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New pet food recall — is your pet food on this list?

ASPCA responds to nationwide pet food recall affecting some pet food brands manufactured by Mars Petcare US.

Pet owners are advised to discontinue use of affected products immediately.
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Posted on Monday, September 15th, 2008
Under: Cats, dogs, Pet food, Pet Food Recall, Pet Products | No Comments »

Pet Food: Do you really know what’s in the bag?

The natural food trend appears to be going to the dogs and cats as a means to provide a healthier lifestyle for pets.

According to a recent Greenfield Online study more than half (56.2%) of San Franciscans feed their pet natural foods. Interestingly, 44% of these pet owners began feeding natural foods to their cat or dog in the past year.

But when it comes to pet food, natural doesn’t always mean healthy. This is probably a shock to the 94% of San Franciscans who believe natural foods are somewhat or very healthy.
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Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2008
Under: Cats, dog food, dogs, Natural Pet Food, Pet food | No Comments »


New contaminant found in more pet food
A story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on June 5 reported that a Texas laboratory found varying levels of the pain reliever acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) in dog and cat food samples submitted by worried pet owners and pet food manufacturers. Brand names of the contaminated pet food are not yet available. Keep an eye on the ASPCA’s Pet Food Recall Resource Center (link is below) for updates on this story and hopefully some brand names.

ASPCA discusses toxicity of acetaminophen — reminds pet owners to stay alert
NEW YORK, June 6 — With reports that acetaminophen has been found in brands of cat and dog food not included on the Menu Foods recall list, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals today reminded pet parents that vigilance is the key to keeping their pets safe and healthy — coupled with a strong dose of common sense.

“Though reports of dogs and cats poisoned from the Menu Foods recall seem to have abated, this news is extremely worrying,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, a board-certified toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), located in its Midwest Office in Urbana, Ill.

“Our data show that if an average-sized cat ingests as little as one extra-strength acetaminophen pain-reliever caplet and is not treated in time, it can suffer fatal consequences,” continued Dr. Hansen.

“At this point, we have very little information as to the actual level and concentration of this reported contamination, so it’s extremely important to be able to recognize any potential warning signs of this kind of poisoning.” However, early information on this contamination suggests that concentration levels are not high enough to have an adverse effect on most dogs; cats are more at-risk.

** NOTE: The most common effects of acetaminophen poisoning in cats include swelling of the face and paws; depression; weakness; and difficulty in breathing. “We also see a condition called ‘cyanosis,’” said Dr. Hansen, “which is literally when their gums and tongue start turning a muddy color due to the lack of oxygen.”

Until more information is provided by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the ASPCA urges pet parents to keep an eye out for any signs of illness in their pets, and also report any changes in dietary consumption or behavior to their veterinarian immediately.

You can read this complete article on the ASPCA Website at:

The ASPCA continues to monitor the pet food recall situation, and is providing regular updates and advice for pet parents at its Pet Food Recall Resource Center at

If you are thinking about preparing home-cooked meals for your pets, the ASPCA recommends that you do so in consultation with your veterinarian.

You can also visit the “Pet Care: Nutrition Tips” page on the ASPCA’s Web site at:

Posted on Friday, June 8th, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »


Your questions about homemade pet food diets
I checked with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York. They have been monitoring the pet food recall situation VERY closely ever since it started.

The ASPCA has also received numerous inquiries from concerned pet caretakers regarding the safety of homemade diets. People are concerned about using commercial pet food because of the continuing recall situation.

In response to your questions, ASPCA toxicologists and veterinarians are urging you to fully research homemade diets before pulling out the chef’s hat. You can find more on the subject of homemade pet food at:

The ASPCA continues to encourage all pet owners to regularly visit the ASPCA Pet Food Recall Resource Center for the latest updates on the on-going crisis. Yes, things are unfortunately still happening on this front.

There’s LOTS of information at the Pet Food Recall Resource Center at:

Posted on Friday, June 1st, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »

Broiler chickens fed pet food scraps contaminated with melamine

Contaminated chickens then sold for human consumption
A copyrighted story by Rick Weiss of the Washington Post today says as least 2.5 million broiler chickens from an Indiana producer were fed pet food scraps contaminated with the chemical melamine and subsequently sold for human consumption.

Here are some quotes from Weiss’ story. The boldfaced words are mine, to emphasize the words:

“Officials emphasized that they do not believe the tainted chicks — or the smaller number of contaminated pigs that were previously reported to have entered the human food supply — pose any risk for the people who ate them.”

