LA Times Profiles Us And Other Pet Bloggers

LA Times profiles us, other wonderful pet bloggers and a few of our readers. (Reg. req.) Yes, this is an issue that involves democrats and republicans alike.

Unlike many other news stories uncovered or driven by bloggers and Web denizens, this one doesn’t have an easy red state-blue state divide. The pet food issue is nonpartisan — or as nonpartisan as anything on the unfettered Internet can be.

The FDA’s count of calls related to the recall has grown to 21,000.

We’re not letting it get to our heads. We promise.

45 Responses to “LA Times Profiles Us And Other Pet Bloggers”

  1. SMITH111 says:

    Please take time to listen to this video reagrding the SAFETY OF OUR FUTURE FOOD and sign the Petition, if you agree.

  2. Joan says:

    Thank you Itchmo and family - you have changed my life and my dear pets life. My we all live longer and enjoy our way to a healthier life.

  3. Steve says:

    Boycott China

  4. Susan says:

    Itchmo is wonderful! My pets and I thank you for all the timely info.

  5. Rick says:

    Way to go itchmo! Thank you for being there every step of the way!

  6. Barbara says:

    I said it once, I said it twice and I’ll say it a million times over, “Thank you Itchmo. ” A day doesn ‘t go by that I don’t check out your site. Brewski and Mona thank you too for helping their Mom learn to be a more educated pet food/people food consumer. We are all eating healthier here.

  7. DENNI says:

    thanks itchmo,petconnection,howl911 and other pet sites.
    y’all did an awesome job keeping up with the latest news and updates…I would also like to thank the readers and posters who provided invaluable excellent sources/links and other helpful information.

    I mentioned on another forum had this happened 15 years ago we would all be in the dark thinking the pet-food scare was over and only “16″ animals died…let alone anything about the contamination spread to the human food-supply and the more insidious problem of imported toxic food
    proteins from China.

    the power of the internet has turned the tides on “big-brother”.

  8. Debbie4747 says:

    Their online barking is being heard in Washington’s halls of power, including the Food and Drug Administration and Capitol Hill. They have the numbers to howl loudly: Americans own 73 million dogs and 90 million cats.
    I love the “online barking”, LOL! But seriously, this site and the others have been a true godsend in keeping up with what info and recalls are out there. I leave this site up all the time and check in often. Not only does it have up to date info, other bloggers provide , a place to vent and compare notes, but there are other terrifc areas of interest that I hope everyone is looking at too.
    Ben you’re doing a wonderful job with this site!

  9. YaYa says:

    Thank You Ben {I don’t know How you do it :-D } and fellow Posters!

    I’d say in fighing this fiasco, we’ve all been “Itchmoed” :-P

    Can you say= “Ahhhhhhh, that’s feeling better” :-D

  10. Bridgett says:

    I agree with everyone else! You are doing a wonderful job of keeping all of us pet-owners, from not just Seattle but even here in NM, informed on the pet food scandals. I visit your site everyday for updates and…more cute pet photos!

    Keep up the good work!!!

  11. kellie says:

    Reading that part about Masie and her cat made me burt into tears and run and hug my kitty.
    I am SO thankful everyday that i haven’t lost either of my kitties in this mess.

    One did display a few symptoms after eating a little of a NB dry sample from my pet store THAT WAS NOT RECALLED. He only ate a little bit and i got rid of it immediately when he started acting lethargic and drinking more.

    Back on his other food he was fine the next day.
    I’ve been out of work on disability after hand surgery so I didn’t have the money to get him tested and he seems fine. I return to work later this week and after my regular pay kicks back in I’m taking him in for a full work up for his liver and kidneys just to be sure he’s ok.

  12. Ruth says:

    Thanks Itchmo, Pet Connection, Howl911 and all the other pet sites. They are finally hearing us. All the big newspapers out there let people know its not over but human food is in danger too.

