Pathologists Determine Contaminated Pet Food Outbreak In Asia In 2004 Similar To 2007 Recalls

In 2004, an outbreak of contaminated pet foods made more than 6,000 dogs and a number of cats ill across Asia.

Kidney failure in the animals was connected to Pedigree dog food and Whiskas cat food that had been manufactured in Thailand by Mars Inc. Asian newspapers reported that thousands of pets died from the contaminated pet food.

The problems with the pet food were blamed on fungal toxins, which was also one of the first suspicions when the pet food recalls in the US broke out last year.

During the 2007 pet food recalls, a Korean graduate student told Cathy Brown, a specialist in renal pathology at Georgia’s Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, that massive pet food recalls had happened before. Brown was able to track down tissue samples from pets that died in 2004.

From USA Today:

The sample contained the same type of insoluble crystals found in U.S. pets in the 2007 outbreak, which killed at least 347 cats and dogs, according to preliminary data gathered by Wilson Rumbeiha at Michigan State University-Lansing. The exact number is believed to be much higher but in the absence of a structured reporting system has not been determined.

The Georgia researchers weren’t the first to link the two outbreaks. In March 2007, soon after it became known that melamine and cyanuric acid were the culprits in the U.S. outbreak, Mars scientists made the link.

Using the new information and improved analytical techniques, Mars scientists were able to “draw parallels” between the two outbreaks, says Mars spokeswoman Alice Nathanson.

“As a responsible company, Mars immediately shared this information with the veterinary community and regulators in Asia and the United States,” she says.

The Food and Drug Administration acknowledged being informed. Major veterinary organizations, however, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the Pet Food Institute and the American Feed Control Officials, say they were never told by Mars of any link between two outbreaks.

Greg Aldrich, a consultant with Pet Food & Ingredient Technology in Topeka, says he doesn’t believe that the information would have made any difference.

The ingredients in the pet food linked to the 2004 Asian outbreak all came from Thailand, says Mars’ Nathanson.

Source: USA Today

(Thanks Carol!)

21 Responses to “Pathologists Determine Contaminated Pet Food Outbreak In Asia In 2004 Similar To 2007 Recalls”

  1. G in INdiana says:

    I bet you 10 to 1 buried in at least one of those offices (PFI most likely and Mars Co. surely) there is a memo from their counter parts in Asia to the effect that Mars poisoned those pets. I know it’d take an act of congress to get that information out, but you know damned well it is there. They knew, they just figured, oh gee whiz it is only Asia’s pets not ours so who cares.
    That IDIOT at PFI doesn’t think telling the customers would have made a difference, that telling the customers in 2007 early on that this had happened before in 2004 would have not changed anything, wouldn’t have aided in diagnosing the problem? It sure might have made a huge difference for the thousands of pets who were killed or injured and their grieving owners. Perhaps if the US customers had known Mars was a slip shod operation in Asia, using cheap altered materials in their foods, they’d have shopped elsewhere and those pets would be alive. THAT’S the difference. Alive pets and less profit or more profit and dead pets.
    I won’t be buying ANY thing made by Mars anymore.

  2. Nora and Rufus says:

    And the cover up just keeps getting bigger and bigger, the more we find out. Everytime “they” blame “Fungal whatever” I know it is just more bullsht coverup language for “poison in the food”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anyone testing tissue samples from the US prior to 2006? How about we open that door and see what walks through.

  4. 5CatMom says:

    Thanks to Carol and Mal for finding the technical article, and to Emily for making it a headline.

    Here’s link to the abstract (you have to buy the entire article).

    http://jvdi.org/cgi/content/abstract/19/5/525

    July 2, 2004 Class Action Lawsuit Against Pedigree in U.S. District Court

    “An international class-action suit stemming from the deaths of thousands of dogs in Asian countries, including Taiwan, was filed against Pedigree, a US maker of dog food, in US Federal Court in early May, . . .”

    http://www.ukrmb.co.uk/images/.....owners.pdf

  5. slt says:

    The FDA should have publicly shared the information regarding the link given them by Mars. Knowing in March 2007 that this had happened before, resulting in thousands of dogs dying in Asia, might have made a significant difference!

