    It certainly upsets Benjamin DeLong, 33, and his wife Jennifer, 32, a Wadsworth, Ill., couple who believed they were doing their cats Freddie and Rita a favour when they upgraded from no-name brands to Iams’ “Tuna and Sauce” and “Salmon and Sauce” in foil packs. They now blame the products for Freddie’s death and Rita’s illness, and have joined a class-action lawsuit launched in Chicago. “We thought, let’s spend a little more on our pets, get them a little better food and maybe they’ll last a little longer,” Benjamin DeLong says ruefully.

    DeLong was particularly incensed by a full-page newspaper ad taken out shortly after the first recall announcement by Iams-Eukenuba, asking pet owners to keep buying product that was made in its “own” factories in the U.S., and not by Menu Foods. “Hey, you know what, I thought I was buying Iams,” he says. “Obviously there was not enough oversight and management responsibility for somebody over at Menu Foods to stop this from happening. So not only do I hold Menu Foods responsible, but Iams as well.”

    The tragedy has also laid bare the lack of pet food regulation in Canada. The U.S., United Kingdom and European Union all have government agencies that monitor pet food for safety. Though the Department of Consumer and Corporate affairs oversees labelling claims, the Canadian industry is left to police itself. The Pet Food Association of Canada, comprised of manufacturers, has imposed a voluntary nutritional assurance program, while the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association runs a voluntary standards program that certifies only about two per cent of Canadian-produced pet food. Without systematic oversight, however, it’s impossible to know whether the tainted pet food still sits on store shelves in Canada. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration said a random check of 400 retail outlets across the U.S. found some still stocking previously recalled dog and cat food; consumers north of the border have access to no such information.

    How, then, to respond? Who is to blame when poison makes it into an ingredient made by a foreign supplier for a U.S. distributor, who in turn sells to a Canadian processor who supplies retail outlets for pets across North America? How do you stop it from happening again?

    At least part of the fallout will take the form of legal retribution. Within days of the first recall, class-action lawyers assumed their customary circling pattern, in some cases posting sign-up sheets on their firm websites for potential clients. Frank Jablonski, an attorney from Madison, Wis., says he’s received 3,000 inquiries, nearly half from people whose pets have died. “The stories are devastating,” he says. “You end up spending a lot of time on each one of them because essentially you’re consoling the person.” Jay Strosberg, a class-action lawyer based in Windsor, Ont., who has filed suit against Menu, says he’s received more than 100 calls from people whose pets were sick or had died. The company says it faces more than 50 suits in the U.S.

    These actions are primarily aimed at recouping vet bills. But it’s a measure of how widely the case has resonated that some owners hope to break new legal ground by winning awards for emotional distress. “There’s no way you can tell me that emotion doesn’t factor into this,” says DeLong from Illinois. While courts on both sides of the border have resisted such findings, preferring to treat pets as property rather than family, both Illinois and Tennessee have legislation allowing damages for emotional loss. And in a precedent-setting decision last year, a Superior Court judge in Ontario awarded $1,417.12 to an owner whose dog was let out of a boarding facility and died. The ruling was significant because the judge specifically stated that pets should not be considered “owner’s chattel so as to preclude damages for pain and suffering.”

    The Canadian government, meanwhile, is reconsidering its hands-off approach to pet food safety. Bill Hewett, the executive director of policy and planning for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, says the Menu case highlights the importance of pets in modern households, and has prompted his branch to reassess its options, including all-out regulation of the industry. The review comes after meetings with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, which warned that the absence of rules and standards could expose humans to risk, as well as pets. “What if this had been something other than melamine, like a virus?” asks Dr. Paul Boutet, the association’s president. “Government needs to know these things, because a lot of things that affect pets affect people as well. Look how close these pets are to us now. They’re sleeping in our beds. You could probably find [homes] where pets are eating at the table.”

    Still, neither Boutet nor Hewett foresees a new era of risk-free pet food. The vastness and complexity of the industry, they acknowledge, make it difficult to police effectively. “We have everything from large, internationally competitive manufacturers to mom-and-pop, niche-type producers,” says Hewett. The Menu contamination, he adds pointedly, occurred despite FDA rules requiring pet food makers to ensure the safety of their products, demonstrating the “opportunity for failure” even in the context of government regulation.

    Under the circumstances, pet owners — even those who escaped this particular crisis — have little reason to feel confident. Barring a complete restructuring of the economics of food manufacturing — or a regulatory regime that would see Canadian inspectors combing through factories in China — the question is not how this contamination happened, or how it might have been handled better, but when the next crisis will strike. Henderson, Menu’s CEO, reassures customers that melamine testing will become standard operating procedure for his beleaguered firm. But the broader sentiment in the industry is best summed up in his prediction of Menu’s immediate future: “It will be a return to business as usual.”

    With Nicholas Köhler, Nancy Macdonald and Barbara Righton

    Comment by Eva — April 28, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

  67. My Pet Counts Poscard Blitz!! Just a reminder to everyone if your pet has been killed, sicked or otherwise adversley affected, send your postcards TODAY! Howl911 has more detailed instructions, lets let everyone know that its not just 16 pets affected. Thank you

    Comment by Sandi K — April 28, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  68. Help me dig – I called purina too, their offices were closed.
    But here is something,

    Go too –
    http://www.purinavets.com

    Use the Username: Purinavets
    Password: Nutrition

    (Don’t ask)

    “Nestlé S.A. also recently has established an office in China, headquartered in Beijing”

    “We have confirmed with our supplier that our Crete, Nebraska, plant was the only Purina facility that received the contaminated wheat gluten”

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

  69. Maybe it’s time the brands wise up and learn just who it is who they are doing business with?

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 12:35 pm

  70. Okay then. Blue Sky Pet Foods.

    Hammer-struggle through your own research.

    Wouldn’t want to upset their lawyers.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

  71. Re: Purina Beneful
    I found this on the Doggybling. Excerpt:
    There is finally some positive information relating to this case that we believe will lead to the solution that should have happened months ago. (No, Purina does not feel compelled to recall the products they know are harming dogs) We are unable to release the information at this time, but we wanted to at least let you know that there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel for dogs and darkness for Nestle/Purina. I know it is disappointing that we can’t be more specific, but there is a very valid reason. One hint…The problem with Purina dates back before December, when we thought the problem began.

    http://tinyurl.com/2kgx7v

    Comment by Krystal — April 28, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

  72. WHOA-

    http://www.mda.mo.gov/pdf/FeedSmry.pdf

    Remember – NPN, Non-Protein-Nitrogen

    Surely I wasn’t supposed to find this.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  73. Jaded Consumers of America
    Founded April 28, 2007

    Anyone else want to join the club?

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  74. Comment by elizabeth R. — April 28, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

    Elizabeth makes excellent points about writing letters to the editor (although snail mail is usually too late to be included when they print the letters, so e-mail is best).

    On an earlier post I suggested writing to the reporters (Chicago Tribune in this instance) and asking for a correction of the FDA’s “17-18″ have died. I think that’s the single most damaging information that’s been in any article. (I sent my letter to the editor also — see 9:13 a.m. posting in this thread.) We should send similar e-mails to any reporter and his/her paper or wire service when they repeat those numbers. Note in my earlier posting the quotes from the FDA that they basically aren’t tallying the numbers, though they’ve received thousands of calls from “consumers”. “That’s not our focus,” the FDA said at the last press conference. A drum beat of letters asking for Corrections will hopefully stop reporters’ use of low-ball numbers, which trivialize what is really going on here.

    Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

  75. CJ FOODS Crete and Pawnee City Nebraska

    Comment by elliott — April 28, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  76. Shelly,
    Can you make sure Doggybling gets that info from you? They’ve been following Beneful for months.

    Christie: if you’re still having carpal tunnel, here’s some advise. Definately use a sof wrist brace (I have tendonitis…at one point thought to be carpal tunnel). Also, try Tylenol for Arthritis. I know it sounds silly, but it helps my tendonitis more than some precriptions I’ve had!

    Comment by Krystal — April 28, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  77. Nestle is buying Gerber. That’s comforting.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  78. Shelly……holy cow is right….I read all the stuff on Beneful from the links you provided. Some of them made me cry….how any company can knowingly leave something on the market that is killing animals is downright heartless & criminal. If I can find a comprehensive list of what this sad excuse for a company produces, I will never purchase any of their products…..I don’t buy Purina dog food because I’ve learned what crap it is…..but I always suspected that anyway.

    Kat…..are your dogs ok now? This is all just too much for me…..besides my eyes crossed from all the reading, I’ve done my fair share of crying for all the sick & dead pets. I’m not sure anything has ever touched my heart or made me so angry at big business than this recall & especially how these jackasses have handled it. I hope they all go to prison. I’ll send them some cookies made from their pet food to eat for snacks while they’re in there.

    Comment by JanC — April 28, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

  79. Krystal –
    Which post are you referring? I’ll head over.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  80. STEVE: Why did you say “Blue Sky Pet Foods”?

    Okay then. Blue Sky Pet Foods.

    Hammer-struggle through your own research.

    Wouldn’t want to upset their lawyers.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

    *************************************
    Blue Sky Pet Foods (Thailand) cans Solid Gold’s Tuna Blend canned cat food. Do you know something? I read the posts again…??

    Comment by petlover — April 28, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  81. Call Merrick at 866-476-3310 and they will Answer Blue Sky Pet Food. Ask if they are Merrick Pet Care, and they will say yes.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

  82. Shelly,
    This one:
    Go too –
    http://www.purinavets.com

    Use the Username: Purinavets
    Password: Nutrition

    I think it could be useful to them!

    Comment by Krystal — April 28, 2007 @ 1:08 pm

  83. Got it!

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

  84. Isn’t CJ Foods in Nebraska?

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

  85. Oh no, now I’m going to miss the Red Sox!

    Steve, I googled Blue Sky & foundthat chinese spreadsheet. Looks like it lists all pet food companies with 2 columns regarding whether or not they used something. Does anyone read Chinese to figure out what the column headings mean????

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  86. Burns Pet Health is in Pawnee City Nebraska

    Comment by elliott — April 28, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

  87. Steve I think you hit the jackpot.

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  88. CJ FOODS is in Pawnee City NE and Crete NE

    Comment by elliott — April 28, 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  89. RE: Steve, I googled Blue Sky & foundthat chinese spreadsheet. Looks like it lists all pet food companies with 2 columns regarding whether or not they used something. Does anyone read Chinese to figure out what the column headings mean????

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

    Send me the link and I’ll forward it to my friend who I know speaks Japanese…I’m not sure about Chinese but hoping so. It’s worth asking him, anyway. I’m running out the door to go to Nationwide Pet March 2-4 pm and will be back later to check.

    Comment by Barb — April 28, 2007 @ 1:20 pm

  90. Catlover –
    Can you send the link?

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

  91. Here’s the link to the HTML, I don’t have Excel…
    http://tinyurl.com/2dbwzx

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

  92. Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

    catlover, could you post a link?

    Try babelfish for translations, http://www.babelfish.altavista.com/

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  93. What’s this?

    http://www32.atwiki.jp/petfood?cmd=upload&act=open&pageid=13&file=notrecall.xls

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

  94. One column is ‘MF society’, next column is ‘Wheat ã‚° ル テ ン’. There are alot of columns but these 2 seem to have Y, N or Used, N.

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  95. Comment by elizabeth R. — April 28, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

    Elizabeth R has and EXCELLENT post about methods and techniques in writing to editors. We also need to think about what messages we want to convey. As Maureen posted above (and I lavished praise on her for it. The people in this forum are really smart, btw. Have you noticed that?)

    Understanding the SCOPE of this will help people who don’t have pets or don’t know someone with a sick or dying pet to understand why this is A BIG DEAL.

    And a message about “What is to be done” is really important too. Pick your favorite from the list (labeling, independent testing, real regulation with fines and mandatory recall authority, linked databases for a CDC for pets, inspection of incoming food, etc)

    Finally if you feel that your letter to the editor is ‘wasted’ because it doesn’t get printed, keep this in mind, The letters to the editor section actually looks at the number of letters on a topic. If they decide they need 5 letters to print one and only get 4 then YOUR letter might be the one that puts them over the top so they will print A letter (but not necessarily yours). I know I’m a long winded writer, but my letter might be the one that allows your sharp, well-written letter into the section.

    Comment by spocko — April 28, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

  96. Has anybody opened the spreadsheet I just posted??? What is “MF”?? It looks like the recalled foods have “Used” in red under that column? I haven’t finished looking but it seems???

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

  97. ‘Wheat グ ル テ ン’

    the rest is Japanese, it says gluten.

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

  98. Chinese Spreadsheet – correction it’s 3 columns, E F & G.
    E = MF society
    F = Wheat グ ル テ ン (gluten as mentioned by somebody above)
    G = そ の his グ ル テ ン grain department

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

  99. Japanese spreadsheet
    E = MF corporation
    F = wheat gluten
    G = In addition glutenous grain system

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  100. FDA’s Pilot Program To Better Educate Consumers About Recalled Food Products
    http://tinyurl.com/ypgzjt
    ***okay done laughing now***
    Hey FDA how ’bout this program, seems more important:
    FDA’s Pilot Program To Educate Pet Food Makers About Cheap Crap 3rd World Country Proteins And Other Miscellaneous Products In General 8)
    ***oh yeah, be sure to include photos of the crap so they can easily identify it***

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

  101. Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

    The MF is Menu Foods I believe.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  102. Catlover could this be the same spreadsheet as the one I posted (1:26). There are 3 sheets on the one I posted, the first one looks very similar to yours.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

  103. I don’t think MF stands for Menu Foods anymore.

    :)

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 1:49 pm

  104. Husband is Japanese and he translated:
    it is written in Japanese
    Title is NOT RECALL List

    a. date
    b. recall
    c. company name
    d brand name
    e manufacturer
    f gluten powder (barley)
    g other glutens
    h material
    i factory
    j outside company source

    Comment by Lorraine T — April 28, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  105. I put this on another thread.Meant to put it here.
    Rendering plant sludge(including flea collars,pentobarbital,plastic body bags,you get the picture),off-the,-charts high heat,toxic chemicals,GMO grains ….
    **see picture of cute puppy,pounding along the hallway to get to his dinner dish**
    **see cute young dog on vet’s table being tested for allergies**
    **see vet flushing young dog’s ears for 5th time this year**
    **see….fill in the blanks…**
    **see dog and human leaving clinic with bag full of ointments and pills**

    The dots are starting to connect THEMSELVES!

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  106. shelly, I cannot open/read your spreadsheet. I am looking at the one Steve found.

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

  107. re the spreadsheet
    I believe MF is Menu Foods
    The brands listed below seem to be those that were made in other plants including the Menu plant in SD

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  108. Thanks Lorraine.

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 2:02 pm

  109. If you look at the date, it’s before the ANI made foods were recalled

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

  110. Lorraine,
    So does this mean the spreadsheet is identifying safe things or just things that have not been recalled? Just wanted to clarify. If it’s things that haven’t been recalled, I think we need to compare it to the recall lists…See if they have info on recalls we don’t.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 2:09 pm

  111. I believe they were listing the products not recalled yet by that date. If they were to have one dated today it would look different

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 2:09 pm

  112. The bottom line is, U.S Corporations have put Americans in one heck of jam.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  113. In 2006, Americans spent nearly $39 billion on food, veterinary care, supplies and other services for their pets, up 35 percent from 2001, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, an industry group in Greenwich, Conn.