    Reading this article brings tears to my eyes, knowing that my pet dog didn’t die in vain. Or anyone else’s pet who died. Glad to read that we are being heard and outraged by the pet food industry. Now it time for the human food industry to pay attention too.

    Ten weeks have gone by and still grieving….

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. kellie says:

    I forgot to add a BIG THANK YOU to Itchmo and the dedication you have shown towards these important issues.

    I hope this site keeps going after this mess is behind us , if ever.
    I’d like to keep up with watching the smaller companies we all use now to make sure they don’t start to cut corners or sell out as their demand and business increases.

    Also let’s keep the pressure on our GOV and PFI o make sure these kind of devastating losses of life NEVER happen again on our watches or to our pets.

    We may not always agree but we are of a common goal and our fears are warranted and very real.

    I haven’t been able to view PetConnection in 3 days. I get an error and my browser closes. Bummer..that was a site i checked several times daily as well…

  15. YaYa says:

    Kellie, PetConnection might be updating their site. Howl911 was down for a bit too, back a few days ago. They are up now, and posted a note about it’s down time as well.
    I think we’ve overwhelmed these sites! They’ve needed to adjust to the masses coming.

    Thank Goodnesss for the Internet and dedicated folks like Ben.

  16. DonnaD says:

    You go, Itchmo!

  17. SmileOnADog says:

    I too have said it a gazillion times, but thanks again, Ben and Itchmo!

    Our dogs and rescue dogs and puppies continue to eat safe food and to grow up happy and healthy.

    As always, my heart and prayers are with all those who lost animals and are presently caring for sick animals.


  18. Jenny Barkley says:

    Itchmo, thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you know that you have helped save many dogs & cats and have been their for the parents of our loved ones that didn’t make it. You both are great and I hope you will always be blessed for what you are doing. Now the world is starting to know how great you are.

  19. Helen says:

    Yes, Itchmo, thank you thank you thank you, can’t thank you enough. Thank you also for helping me save my cat. She is my little soul sister. Thank you also for a place to support those who have lost their babies.

  20. Maureen says:

    (I posted this on petconnection, but I think it’s important info for readers of both sites). I wrote to the NY State Food Lab and just received this response re: aminopterin testing. And they gave more info about where they are in their testing. Encouraging. This is the lab that receives Homeland Security funds. I’ve read they are state of the art…

    Here’s the reply:
    “…responding to an e-mail that you sent… regarding the NY State Food Lab and testing of pet food for aminopterin. It is true that both the FDA and Cornell University were not able to duplicate our lab’s finding of aminopterin in pet food; we suspect this was due to the breakdown of aminopterin in the pet food samples we tested. Very limited testing has been performed on pet food for aminopterin since shortly after we reported our findings the focus was directed to melamine and related compounds. Only one other lab (in Canada) found aminopterin in pet food, in this case at very low levels. Our lab is currently testing pet food for melamine and related compounds in addition to aminopterin and other potential toxins. We have devoted a great deal of time and effort into developing and validating methods to test pet food and are just now at a point where we can test the many samples we have collected from pet owners whose pets became ill or died. Thank you for your interest; we have an excellent laboratory program dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure food supply for humans and animals.”

    I questioned what he meant about FDA & Cornell’s failure to replicate and his statement about the breakdown of aminopterin in the samples they tested, and he responded:

    “Regarding the breakdown of aminopterin……… Aminopterin has been reported to be light sensitive, unfortunately we failed to shield our original samples from light and believe this may be the reason for aminopterin becoming undetectable by our lab and others within days of our initial finding. We performed limited aminopterin stability testing in our lab and found that aminopterin stock solutions that were not protected from light demonstrated a reduction in detectable aminopterin over time.”

  21. YaYa says:

    Thank You, Thank You! This is Fascinating and will maybe help in sending in samples to test for this!

    {it is a medicine in one circumstance and would need to be in dark colored container {if open} and sent with a notice of the light sensitiviy!}

    Yeah and when was the FDA gonna mention this little tid-bit to help folks FIND this?!

