Menu Foods Announces They Will “Take Financial Responsibility”

Menu Foods Income FundABC 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.

5 Responses to “Menu Foods Announces They Will “Take Financial Responsibility””

  1. G.K. says:

    According to the vetcetera blog, the comments made by the vet in question were made prior to his knowledge that the ‘rat poison’ in question was aminopterin.

    American rodenticides aren’t nephrotoxic, so it could be understandable that he would be suspicious that ‘rat poison’ had caused the deaths.

  2. silence says:

    The New York Times is reporting that:
    Aminopterin … is not used as a rodenticide in the United States because exposure to it is associated with serious [human] birth defects.

    How do we know that this stuff is isn’t in the human food chain, and that we’re not going to see some huge rash of birth defects in the coming months?

  3. filbert says:

    Honestly… it probably IS in the human food supply. It is commonly known that standards in China are lower than those in the US. On top of that, China is notorious for not enforcing those standards. The result is food (and other products) that do not meet the already low standards.

    For instance, some dried mushrooms from China test positive for mercury and some seafood from China has tested positive for lead. There’s always someone over there trying to gain an advantage by ignoring rules or skimping on standards. Perhaps that is a stereotype, but it’s rooted in some truth. China is working hard to clean things up and I applaud them for that, but it’s still going to be a while until they are up to “western” standards.

  4. Tanya says:

    Why are we even importing wheat gluten to start with? Canada has enough wheat to feed the world!!!! Secondly why are we not or did they not put a ban on it right away, I remember when they banned our beef due to Mad Cow???? Thirdly I have lost faith in most off the pet food company’s as I’m sure most off you have!!! I have put my hopes in a Alberta based company Orijen, it has no grains at all!! I hope for the best, It is supposed to be all Canadian!!!

  5. Mike says:

    I think the problem is bigger than anyone is willing or capable of tracing or admitting. For example, our cat suddenly “diasppeared” three weeks ago and yesterday we found out that our neighbor on the next street over found it dead under her deck two week ago but forgot we had a cat. The cat had no apparent wounds. Was it the “Western Family ground style Deluxe Dinner” that was newly introduced to her, did she die of some cause other than poisining, or was it that she ate food put out at someone else’s porch that may have also lost their pet? Who can ever be sure how many healthy pets like ours have been lost and how many brands and packs of pet food were really contaminated. It seems corporate responsibilty is inextricably linked to stock values and P&L’s.

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