    Your damn right we are upset.

    Comment by Steve — April 28, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

  114. The spreadsheet is out-dated. Some of the products listed are now on the ANI recall list 8)

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  115. It also looked like they marked some down as “used” or not. like they wanted to keep track of what was feed. Maybe like they have a lot of animals to feed and wanted to keep track of things.

    Where is this from??

    What do ya’ll think?

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  116. In 2007 I have already spend alot more than 2006 on pet food & vets!!! And it’s only April.

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  117. It appears to be list identifying items that have not been recalled, as of the dates indicated.

    Comment by Lorraine T — April 28, 2007 @ 2:16 pm

  118. The spreadsheeet has some good info, though, such as who are the “factories” or makers of some of the pet food companies.

    Comment by catlover — April 28, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  119. “Nestlé’s bought Purina to form Nestlé Purina Petcare Company (Fancy Feast, Alpo, Friskies, Mighty Dog, Dog Chow, Cat Chow, Puppy Chow, Kitten Chow, Beneful, One, ProPlan, DeliCat, HiPro, Kit’n’Kaboodle, Tender Vittles, Purina Veterinary Diets).

    Del Monte gobbled up Heinz (MeowMix, Gravy Train, Kibbles ’n Bits, Wagwells, 9Lives, Cycle, Skippy, Nature’s Recipe, and pet treats Milk Bone, Pup-Peroni, Snausages, Pounce).

    MasterFoods owns Mars, Inc., which consumed Royal Canin (Pedigree, Waltham’s, Cesar, Sheba, Temptations, Goodlife Recipe, Sensible Choice, Excel).”

    “Procter and Gamble (P&G) purchased The Iams Company (Iams, Eukanuba) in 1999. P&G shortly thereafter introduced Iams into grocery stores, where it did very well.

    Colgate-Palmolive bought Hill’s Science Diet (founded in 1939) in 1976 (Hill’s Science Diet, Prescription Diets, Nature’s Best).”

    “In 2006, new NRC standards were published; but it will take several years for AAFCO’s profiles to be updated and adopted, let alone accepted by the states.”

    “The FDA has nominal authority over pet foods shipped across state lines. But the real “enforcers” are the feed control officials in each state. They are the ones who actually look at the food and, in many instances, run basic tests to make sure the food meets its Guaranteed Analysis, the chart on the label telling how much protein, fat, moisture, and fiber are present. But regulation and enforcement vary tremendously from state to state. Some, like Texas, Minnesota, and Kentucky, run extensive tests and strictly enforce their laws; others, like California, do neither.”

    http://www.api4animals.org/facts?p=359&more=1

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

  120. About API (Animal Protection Institute)

    If you would like to interview one of our experts, need facts, figures, background, or anything else for your story, we are here to assist you in any way we can!

    Contact API’s Media Relations Director, Zibby Wilder, at:
    916-447-3085 x205
    916-447-3070 fax
    press@api4animals.org

    http://www.api4animals.org/c_press.php

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

  121. Just called Natural Balance, because I had recently purchased some of their food. Only 1 can I have is recalled. Here’s basically what happened.
    Question: “Can you assure me that these other canned products were NOT made at the American Nutrition plant?”
    Answer: “Yes. Our other products are made at some of our own plants.”
    Question: “Can you tell me if Natural Balance will be discontinuing using American Nutrition as a manufacturer? Especially since they altered your recipes?”
    Answer: “I can’t say that. It’s an ongoing investigation, and we are working with the FDA. I can tell you what’s recalled. . . ”
    Question: “Can you tell me if American Nutrition is currently manufacturing for you?”
    Answer: “Once again, I can’t answer that question. It’s an ongoing investigation.”
    There was more, but basically it was you can get a refund, here’s what’s recalled stuff. What I included is what I think is important. I concluded by saying I am returning it all and will not buy again from them until they can tell me they are not using American Nutrition as a manufacturer.
    Shame on you, Natural Balance. I defended you before, no longer will I. If Blue Buffalo can say THEY will no longer use American Nutrtion, because this was a huge break in trust, so can you.Now you’ve broken my trust. If I found out a bartender slipped something into my drink, I wouldn’t buy another drink made by that bartender. It’s a simple enough concept, don’t you think?

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

  122. Thanks to Spocko and Maureen for commenting and adding valuable additional “red meat” to my earlier “Letters to the Editor” Post. I should have also mentioned before that part of the whole letters to the editor process is the “dance” that gets going. Your reasoned published letter will no doubt prompt a huffy rebuttal from someone secretly representing the PFI or someone from the Chinese Embassy or Trade Association. Then YOU and others write another letter to the editor to correct their misinformation and raise a new point. A week later a letter will be published to rebut that. Then you write again. It is this ongoing give and take creating of controversy that helps maintain the story in the paper’s reportage and in the public consciousness….. Just keeps it going and going and going like the energizer bunny. (Who hopefully has not been fed any poisoned food).

    Comment by elizabeth R. — April 28, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  123. Has anyone bothered to complain to their States Attorney? when Menu Foods continued to manufacuture, distribute and sell toxic foods for three weeks after they were aware of the problem, this changed from accidental contamination to felony animal cruelty. Most states have laws about this. Those at Menu Foods who had authority to act sooner with recall are quilty of animal cruelty.

    Their actions are no different than sneaking into your yard and setting out a dish of antifreeze for your cat or dog.

    If you have not complained to your States Attorney, don’t whimper here, cause you’re part of the apathy then.

    Comment by Larry — April 28, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  124. Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

    “We have confirmed with our supplier that our Crete, Nebraska, plant was the only Purina facility that received the contaminated wheat gluten” http://www.purinavets.com

    Shelly,

    Is that for the Alpo and Mighty Dog they already recalled or is this something new?

    The user name and password don’t work anymore.

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

  125. I was reading some of the other entries in the LethalDose blog that shelly published above. Here is a quote from a discussion there about the extent to which we do – or do not – need to accept complete responsibility for everything that goes into our pets’ mouths. (I refer here to my oft-felt frustration over the idea that I need to read a plurality of books before I can even dare to consider beginning home-cooking for my dog).

    So the quote from this person which I really like is:

    “Advanced societies need to rely on devisions of labor. I’ll admit, I take it personally when my pets are poisoned, but more abstractly, I don’t want to live in a society where, for my own safety, I need to become an electrical engineer before I turn the light on.”

    Bingo! I simply CANNOT be an expert in everything – even things as important as how to properly feed my dog.

    Anyway, I’m trying a recipe from the BalanceIT site (I’m using the human-grade supplements I put together myself rather than buying their “BalanceIT Supplement” powder). I showed it to my vet earlier this week. I’ll just see how this goes for a while.

    Here’s the attribution for the LethalDose blog discussion (scroll down):

    http://tinyurl.com/34jdrz

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  126. Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 2:31 pm
    I agree with Krystal. It seems the issue of American Nutrition and their “doctoring” of certain recipes is as scary as the tainted ingredients themselves. Again — the label has to really MEAN SOMETHING.

    Comment by Christi — April 28, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

  127. The LD 50 (the dosage that is leathal to 50% of test subjects) for melamine is over 3 grams per
    kilogram in body weight, making it slightly less toxic than table salt. The LD 50 for cyanuric acid
    is nearly 8 grams per kilogram in body weight, or less than half as toxic as table salt.

    Melamine is made from uric acid. The first step in the manufacturing process produces melamine that
    runs between 94%-97% pure, with cyanuric acid being one of several contaminants making up the remaining
    3%-6%. All available data on the toxicity of melamine in rats and dogs is from studies using first
    run purity melamine, ie the stuff with cyanuric acid.

    The highest reported concentration of melamine in gluten was 6%. Gluten makes up 10% of the pet food
    in question. So, you have 10% of 6%, for a concentration of .6%. In a 3 ounce can of cat food, that
    would give you half a gram of melamine – WORST CASE. That would compare to the 13 grams required to
    produce a significant hazard to a 4 kilogram cat – or 1/26th the LD 50 for impure melamine containing
    normal concentrations of cyanuric acid.

    The only thing remarkable about the discovery of cyanuric acid is that it took nearly a month and a
    half to even look for it. “IF” the concentrations of melamine in the animals, donated by Menu Foods
    for study, are present in lethal quantities, the only conclusion that may be drawn is Menu Foods
    intentionally fed the animals massive quantities of the material to throw scientists off the trail of
    the actual cause of death in hundreds of thousands of our pets.

    Did I say, “hundreds of thousands”? Once again it’s a simple math question. There are 160 million
    pets in the US. If the average life span is 12 years, you would expect 13 million of them to die in
    any given year. Kidney failure accounts for approximately 30% of pet deaths, or 4 million per year.
    Statistically meaningful numbers provided by a large clinic reported a 30% increase in kidney failure
    over the 4 month period Menu Foods was producing and selling poison food. A third of a year, times
    30%, gives a reasonable estimate of 400,000 pets murdered by Menu Foods. Gee, I don’t suppose they
    would have any financial motive to avoid that magnitude of liability and send researchers down a
    garden path.

    Comment by Don — April 28, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  128. Found this on Itchmo (Thanks Floridian!)

    It’s about a woman who ate her picky dog’s food in an attempt to convince him to eat. AND IT WAS RECALLED FOOD! What’re the results of humans eating this? Read the article. She, and her dog, both spent the night in the hospital.
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/23ud2z

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 2:45 pm

  129. Any info on using a crockpot to home cook? It seems the recommended idea is for lower temperatures to preserve nutrients. Commercial foods use extremely high temps and need to use additives to compensate.
    I would think if you want to make biscuits, use a low temp. Not sure how low to get job done. I would think a range between 150 deg. – 300 deg.
    Any baking experts to suggest recommended temps? 8)

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  130. Larry,
    I would be complaining, except my cats have not gotten sick (I’m lucky, trust me, I know). But if they had…you can bet your last cent I’d be on the news, calling lawyers, calling the AVMA, FDA…anyone who would listen

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 2:47 pm

  131. Shelly, I just saw about your username and password not working…guess they are checking the boards! Drats…ah well

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

  132. The chinese type letters can be translated on various web sites like http://www.babylon.com.

    For example:
    グルタミン酸
    n. (Kana=グルタミンさん) glutamic acid, amino acid that is important for acid metabolism, major component of the neurotransmitter glutamate (Biochemistry.

    Also, my cat now has allergies in addition to a bladder infection so my vet prescribed Royal Canin Sensitivity VR (Venison & Rice)wet food. I know, I cringed but he was one day away from full fluids and x-rays. Opened the tin of this ‘great food’ and found an elastic band in it. I have no words to describe what I think about that but I’m sure you can guess!!!

    Making an appointment next week with a holistic vet to switch diet to raw food or home cooked. Can’t trust this industry ever again.

    Keep up the good work on this site, it’s invaluable.

    Comment by Sindy — April 28, 2007 @ 2:48 pm

  133. Even when you click on the “Contact Us” buttons for the two in charge at the Mark Morris Institute, their email addresses end in “HillsPet.”

    debbie_davenport@hillspet.com

    Dr. Deborah Davenport
    Executive Director

    stefanie_smith@hillspet.com

    Ms. Stefanie Smith
    Program Coordinator

    Mark Morris Institute
    P.O. Box 2097
    Topeka, KS 66601
    PHONE (785) 286-8101 / FAX (785) 286-8173

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

  134. Shelly, did you catch my post about the woman who got sick? http://preview.tinyurl.com/23ud2z

    What do you think would happen if suddenly pet owners across the country showed up at hospitals sick and foaming at the mouth from “trying” their pets’s food? Think we’d get a response then?
    Evil thought, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  135. drats. I only posted it here, and I emailed Doggybling with the info.

    It’s a vet only site.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  136. “In 2006, Americans spent nearly $39 billion on food, veterinary care, supplies and other services for their pets, up 35 percent from 2001,….. ”

    Up 35% you say? Let’s see what the rest of 2007 brings.
    People are already beginning to notice positive changes in their pets who are now eating real food,or at least non-toxic pet food.I’d think it would be pretty hard to go back to the other stuff,presuming the mess gets sorted out and trust were ever to be restored.
    Money spent on veterinary care should also reflect the results of good nutrition(except,of course,for the unfortunate pets who will continue to struggle to overcome failing healtht thanks to poisonous pet foods.)

    I’d be intrested in knowing how much of that 39% was taken up by veterinary care since 2001.

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

  137. try again, I was able to get on

    user name – purinavets
    password – nutrition

    website – purinavets.com

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

  138. Maybe Doggybling can get a vet to “loan” them their own username and password.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

  139. Oops.
    35% that last one should be.

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

  140. Krystal –
    I heard about that on the news. She should have listened to her dog. She was trying to get her dog to eat the food. Oh the things we do! They both ended up in the hospital at the same time.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:05 pm

  141. The recipe I selected from the BalanceIT site is called “BARF-Like Chicken For Dogs”. For those who are unfamiliar with the acronym, BARF stands for “Bones And Raw Foods” and refers to the practice of trying to emulate the kind of diet a dog living in the wild would eat. So I was drawn to that recipe, even though I’ve never committed to feeding a BARF diet.

    Consequently, the BalanceIT recipe contains a bunch of different vegetables (spinach, carrots, broccoli, celery, sweet potato) and the only one you cook is the sweet potato. The others are left raw but pulverized in a blender. The reason is that a dog’s digestive system is not efficient at breaking down the cellulose cell walls within raw vegetables, and they will mostly just pass through a dog’s digestive tract. So you keep them raw to maintain maximum nutrition, but pulverize them before feeding to make them more “bio-available”.

    I don’t know if all the BalanceIT recipes have you do it this way. I know some of them have only two or three ingredients, whereas this one had a whole bunch which definitely drew me to it.

    Oh – and the chicken is cooked in this recipe. Like I said, I haven’t been able to commit to actually feeding according to a raw regimen, but I liked the basic concepts that this recipe appears to “borrow” from the whole BARF school of thought.

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  142. Kathi –
    Why cook?
    I have a raw meaty lamb bone he’s chewing on right now, he’s eating Aunt Jeni’s and Nature’s Variety both raw in his bowl too. I like to also give him raw chicken backs. They are a soft bone that they eat right up. I take the fat off, it makes them fart.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

  143. Re: Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 2:25 pm

    Shelly quotes the API/Animal Protection Institute in which they describe that actual inspections are done by state feed control officers. I’ve read some of those and they list, among other readings that they verify or, as they say, “Guaranty” the protein level of different feed and pet foods. So when they verify that the “Guaranteed” protein level is at least as high as the various labels claim, don’t we now believe these protein tests can be skewed by the presence of protein booster melamine, and perhaps others? They aren’t testing for contaminants, but for protein levels.

    The API website has some great information about what’s involved in manufacturing pet food and what our pets’ true nutritional needs are. However they put a lot of reliance on AAFCO, telling consumers to look for the “fair and balanced” AAFCO stamp of approval on the label. (I use the term stamp of approval with tongue in cheek; all it means is that the brand claims they meet the AAFCO standard.) Shelly pulled out this quote about AAFCO: “it will take several years for AAFCO’s profiles to be updated and adopted, let alone accepted by the states.”

    Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  144. “Any info on using a crockpot to home cook?”

    Kathi,I feed raw but I do use a crock pot(instead of softening the grains overnight) for a 7-grain cereal meal which I feed from time to time,adding apples,yogurt,raw egg/shell before serving.
    Works great.

    I think it would be great for whole meal dishes such as stews,same as for people but avoid onions(so much for that stew),high fat.

    Lorna

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

  145. You guys crack me up. You are Sherlock Holmes/Nancy Drews of the pet world. I don’t know how you fund this stuff, but it’s pretty interesting. Thanks for your snooping!

    Comment by Cathy — April 28, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  146. I’m positive this problem started before the “recall” dates that everyone talks about. My 6 y/o cat Shadow,died within 2 days from acute renal failure. She was on “lite” cat kibbles with some cut up chicken breast added. This was in the middle November 2006. When the vet did a post mortem he said that her kidneys were gone, and there was nothing we could have done.
    I was also feeding another “stray” named Raggamuffin (because she scrawny and starved when I found her. She was on different brand of cat food (actually on kitten food to add a little weight. She was flourishing, and suddenly stopped eating her food, then hid out and I found her dead in my driveway. Although when I initially began feeding her we went to the vet for shots and a check up to make sure she was healthy, I didn’t have a post done on her. That was in December 2006.
    I spoke with a woman at Blue Buffalo re: the rice protein concentrate in the lite dog kibbles on Thursday, and they had just discovered the problem with ANI she agreed with me that the contamination had probably started earlier.
    By the way, I went to ANI webpage. It’s red, white and blue, with an American flag logo up in the corner. It reads:The most enthusiastic supporters of American Nutrition, Inc.(ANI), are thousands of well-fed dogs and cats. The Ogden, Utah based firm annually produces more than 290,000 tons of pet foods and snacks with 2001 sales exceeding 160 million dollars. ANI is one of the leading companies in this truly unique industry.

    Jack Behnken, a Pennsylvania native who had worked for the Kellogg Company, founded the Ogden concern in 1972 as Animal Nutrition, Inc. Behnken acquired production equipment and formulas from the Kellogg Company and started a plant in the former Carnation Company building between Wall Avenue and the railroad tracks, just north of Twenty-ninth Street.

    Mel Carey came from Michigan to join the new enterprise. At the time, he was the only non-Utahn among the firm’s Ogden employees. He was the original plant manager, overseeing not only production and packaging, but supervising the quality-control laboratory that ensures cleanliness and proper formulation of the products.

    Operations were expanded in 1977 when the Reeves Warehouse also known as the Western Auto Warehouse, directly east across Reeves Avenue from the original plant, was purchased.

    The company name, Animal Nutrition, Inc., was changed in 1977 to American Nutrition, Inc. The stockholders felt this name better expressed the firm’s broadened markets.

    The corporate headquarters for American Nutrition is in Ogden, where 50% of the company tonnage is produced. Southwest Pet (a Phoenix subsidiary) produces 20% and Northwest Pet (a Woodland, Washington subsidiary) produces 30%. Products include contract manufacturing of pet foods, private label pet foods, as well as the formulation, preparation, packaging, and shipping of American Nutrition’s own brands. ANI also produces premium, biodegradable cat litter.

    ANI’s food for pets is sold under several brand names including “Atta Boy,” and includes various package sizes of dry and wet pet food, snacks, and large and small dog biscuits called “Vita-Bones.” They are shipped on plastic-wrapped pallets by rail or truck, in boxes, cans and bags.

    Special formulas have been devised for different pet customers, and special preparations are made up by request for distributors who have their own specific requirements.

    American Nutrition, Inc., has 250 employees, most of them in Ogden at ANI, Rocky Mountain Mountain Milling and Pacific Pet Products with others in Southwest Pet Products in Phoenix, Northwest Pet Products in Woodland, and in sales offices maintained in California and Washington.

    “I was so touched”….and wondered if their own Vita Bones have been recalled?

    Comment by Nansi — April 28, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

  147. Okay, raw food enthusiasts. I could use a push here, as I think you are right that this is the best diet for dogs and cats. However, I live in a studio apt. on the 12th floor, with a long walk to the elevator. And I have a Belgian Tervueren with a sensitive stomach that I make a mad dash out of the bldg. with occasionally since I’ve begun switching her over from all the commercial foods she was eating. (My Westie and my cat are doing well in the transition.)

    I can’t give the Tervueren raw meaty bones on the apt. floor and taking her to the park with a bone has attracted quite an eager crowd of other dogs, so that doesn’t work. So I take it I have to grind bones with meat so she has a proper nutritional balance. Does anyone think that bone meal or Vit. C supplements are as good as the ground bones?

    I’ve gotten as far as cooked meat with a little rice and will add a little grated veggies starting tomorrow & I give her Dr. Goodpet supplement. Is it perhaps true that she might have an easier time digesting the raw meat? Would appreciate any suggestions. I’ve seen all the sites and am trying to keep the meat, meat, meat mantra in mind and cut back or eliminate (for the cat)the carbs.

    Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

  148. Another item to avoid is grapes and raisens in a raw diet (in addition to the onions that Lorna mentioned). And, of course, chocolate. I don’t share my chocolate anyhow :)

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

  149. Shelly
    I would but I don’t think the owner of my condo would appreciate it with these light beige carpets.
    Anna only weighs 4.5#’s but she likes to “hide” under the bed with her prize’s. I’m too old to crawl under there and remove her bone-yard. It’s bad enough she buries her biscuits between the sheets.
    I have considered a raw meat patty from a company my vet uses to feed his Chihuahua’s. One recently gave birth to a litter of 5 all living. The company offers frozen delivered via dry ice and dehydrated both for cats and dogs.
    I’d do it myself but I’d need a loan for a good meat grinder. The old-fashioned one clamps on to counter and it’s hand-cranked. I’d be afraid the cheap countertop would crack!

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

  150. Food Processors are also useful with the raw diet, you can make your veggies and fruits and stuff into a puree. I have one from Hamilton Beach that puree’s.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:27 pm

  151. I have light beige carpets too. :) No 4.5 dog though. You have a cutey! He’s 12 lbs. Those chicken backs raw they eat though – they don’t leave them – it’s soft enough to completely eat.

    When switching your diet use Acidophilus (SP?) from the human vitamin store. I use Twin Labs and Solgar. I use it in every meal actually.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:32 pm

  152. Kathi, the raw food feeders I know swear by the Maverick Meat Grinder:

    http://www.pierceequipment.com/grinders.html

    shelly – have you confirmed Country-of-origin with Aunt Jeni’s and Natural Life? The reason I ask is because I took a brief stab at Sojo’s (Sojourner Farms) until it occurred to me to call and ask about ALL their ingredients – not just the grain-based ones. And it turns out they get their fruits and veggies from . . . . . . China.

    So if you haven’t called to confirm the ingredients country-of-origin source for the ENTIRE supply chain (from seed to stomach), then I’d suggest doing so just to make sure you’re getting what you THINK you’re getting. To the extent ANY of us can do so given the current state of things. :-(

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

  153. Of ten people
    listed, nine are currently employed by Hills Pet. The remaining is a
    former Hills employee.

    ??????

    http://www.markmorris.org/mmi/main/credentials.jsp

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:51 pm

  154. Natural Life??? I Don’t use that!

    Aunt Jeni’s is 100% US and is manufactured right down the street from me :)

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:53 pm

  155. Oops! Meant “Nature’s Variety”.

    Anyway – the idea being that I was shocked when Sojo’s told me what they did, and very glad I asked about *non-grain* ingredients.

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  156. I have spoken to Jeni herself actually. Her sales are up, as expected, however she feels that once this all blows over that it will be mostly business as usual and she and the other new customers that were obtained by companies like hers will retain only a small portion of the newly aquired market. People like their kibble, like what is easiest. However I’ve found that what I do now is actually ‘easiest’ and I’m used to it. The one time I used a kibble was recently (this year, I added it as a small part of his diet) and I got completly screwed. Sticking with my instincts. :)

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

  157. I didn’t call Nature’s Variety, and I only use their raw. I don’t use their canned (Menu foods) nor Kibble (don’t know where it’s made) but someone else did call and they were told that the raw was made here in the US and I believe the Venison was brought in from New Zeleand. Each ingredient specifically I cannot tell you with 100% certainty however.

    Aunt Jeni’s I’m very comfortable with.

    I’m also using Primal, another raw diet food. I use all 3 of these diets as opposed to just one option, it makes me feel better about getting all of his nutrition.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 4:02 pm

  158. Kathi(this is long,sorry)

    Re: crockpot

    I started homecooking end of March for my golden. I make my grain mix(brown rice and pearl barley),I cook it on Low takes about 6 hrs for water to be absorbed. Really soft consistancy. I add grated veggies during the last 10 min – you could add raw grated at end. Than I form them into “rice cakes” and freeze portions for later feeding. I usually make enough for 14 – 18 single meals. I do add several tablespoons of olive oil to prevent any “boil over”. You could add meat if you want, I decided to cook my meats daily so they are “fresh”. When cooking the meat – cook lightly. The highest protein content is in raw, than lightly cooked is next. Well done meat is low in protein. Biggest thing is to add calcium! I’ve been grinding egg shells with a mortar and pestle. Keep shells from hard boiled eggs(also good for dogs most biological protein)wash,dry and pulverize. There are some wonderful people at K9Kitchen and K9Nutrition at Yahoo groups with loads of info on feeding cooked or raw. I joined two weeks ago,and have found info. invaluable.

    Katie

    PS on homecooked my dog has coat!she is alert,happy,and looks 4yrs younger than her age. Commercial food the last 6 mos aged her terribly

    Comment by Katie — April 28, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

  159. Re: BalanceIt

    When you go to the site,go to sent by a veternarian.

    You can use the Food Intake Calculator or the Abridged diet calc.
    to help plan balanced meals of your own. You can enter each ingredient: brown rice,oats,barley,yogurt,etc.,choose amount fed and it will calc. calories and %Protein,Fat,Carbs,etc.

    It is not perfect in that you won’t know vitamin or mineral deficiences but it helps in planning balance and what different foods add to the mix.

    Hope this helps.

    Katie

    Comment by Katie — April 28, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  160. Thanks everyone for the tips and info. 8)
    The raw and dehydrated meat company my old vet (I moved south to NC) uses is:
    Animal Food Services
    341 N Henry Street
    Green Bay, WI 54302
    1-800-743-0322
    Email:
    service@animalfood.com
    website:
    http://www.animalfood.com
    I liked the idea of the dehydrated “kibble-sized” pieces for pocket treats.
    The patties both frozen and dehydrated come in varying sizes for various sized dogs and they have cat food, too.
    For me, I’d like to use them to suppliment due to the cost. Not to mention my need to control things now.
    They have a lot of material to read on their site.

    Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  161. It’s Dr. Claudia Kirk that has been one of those that has testified before the senate regarding the pet food recalls. No wonder we are having such a hard time.

    Does the Senator have the info on my 4:15 post I hope?

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  162. According to a University of Tennessee newsletter, in October and November 2006, as principal or co-principal investigator, Claudia Kirk received grants totaling $108,954. All can be traced back to the pet food industry.

    October 2006
    $14,952 Waltham Foundation ( Whiskas, Pedigree)
    Claudia Kirk; Jo Smith, Joseph Bartges, Susan Lauten, Sherry Cox

    November 2006
    $18,974 Morris Animal Foundation (Hill’s Pet Nutrition)
    Joseph Bartges; Claudia Kirk
    (Note: Joseph Bartges gets another $52,092 from Nestle Purina)
    $34,969 Hill’s Pet Nutrition
    Claudia Kirk
    $27,099 Morris Animal Foundation (Hill’s Pet Nutrition)
    Claudia Kirk; Joseph Bartges
    $12,960 AKC Canine Health (Purina)
    Beth Johnson; Karen Tobias, Amy Holford, Joseph Bartges, Claudia Kirk

    Hmmmm…..right before the recalls, too.
    And Claudia Kirk just so happens to be the vet testifying before the Senate on the matter. Ain’t that special.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  163. This website give you an a file on what the Veterinary pathologists are finding and recommendations for further lab testing for dogs/cats that have ate the “contaminated/poisonous” food: http://www.antechdiagnostics.com/ PATHOLOGISTS COMMENTS REGARDING CRYSTALLURIA IN PETS THAT HAVE EATEN RECALLED FOODS…Download

    Comment by NH — April 28, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

  164. Reminder: Remember we will delete any comments that are uncivil, racist or off-topic.

    You are welcome to debate the issues, but we won’t be allowing personal attacks here. Again, calling someone a “skank” is not civil discussion, and comments that do so will be deleted.

    We’ve let pretty much every comment go through except ad spam, porn and outright personal attacks and racism, and we’ve only had to ban one person completely from commenting.

    I truly appreciate your continued helpfulness in finding and posting information, and in doing so in a way that shows civil discussion even on heated topics is possible.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — April 28, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

  165. Comment by NH — April 28, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

    Good catch. It would be great if this nationwide lab network, Antech Diagnostics, would say if they are finding a regional pattern in the many cases they say their pathologists have found among cats and dogs who have eaten recalled food. Note that they underline “many cases” on their website.

    Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

  166. Comment by Kathi — April 28, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

    I looked into Animal Food Services at one point but decided against using it as their food was not labeled ‘fit for human consumption’. Don’t know if that has changed since…

    Comment by slt — April 28, 2007 @ 4:55 pm

  167. Anyone hear how the marches across the country went today?

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  168. http://www.morgellons.org

    This was posted over at Itchmo’s. Very interesting!!!…increasing episdoes in the last six months…..check out the gepgraphical maps..

    Comment by KatieKat — April 28, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  169. We’ve compiled a lot of data here – are there any plans to do anything with these finds? Is it being saved? Or is this more due to sharing the actual food – when it is recalled, keeping up to date on that so we know. I just want to know if I need to keep searching for “hidden” data or if that is not needed.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

  170. http://www.morgellons.org was posted by an anonymous poster, i fort to include thier message, very enlightening and scary stuff!

    Original post:those interested in unusual happenings. Bear in mind the self reported aspect as well as the surge of reports from California in the “last six months”. Another fluke?

    morgellons.org

    Comment by KatieKat — April 28, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  171. http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/safe/SAFEFeedQualityAssuranceChecklist1-04.doc

    This is the- CALIFORNIA COMMERCIAL FEED
    QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAM CHECKLIST

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  172. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/US_BSE_Report.doc

    REPORT ON MEASURES RELATING TO
    BOVINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY (BSE)
    IN THE UNITED STATES

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  173. http://www.fas.usda.gov/gainfiles/200510/146131376.doc

    Date: 10/25/2005
    GAIN Report Number: NZ5020
    New Zealeand

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

  174. Morgellon’s disease, if it exists, is pretty far afield from what’s happening to our cats and dogs. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgellon%27s_disease

    Note the wiki text is not acceptable to everyone in the movement to recognize Morgellon’s. I always think it’s telling when board members resign in dispute over a nonprofit’s funds.

    Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

  175. COUNTRY: HONG KONG

    THE ENTIRE COUNTRY OF HONG KONG IS UNDER DETENTION WITHOUT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION FOR THE FOLLOWING:

    Preserved and Salted Duck Eggs

    Reason: Pesticide

    Who eats this stuff?

    Comment by Carole — April 28, 2007 @ 6:03 pm

  176. Maureen,

    “I can’t give the Tervueren raw meaty bones on the apt. floor ”

    I haven’t had to do this becauae my dogs have a yard.But I know of people who have a large plastic,tarp-like thing that they have set up so that the dogs can have at a bone on it…I think they must have it set up so that the bone can’t be immediately taken over to your best carpet.
    Do you hve an extra play pen hanging around?
    Another good board is CNRS…natural rearing site.Good people,good ideas.
    About bone meal? It’s known to be contaminated.I’d avoid it if you can.
    You might be abe to sweet talk a butcher into grinding chicken frames for you.Bones are really soft and won’t hurt his grinder.

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 6:10 pm

  177. Why don’t we hear more about this on the news? It’s like a cloak of silence and ignorance. The newspapers are better but the television and cable needs to step up to the plate. People are still probably buying and feeding the toxic pet foods.

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

  178. I’ve found a couple of pet food companies that buy nothing from China and make their own dry in their own plant and don’t use any of the protein concentrates or veggie concentrates including the many glutens available.

    Some do though outsource their wet, but I don’t buy wet.

    I did see a post that Solid Gold uses a potato concentrate and I didn’t like that. Any news on the Purina status since I read here they buy wheat gluten from China?

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 6:24 pm

  179. Issy –
    Post what you found so everybody will know too!

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  180. Lorna-
    What’s the link to CNRS?

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  181. Issy-
    can you share what companies you have found that supposedly do not outsource from China? They seem to be very hard to find. And since we have found we can not believe the labels I am very doubtfull of anything these pet food companies say.

    Comment by BW — April 28, 2007 @ 6:44 pm

  182. Has anyone had any experience with the Honest kitchen dogs foods? Can you give me your opinions please? :-) Thanks!

    Comment by JAG — April 28, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

  183. my dogs eat the Honest Kitchen both of them love it. One of them gets a little gassy from it though

    Comment by Bonni — April 28, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

  184. Yes, Honest Kitchen is buried in here somewhere. Folks are using it.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

  185. btw, the gas may be temporary. I called them about it and they said to try using really hot water and let it sit longer. Nice folks.

    Comment by Bonni — April 28, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

  186. “In 1990 the American Veterinary Medical Association and the FDA confirmed that some pet food companies were using the bodies of euthanized pets as by-products in their foods. It turns out that this practice wasn’t widespread, but limited to small rural rendering plants and a few other assorted links in the pet food manufacturing chain. For these reasons, reviews that do approve of some by-products in pet food say that dog owners should look for specific origin, such as ‘chicken by-product’ or ‘lamb by-product.'”

    http://www.consumersearch.com/www/family/dog-food/review.html

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 6:53 pm

  187. Lorna,
    Thanks for the advice about raw feeding, especially the warning about bone meal. Even with cooked meat, etc. today and no kibble at all, it was the first day I’ve really relaxed since this all started. I believe raw is better for their nutritional needs so we’ll get there soon. I’m so sorry for the heartache so many are going through. This can’t be just a misdemeanor by these companies; it’s literally criminal.

    Comment by Maureen — April 28, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

  188. Companies I found that do not buy from China and that do not outsource their dry (wet is different) this is dry. (Wet requires different machinery – so remember that wet is different.)

    Breeders choice – they made Avoderm and Pennacle

    Eagle Pack: Pet Foods – I use the Holistic Select for an elderly dog I have with many allergies.

    I called both companies and they make their own dry and do not manufacture for other pet food companies.

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

  189. FDA says no recall of pork warranted

    The Associated Press

    04/28/2007 08:25:20 PM CDT

    WASHINGTON- Two federal agencies said Saturday a continuing investigation affirms that the risk to humans from hogs that may have eaten contaminated pet food is very low and that no recall is warranted.

    The government said last week that 345 of 6,000 hogs that may have the food are believed to have been placed on the path to slaughter, but that almost all are still on farms in California, New York and South Carolina.

    Those states were told that no meat from any of those hogs can enter the food supply.

    “At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued,” the Food and Drug Administration and Agriculture Department said in a joint statement.

    “Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken,” the agencies said.

    Salvaged pet food from companies known or suspected of using a tainted ingredient was shipped to hog farms in several states for use as feed.

    The pet food sent to the farms later was discovered to have an ingredient, rice protein concentrate, imported from China that was tainted by an industrial chemical, melamine. Testing also revealed other related and similarly banned compounds, including cyanuric acid. Melamine is not considered a human health concern, but there is no scientific data on the health effects of melamine combined with the other compounds.

    Comment by Carole — April 28, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

  190. http://www.5stardog.com/dog-food.asp

    Excellent Read

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

  191. Hey everybody! E. Hamilton had a great idea to organize a lot of the information that is coming in here by breaking it down into smaller specific topics. We’ll use itchmo’s forum since it is easier to organize a thread over there. She’s asking for volunteers to take various subjects.

    SO… I just started a new topic on the forum. Medical Costs for Treating Affected Pets. Please start posting. Be as specific as you can. If possible, itemize. If you must estimate, please indicate that it is an estimate. This information will be used to demonstrate the economic impact on all of us. Let’s get this rolling!

    Comment by Marilyn — April 28, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  192. I don’t see that there is a way to search the blogs here. Am I missing something? I was going to do a search for Honest Kitchen.

    Comment by JAG — April 28, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  193. I thought I read on this blog or maybe it was on itchmo, not sure. . . that Breeder’s Choice was made at American Nutrition. . .

    Comment by Bonni — April 28, 2007 @ 7:12 pm

  194. yep. . . go to this page http://www.itchmo.com/ and it says
    “NOTE: As of 10:50 am, American Nutrition and Breeder’s Choice has both confirmed that Breeder’s Choice products are not affected by the recall.”

    Comment by Bonni — April 28, 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  195. Just adding my 2 cents. I feed my dogs the Honest Kitchen foods, and they absolutely love them. I usually add in some meat, yogurt in the mornings too. Their treats are also great–made at a human bakery. I used to feed them normal dry and canned food, but I like this much better. The dogs like it better too :)

    Comment by Lisa C — April 28, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

  196. There’s a difference between wet and dry. I posted about the dry – you can call their company and confirm – like I did.

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

  197. Shelly, sorry I should have said before; it’s http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CNRS/

    Lorna

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 7:19 pm

  198. Issy, right now my guys are on foods that we trust so no need for me to confirm. I have confirmed with any company I use products from though and agree its BEST idea to talk to someone in person.

    Comment by Bonni — April 28, 2007 @ 7:20 pm

  199. Doesn’t Gina like Honest Kitchen too? I believe she even had a thread on it here, but I can’t remember the extact name so I might be mistaken. I went to several local pet stores near me and talked with the owners – and that’s how I picked mine. Some small pet store owners are very knowledgeable and then I followed up by checking the websites and also I called each company to confirm.

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  200. I’ve searched the blog using the Advanced Search function of Google at:

    http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en

    Type in your search term(s) or phras(es) in the fields at the top. Then go down the page and find the field labelled “Domain” and put in “petconnection.com/blog” (without the quotes). And it seems to work fine.

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

  201. Yes, she had a thread but removed it becasue some folks said it was an endorsement of something :-(

    Comment by Bonni — April 28, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  202. Maureen, Not sure if Lorna covered this, but a good human quality probiotic with FOOS is valuable for the change over. http://www.gonsi.com has a nice selection

    Initially taking it easy on the fat, including chicken skin can ease the transition, add it in slowly.

    You can always add a pet multi-vitamin like Canine Plus.

    You need the bone or bone meal, critical.

    Omegas are important, human quality fish oil is very important.

    Consider adding human quality digestive enzymes like pancreatin to aid in the digestion of fats and proteins.

    Comment by Angelique — April 28, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  203. Honest Kitchen is here in San Diego. Good company, made in HUMAN factory not a pet food plant.

    Comment by Bonni — April 28, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  204. Do we have news on the marches? I was hoping to see it on tonights news. Has anyone seen coverage on it?

    Many Kudos to the “post card blitz” brain – my friends sent theirs in and I informed all the vets in my area too! Everyone loved the idea.

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

  205. I’ve been very fortunate with my dog food choices – none of my four dogs are sick. I only pray and hope that no more pets will die from this tragedy.

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  206. I just posted this at Itchmo’s forum and I think I should post it here as well:

    Re: Purina Friskies and Fancy Feast

    In some of the discussion here and elsewhere I’ve seen these two foods come up a lot. Lots of people seem concerned about Friskies and Fancy Feast and how their cats act on them. I have also seen some about Beneful and one of their other dry dog foods but can’t remember which right now. I wanted to share my experiences. I think I have an obligation to let those concerned know about the huge change I have seen with my cats in just a few weeks.

    We used to feed our cats Friskies canned food, all the chicken and fish flavors. One of them did get very sick about 3 weeks ago. His kidneys did shut down; I am not specifically saying its the Melamine, he is old and has other issues (heart). We don’t know what caused it for sure. He was mostly fine and pretty good for a 14 year old. He did have a spraying/grumpiness problem, but assumed he hated the kittens. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he was very, very sick and almost died. Kidneys shut down, fluid in his lungs and somewhat enlarged heart. He was far beyond lethargic; he couldn’t move, couldn’t even lift his head. The Vets gave him the treatment recommended for the poisoned food: Subcutaneous Fluids with Lasix (furosemide) to draw it back out and the antibiotic that is also recommended. Plus they started him on heart meds. His BUN was about 40 but creatinine etc within normal ranges.

    I do wonder if he had Melamine poisoning. But he absolutely has not had any foods on the recall lists. But that is not actually why I am here today. I just wanted to explain what did happen just in case it might help someone.

    No, the reason I am writing today is to tell all the pet parents concerned about Purina’s products, how much better all my cats are now that they are not eating those foods. I only have experience with Friskies but I think the Fancy Feast and perhaps the others could have the same problem. I want to say that:

    I think Purina products are just plain bad food.

    I have a bunch of cats. The 14 year old I’ve been talking about, the rest are: 16, 5, 2, and 3 kittens at about 8 months. (All but the oldest 2 adopted us, the 5 year old already prego when she showed up. Yes, we adopted a pregnant cat off the street. She LOVES us so much!) Cheesy

    I have to tell all concerned about the incredible difference in all of them since we changed foods. Especially in the oldest. The change in his behavior is dramatic! He is running and playing with the kittens a little, he chased a toy! He doesn’t fall when he tries to jump. He used to just sleep and lay around; we were lucky to get him to watch a toy roll past or maybe to just hiss at the kittens a little bit.

    The one who was sick is much better of course since he didn’t die. But even so, he is happier and has more energy; he was chasing the laser light: we didn’t even know he was interested in it before! So far he is not spraying or grumpy or any of the other behaviors he had before this whole mess started! One of the kids was always a little sensitive, stomach-ache or something, fussy about being held, never quite sure…But she is getting better as well. She is eating much better now and is finally starting to catch up with her litter mates. The other kids, while they always seemed well enough, are also much stronger acting and less fussy/tired. The other two, in the middle, while not having any specific problems, do seem different as well. Happier, perhaps and not as stressed. Although, Momma was just fixed, so we don’t know which is making the difference for her.

    I hope this will help those of you with concerns about Friskies and Fancy Feast, and maybe the other Purina products as well. After all this I would tell anyone if they’re not happy with their pet’s food, just change it. I wanted to especially tell those concerned about these foods to stop feeding them. Just try something different. You may think that your pets are alright or well enough. I know I did. But you may see a tremendously huge difference just like we did.

    Honest, I promise, my 16 year old is acting 4-6 years younger. Behavioral problems also seem to be solved for the 14 year old. And they are all still improving!

    Just change the food if you are worried or even slightly concerned. It won’t hurt them to change. It may help them…

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

  207. Where it says ‘Cheesy’ that was for the grinning smiley icon over at Itchmo. (Didn’t know that would show up)

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:35 pm

  208. I just spent a few hours on foreign websites. Thanks to Google, it will translate webpages for me. This fiasco is getting world-wide attention. One comment from a Japanese poster said, “Japanese people have known this for years due to outbreaks of illness and death from foods and ingrediants imported from China. Only the poorest people will buy Chinese foodstuffs in Japan.” Another Japanese poster said, “Xuzhou Anying produces and exports more than 10,000 tons of wheat gluten a year, according to its Web site. But only 873 tons have been linked to tainted U.S. pet food, raising the possibility that more of the contaminated product could still be on the market in China, or abroad.”

    If everyone in the world knows how bad the food stuffs are in China, why is America importing any of it? GREED GREED GREED GREED

    Comment by Cheryl Hansen — April 28, 2007 @ 7:37 pm

  209. Switching to home cooked/raw – I’ve never had any problem simply switching,without probiotics,but it really depends on your dogs.If a dog seems to have a sensitive digestive tract I’d probably use a probiotic for a bit.It depends.
    Actually real food,especially raw,is so easy for dogs to digest that I would be more concerned about going from kibble to real food,rather than the other way around.
    Incidentaly,pure canned pumpkin(no additives)is a great thing to have in the cupboard,for either constipation(too much bone) or the runs(too many veggies).Don’t know why that works but it does.
    Maybe organic bone meal woud be a solution if bones themselves can’t be used?

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

  210. Marilyn-
    We have a TON of value already in here – how do we search and locate what we have in here?

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 7:43 pm

  211. Peggy,
    What are you feeding them now? I have two cats, one with a heart condition, and have been TRYING off get them off Purina Pro Plan and Fancy Feast. Most of the things I’ve been trying get me a look of “are you crazy?” (and it’s been good stuff, like Innova and Merrick!). So far, I haven’t found something they want. For example: last night I gave them a can of Wellness (I know, manufactured at Menu Foods, but I’m getting desperate and have yet to see an actual complaint). This morning, about 1/2 the can was left. Tossed that, gave them their Fancy Feast and voila, we eat almost all of it. I even ordered Kumpikat – been mixing it with their Royal Canin dry (not recalled, and have had the bag for over a month). I notice a difference in their coats…but they seem to pick out the Royal Canin over the Kumpikat. Help!

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

  212. I’ve been reading the blog threads here since the beginning of this crisis and I’ve noticed some interesting themes and statements about dog food likes and dislikes. I’m going to another less biased blog. Some smart people post on this blog so I imagine that many will figure it out or have already.

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  213. NO! Don’t use bone meal. Most of it is imported from CHINA and it is made from quarantined, sick and dying animals. This is the Chinese company’s description of their product. As I said, I’ve been doing a lot of research on China imports the last few days. Don’t even use it on your plants if you have pets that might get into the bone meal.

    Comment by Cheryl Hansen — April 28, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  214. Jeesh….brain dead….meant to say I’d be more concerned about going FROM REAL FOOD TO KIBBLE,rather than the other way around!