    Peope have already sent in samples, no aminoptrin found. Wonder if notifying the Labs of this, would have changed negative results. {besides the facts of charging the client, For trying to find aminoptrin and it being dissapated already}

    Thank You Maureen!

  22. Maureen says:


    I read the response I posted above from the NY State Lab that they are only now beginning to test samples from pet owners, that it’s taken them time to arrive at good protocols for testing all the various chemicals, etc. they will be testing.

    “We have devoted a great deal of time and effort into developing and validating methods to test pet food and are just now at a point where we can test the many samples we have collected from pet owners whose pets became ill or died.”

    From your e-mail, I can’t tell if other labs or the FDA have said they have tested pet owners’ samples. I thought the original samples that were tested came from Menu Foods itself. Do you have other info?

  23. JJ says:

    WOW this was like a new breath of fresh air that we all needed. The recognition that sites like Itchmo, Pet Connection, etc are making a huge difference. Thank you to Ben and Itchmo for giving us a gathering place to help each other. Good job!

  24. purringfur says:

    Thank you, itchmo, for being here and doing all the hard work to keep us posted on the recalls and related information. Your recognition is well deserved. Kudos!!

  25. ann says:

    Thank you Itchmo and everyone for your information and sharing. Itchmo has been on top of things, and the information that individuals share credible.

  26. YaYa says:

    Hi Maureen, I’m supposed to speak with an Independent Lab this week, about sending samples that the FDA told me to= {freeze open ones} and hold on to the unopened one. {cans and bag}

    They are all Still Here.
    But I’ve got a Lab recommended to me and must call them to ask questions {how, when, how much, etc}.
    I’ve got plenty of specimens/samples left}

    I know other people are and have sent to other Independent labs from Itchmo for testing, including for aminoptrin as well.

    Pet owners are getting their foods tested despite where we are, right now. {can’t blame them}
    Some include for, the aminoptrin.

    Now from your posting it’s clear that if the samples are not “handled properly” and are including a test for Aminoptrin too, it may well not show.

    The client gets charged despite. And now I wonder if that means the Aminoptrin could STILL remain, despite a Negative Test, and cause problems.

    Just the general conversations here, about testing for it in particular, I’ve not heard it mentioned about the Light sensitivity before by any.

    {the light exposure ‘might’ explain why some fewer pets had Liver involvement and gastric bleeding etc., as opposed to the Renal failures. Imagine the cat food sitting in the light in a food bowl.}

    Just doing some think and my own opinions. Making questions to ask the Lab this week.

    {it’s like when we did TB testing for patients with verified cases. Certain specimens HAD TO BE done under a sterile “hood” that sat between our face and hands with the specimens in our hands. In those cases it was Highly contagious otherwise. We’d check from time to time for a negative result.} Just an example. For 1 type of testing.

    Light sensitivity is another.

  27. Wendy44 says:

    Did this site really just start in February??? Wow. But along with everyone else, a huge thanks. I come here every day now to keep up with the recalls, and have sent the link to everyone I know with pets. My online pet loss support group also come here, and we are from around the country and the globe. Thank you!!

  28. Elena L says:

    Another sneak attack on already weakened organic standards.”The USDA has announced a controversial proposal, with absolutely no input from consumers, to allow 38 new non-organic ingredients in products bearing the “USDA Organic” seal.”Comments must be received by May 22, 2007

  29. purringfur says:


    This is one issue that has haunted me since I first heard about it, and I bring it up quite often, as do others… Thank you, Maureen, for sharing your email with us and for writing to the lab in the first place.

    From the email to Maureen from the Albany lab:
    “Very limited testing has been performed on pet food for aminopterin since shortly after we reported our findings the focus was directed to melamine and related compounds.”

