Last week, we posted up part 1 of Dr. Sundlof’s interview with Steve Dale of WGN Radio’s Pet Central. Here is the last part of Sundlof’s interview about the pet food recalls.
During the interview, Sundlof said that he doesn’t think that we will ever have a really good number of how many pets became sick or died from the pet food recalls. During the FDA press conferences, he stated that only about 16 deaths could be directly linked to contaminated food from the Menu Foods facility. Sundlof stated that media outlets and blogs misquoted him by saying that only 16 pets had died from tainted food. He knew that more pets were dead and sick, but he just didn’t know exact numbers.
From mid-March through May, over 18,000 calls were made to the FDA. This was twice as many calls as they typically receive in 2 years for all kinds of items ranging from pharmaceuticals to food to medical devices.
Sundlof admitted that the FDA wasn’t prepared for the crisis. Some solutions he suggested were to have trained volunteers to help out in a crisis and to have dedicated toll-free phone lines. Another idea was to have a system in place so scanners at stores won’t ring up products that have been recalled. Sundlof also said that the idea of a CDC for animals is being discussed heavily.
From Steve Dale’s Pet World:
A key problem the FDA had to deal with throughout the months of various recalls were all sorts of erroneous reports which typically began on the Internet, and were often also carried in the mainstream media. One example is the account of acetaminophen (Tylenol) in some foods. â€œThis was actually detected by a laboratory; I believe a result of consumers sending in pet food samples to check for melamine (melamine combined with cyanuric acid was what tainted the pet foods in the first place),â€ says Sundlof. â€œAnd that lab reported back that acetaminophen was found. The FDA asked for and received samples and found no acetaminophen. Additional labs, including the University of California, Davis could not reproduce the finding. We feel confident there is no acetaminophen.â€
Sundlof concedes it will take months before the FDA has at least some estimate of how many animals succumbed or were sickened as a result of eating the contaminated food. He adds, â€œNo matter what that number turns out to be, there were far too many.â€