    Comment by Lorna — April 28, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

  215. Peggy-
    I have posted a few times about my cat dying from eating Friskies canned food, his kidneys were fine according to two different vets I took him to. I do not know what killed him for sure, but my gut says the food, he started throwing it up and not eating much of it at the end of Feb. Then refused it altogether. He went down hill, refused to eat any pet food (but continued to hunt and eat mice and rabbits) I ended up with high vet bills and no answers, dispite my constant syringe feeding and his hunting, he never recovered, like he wasn’t absorbing the food. Very sad, to see such a strong healthy cat die like that. The vets thought I was paranoid concerning Friskies, because it wasn’t on the recall lists.

    Comment by BW — April 28, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  216. I don’t use bone meal either. Using bone, crushed egg shells, even a calcium supplement is what many use.

    There are several yahoo groups on raw diets that can be useful on getting this diet together. The calcium/phosphorus ratio is important, and being low in calcium is a common issue with raw diet feeders. It’s not an issue want you have it down though.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  217. I took my Lab to the vet yesterday. He wasn’t showing symptoms, but I had to know because he’s had some of the recalled products in the last 4 months. His kidney function was 100%. Thank God. But, we talked about diets. My vet said that homemade was a reasonable thing to be doing right now. There’s too much of the tainted rice concentrate and glutens that haven’t been accounted for…unless it’s all been eaten, sadly. He said to get a good dog multi-vitamin in case the homemade wasn’t giving him everything he needed nutritionally. So that’s what I’m doing…homemade until I can trust pet food again. And that might be a very, very long time.

    Comment by Cheryl Hansen — April 28, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

  218. Has anyone been to the FDA site today?
    http://tinyurl.com/2vc6qv

    There’s a very interresting news update there. This a part of it.

    At this time, we have no evidence of harm to humans associated with the processed pork product, and therefore no recall of meat products processed from these animals is being issued. Testing and the joint investigation continue. If any evidence surfaces to indicate there is harm to humans, the appropriate action will be taken.

    Innde Rose M

    Comment by M — April 28, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  219. Here’s my list of what I’ve tried…Advice on what else to try is requested. D*** me for raising such spoiled, picky cats!
    Innova, Evo, Wysong,
    Natural Balance (pre-recall), Wellness
    Spot’s Stew (currently in the bowl and not even
    touched…bubye)
    Kumpikat (I like, they’re still thinking about), Chicken Soup (pre-recall), Newman’s Own
    Felidae

    Waiting to arrive:
    Honest Kitchen, Evanger’s, Nature’s Logic, Life’s Abundance/Instinctive choice (same company). Tonight I will try California Natural.

    I get several flavors and cans, just in case they don’t like a certain flavor…and yet Purina brands win. I guess my cats have too much of a sweet tooth

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

  220. Shelly, That’s the problem. There’s so much various information here that it is hard to break it down. Over at itchmo we have a dedicated thread for this topic where we can invite people to be very specific about their medical costs. It will be much easier to deal with.

    Comment by Marilyn — April 28, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  221. yeah, I read the joint FDA and USDA statement. Made me want to barf. Are they going to wait for the “proof” of human illness like they keep waiting for the “proof” of pet illness before they take “appropriate” action? What bozos!

    Comment by Cheryl Hansen — April 28, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  222. BTW, I feel like I can almost open up my own pet store now! And my one cat will starve himself if he doesn’t get wet food! help, I’m running out of ideas

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  223. Comment by M — April 28, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

    “harm to human health, it would be very low”

    So does that mean they have tests that had been done on humans that ate contaminated pork on file somewhere?

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:08 pm

  224. My cat, JuJu, was on Fancy Feast…as some of you know. She died on April 15th. She had been ill for 3 weeks, and had the initial symptoms of poisoning.

    Prior to this, she became emaciated. When she became ill, I took her off of the FF, and gave her different foods. She gained weight before her death. Does that tell you anything? I told the Nestle Purina rep, when I called to complain, that if their food wasn’t poisoned (they insisted that it wasn’t), that it must be the most inferior food on the market. Their grilled varieties…the meat has the consistency of “rubber.” Hmmmm… JuJu couldn’t chew it.

    Krystal – my kitties didn’t like the Merrick either. But they like the Turducken variety of it. So that’s all I buy now of it. I give them a little bit of human grade albacore tuna off an on (for now), which the first time I gave it to them, it seemed to perk them up (I think that they were getting depressed, this has got to be stressful on them)…and they are eating Drs. Foster and Smith regular dry food (not the recalled light variety). I may be switching dry foods and introducing new canned foods when this thing cools down. I also give them cottage cheese.

    I would like to caution people to be very careful right now in switching to foods on a whim…we don’t know what other brands might be added to the recall. I would err on the side of caution right now. We don’t know if this is over yet.

    Comment by Marcy — April 28, 2007 @ 8:08 pm

  225. Krystal, you have a melamine addict on your hands girlfriend.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

  226. so..any suggestions? should i maybe try mixing cans to wean them onto something else? Any other good we food brandsI haven’t tried or ordered?

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

  227. I know Shelly! I’m really getting upset. Here I am willing to pay uber bucks to feed these guys…and they don’t even give me a little hint…nothing getss fully eaten except for Purina brands! Even Whiskas and Sheba, which they used to like, are turned down!

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  228. Thanks Marilyn, I hear you.
    If there are more break downs that they want to do over at Itchmo, it would be good to know how to go back over all we’ve written these past few days here at petconnection and organize it over there. Bunch of work but would pay off assuming there is an intent of something to be done with it.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  229. Oh, and I forgot: I’ve tried Merrick, too

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

  230. Will they eat a can of Sardines? Get them the “expensive” can (that’s what I call it) It’s also called King Oscar, it’s in red packaging. Get the type in spring water.

    It troubles me they’ve stopped eating.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

  231. USA Today – Headlines – Print edition

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/2007-04-26-pet-food-china_N.htm?csp=34

    China admits tainted food link

    …”BEIJING — Chinese authorities acknowledged for the first time that ingredients exported to make pet food contained a prohibited chemical, stepping up their probe of two Chinese companies’ roles in one of the USA’s largest animal-food recalls…

    …In a sign of government urgency, Chinese police two days ago sealed the headquarters of Binzhou Futian Bio-Technology, which exported rice protein concentrate to the USA for use in pet food. Paper strips were pasted across the doors of the eight ground-floor rooms the company rents in Wudi County, a five-hour drive southeast of Beijing.”…

    Read more: http://tinyurl.com/2s5ze9

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  232. They haven’t stopped eating…they just have made it clear what they prefer. The Spot’s Stew I think they feel is nasty (It seriously looks like a tan beef stew). Otherwise, they’ll pick, eat a bit. It’s just I never see a clean bowl anymore unless it’s Purina brands.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:17 pm

  233. solid gold uses potatoe concentrate american grown by the way in one formaula their barking at the moon its their grainless variety.

    Comment by Jan — April 28, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  234. Krystal –
    Auntjeni’s has food for cats

    http://www.auntjenis.com

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:18 pm

  235. I’ll try the sardines, but they kinda get picky over people food too. one day, tuna is good, the next they don’t touch it. They’ve been odd like this their whole lives! For a while, I could only feed them Sheba. Didn’t matter what I put down. If it wasn’t Sheba, it barely got touched. It’s nothing but pure pickiness.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  236. wrong addy, sorry.
    aunt jeni’s web address is

    http://www.auntjeni.com

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

  237. also from the article above: “Costco Wholesale Corp. announced a recall of its Kirkland Signature Super Premium Lamb and Rice canned dog pet food with sell by dates of Aug. 21 2008 to April 15 of 2009. The food was made by American Nutrition using rice protein concentrate from Wilbur-Ellis, which imported the product from Binzhou Futian in China. Costco will mail 230,000 letters to all members who purchased the canned food on Friday, said Craig Wilson, food safety chief for Costco.”

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

  238. Krystal, how long are you giving them to eat any given food before you give up and try the next? Animals really and truly are quite unlikely to starve themselves if there’s food available. However, they’ve learned to be very, very good at manipulating their human slaves ;) and what might seem like a long time waiting to eat to YOU is probably no big deal for a critter that has learned to hold out JUST a little longer to get what he wants.

    If they weren’t all so darned cute!

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

  239. Krystal, personally, I “listen” to my pets. If they don’t like something, they are the ones with the better noses, so it gets tossed and never bought again. I’d say “listen” to your cats. I know you want to avoid the ones that have been on the recall. Menu says they’ve cleaned their equipment and aren’t using the bad ingredients now. I won’t buy it just because I’m mad and I’m boycotting pet foods until they get their act together. But, for your cats, maybe it’s what they want.

    Comment by Cheryl Hansen — April 28, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

  240. Binzhou Futian’s website is empty: http://www.sdjinhaiwan.com/

    But, they are still on the world markets, as of last night.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  241. Shelly, can you give me the Aunt Jenni’s again? I don’t think it’s pulling up the right website.

    Solid Gold and Barking at the Moon: going on the shopping list
    King Oscar’s sardines…ditto

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  242. Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

    half the time: people food: canned tuna, whitefish and salmon,
    other half: Whiskas Purrfectly Fish.
    A little dry Whiskas; would like to wean them off that though.
    Plus chicken and whatever they want off our plates. Tried some milk and yogurt today: they liked it!

    Worry about too much salt in the canned fish but can’t find one without salt. and I think they should have something with vitamins just in case.

    Oh, and bugs; the kids love to hunt bugs outside. :)

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 8:23 pm

  243. When companies change their recipe, they are given six months to change the labels??? Is that true???

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  244. Shelly: Oops, just saw your corrected addy. Sorry.

    Pat: I usually try a day or two of the same brand. A few days later, I try it again. That way they don’t starve, but I get to try and figure out what they like. Is it not enough time?

    Cheryl: Thanks. It’s just frustrating. Trying to do good, boycott, give them “safe” stuff. I’ll try to listen – it just leaves me in fear mode with every new can.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

  245. I read somewhere the other day (if someone doesn’t beat me to it, I’ll try to fnd the reference tomorrow) that that’s a “myth” and that companies actually do NOT have a 6 month grace period, but everyone thinks they do and operates as if they do.

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

  246. Regarding getting cats to switch foods: Christie has a good piece on the topic on the SFgate.com Web site, which is online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. (She’s SFGate’s online pet-care columnist.)

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — April 28, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

  247. Thanks Peggy! Maybe I’ll try mixing fish with the wet, too…it’s a good idea!

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:29 pm

  248. Krystal, I’m just guessing here, but I’d be willing to bet that pet food right now is safer than it’s been in years…those corporate clowns don’t want to see their company on any more recall lists. Give them the Purina if that’s what they want. Just make sure none of the cans are on the recall and not pulled off the shelf.

    Comment by Cheryl Hansen — April 28, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  249. Peggy –
    it says “No salt added” on the packaging. My dog won’t eat any other brand but this one. It’s the King Oscar brand of Sardine’s in the red packaging. I imagine a cat to be just as picky.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  250. USA TODAY – Pet food may have killed scores more

    http://tinyurl.com/2ppoh

    Comment by Nadine Long — April 28, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

  251. Comment by BW — April 28, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

    I’m sorry, so very sorry for everyone who lost their friends and companions. There was an old guy, about 70 or so, at the Vet’s today. He had to put his cat down. I’ve cried on and off all day. He didn’t know what was wrong. Been to 3 vets, wouldn’t eat; and I saw he was in bad pain. It was so sad; no one could figure it out. Said he hand fed for 3 weeks. Didn’t know what else to do.

    It is the old folks, and those who got their pets mostly fixed then to have to, unknowingly, force feed them same damn poisoned food, these are the ones whom my heart bleeds for. These are the victims, the ones who are suffering the most for this crime.

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

  252. Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 8:38 pm
    I too, feel awful for those who have suffered. The shame of it is, most of them aren’t even aware, for various reasons, of what’s going on. There are days I read stories like this and start crying, because it’s so heartbreaking.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

  253. Aunt Jeni placed the source’s of her meat on her website due to concerns like ours; here is the direct link –
    http://auntjeni.com/meatinfo.htm

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:41 pm

  254. I figured it a few weeks ago. I bet Steve has and Nadine too.

    Comment by Lisa M — April 28, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

  255. Krystal-
    I too have tried all brands that are grain free on my remaining cat and know your frustration. I read somewhere about changing a cat over to new food, I put the new food out in the evening and leave it overnight, if in the morning he still hasn’t eaten it, I give a ‘small’ amount of the food he will eat. then try again in the evening with the new food. If after a couple of days he still won’t eat it, I switched to a different brand. Did that until he finally ate Chicken soup for the cat lovers soul, I thought finally I had found one..but alas they recalled the cans and now I am scared to continue with the dry, but he does like that one. The problem is they are carb junkies from the corn loaded foods.

    Comment by BW — April 28, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  256. Gina, Shelly, everyone else:
    Thanks. I read Christie’s article: I’m going to try some of her suggestions. I’m also trying to find Aunt Jenni’s nearby – I have been curious about it. I am having more luck with the Kumpikat (dry) than the wet, so maybe using the Purina cans and the new ones, like Christie suggested, is the way for me to go.
    I’ve written down everyone’s suggestions. Thank you so much! I’ve been tearing my hair out, but you’ve been very helpful.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

  257. Peggy –
    That’s why I would like to get something more in the newspapers. The older people often read the newspaper vs. the internet. Some use the internet, but so many do not.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

  258. Comment by Nadine Long — April 28, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

    Nadine-having trouble with the link – -

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

  259. BW, corn junkies is true! I always fed what I “thought” was good quality food – read expensive – and feel awful now that I know the truth. I’m finally getting educated about what is good food – and the fact that I turned my little fluffballs into such junk food addicts.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

  260. Just wanted to say that my dogs are eating Aunt Jeni’s, one like it, the other one not so much. Also feeding The Hontest Kitchen “Force”, they both like it, one a bit more than the other…and I’m recently began feeding “Primal” raw, and that one they both absolutely LOVE!!! I had written to all of these companies and got responses pretty quick, but was VERY impressed with Primal. Not only did the OWNER himself e-mail me back, but he did it a little over an hour later!!! I was not feeding Primal at that time, but this impressed me so much that I went out the next day and bought a bag of the chicken. The local pet store that carries it has met the owner, I believe his name is Matt, and they too were impressed with the quick e-mail response. They have met him, as he has visited their store. When I first went to pick up raw food they gave me samples of The Honest Kitchen and Primal, wich was helpful to find out if my dogs would eat it. Anyway, I recommed all three above, but especially Primal. Still feeding a Canidae dry to the other 2 dogs because they eat a lot more, and feeding Felidae to my two cats because they like it more than the Chicken Soup and the Natural Balance (which have both had recalls). I did try Nature’s Variety Raw, but they use Menu Foods some, so I’ve omitted them. Just thought I’d share this info.

    Comment by FMtz — April 28, 2007 @ 8:51 pm

  261. http://tinyurl.com/2ffaao

    Cached copy (didn’t know how to get back to the original). Scroll down to “Clarification of labelling rules”:

    (Beginning of quote)
    One topic that has come up frequently in the past few days, especially due to more foods being recalled due to possible contamination, is the legality of pet food companies using outdated packaging material.