“None of the farm animals is known to have become sick from the food, and very little of the contaminant is suspected of having accumulated in their tissues. Thus, no recall of any products that may still be on store shelves or in people’s freezers is planned, officials said.”

So, the FDA officials do not believe that the 2.5+ million contaminated chickens pose any risk to the people who ate them.

They say none of the animals is known to have become sick.

And they say very little of the melamine is suspected of having accumulated in farm animal tissues.

Do not believe … is known … is suspected … are not what you call scientific statements. They’re just plain old guesses. And based on those plain old guesses, none of the contaminated chickens that might still be out there in stores or in your freezer, have been recalled.

You’d think that anything contaminated with melamine at this point would be recalled, just to be on the safe side, especially human foods. The FDA still doesn’t know why the mildly-toxic melamine is killing cats. Maybe it’s reacting with something else in the food. It’s called synergism, “the simultaneous action of separate ‘agencies’ (chemicals, drugs, etc.) which, together, have greater total effect than the sum of the individual effects.”

If this kind of thing can happen with pet food, couldn’t it also happen with human food?

Those FDA guys don’t get it, do they?

Rick Weiss’ story ends by saying: “Officials said the FDA has received 17,000 reports of pets that owners believe were sickened or killed by contaminated chow. About 8,000 reports, roughly half of them involving animals that died, have been formally entered into the FDA’s tracking system so far for further analysis.”

And so it goes.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »

The contaminated pet food story continues: hogs and poultry also got tainted food

Is the human food supply also at risk?
In today’s Boston Globe, a story by Diedtra Henderson of the Globe Staff reported, “Thousands of hogs in at least five states and poultry at a Missouri farm ate salvage pet food that had been laced with an industrial chemical, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday, opening potential avenues for the contaminant to enter the human food supply.”

In addition, the FDA is testing rice protein concentrate for a second contaminant, cyanuric acid, a chemical used as a pool cleaner that is high in nitrogen. The Globe story says the FDA’s theory is that rogue suppliers in China added melamine and other compounds to inferior protein products, artificially inflating their nitrogen content and price.

Another wire story today by Associated Press writer Andrew Bridges said it was not immediately clear if any hogs that ate the tainted feed, then entered the food supply for humans.

According to today’s AP story, “The FDA also said it planned to begin testing a wide variety of vegetable proteins at firms that imported the ingredients to make everything from pizza dough to infant formula, and protein shakes to energy bars. The ingredient list includes wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein and rice bran.”

The AP story said Dr. David Acheson, chief medical officer within the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, “stressed that there was no evidence any of the other vegetable proteins had been contaminated, but that the FDA wanted to ‘get ahead of the curve’ and raise awareness among manufacturers.”

You can read the complete Boston Globe story by Diedtra Henderson at:

Please excuse me, but I have to leave now. We can continue this chat tomorrow.

I have to go water my garden … and pick out a spot in my back yard to build the new chicken coop.

Posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »


Humane Society of the United States sets up Pet Food Safety Information Line
The Humane Society of the United States has just set up a regularly updated pet food safety information line with the most up-to-the-minute pet food recall information, including a list of all companies involved in the recall and ways to determine if your pet’s food was affected.

By calling 1-800-Humane-1 (1-800-486-2631), you’ll hear a short personal message from HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle, and can then choose from among these three areas:
** Updated recall information on pet food and treats;
** Tips on what you can do to protect your pets;
** How you can help.

Concerned pet guardians can also visit The HSUS on-line pet food safety center at

“Pets are cherished members of our family and they deserve high-quality, safe, nutritious food,” said Pacelle.

We should all keep in mind that 60 percent of U.S. households have pets, so this recall affects millions.

The HSUS also supports efforts by several members of Congress to find out exactly what happened and how it can be prevented in the future. We need to get going on this because I don’t think this problem is going to be resolved for a very … long … time. I think we’re only looking at the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

You can find out more about The HSUS and its many animal-related programs at

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »


Melamine found to contaminate a second pet food ingredient, expanding the recall further
Associated Press wire story, April 18, by Andrew Bridges:

WASHINGTON (AP) — An industrial chemical that led to a nationwide recall of more than 100 brands of cat and dog foods has been found to contaminate a second pet food ingredient, expanding the recall further.

The chemical, melamine, is believed to have contaminated rice protein concentrate used to make a variety of Natural Balance Pet Foods products for both dogs and cats, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. Previously, the chemical was found to contaminate another ingredient, wheat gluten, used by at least six other pet food and treat manufacturers.

Natural Balance said it was recalling all its Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, its Venison and Brown Rice dog treats and its Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.

