The FDA announced that it’s investigation did not reveal the rat poison found by the NY lab, but instead found melamine — a fertilizer known to be fatal to rats. They also indicated that “pet food poison may be in dry food, too.” FDA said another company used the wheat gluten from China in dry food, yet the FDA is withholding that company’s name.
UPDATE 2: The dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University said that they were unable to find aminopterin, and that the discovery was reported to the FDA on March 26 and 27. (PetConnection) Why does the FDA continue to repeatedly wait until Friday to release the news? (A.k.a. “Take out the garbage day.“)
Howl911 has an excellent summary of the affects of melamine.
UPDATE: The ASPCA, who cautioned against the assumption of a single toxin, announced this:
â€œMelamine at high doses causes a pronounced diuretic affect in dogs and rats, as well as the development of crystals in their urine,â€ said Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCAâ€™s Midwest Office, including its Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). â€œThe twist in the tale is that melamine itself has a very high safety margin, especially when compared with a toxin such as aminopterin.
â€œCats, however, are a very sensitive species, and can react adversely to many chemicals and drugs,â€ continued Dr. Hansen. â€œBecause of their unique physiology, we suspect that they may also be more sensitive to the adverse effects of melamine.
â€œFurther, crystals in urine have been reported by veterinary diagnosticians and clinicians in some of the pets affected by the contaminated foods. However, the direct connection between melamine and renal failure, especially in cats, is not clear and requires additional investigation.â€
More from the AP story on the FDA press conference after the jump.
“Government testing found a chemical used to make plastics in recalled pet food linked to the deaths of dogs and cats, officials said Friday,” according to the Associated Press. “The Food and Drug Administration said it found melamine in samples of the Menu Foods pet food, as well as in wheat gluten used as an ingredient. Cornell University scientists also have found the chemical, also used as a fertilizer, in the urine of sick cats, as well as in the kidney of one cat that died after eating the company’s wet food.”
What is melamine? The safety sheet for this chemical says it is a white crystalline solid that has proved toxic in lab tests on rabbits and rats. AP says it is used as fertilizer in Asia.
“New York officials have detected melamine as well, though it’s not clear how that chemical would have poisoned pets,” the wire service reports.
What is melamine?
Here’s our two cents: There’s certainly an amazing amount of info still missing. What really irks me is the FDA’s attitude of “we know what’s best for you”. They’re withholding possibly life-saving data for a reason we cannot comprehend. The public’s safety is #1. BY FAR. What good is there (after hundreds or thousands of deaths) to say, “Sorry, we won’t give you the tools to make the safe decision.” What happened to serving the public and an abundance of caution?
NOTE: PETA has been calling for an investigation into dry food.
(Thanks SusanUnPC, Russ, and Kam for your contribution!)