    Many claim that there is a legal “grace period” to use up packaging materials that do not correctly reflect the ingredients used. Time frames cited vary depending on who you ask, the replies range from 3 months to 6 months.

    Not too long ago I learned that there actually is no provision by AAFCO for a “grace period” to let pet food companies use up outdated packaging material that does not reflect ingredients correctly, as many companies claim.

    Yesterday the following question was asked on the forum at OurDogsOnline:

    Natural Balance said label laws prevent them from putting ingredient stickers on bags, therefore they were ‘forced’ to continue using up their old bags even though the formula changed.

    Eagle Pack made one formula, a Prism one, with rice protein. They’ve removed that ingredient and reflected the change with ingredient stickers on the bags until the new ones arrive in May.

    Is Eagle Pack breaking some law, or is Natural Balance lying?

    I wanted to provide up-to-date information, so I contacted John Marsman, the nutritionist at Eagle Pack for some first hand information, and this is what he told me:

    For a while AAFCO sort of looked the other way about allowing makers to use up bags. At the AAFCO meeting 3-4 years ago they made a specific statement that they would no longer permit this.

    A second source, Gregory Kean, Director of Product Development & Quality Assurance at Old Mother Hubbard, Inc. (Wellness brand foods) gave the following response:

    Eagle pack stickering is correct. […]

    The entire industry seems to subscribe to some “6 month” rule by AAFCO or the FDA. The truth is that there is no such rule that allows for a grace period. I once asked Dave Dzanis (former head of the FDA/CVM) about this rule. He confirmed that there is no grace period. Interestingly though, some state regulators will give a grace period on old packaging for changing marketing claims they deem objectionable*. That is the only time I have heard of a grace period.

    * Emphasis here is mine, for clarification.

    Many people are currently upset after finding out that foods contain ingredients not even mentioned in the ingredient list, to which I would like to make the following clarification:

    The ingredient list does not have to contain all the ingredients present in a food. There are two exceptions:

    1. A company does not have to declare ingredients that it did not add but were already present in a food ingredient bought from a supplier.
    2. Any ingredient that is deemed a “processing aid” rather than an actual food ingredient.
    (End of quote)

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 8:52 pm

  262. Oh, and by the way Primal is thousands of miles from where I live. So, he obviously cares a great deal. Now, that’s a company I WANT to do business with!

    Comment by FMtz — April 28, 2007 @ 8:55 pm

  263. Excellent FMtz, glad it worked out for you.
    Some flavors they like more than others, of both Aunt Jeni’s of Primal. Just play with it. Aunt Jeni’s has a great natural treat for the dog and the cat.
    For dogs it is called “Dogitos”, it is in a bright yellow bag. It’s dried lung, it’s lung chips :) Beef, goat and lamb. They love it!

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  264. I’ve looked at Primal, but really want to give Kumpikat a try first. Evy, the owner, also responded personally to my e-mails and sent me information for my vet. I really like the stuff, and after 1 week on a mix of Kumpi and their old dry, I can truly feel that their coats are softer and silkier. I love it. The cats still want some of the old dry (probably since they know it’s their), but my dry food addict is a lot easier to please than the wet food one. He’s not nearly as picky as my other little one.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 8:59 pm

  265. Shelly – I’m going to call some stores about Aunt Jeni’s tomorrow. The stores that carry it closest to me seem like they cater to dogs, so I’ll check before making the trip.

    BTW, I had asked a ? the other day that I don’t think anyone answered. Does raw pose any extra problems for a cat on medications? Should I consult with my vet before trying it?

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

  266. Shelly, for some topics it might be feasible for someone to go through copy the info to the itchmo thread. However, for the medical costs, I’m asking people to be very specific, so I think they will have to come over there on their own. While I have seen people post estimates here, like “I’ve spend over $1,000 and my cat is still sick…!”, what I’d like to see is more of a breakdown based on actual costs. I haven’t really seen that here. I’ll take estimates, too, as long as they are clearly marked as estimates. I realize that people may not have kept all their records. I’ll be keeping actuals and estimates separately. But the more exact we can be the more credibility our numbers will have. Our intended purpose of collecting this information is to demonstrate the economic impact of this fiasco on us all.

    Comment by Marilyn — April 28, 2007 @ 9:05 pm

  267. http://www.usatoday.com/money/world/china-sidebar-usat.htm

    (They are shutdown in China, but STILL on the world market boards!!! Selling boosted protein products!!!)

    All’s quiet in, around Chinese offices at core of probe

    By Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY

    Wudi County is home to at least 20 animal feed producers, including this one, Wudi Liuhe Xinyang Animal Feed Company, which makes chicken feed. “I am confident the government can deal with this problem,” said manager Liu Jincheng.

    WUDI COUNTY, China — The headquarters of Binzhou Futian Bio-Technology are sealed, and local residents say its production sites have been quiet this week.
    The inactivity is government-imposed, a physical sign of Chinese authorities’ determination to tackle a food-safety crisis in which this nation’s growing food industry is cast in a leading role.

    On Thursday, after weeks of official denial, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed U.S. Food and Drug Administration charges that melamine, a chemical used in plastics and fertilizer, was found in rice protein concentrate exported by Binzhou Futian, and wheat gluten exported by Xuzhou Anying in Jiangsu province. Both ingredients were used in millions of bags and cans of pet food made in the USA, and some made its way into livestock feed. Product recalls include cat and dog foods sold under more than 100 brand names in the USA.

    Chinese police closed the company’s headquarters Wednesday, a day after the provincial quality supervision bureau also sealed the premises by pasting paper strips across the doors of the eight ground-floor rooms that Binzhou Futian rents from the county grain bureau. Wudi County is in Shandong province, a five-hour drive southeast of Beijing.

    FIND MORE STORIES IN: China | BEIJING | Chinese | US Food and Drug Administration | Wu | Anying | Xuzhou | Jiangsu | Food Science
    Binzhou Futian’s headquarters, in a four-story building in a low-rise town of 440,000 people, are modest for a firm that claimed, on its now-dormant website, to employ 457 people, have fixed assets of $6.5 million, and export 90% of its products, mostly corn and rice-based protein and animal feed. They also highlight the challenge that China faces in regulating a food-processing industry, dominated by millions of small players, that now feeds the world.

    “We are still a developing country, and we have a small-scale farm economy,” said Wu Yongning, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety, under the China Center for Disease Control in Beijing. “In agricultural production, a single farm or family is often a foodstuffs factory or enterprise. This is a problem that other large economies don’t have,” Wu said.

    Binzhou Futian is a classic example of a single Chinese entrepreneur pursuing his dream in a once centrally planned economy that only recently opened its doors to private enterprise. The founder, Yang Jinming, who could not be reached for comment, built his firm by processing, and thus adding value to, the region’s agricultural wealth.

    “Private enterprises are very active here as we have few state-owned industries,” said Zhu Guanghui, a propaganda official from the Communist Party of Binzhou City, which has jurisdiction over Wudi County. “They have helped drive the whole economy, but they must meet the standards of all companies in China. The sincerity of Binzhou products is very important to us,” Zhu said.

    Local residents say the company’s production sites in Wudi were also closed this week. “Many cars and officials came on Monday to one of their animal feed production centers near where I live,” said restaurant owner Guo Weifang. “It used to be very busy there, and their business seemed to be going well. I don’t know why it was sealed.”

    Ignorance of the pet-food contamination issue is widespread in Wudi, as no Chinese press reports, either locally or nationally, have dared tell such negative news. All Chinese media outlets operate under a tight state leash.

    “I don’t know why the company has been sealed,” said Yang Chunmei, a saleswoman at the Xinhua bookstore directly opposite the Binzhou Futian headquarters. “It used to be very busy over there. I have not heard of any pet deaths in America. Few people in this town keep pets, only in big cities like Beijing.”

    While average incomes in Wudi are just $130 a month, the richer Chinese capital has witnessed such an explosion in pet ownership in recent years that authorities are battling to keep numbers down. But in Beijing, too, there is little knowledge of the pet-food story.

    “No newspapers have reported this issue,” said veterinarian Wang Xiaoyi, who feeds her own three cats with French-made Royal Canin products. “Most owners prefer imported pet food, including from the USA, as they believe the local pet food is low quality. But we don’t have any information about what pet-food products should be recalled. We need more information to tell customers what pet foods to avoid.”

    In Wudi, the only people aware of any problem were representatives from the two dozen local animal feed producers who were called Tuesday to an emergency government meeting.

    “Officials said that Binzhou Futian had a serious fake product problem,” said Liu Jincheng, manager of Wudi Liuhe Xinyang Animal Feed, a branch of China’s third-largest animal feedmaker.

    “I am confident the government can deal with this problem,” Liu said. “President Hu Jintao signed an order requiring strict handling of this matter. Officials asked us for details of all our raw material suppliers, but I don’t fear their inspections as all our materials come from large, standardized companies.”

    A clampdown also appears in place at the Xuzhou Anying company in Jiangsu Province. Two employees, Liu Kaiping from the domestic trade department, and Li Cui, from the foreign trade department, said they were both “on leave,” while general manager Mao Lijun was also said to be “on sick leave.” The company has removed several items from its website, including the wheat gluten products suspected of melamine contamination.

    Binzhou Futian Bio-Technology told its U.S. client Wilbur-Ellis that the contamination occurred through accidental reuse of dirty packaging, according to Wilbur-Ellis President John Thacher. The FDA has said the melamine, a chemical high in nitrogen, might have been added to the grain products to make them appear higher in protein than they were.

    Luo Yunbo, head of the Food Science and Nutrition Engineering Institute at China’s Agricultural University said that some Chinese food manufacturers include additives that are inappropriate.

    “Sometimes people lack enough knowledge of additives, or even if they do know, they still do it,” Luo said, blaming weak punishment and “blanks” in China’s food legislation.

    “The current penalties are very small and should be much heavier. Some companies are fined and then move somewhere else and do it again,” he said.

    Other experts agreed that China faces a stiff test to stamp out abuses.

    “China’s economy is in transition, so I can’t say there are no problems,” said Wu of the National Institute of Nutrition and Food Safety. “Farmers are always looking for profit, and sometimes they do not meet our national standards. Also, our safety inspection coverage is not yet complete,” Wu said.

    “Contamination can happen occasionally in both animal feed and foodstuffs. If you buy from a local agricultural market, and the goods are put in bags, then we have regulations for the safety of the bag, but does everyone meet those standards?” Wu asked.

    Under the Chinese leadership’s new motto of “putting people first,” Wu said, “we are doing all we can. The ordinary people demand better food safety and give us increasing pressure, so we cannot let up.”

    It is “normal to have some problems, but we are working very hard,” said Yang Shuming of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, who is participating in China’s ongoing investigation into the melamine issue. “We need to know what the real situation is and what exactly the problem is. We are asking these questions,” said Yang, who declined to give details on the investigation but confirmed that FDA inspectors are on their way to China.

    “China has some large-scale agricultural companies like in the USA. But a large proportion of producers are small farmers, so it is much harder for us to supervise and inspect than in the USA. China is a developing country, where agriculture is paramount. Supervision and management are tough tasks in China,” Yang said.

    U.S. experts in Beijing for meetings on international food standards, held this week and last, expressed concern about China’s inspection system, and whether melamine may have entered the human food chain.

    “China is very serious about food safety (and) pretty good at solving problems when they arise,” said John Lupien, adjunct professor of food science, University of Massachusetts. “But there is the same (food safety) structure at the national level, at provincial and local levels. The level of coordination between the different levels and sectors could be stronger.”

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 9:08 pm

  268. “Old Mother Hubbard, Inc. (Wellness brand foods)” from Pat’s post – Remember that spreadsheet we found earlier today? According to it, Menu makes their food.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

  269. Krystal, I wrote this about 20 minutes ago and it didn’t post for some reason, so I’m going to put it here and hope it doesn’t double-post. Some of the information sort of parallels some of what was in the article Gina referenced, but I think you’ll see some common ideas emerge:

    Any dog trainer will tell you that you are ALWAYS training your dog, whether you realize it or not. And the same is true of cats, or any other critter that depends upon us to have its day to day needs met – they learn to watch us very carefully and “do what works”, at the same time trying their darndest to “arrange” things to get what they want. (Hey – they’re animals, and “looking out for #1″ is a basic survival trait, deeply ingrained.) So while I respect what Cheryl said about “listening to your animals”, I think you need to balance that against understanding that you can actually TEACH them to be picky – albeit inadvertently – by frequent changes in what you offer them as you try to find something they like.

    Remember those awful days following September 11 when pet owners weren’t being allowed to return to their homes to get their abandoned pets? And the thing is, those pets were not in danger of starving for many days (I don’t recall the exact number of days they kept citing at the time, but it was startlingly high – something like 5-7 days before they’d truly begin to starve for lack of food – lack of WATER was FAR more critical.)

    Personally, I would not offer my critters a suspect food right now no matter HOW piteously they begged me for it. So first of all, I think you need to establish in your OWN mind what choices you will consider and what choices you will not. The critters don’t get to make that decision – YOU do.

    From there, accept the fact that if you keep putting down different foods every time they “don’t clean their dishes” for a day or so that you’re simply teaching them that’s an effective strategy. It’s sort of a “tough love” approach. Of course you have to be smart about it – especially now – and be vigilant for any signs of actual illness. But I don’t believe for a minute that they’ll starve to death rather than eat the food that’s there.

    If having them “clean their plates” is an important issue, then you might wish to adopt a strategy used by many dog trainers. You put their food down at set times each day, and only LEAVE it down for a given amount of time (5 minutes, for example). And then the dishes get taken up, whether they’re cleaned or not. And nothing until the next scheduled feeding. (There are even tougher variants on this approach, but I suspect that wouldn’t interest you).

    You’ll be amazed. They’ll learn to eat WHAT you give them WHEN they’re given it when they realize their options are going to be otherwise severely curtailed.

    Again – none of this is meant to disregard the very real concerns that exist right now around the issues of tainted food. But if you’re feeding one of the choices that posters here have given you reason to believe should be safe or – especially if you’ve decided to go ahead and begin making your own – then perhaps a little “Tough Love” is in order to get everyone back on track.

    Comment by Pat — April 28, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

  270. It’s an individual choice, but I won’t feed Kumpi because the first ingredient is corn. I know the owner of Kumpi would disagree with me, but I don’t think that corn in any dog food is good, much less the first ingredient!

    Comment by FMtz — April 28, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

  271. Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

    Krystal,
    Aunt Jeni’s has a retailer locater page. Here is the link:
    http://auntjeni.com/retailer.htm

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  272. I was referring to the dog food.

    Comment by FMtz — April 28, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

  273. The news is talking about the disapearance of bees. That it is a serious problem because we will not have produce if there is no pollination from the bees. What are they worried about don’t we get all our food from China anyway?

    Comment by BW — April 28, 2007 @ 9:18 pm

  274. Thanks Shelly,
    I’m going to get some of Aunt Jeni’s treats soon.

    Comment by FMtz — April 28, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

  275. ////// ????? //////

    “China is very serious about food safety (and) pretty good at solving problems when they arise,” said John Lupien, adjunct professor of food science, University of Massachusetts. “But there is the same (food safety) structure at the national level, at provincial and local levels. The level of coordination between the different levels and sectors could be stronger.”