The Pacoima, Calif., company said recent laboratory tests showed the products contain melamine. It believes the source of the contaminant was rice protein concentrate, which the company recently added to the dry venison formulas. Natural Balance does not use wheat gluten, which was associated with the previous melamine contamination, it said.

Last month, Menu Foods recalled 60 million cans of dog and cat food after the deaths of 16 pets, mostly cats, that ate its products. The FDA said tests indicated the food was contaminated with melamine, used in making plastics and other industrial processes. Five other companies later recalled pet products also made with wheat gluten tainted by the chemical.

The FDA has since blocked Chinese imports of wheat gluten. An FDA spokeswoman did not immediately return messages left seeking comment.

** What is the FDA doing about the pet food recall situation? Plus LOTS of other pertinent information can be found at

Menu Foods has also added another pet food to its pet food recall list:
The product is Natural Life dog food with a date on the bottom of the can of Nov/22/09 and UPC number of 12344-07114. Do NOT feed this to your pets.

** A complete, updated list of all recalled Menu Foods products can be seen at

Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2007
Under: Pet food | No Comments »

Organic Pet Foods

Is organic pet food the way to go?

RECALL UPDATE: Menu Foods has again expanded its recall of contaminated pet food by adding more kinds of cat food. You can find a list of ALL the recalled foods at

Here are some interesting quotes relating to the pet food recall and organic pet foods, from a story by Katie Zezima from the New York Times News Service on Wednesday, April 11:

“For pet food to be labeled organic, at least 95 percent of the ingredients must be certified organic for human consumption, said Andrea Caroe, chairwoman of the National Organic Standards Board, which is part of the FDA.”

“Andi Brown, founder of Halo Pet Foods, which says it takes a holistic approach to pet care, selling food made from human-grade ingredients as well as herbal grooming aids and supplements, said sales of certain food products had increased more than 90 percent since mid-March. Internet orders have doubled, Brown said.” You can learn more about Halo at
(Now Available: Andi Brown’s New Book: “The Whole Pet Diet; Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs & Cats,” forward by Richard Pitcairn, DVM. Published by Celestian Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA … 510-559-1600 …

“Brad Weasner, who runs, which sells natural pet products, says food sales had more than doubled. ‘I’ve always worked seven days a week, but since the pet food recalls I’ve never worked so many hours.’”

“John Gigliotti, owner of, which sells natural dog, cat and bird food, says business was up 30 percent to 40 percent, spurred mostly by word of mouth. Many customers he talks to are disturbed that officials still do not know whether the melamine made pets sick, he said, and Gigliotti said he thought the recall would lead to a long-term rise in organic pet food sales. ‘When the dust settles and we know what happened, it will simply reinforce what we’ve been talking about for years, which is economy-minded manufacturers use economy ingredients.’ Gigliotti said. “Now people want to know all the behind-the-scenes stuff.’”

If anyone has anything they’d like to add to the above, just click on “Comments” below and type away.

Posted on Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
Under: Pet food | 1 Comment »


I’m reprinting this here in my blog in case you didn’t read it in my Sunday column:

Why is it so difficult to get accurate information?
So where are we with this horrible pet food recall mess that seems to be responsible for the deaths of unknown numbers of our beloved cats and dogs?

First of all, why are those desperately important numbers still unknown?

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know these things? Especially to the many hundreds or thousands of veterinarians and pet owners who are apparently still trying to care for and treat these poor animals?

The FDA has still confirmed only 16 pet deaths due to the tainted pet food recall.


** The College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University is investigating 43 suspected cases of pets that died from eating tainted pet food (New York Times, by Katie Zezima, April 6).

** The Michigan State Veterinary Medical Association reports 46 dead pets. Oregon State Veterinary Medical Association reports 35 dead pets (Washington Post, by Patricia Sullivan, April 5).

And that’s only two state veterinary medical associations out of 50!

**, a Web site for pet owners said that as of last Thursday it had received 3,240 reports of pet deaths (Kansas City Star, by Jennifer Mann, April 6).

The above is only a drop in the bucket. This is HUGE. So where are we?

The Chinese government said last Thursday that no wheat gluten had been exported to the U.S. The Chinese company that the FDA says supplied Menu Foods with the tainted wheat gluten denies it ever shipped them the stuff. Eh?

And the FDA appears so befuddled, it looks like the media knows more than it does. Now that’s scary.

I never thought I’d find myself saying this, but, “Hey, Congress, where are you now that we need you? We need a Congressional hearing!”

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2007
Under: Pet food | 4 Comments »