    I notice the wording in the above statement, which is exactly what I’ve said all along… “the FOCUS was DIRECTED TO MELAMINE ….” Melamine, which is even rarely spoken of in conjunction with the words, cyanuric acid, certainly SOUNDS less threatening than to hear that aminopterin (rat poison) was in the “wheat gluten” and that the FDA knew all along and was scrambling behind the scenes to track down contamination in OUR HUMAN FOOD!

    This entire unfolding of the contamination has been nothing but a carefully choreographed road show, but not careful enough for the astute bloggers who have seen through the lame explanations, side stepping, and spin!

    Also from Maureen’s email response:

    “Regarding the breakdown of aminopterin……… Aminopterin has been reported to be light sensitive, unfortunately we failed to shield our original samples from light and believe this may be the reason for aminopterin becoming undetectable by our lab and others within days of our initial finding. We performed limited aminopterin stability testing in our lab and found that aminopterin stock solutions that were not protected from light demonstrated a reduction in detectable aminopterin over time.”
    This lab, the New York State Food Laboratory, was specifically made part of FERN (Food Emergency Response Network) in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks to check for deliberate adulteration to the U.S. food supply. Aminopterin was used as a cancer drug in the U.S. over 40 years ago. Don’t you think a lab, especially with this level of sophistication, would know how to test and preserve samples/solutions that contain aminopterin? Once aminopterin was found, don’t you think someone there went online or went to a reference book to review its properties, handling, and preservation to discover that it is light sensitive and environmentally unstable? I do. And, I’ll bet the chemists and scientists there can recite the properties and cautions about countless chemicals from their training.

    I know the Albany lab’s results were absolutely correct and were deliberately overshadowed. I also believe that the redirection to the melamine (you know how harmless it is, folks) was orchestrated by the FDA and even the upper levels of government itself — less panic by humans which wouldn’t, in turn, cause a collapse of the economy.

    Really now. Who in the WTO would want to trade with a country that had rat poison infiltrate its food supply??? Enough countries are already banning our foods and even refusing our food aid of genetically modified crops even when millions are starving during famines! As someone on this board or petconnection said — he or she thought the entire pet food contamination was a drill for FERN to test its effectiveness. Conspiracy theory? Not far fetched AT ALL considering all we know now!

    Even though they’re not, the scientists at the Albany lab must think everyone thinks they’re fools because other labs could not validate their results. Wouldn’t you rather know if you’re potentially consuming rat poison? I would. You’ve seen how government agencies work to protect the people…

    From the Washington Post article about the Albany, NY lab that found aminopterin:

    “…The lab has been around for decades, but became part of FERN after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as part of the government’s effort to protect the nation’s animals and food supply.


    “The lab is part of Food Emergency Response Network, a federally supported group of state and federal facilities with expertise in testing food for chemical, biological, and radiological hazards. With a staff of about 40 chemists, microbiologists and technicians, the lab is one of a few dozen state-level facilities capable of doing such tests and regularly screens foods for pesticides.”

    And for those who want their food tested:

  30. Helen says:

    Tell us Itchmo, when was Itchmo’s first day?

    ITCHMO ADMIN: Our first day was February 13.

  31. Helen says:

    I will now be thinking of Itchmo the day before Valentine’s Day every year and remembering my cat is alive partly because of your help. Can’t say thanks enough times for the help you have given all of us that visit this site.

  32. Gerry says:

    Iam sure alot of pets lives were saved thanks to you itchmo. I started out checking your site for info on recalled pet foods and now I just love to read everything on it. I laugh and cry every day reading whats going on. THANK YOU!

  33. JanC says:

    Amazing how itchmo had just started up before the recall…..great timing, Ben. I think I read the first month you had 350 hits……how any millions is it now?