    What? Serious about food safety? Uh, huh! That’s why they’ve had 1/2 million people with food poisoning LAST year.

    These companies are posting all over the market boards about boosted protein. They KNEW what they were doing. I don’t see that the government didn’t know either. And, Mrs. Chem Nutra, et al. One site even lists the portions for boosting: chickens, lamb, pigs, shrimp, etc.

    denial! DENIAL! denial!

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

  276. BW,
    I am concerned about the bee’s too. We are going to have a hard time surviving ourselves if all the bees die!

    Comment by FMtz — April 28, 2007 @ 9:21 pm

  277. Bees are dieing all over the world, not just here.

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

  278. *dying*

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  279. Krystal –
    The raw diet itself I don’t see how it would affect meds, but if you use vitamins it can affect some meds. (Some vitamins affect some meds, just like some meds affect other meds)Always check with your vet.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  280. Thanks for the article, Kat!

    Comment by Peggy — April 28, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

  281. Big Business is killing everything and everybody, all the way to the little bees. There’s a common denominator here.

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

  282. RE: Comment by M — April 28, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

    More excerpts:

    As reported on April 22 by FDA, the Agency determined that rice protein concentrate imported from China was contaminated with melamine and melamine-related compounds. The product was imported by Wilbur-Ellis, an importer and distributor of agricultural products. Although the company began importing product from China in August 2006, the company did not become aware of the contamination until April 2007. As part of the ongoing investigation, FDA has determined the rice protein was used in the production of pet food and a portion of the pet food was used to produce animal feed. The ongoing investigation is tracing products distributed since August 2006 by Wilbur-Ellis throughout the distribution chain.

    The assessment that, if there were to be harm to human health, it would be very low, is based on a number of factors, including the dilution of the contaminating melamine and melamine-related compounds from the original rice protein concentrate as it moves through the food system. First it is a partial ingredient in the pet food; second, it is only part of the total feed given to the hogs; third, it is not known to accumulate in the hogs and the hogs excrete melamine in their urine; fourth, even if present in pork, pork is only a small part of the average American diet. Neither FDA nor USDA has uncovered any evidence of harm to the swine from the contaminated feed. In addition to the dilutional factor and the lack of evidence of illnesses in the swine fed the waste pet food, we are not aware of any human illness that has occurred from exposure to melamine or its by-products.

    —————-
    HEB Grocery Store has marked down ALL pork products!

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  283. It’s late. My eyes are bleary and it’s been a heck of a day for me so I’m totally late reading all the comments. Regarding a comment from Laura on 4-27 @ 8:20pm in the Fri News & Open Thread section. You were asking for a dog treat recipe.
    My friend gave me this. 1 1/2c flour, 3/4c dry oatmeal, 1/4c honey wheat germ, 1/4c peanut butter, 1/4 c oil (mazola), 1/4 c honey,1 teasp baking powder. Mix 1c flour with remaining ingredients and 1/2c water. All remaining flour. Preheat oven to 350 deg. On well-floured surface, with floured hands, knead til dough together. Roll out to 1/4″ thick. Cut out with bone shaped or any cookie cutter, as many as possible. Bake on ungreased sheet 20 minutes. Turn off oven and leave treats in oven til cool (1 hr). Remove to rack and cool completely. Store in plastic back or a tin.

    Comment by VJ — April 28, 2007 @ 9:48 pm

  284. Today, when I went grocery shopping I was in the pet food section looking at what was on the shelves. An older man came up & asked if I knew if they had anything there that would kill a cat. I said no, but the Caesar here in the dog section was recalled yesterday & I’m checking to see which varieties were pulled.

    (I was reviewing my post on PetConnection with my cell phone – cool?? :) )

    He then said “the reason I asked is because one of their brands killed his cat.” I didn’t get to ask which brand. A younger woman with him started talking & he walked away.

    nite all!

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  285. Sorry, stepped away to feed the kids and put some stuff away.. California Natural seems to be a hit…Stitch (aka Mr. Picky) ate a bunch, and went back for seconds!

    FMtz – That’s fine, to each his own. Actually, if I wasn’t seeing the results I am, I’d be trying Primal. I really don’t trust Royal Canin after I finish this bag. For Kumpikat, deboned chicken meal is the first ingredient (I don’t even see corn listed, on a quick scan – though rice flour and oatmeal are included). I guess its the different animal, different recipe.

    Shelly – I saw the Aunt Jeni’s retailer page. Unfortunately, 1 close store is dogs only. The other one doesn’t have a website, but is called Canine something, so I’m going to call them tomorrow and check it out. As far as my raw answer goes, thanks! I don’t think I could switch them totally to raw (the dry food eater likes his crunchies, and is more vocal than a Siamese), so I wouldn’t be worrying about vitamins. Good to know that though. I always get concerned since he’s on meds for heart conditions.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

  286. I just read on another site that a Terri Culp at Beneful had been contacted about the pets getting sick, and Terri Culp said they were aware of the situation and are researching the problem. That was in Mid-March

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

  287. Kat, that’s awful! Poor man. But I have to ask: did I miss the Cesar’s recall? When was it recalled?

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

  288. Shelly – what site? please, I’ve been following the Beneful story.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

  289. Krystal –
    http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=1000458932&tstart=0&mod=1177596369007

    Comment by shelly — April 28, 2007 @ 10:01 pm

  290. Thanks Shelly. I’m going to have to check it tomorrow – I didn’t see it on a couple of pages, and am kinda going cross-eyed from lack of sleep.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 10:11 pm

  291. Oops, Kat left. ANyone else know about the Cesar’s recall? I’m not finding it, and I don’t remember seeing it. Actually, when I looked at the Mars page, I realized that I don’t think they’ve had a single recall.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

  292. Pat,

    That is interesting about the ingredient changes on the label. When I contacted Eukanuba last week about a problem I was having with dry dog food,they told me they made some ingredient changes in 3/2006 but they don’t show up on the bag until the new beige bags were released this year – showed up on the shelf at my Petsmart in late Feb./2007. I guess Petsmart must have had a lot of old stock to get rid of…

    Katie

    Comment by katie — April 28, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

  293. Peggy: I don’t know if you just read what I posted or went to USAToday’s site. I just clipped out a bunch of interesting paragraphs. The article is very long — but informative. Probably a good read for all US Citizens.

    Then, if you haven’t already, check out this site: http://www.fda.gov/ora/import/default.htm

    and look at the Import Refusal Report.

    We import from THEM? puke! I don’t even want to eat anything! Nor brush my teeth. How could this country get SO dependent on such a polluted, minimally regulated country?

    And, NOW THEY WANT TO GO ORGANIC???????

    BEWARE!!!!

    And, what is this International Organic Standards seal that they’re stamping on canned goods now? I’m not buying that either until I can research. At this point-in-time — I am not buying any foreign foods…period. I call the manufacturer while I’m at the store.

    I even called for the Mgr today during checkout, at HEB. I told him that I did not buy any store brands today because I’m not buying anything that is not marked “grown in the USA” (NOT manufactured) & none of their store brands are marked, nor do they even have a phone number. I told him there was a ***MOVEMENT*** and people are tired of not knowing where their food comes from.

    I URGE YOU — take control! Give ‘em heck! Contact Durbin, your Congressman/woman, your Senator, your grocer, your food manufacturers, news media.

    I’ve even called manufacturers to say that because they state on their product the “country of origin”, that I was going to buy their product. And, thank you. You are one step-ahead of the rest.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

  294. Kat
    Where did you hear about Cesar’s being recalled? and when?

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 10:26 pm

  295. RE: Anyone hear how the marches across the country went today?

    Comment by Issy — April 28, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

    Although I think Issy, who asked this question, just left this blog (so says one of her posts) I will tell you all how the March went in San Diego today, or Oceanside I should say. Sadly, it didn’t. There were only 5 of us who showed up and none of us was the organizer. We waited for just over an hour. Yes, we had the correct location as I double checked my email received only yesterday from organizer naming location. Don’t know what happened to her or others. Still waiting to hear back what happened. I really do hope other Marches were more successful in other parts of the country.

    In defense of the organizer of our March, whom apparently only had one weeks notice, I will say that I thought from the get go, the April 28th date was too short a time to really organize a good event big enough to make an impact. If Marches were a failure in other arenas (I sincerely hope they were not) I do hope we try again…just need more time and better planning and the right venue, but it can be done!

    I’ve been so focused on this pet food recall that I didn’t realize there was a Democratic Convention in San Diego today…Clinton, Obama, etc… all were here. Now that’s where we should have held a march!

    Comment by Barb — April 28, 2007 @ 10:34 pm

  296. No, I’m STILL . I can barely type.
    I’ll find out about the Caesar for you. It’s on American Nutrition. 3-4 varieties of Caesar.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  297. Barb,
    I agree about reoranizing a march. I live in a suburb of Philadelphia: no one organized a march here, probably due to time, and I couldn’t because I had already been scheduled to work all day as of last month. I think another march would be great, espically with more notice.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

  298. Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

    Two Caesar – can’t copy/paste. It’s in a table.

    Entire list, 8 labels:
    http://www.americannutritioninc.com/

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 10:42 pm

  299. Kat,
    Please, do get back to me tomorrow on that. I went to their website for the recall (http://www.americannutritioninc.com/) and didn’t see it. Maybe you meant Canine Caviar?
    Thanks.
    And I’m off to sleep myself.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 10:42 pm

  300. Kat – I think it’s the Canine Caviar you mean. Gourmet Beaver and Gourmet Turkey . (which I ordered only the other day. that package is getting sent back!)

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 10:45 pm

  301. hmmmm. duh, I guess I’mm sleep typing. I’m sorry I alarmed you. I was thinking that was on the list. Oh, boy. I’m sorry. There are just sooo many of them all coming down the last day or two.

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 10:52 pm

  302. Krystal: I just checked Cesar’s website. They state they are not part of the recall.

    So sorry I got the brands mixed up. I’m usually very careful posting here.

    http://www.cesar.com/

    Comment by Kat — April 28, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  303. Kat
    It’s ok, I understand. Lately, it’s seemed like almost everything is bad. And new comes so frequently.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

  304. I mentioned something earlier. Has Mars, Inc. even recalled a product? I don’t remember them doing so. From their site:

    Our brands include PEDIGREE, CESAR, WHISKAS, SHEBA, KITEKAT, TRILL, AQUARIAN and WINERGY.

    I know it’s probably been asked before, but where do they manufacture? Where do they source ingredients? Anyone know?

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 28, 2007 @ 11:52 pm

  305. SLEUTHS!

    Too often several of us are [unbeknownst to the other] researching the same information, or information others found weeks ago. Typical case in point: Bernie and NPN’s. Newcomers have no way of knowing what’s been covered in the past. There is no way to easily resurrect old blogs and query them. [Or is there and I just don’t know about it?] Time spent going over and over the same information could be better spent researching new grounds.

    I’ve suggested in the past:
    1. that we need an archive of specific topics
    2. that we should break down into “topic teams” to put the archive together [and add new information when it appears]

    My Concept:

    TOPIC TEAMS: In the absence of a forum, individual “Topic Teams” should serve. Any interested blog member may select a topic and join it. No one needs to be a biochemist in order to join the biochem Topic Team, for example. No member is limited to just one topic. Not all blog members need to join a Topic Team at all. Topic Teams “own” the archived information related to that topic. They will insure that all related information is, orderly, referenced, and centralized in such a way so that others may have access to the information. In this manner, we won’t have to go over the same material that’s already been outed.

    ADMINISTRATOR: There should be an overall administrator who connects a person wanting to be part of a topic team to the others in the group, including exchange of email addresses. From that point the members of each topic team are charged with pulling together all resources on that topic, referencing their research, writing it up in an organized fashion, and archiving the topic for use by others [read-only].

    Here are some topics that I think can use teams:

    ~ FDA
    ~ Food Brokers [e.g., ChemNutra, Wilbur-Ellis]
    ~ Pet Food Recall Lists [Anomalies, issues]
    ~ Pet Food Manufacturers [Need a database here]
    ~ Patents
    ~ Timelines
    ~ Hearings
    ~ Biochemistry [Melamine, Urea, NPN’s…]
    ~ Labs, Forensics
    ~ Chinese BioChemists: Background
    ~ News Media
    ~ Home Made Foods: Recipes
    ~ Many Other topics

    Anyone else see the usefulness of teaming partners?

    Have I made you cringe? [My heart’s in the right place!]

    Comment by Lynn — April 28, 2007 @ 11:56 pm

  306. REPETITIVE MOTION WRIST INJURY:
    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Synovitis, etc.

    I am an expert in this!

    ~ Ice wrists

    ~ If you can, stay off computer for at least 24-48 hours.

    ~ Wear stiff wrist braces while sleeping. You can find good ones in Target for nominal price. Worth it. [About $10 each.] These braces wrap from the area between thumb and forefinger to the uppermost part of the wrist and are closed with velcro. But the important feature is the stiff metal plate that goes against the palm from the wrist itself [stabilizes the wrist so you can’t move it]. It will not interfere with sleep.

    ~ If after 2 days this doesn’t SIGNIFICANTLY improve, make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and get a corticosteroid injection. It takes between 24 and 72 hours for it to work. But I swear by the stuff. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT have an MD from any other specialty try this injection. Only orthopedic surgeons are trained in this and can do it painlessly with only topical anesthesia. You will need to stay off the keyboard for at least 24 hours after this injection to give it a chance to work.

    Do not ignore this injury, as repeated motion will inflame the tendons to the point where you cannot use a keyboard at all.

    Comment by Lynn — April 28, 2007 @ 11:58 pm

  307. Unfortunately I often don’t make it to this blog until late at night. As a result my postings tend to get buried. But thanks to Mal, who bumped up one of my messages from last night so that others would see it in the morning.

    MAL: Thanks for reposting my message regarding my poll on itchmo.com. I’m repeating it again:

    Some pharmaceuticals used cyanuric acid in their antibiotics and fungicides. Knowing that the scientists at Univ of Guelph discovered that malamine and cyanuric acid, combined with other chemicals normally found in a dog or cat’s body, could effect a toxic reaction, I began to wonder if any of the pets that died of tainted food were also on antibiotics or fungicides before their deaths.

    To date I’ve had only a few responses. Please help me conduct this poll which I have added to Itchmo’s website: http://64.79.216.38/~itchmo/forums/index.php?topic=183.msg1254#msg1254

    I would really appreciate your adding your information.

    Comment by Lynn — April 28, 2007 @ 12:06 am

    Comment by Lynn — April 29, 2007 @ 12:04 am

  308. NADINE: I did a ton of research on the patents and the biochemists over a month ago. Go to this link and find my email address and I’ll send you the info.

    http://64.79.216.38/~itchmo/forums/index.php?topic=183.msg1254#msg1254

    Comment by Lynn — April 29, 2007 @ 12:08 am

  309. I mentioned something earlier. Has Mars, Inc. even recalled a product? I don’t remember them doing so. From their site:

    Our brands include PEDIGREE, CESAR, WHISKAS, SHEBA, KITEKAT, TRILL, AQUARIAN and WINERGY.

