Blue Buffalo Menadione Update

Itchmo inquired about the controversial ingredient menadione in Blue Buffalo’s products as some readers were asking about the status. The Vitamin K additive (that was banned from human supplements) was removed in October of last year, but due to leftover packaging, it continues to be listed in some cases.

More info on the menadione controversy.

Full response after the jump.

BLUE elected to eliminate any worry from our loyal pet parents and removed Mendadione (sic) from our formulas as of Oct 06. Unfortunately we still have some old packaging inventory that is the process of being used up. This is standard industry practice and is allowed by both the FDA and AFFCO as high quality packaging materials are very expensive.

66 Responses to “Blue Buffalo Menadione Update”

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  1. JollyCat says:

    Can I ask a question? Why do people think the media isn’t covering this more? Not even about our food for people in general even? When I read things here I keep thinking that someone who did real research and then did a report about it would set things straight. Someone mentioned Bill O’ Reilly. Anderson Cooper? He seems like the kind of guy who would take things like the menadione and other things I read about and report. But is this just not political enough for them, because this seems to be really political in a lot of ways. Anyone else wonder about why television and newspapers do not or does this go to fast for them or what.

  2. Lorie says:

    Sorry for the miss quote on NB being grain free, my point really was you cannot really depend on any of them at the moment to be totally honest they are all scrambling for damage control.

    I just went thru almost 2 cats of solid gold tuna since I got home from work this evening, my cats are loving it but who knows what tomorrow holds.

  3. Evy says:

    Stephan ~

    Nikki is right and that is the bottom line. I have an AAFCO manual sitting on my desk to prove it. Menadione in dog food is verboten and nowhere in the AAFCO nutrient profile does it indicate that menadione is indicated.

    If you look at the cat food nutrient profile, the only time K3 is called for is if fish is over 25% of the diet and that is only in the model for dry food. I can guarantee there is no dry cat food out there that remotely approaches that level.

    I used to get methionine confused with menadione and all of the talk about it this last month - I will never do that again!!!

    You are changing the subject and not addressing Nikki directly. The sad truth is that menadione is on many dog food labels. Seeing something on a label doesn’t make it right.

    Toxicity isn’t the issue. Complying with regulations is and on this one, Nikki has you nailed per the AAFCO regs. Just say you are sorry, you were wrong and drop it okay?

  4. elliott says:

    thank you Traci

  5. Traci says:

    I am cranky at this point, I could have said it nicer. If the companies want vitamin K added, why no K1 or K2–am I sensing that they add menadione because it’s cheap? Evy?

  6. elliott says:

    There is no media attention to this because 1) advertising dollars may be lost for negative coverage by the media pertaining to a paying advertiser. 2) there are still only 16 reported pet deaths. 3) it is not sensational enough in their viewpoint. 4) local stations only care if it affects the local area. 5) they apparently view this as yesterday’s news.

  7. Evy says:

    Traci ~

    You don’t have the market cornered on cranky, so no worries :)

    The AAFCO manual calls for K3 specifically and NOT menadione. And it specifies that it is called for in DRY diets containing over 25% fish. There is no such beast out there. I will need to talk with my nutritionist (again!!) about what the appropriate method of K3 would be IF there would be a dry diet that had over 25% fish, but honestly, since no food is even in that category, the use of menadione or K3 is not called for in either dry dog or cat food.

    Ever since this issue has surfaced, I have been amazed at reading ingredient labels of so many DOG foods that have it listed.

    Vitamin K is NOT indicated for any dog or cat food (ok, am I repeating myself lol) per the AAFCO nutrient profile - and I’ve got the book sitting here on my desk. So what form is a moot point.

    The last few weeks have been so intense, I’ve walked into a room in my house WAY too many times and stood there trying to remember what I was going in there for the first place. I think we’re all a bit worn thin right now and a bit edgy about more recalls looming as well.

    JollyCat raised a good question by the way and elliott has some good points. But it does seem like the warm and fuzzy pet food commercials have all gone away for now. The media and industry may be in bed together; I have NO idea why there are so few deaths reported; and man, if they really do think this is yesterday’s news elliott, they are in for some rude awakenings ya think?

    Warm hugs to FurAngels friends. I think we all have to hunker down for the longhaul with this mess.

  8. Evy says:


    Please pass along the advice of contacting your local Department of Agriculture. Even though they normally deal with horse, pig, cow, goat, etc. feeds, THEY are the ones you pay in your state to help with the “feed” that goes into animals and what has hurt them.

    Calling the FDA obviously is an exercise in futility at this point.

    People need to contact their state officials via their own Dept. of Ag. to start registering complaints. This is what they do, that is their job and what you pay them for. I think they might be more proactive, considering that maybe they won’t the FDA getting on THEM for not listening to YOU.

    Make sense??

    Please copy and paste like crazy ok?

    Maybe if the Dept. of Ag’s needed to start logging these complaints, there would be a tangible trail to follow. And I don’t mean your state veterinarian, I mean the Dept. of Ag. specific.

    Tell them, I fed XXXX to my XXXX and XXXX is what happened. It doesn’t have to be anything that resulted in death. Just BAD FOOD that did a BAD THING can be reported.

    Spread the word and let’s try this approach!

  9. Another worried cat mom says:

    I agree that there’s hardly any media attention. Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN was covering this for a while, but I haven’t heard much more than a 10 second blip in the past couple of weeks.