    I don’t have a clue how I found this site & pet connection but thankfully I did. I signed up for itchmo’s email alerts & knew way ahead of everyone, including pet stores & my vet, what was the “latest” recall. Found some recalled food (itchmo alert that morning) in a pet store & told the owner…..he didn’t believe me. Told me you can’t believe anything on the internet. Well, when I went to check out, he was on the phone with his distributor & told me I was right & thanked me for letting him know. That’ll teach him to dis the internet…..

    Someday when this is over (sometimes I wonder if it ever will be), I will still check these sites to see what everyone is up to & say hi. I have spent so much time on these websites, it isn’t even funny. I used to have a life……

    It’s websites like this & bloggers like you (you know, the hysterical & off the charts bloggers!) that have kept all of us up to date on what’s going on. Because of all of you, my dog is ok…..but that doesn’t make me feel any better when I think about all of you who have lost your best friends. I have cried many tears for you.

    Here’s hoping none of these animals died in vain & things will change for the better. I really believe the PF companies will try to do better. Not that I’ll ever go back to buying any of the commercial grocery store stuff but I sure hope they will improve their ingredients.

  34. YaYa says:

    At this point, it’s my opinion that anyone the FDA has on ecord and they asked to Save samples for them; I’d also consider my own testing, done at a distinctly *Independent Lab* as well.

    One not affiliate with the Government nor University that relies heavily on the Gov. for funds. Nor any that get Any grants or funds from anyone in the Pet Food industry. Just my Opinions.

    I will found out tomorrow if the Lab I had referred to me, would also be willing to do Others testing as well.

    Doing the testing as a 1-2 punch with an Independent one being one, would certainly make it clear, Who’s “zoomin’” who, with this.

    So many of us have thought, this has not gone properly and sort of Smelled BAD.

    I remember reading the Aminoptrin is So Old a ‘element’ it was Very hard to find. I Believed those first reports.
    It’s correct that it is Banned here and hasn’t been used all that time for either purpose.

    But once it was found, the standards should have been put out there. So many people Are getting their Own samples tested.

    IMHO- ‘hiding’ the light senstivity aspect, could very well be like pulling the wool over our eyes. I’ll find out if the Lab I’m calling, knows about this testing issue, or if it’s News to them as well.

    Disclaimer: Of course these are my opinions. {I remembered itchmo!}

  35. soma says:

    I called Westbrae Organics today to find out the country of origin of their canned green beans, corn, peas, and chili beans. This was a follow up call from last week and two emails. I’ve been buying their stuff for years. The woman who answered said that some of it comes from out of the US, but none of it from China–although that that may change in the future. I told her it would be great for consumers if they voluntarily implemented the COOL as the origins of their products change with availability. I also told her I would not buy any products from China (there goes thier incentive to be COOL), Mexico and other third world countries with standards so different than the ones it took us 50 years or so to implement. After I asked her why a consumer should have to call every time they want to buy a can of beans to find out where they are coming from, she said Westbrae may stop taking this type of call soon. Of course, I told her I would not buy any products without knowing where they come from. That seemed fine with her. COOL with me. I don’t need Westbrae. I can do without green beans when they are out of season. We have other options. I am definitely writing a letter to the head of the company to complain. I’m not sure if she was speaking for herself or the company as a whole. I’m also going to boycott the company for the lack of cooperation. If they can’t even be bothered to answer my questions about the food I am going to feed myself and my family, I will not give them one red cent ever again!
    Also, I wrote to Whole Foods yesterday who is acquiring Wild Oats. They are cut from the same cloth anyway, but I wanted to let them know I won’t buy their out of country products. There just isn’t enough accountability. I also believe they should support the growth of more American organic farmers instead of shipping the products half-way around the world. The carbon load from that unnecessary travel plus the less regulated industrial sectors of third world countries is undoing any good organic does. Not to mention exploitation of the worker. Let’s face it, saving money is the main reason we are there—and our debt to China for the Chinese angle. I bet they are growing unapproved GM crops on the conventional farms and shipping them here for human and livestock consumption. Any unscrupulous bio tech company could be involved with that. It may be legal to grow them there just like it is legal for us to sell the load of toxic pesticides we’ve outlawed to countries abroad who spray them on food that comes right back to us. Why should we sell that poison to anyone if we have banned it for ourselves? There is no excuse. That is so unethical. And I don’t blame the farmers. It’s the mega companies and governments, ours is leading the pack.
    Anyway, I keep writing to our government about implementing COOL and GMO labeling. One good thing that might come out of this tragedy. The Organic Consumers Association is a great sight for info on GMO’s and COOL and how to act up. We deserve the right to know. They can label our food before it goes to the EU because they won’t take it otherwise. They should do the same for us. The EU demanded it and we will have to do the same if we really want it.