    I know it’s probably been asked before, but where do they manufacture? Where do they source ingredients? Anyone know?

    Mars owns Royal Canin.

    Comment by Christie Keith — April 29, 2007 @ 12:08 am

  310. Wow! Did not know that one. Thanks Christie! How’s the wrist? I live off of wrist braces, so do yourself a favor. Get one. It’ll help…One of the ones around just your wrists are good for when you’re typing or doing anything needing some flexibility but support. AND Tylenol for Arthritis might help.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 29, 2007 @ 12:21 am

  311. I have no idea where Mars manufactures. I did find out that American Nutrition manufactures for about 175 labels. So, says:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/oreo1/petition.html

    They’re not listed on the National Render’s website.

    Here it is on their website:

    http://www.mars.com/global/Mars+Directory/United+States/Masterfoods+USA.htm

    Manufacturing facilities are located in Albany, Georgia; Burr Ridge, Chicago and Mattoon, Illinois; Cleveland, Tennessee; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Greenville, Mississippi; Greenville and Waco, Texas; Hackettstown, New Jersey; Henderson and Reno, Nevada; and Vernon, California.

    On the Petcare side, Masterfoods USA markets complete diets for cats and dogs, a variety of pet snacks and treats, and a complete line of prescription diets. These high quality products are marketed in the U.S. under PEDIGREE Brand and CESAR Brand (for dogs); WHISKAS Brand and SHEBA Brand (for cats); and WALTHAM Diets for both dogs and cats. These Petcare brands support humane societies and animal shelters across the country to promote responsible pet ownership and to encourage the adoption of the millions of homeless pets in the United States

    Comment by Kat — April 29, 2007 @ 12:22 am

  312. I wonder if anyone’s done a tree diagram…companies and from one end to the other. I know there’s been a lot of talk about who owns what, but a visual would be helpful.

    Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 29, 2007 @ 12:25 am

  313. I don’t know what they do at these plants, they may farm the pet food out.

    Comment by Kat — April 29, 2007 @ 12:27 am

  314. You would think by now I would not cringe whenever I hear or read that only 16 [or 18 on a “good” day] deaths have occurred. How can those disgustingly small numbers possibly NOT affect any of us?

    On a few occasions I suggested that Gina send me a copy of the database that contains the death and illness information for the deceased and sick pets. I want to remove the sensitive ownership info, clean up the file, remove redundancies, and create a professional document, complete with stats. Once completed, it should be forwarded to targeted news media at all major broadcast networks in major cities, to known reporters, AP, etc.

    My feeling is that once they see that we’re not pulling numbers out of the air, they might actually begin thinking Pet Connection’s numbers are indeed credible.

    I believe we should assemble a task team to personally contact specific reporters, station managers, and particularly AP, and present them with the database.

    I really believe the absence of news media attention is hurting us terribly. [I am not referring to television show hosts as they are often mandated to not become involved with any issue to which a station advertiser/sponsor might object.]

    Do you think this is worth a shot?

    Comment by Lynn — April 29, 2007 @ 12:28 am

  315. ***** !BEWARE! *****

    It looks like MannaPro may be sneaking this recall. Not on FDA site! Vet warning at the end. Someone’s baby goat died from drinking this milk! I just sent the FDA webmaster an email about not being on their website.

    MannaPro Uni-Milk RECALL (replacement milk for pets, goats, etc):

    http://www.mannapro.com/uni_milk_notice.html
    http://www.mannapro.com/uni-milk.htm

    Tractor Supply doesn’t even have an alert message & had it on their shelves after the recall:

    Tractor Supply: http://tinyurl.com/ytjjog

    http://www.dogster.com/forums/Food_and_Nutrition/thread/403373

    Comment by Kat — April 29, 2007 @ 12:37 am

  316. Comment by Krystal Kubichek — April 29, 2007 @ 12:25 am

    Krystal – excellent idea. I started putting one together [database form] then got side tracked. You’re welcome to what I have if you pursue this.

    See my posting at 11:56PM.

    Comment by Lynn — April 29, 2007 @ 12:38 am

  317. Wow! Did not know that one. Thanks Christie! How’s the wrist? I live off of wrist braces, so do yourself a favor. Get one. It’ll help…One of the ones around just your wrists are good for when you’re typing or doing anything needing some flexibility but support. AND Tylenol for Arthritis might help.

    Thanks, it’s much better. I do use a brace when I sleep when it’s flaring… it’s the liveblogging that does it, usually I’m fine!

    Comment by Christie Keith — April 29, 2007 @ 12:43 am

  318. RE Comment by Christie Keith — April 29, 2007 @ 12:08 am

    Christie: It comes as no surprise that Mars, Inc., owns Royal Canin. It’s pretty common for like-products and corporations with similar distribution channels and supply chains to be co-mingled.

    Comment by Lynn — April 29, 2007 @ 12:43 am

  319. CHRISTIE,

    Try an orth surgeon and have him inject Kenalog. Don’t have anyone but an orth surgeon do this.

    Comment by Lynn — April 29, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  320. I like that idea, Lynn!

    I’ve worked on just about everything:

    ~ FDA – know the site pretty well

    ~ Food Brokers [e.g., ChemNutra, Wilbur-Ellis] – worked on them some

    ~ Pet Food Recall Lists [Anomalies, issues] — kept up since day one, until Fri. I’m working on a spreadsheet (in my head)

    ~ Pet Food Manufacturers [Need a database here] — I’ve been thinking of putting on a spreadsheet on OpenOffice.

    ~ Patents — none

    ~ Timelines — working on

    ~ Hearings — stayed on top of most + have gov links for writing

    ~ Biochemistry [Melamine, Urea, NPN’s…] — some

    ~ Labs, Forensics — some

    ~ Chinese BioChemists: Background — quite a bit esp with the world market sites & their websites. Binzhou Futian has 4 business names

    ~ News Media — ? not much until lately, but stay on top of it.

    ~ Home Made Foods: Recipes Been cooking for my 5 since the recall + home baked “cookies” for years

    ~ Many Other topics
    — email campaigns about news events;
    — talk to others;
    — manufacturer’s “truth-in-labeling” target phone calls

    I’ll do something. I’ve been thinking of doing something on my own, but I’ll do something here, if that’s what they want. I try to stay on top of everything going on. I am obsessed, as many others!

    Comment by Kat — April 29, 2007 @ 1:00 am

  321. RE Comment by Kat — April 29, 2007 @ 1:00 am

    Kat:

    I’ve got tons of data I’ve been collecting and it’s fairly well organized….well, kind of. LIke you, I’ve had certain topics that had my fingers flying for hours on end.

    I just felt so badly when I saw Nadine’s posting today about the chinese biochemists’ patent info, etc. I’ve had that infor for over a month – and a lot of other info that relates.

    Comment by Lynn — April 29, 2007 @ 1:11 am

  322. I spent a very interesting 30 minutes talking on the phone to Katherine Jakobitz, who is with Ontario, CA’s FDA branch. She heads up the Pet med/Vet division. She was very nice, personable, and seemed to be sincere. She has 2 dogs and is just as worried as we all are about her pet’s health. She told me that the FDA has had > than 50% of their agents working on pet food recall for at least the last 3 weeks. I asked her why the FDA persists in quoting 16 dead pets when we all know the numbers are in the thousands, and that the 16 were the animals that Menu did lab tests on. She gave me the answer that I expected, that the FDA is an agency based on scientific facts, and since autopsy based data is almost non existant in this case, they continue to quote what’s been “proven”. We were talking about the links between the different pet food companies, and it was disturbing to me that she wasn’t aware of some of the companies (Wellness, Natura, etc) that had some products produced by Menu. She asked me where I got my information, and I gave her the petfood.com website. Guess the FDA doesn’t surf the net. Must not be scientific enough. Overall, she seemed to be open, concerned, and not glib or smooth at all. She was also convinced that neither Natural Balance nor Blue Buffalo had been aware of American Nutrition’s actions re: rice protein.

    Comment by joyce — April 29, 2007 @ 1:15 am

  323. About the numbers – I’ve said that all along: they won’t release the numbers until they’ve checked, double checked, then tripled plus, made sure all the i’s are dotted, the t’s are crossed… then, it’ll go to editing. In 2009 we MIGHT get the conclusion that although there were substances likely to cause injury or death, it cannot be substantiated.

    ChemNutro & Wilbur, et al will all get a slap on the hand — for their misdemeanor’s & they’ll keep on chunking out crap.

    Comment by Kat — April 29, 2007 @ 1:26 am

  324. Joyce: Thanks for sharing the Canadian FDA outlook.
    nite!

    Comment by Kat — April 29, 2007 @ 1:30 am

  325. My dogs always preferred to have their bones in their crates. They liked the privacy and security. If your dogs aren’t crate trained I would think an x-pen or playpen would work, you can always put an old rug down (bathmat) to protect the carpeting. (Just using that past tense makes me blue.)

    Comment by Nancy Nielsen — April 29, 2007 @ 4:53 am

  326. IMPORTANT!!!
    Earlier someone said to just put food down and wait for the animals to eat, that they won’t starve themselves. That might work for dogs but cats will ~ and can develop fatty liver disease which can be deadly. When CJ had ARF she stopped eating and had to have a feeding tube inserted in her neck. The vets were very concerned about her developing fatty liver disease in addition to everything else. A cat cannot go very long without food. If you need more information about this, please check it out. Anorexic cats can die very quickly.

    Comment by dottie — April 29, 2007 @ 6:06 am

  327. I don’t have the Dog but I have the Food that killed him. FDA Proves to me that they hide behind right along with these Pet Food Manufacturers and do nothing. I think now, they are just as guilty as the Pet Food Companies. I don’t trust the Pet Food Companies because they lie and further more I don’t care if they put GOLD in there dog food. I WON’T BUY IT AND I WON’T TRUST THEM ANYMORE.

    Comment by Georgeann Heckman — April 29, 2007 @ 6:25 am

  328. This got burried overnight, so I’m posting it once more here and invite you to come on over to the thread at itchmo to post your medical costs…

    Hey everybody! E. Hamilton had a great idea to organize a lot of the information that is coming in here by breaking it down into smaller specific topics. We’ll use itchmo’s forum since it is easier to organize a thread over there. She’s asking for volunteers to take various subjects.

    SO… I just started a new topic on the forum. Medical Costs for Treating Affected Pets. Please start posting. Be as specific as you can. If possible, itemize. If you must estimate, please indicate that it is an estimate. This information will be used to demonstrate the economic impact on all of us. Let’s get this rolling!

    Comment by Marilyn — April 29, 2007 @ 6:43 am

  329. Regarding the numbers… The fact that the FDA and the media have kept repeating those low numbers when we know there are so many more is part of what drove me to help organize the postcard blitz to change the reporting.

    There WILL be more confirmed deaths and illnesses. That is already happening within the scientific community. The scientific community does have to work with facts — that is their job. As a vet tech, the scientist in me understands that and supports that. (When I’m working in the vet clinic, that is my job too.) And on behalf of all of us and our pets, it is important that they do that. The information they gather, the protocols and treatments that they develop from all of this may help all of our pets in unforeseen ways in times to come. From the AVMA page for veterinarians, they have criteria for confirming a case from contaminated food… “Cases should meet two of the following four criteria: (1) known exposure to one of the recalled pet foods, (2) histologic lesions consistent with crystal-induced tubular nephrosis (pictures are posted on the AAVLD Web site), (3) urinalysis with crystals (also posted on the site), and (4) chemical confirmation of the presence of melamine or other marker chemicals in pet food, tissues, or urine.”

    HOWEVER, for reporting purposes, the FDA and the media can also look at other information like the number of phone calls they are getting, the self-reported cases here at Pet Connection, the surveys being done by state vet associations and VIN, and on and on. There is no reason why they can’t report that the number of presently confirmed deaths appears to be only the tip of the iceberg, that there could be many more, and so on. Even the scientific community uses the term “suspicious” for cases that are as yet unconfirmed. Unfortunately, too many of the media are focusing too much on those low numbers and not reporting the whole story. I’d also like them to talk more about how many people will not be able to prove anything because the delays in issuing recalls resulted in the proof being destroyed before anyone knew what to keep or even what to test for.

    On the bright side, there are those who are and who have been doing a great job, like Lisa McCormick at Consumer Affairs. There are others, too.

    The word is getting out, but we have to keep the pressure on or the story will die.

    Comment by Marilyn — April 29, 2007 @ 7:22 am

  330. Cats can literally starve themselves to death. Late last Feb we adopted a 6 yr old who had been in rescue for 1 month. He came to rescue weighing 17#. A month later when we got him he weighed 15#. We fed a combo of dry Nature’s Variety and HILL SCIENCE DIET M/D. He was a picky eater. Think the elderly lady who owned may have fed his chicken or junk food. Took him back to the vet on 3/28 for shots and noticed he was now 13#. He dropped weight too fast too soon. On 3/29 he died at the vet clinic. A necropsy showed he died from fatty liver disease. His liver was absorbing the fat in his body as a result of his not eatting. Vet did not visually see any problems with his kidneys. My thoughts are that the little he did eat may have been the Science Diet. The recall for the M/D came out too late for him. Please do not let kitties starve themselves. It takes patience and creativity. Currently working on getting our 6 to transition to raw. No answers yet on any tricks.

    Comment by elliott — April 29, 2007 @ 7:55 am

  331. I can’t come to grips wtih it! With the global market tanking, I’ve lost a lot of bread in my stock funds (I’m certain I’m not the sole person one here)!

    My predicament is – I may be required to reduce the amount of supplements I’m consuming to ease the pain of this loss.

    Anyone else experiencing this kind of “budget consciousness?”

    Comment by crenshawheavyiron — October 13, 2008 @ 2:18 am

  332. I’ve been reading all your information here with a mixture of awe at your proactivity and knowledge – and absolute horror at what you’ve uncovered. I knew about the pet food recalls, but was lulled by the comfort of knowing my cat’s food was not on the list.

    I found your site today by accident, attempting to check out whether or not a new food, Royal Canin Siamese Formula, is safe for my cat, Minkey. I recently tried it on him, and it certainly spectacularly solved a 13-year vomiting problem that did not resolve during an endless round of all sorts of foods and diets in succession – “natural”, raw, home-cooked OR commercial – and much veterinary input and proactivity from me.

    Now I am wondering if Royal Canin Siamese Formula – if any commercial cat food – is safe on other levels. I can see I have a good bit of work to do before I can relax about it (or switch yet again.)

    Speaking of companies changing formulas and quietly taking over previously dependable brands… Minkey’s problem started in 1999, when as a 4-year-old, he suddenly started throwing up his Iams premium cat food – and rapidly and visibly stopped thriving on it. We suspected a formula change, and switched – but it was an eye-opener to read here that Iams was taken over in 1999 by Proctor & Gamble.

    It seems it’s not enough to really love your pet any more and buy him “premium” vet-recommended foods – you have to be a diligent scientist and nutritionist too. Yet another complication of 21st century life.

    Thank you for all the mind-numbing information, and for letting me have my say. I’ll be checking your forum constantly from now on.

    Comment by Mill — January 18, 2009 @ 8:49 am

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