    Almost every local news program has a webpage. Find yours. Email them. Ask them to cover this story. Tell them you want to know what the FDA is doing now, what menadione is, which companies have tainted gluten, etc… Then email the 24-hour news networks.

    Oprah mentioned on a recent dog that her beloved dog Sophie now has kidney disease. That’s all she said about it. She didn’t mention food or causes. After the lengthy lawsuit she endured from the beef industry, I doubt she’ll ever say anything even remotely negative about any food again. It’s sad because when issues are brought up on the Oprah show, people listen.

  10. Stephan says:

    Evy, how am I not addressing her question? The book is not available to read online, sorry, nothing I can do about that. Go to the nearest university library and read it, or buy it. I posted toxicity data from the same organization. Best I can do. AAFCO states that they don’t object to vitamin K inclusion in dog diets in trace amounts, and recommends for cat diets with fish as you have indicated.

    You know what is even cheaper than menadione, Traci?

    Not adding vitamin K at all! Which is the approach many companies are taking. Or adding some minute sprinkle of a “leafy green” and pretending that you are supplying vitamin K from “natural sources”.

    I just can’t picture the scientific gurus at the big companies that all add menadione - Waltham, Purina, P&G, Colg.Palm etc - sitting around in a meeting with their nutritionists, discussing the situation…”well, let’s see. Menadione is costing us money, and it is killing animals. What do you think, should we leave it in there? Let’s take a vote..” These companies feed a HUGE percentage of pets in North America - millions and millions of animals - if they were killing them in large numbers with menadione, they would know about it. And presumably stop using it. Because what is the benefit to them otherwise?

    AND - If they could get away with taking it out, and saving money, they would. There must be a reason (i.e. recommendations published by world renowned, well respected organization) for leaving it in there.

    I am just trying to use logic here. If anyone can provide logical explanation as to why companies WANT to spend money on a toxic ingredient, I am interested to hear it… probably big companies will start removing it shortly as well, since there appears to be no upside to using it (other than helping out the small percentage of animals in the population with insufficient bacterial synthesis of vitamin K - oh well, so much for them…natural selection at work…)

    Evy et al. - although I realize this is not strictly true if you are a chemist - generally speaking when you see menadione, they are refering to vitamin K3.

    Banned from human supplements primarily because doctors were sloshing huge quantities into the mouths of babies and way overdoing the suggested dose, thereby causing toxicity. Safer versions are available for use in intramuscularly instead of orally. I posted the link to LD50 data for the ingredient in animals - lots or room for safe use in measured quantities, as suggested by NRC.

    Evy, ask to see your “multispecies nutritionist’s” copy of NRC Nutrient requirements of dogs and cats book. Surely he/she has one. You can read their recommendation for supplemental vitamin K in canine diets there. What form of vitamin K are you putting in your diets?

  11. Judy says:

    They don’t mind using up old labels, because they know most people never read labels.
    Maybe this latest nightmare will change things!

  12. Judi says:

    Ok..this is what I found on Newman’s organic dog food….they didn’t tell me that Menu made their canned, but here is what their vet has to say about it anyway…I am going to do my own from now on..and I hope all these big pet food companies choke on all their money!!
    The biggest problem is misinformation,” said Dr. Phil Brown, corporate veterinarian for Newman’s Own Organic Premium Pet Foods, a for-profit pet food company founded by Paul Newman’s daughter, Nell. The company has not had any pet food recalled.

    However, adding to the confusion is the fact that Newman’s canned food is made at Menu Foods. Brown said the company makes it own dry food, but has Menu Foods, the largest canned food manufacturer in the country, make its canned foods.

    “We’re very fortunate we’re organic,” he said. “All of our products have to be done (by Menu) separately,” meaning the machinery to make them “goes through a thorough cleaning process. You cannot mix organic and nonorganic food.”

    Brown and Smith said the best thing pet owners can do is read the labels of any food they buy. They should avoid products containing unnamed animal and vegetable byproducts, wheat gluten and rice protein.

    They should also check the FDA’s Web site regularly to see if any more pet foods have been added to the recall list.

  13. Ruth says:

    Judi, that sounds good in theory but is it really done. Is someone from Newman’s there to actually oversee that the machines are cleaned?
    In the first subcommitte hearings, it was said that inspections were done once or twice a year in a 3 yr. period. It was depended on the honor system of the company to do keep it clean.
    Food was sometimes found to be mixed in with other food.

    The other thing they said was that the machines were cleaned out when processing the regular food from the medicated food. I don’t remember them mentioning the organic food. And I think they were talking about the dry food.

  14. Cheyenne says:

    Just wondering if any of you have checked your “human pantry” lately? My husband and I went through ours checking labels. We found rice protein concentrate in Rice A Roni Fried Rice side dish. There is nothing safe anymore for pets or people.

  15. Christi says:

    Glad to see that the menadione issue has been clarified. Blue has not used it since October.

    I personally don’t like that it is in pet food, however I did a lot of research and talked with my vet clinic. None of their vets have ever encountered a situation related to menadione. As both Blue and my vet said, it takes a lot higher dose of menadione on a more regular basis than is contained in pet food.

    That is why so many companies have managed to keep it in their food in such small doses for so many years.

  16. Christi says:

    Stephan, part of the reason that grains are not used by some companies is because of the potential for allergic reaction. In fact, that is why rice protein is the preferred ingredient, it has very little potential for allergic reaction in a pet. It’s not all about cutting carbs or digestion.

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