  36. soma says:

    has anyone had a quote from a testing lab better than $180 for one food sample tested melamine and cyanuric acid?

  37. Cynthia says:



    I went to and signed the petition.

    I hope others will take the time (about 40 min.) to listen to the video on Codex. What they are doing is BEYOND FRIGHTENING!

    I am going to post this information on the forum and email everyone I know to sign the petition and to pass it along

  38. Kiki says:

    I thank Itchmo again and again for protecting my pets. I lost one and it was devastating to me. I’m so very happy and relieved that I didn’t lose anymore. hugs and kisses all around xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  39. elliott says:

    Smith111 posted this site earlier. It’s a gotta see.

  40. Genny says:

    Dear Itchmo,

    Many thanks! Bravo! Meow! Woof! Woof!

  41. elliott says:

    sorry - the site to smith111 post is

  42. e wem says:

    itchmo cares. I read itchmo every day, thank heavens - look at today’s headline - another pet food tests poisonous and without itchmo how would I know.

    I am thankful for the fine people ontributing here. They have shared links I never would have found and some are real eye openers

    Last, my cats thank itchmo. One is curled up right now against the keyboard as I type waiting for me to finish this so she can go to sleep. They have a chance at a future thanks to itchmo and all the contributors.

    I think if I thought I was alone in my anguish I would give up. Seeing all the others who are fighting back has given me the energy to keep going. I am watching the world change here.

    The food industry may not understand it yet but a force has been unleashed that cannot be put back.

    They think we are having a tantrum. it is not a tantrum when your babies die or nearly die. It is survival

    I just have to look at my now skinny cats and remember how terribly sick they have been. Our pets will keep us in this fight

    Itchmo gets a 5 meow rating from me

  43. Anonymous says:

    purringfur Says:
    May 21st, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    “From the email to Maureen from the Albany lab:
    “Very limited testing has been performed on pet food for aminopterin since shortly after we reported our findings the focus was directed to melamine and related compounds.”

    “I notice the wording in the above statement, which is exactly what I’ve said all along… “the FOCUS was DIRECTED TO MELAMINE ….” Melamine, which is even rarely spoken of in conjunction with the words, cyanuric acid, certainly SOUNDS less threatening than to hear that aminopterin (rat poison) was in the “wheat gluten” …”

    Purringfur…I don’t know if you’ll see this as it’s an “older blog” now. But I think your pulling out “focus directed to melamine” is very astute. I hadn’t caught that. Reminds me of that paper by Dr. Michael Fox in which he hypothesizes various contaminant scenarios and synergies (the word the FDA doesn’t like) that go far beyond just melamine. This would become a dynamite story if aminopterin/rat poison is present. He just updated the paper May 20th:

  44. Maureen says:

    oops, it’s Maureen, not anonymous

  45. Jo says:

    SOMA: Check with AccuTrace for testing fees. I believe their per sample charge is about $144 — and it may be less because they offer a discount to Itchmo readers. To help try and save you some money, they will do a composite test of several dry foods submitted and several canned foods if you have more than one sample. Then if one of the composites come back positive, they will test individual samples.

    I had foods tested with AccuTrace (haven’t yet received my bill, though). They were great to work with. Within 7 days I had my test results phoned in to me.

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