  6. DeniseA says:

    they knew about this latest outbreak from 2004 and did absolutely nothingand sat on it as long as they could then tried to pretend the 2007outbreak was an anomly…I hope those rich b*stards crock on theirprofits and spend it on treatment for the worst imaginable disease that could befall them.

  7. catbird says:

    And it wasn’t just in Asia in 2004 IMO. One of my cats (USA) died in 2004, suddenly and mysteriously, with what I now recognize as the “classic” symptoms of MARF. This was during the same time period as the Asia recalls, and that cat was eating a Mars product at the time. Only one of my 5 who ate it, only one who suddenly got sick and died. At the time I would never have thought it was the food. I’ll bet there were others that went unrecognized, too.

  8. Kelly says:

    Hey folks the blog the consumerist is doing voting for the worst company in America and today it’s Comcast vs Menu Foods. Comcast is winning 70% to 30% because people think only 100 pets died and Menu did the right thing.
    You may want your voice to be heard. Feel free to crosspost.
    http://consumerist.com/366820/.....menu-foods

  9. Sandi K says:

    Kelly, I went and voted, too bad you have to register first but did it anyway. I hope you dont mind but I put your post in the forums at Itchmo so this can get more attention for action! Thank you for sharing this.

  10. Sandi K says:

    OK I need to change my post above, it doesnt appear you have to register to vote, just if you want to write a comment. So that makes it easier for folks to go vote if you want to.

  11. kaefamily says:

    Europe will be next on the list?

  12. Denise says:

    I lost my cat and dog in 2004, the dog to lymphoma cancer but my cat we did not know why he became so sick. It was hills prescription food he was eating. it was for him to lose weight and I think it killed him. we have go to send a message to these companies, do not buy this cheap food. I still see people buying Iams, pedigree, Old Roy and all the others that killed so many of our babies. we are the consumers and we are the ones that can make or break these companies. take care everyone, Denise

  13. Katie says:

    anonymous,
    I’m afraid we wouldn’t be surprised “what came walking through the door” - after last year and everything I’ve learned and read here since March 2007 - nothing surprises me anymore.

    Katie

  14. Kelly says:

    Sandi, thanks for posting it over there. They now are only getting 29%, the thing that makes me not want to put my head through a wall is the readership on the consumerist. Its a bunch of geeks so of course they think downloading porn and illegal software is more important than our pets. :( Gah!

  15. JJ says:

    Anyone have a total as to how many pets have died since 2004 here in the USA from pedigree and other food made by Mars? Just reaffirms what I suspected that Beef n’ More gave my dog the cancer and the other canned foods & treats did her kidneys in. Thx again to Carol and Mal for finding and Itchmo for alerting us all to what has apparently been happening/going on and continuing to go on to this day. Greed & money will always supercede everything else while pets continue to drop dead.

  16. Anonymous says:

    beef n more? Pedigree? Wouldn’t you expect these foods to cause problems?

  17. Sharon says:

    Until we throw the bums out of Washington this kind of fox guarding the hen house will continue to go on until we are all dead. Have any of you flown on Southwest Airlines recently?

  18. sandi says:

    I see that Diamond is recalling some canned food. It may be contaminated with mealmine. This is on the dachshundnetwork board. It is under Cat Channel.

    Sandi

  19. JGS says:

    http://www.petcare.mars.com/ NOT JUST PEDIGREE ON THE NEW 2008 PETFOOD RECALL.

  20. kofi forson says:

    I think it a high time everybody take caution on whatever they consume especially those in Africa.They should check date of manufacturing and the expiry date on any product they consume.Peace and love to you all

  21. johnypaycut says:

    Yep.. i lost my cat, mini the mouch,june 31st,2004 to kidney failure.
    i knew this was connected ( nutro and other foods i gave my buddy never
    knowing they where tainted). man you rats! may god have mercy on your soul
    hope our paths cross?
    I never forget,
    sempr fi….


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