ABC News coverage of the press conference reports that Menu Foods “would reimburse pet owners who can trace their pets’ illnesses to the company’s products.” This should never have been a question. It should have been assumed from the moment they went into the pet food business.
Due to the lengthy delay between the deaths of pets and the announcement, we’re not sure how many parents can provide sufficient evidence to “trace their pets’ illnesses” to Menu Foods.
“A pet is an important part of any family,” Paul Henderson, the president and CEO of Menu Foods, said at a Toronto press conference. “We understand what pet ownership is.”
Remarkably, he also said “the company has not stopped manufacturing at the two plants believed to have produced the contaminated pet food” as we reported earlier in the week (emphasis ours).
So does he really understand the magnitude of the pet parents’ anger? Why did they wait to announce the financial responsibility until Friday? Again. Why couldn’t they have announced it earlier in the week when Web and media traffic was higher?
ABC News is also questioning the safety of other pet foods:
Investigators, meanwhile, are looking into whether the rat poison came into the United States on an ingredient used in the recalled food. ABC News has learned that Menu Foods bought wheat gluten, the only ingredient changed in its plants, from China. That possibility raises questions about the safety of pet and other food products in the United States.
Menu Foods has also decided to close its Kansas plant for “two or three days” to “reorganize schedules as it pulled back old food products and prepared to make new ones”. Amazingly, we’ve heard no news about cleaning the plant, testing other ingredients, or new plans to make sure this never happens again. They seem to be treating this like someone would treat a flat tire — just a bump in the road. The company did say that it “will immediately begin testing any “suspect raw materials” to identify any additional contaminated products.”
What other suspect ingredients are there? This story is far from over.
Interestingly, some vets are expressing skepticism over the toxin and its link to acute renal failure:
“With the information that we have, none of us feel that this product fits the lesions we are seeing, but there may be information we don’t know yet,” said Lawrence McGill, a veterinary pathologist in Salt Lake City. “The feeling is that there are more questions than answers with this product.”
Also, amazingly, Menu Foods stock has jumped up 25% on this news.