Recall Update: Friday

FDA press conference recap: (Transcript here)

  • FDA refuses to name second US distributor of tainted rice protein concentrate. Fortunately Pet Connection reported this days ago. Chicago Tribune confirms.
  • 198 facilities may have gotten tainted fish feed.
  • Still investigating risk from fish.
  • FDA refuses to give a reason for why a 5th ingredient was redacted.

Itchmo exclusives:

Other recall news:

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140 Responses to “Recall Update: Friday”

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  1. Kiki says:

    Cereal Byproducts Co - somehow it doesn’t seem right that “cereal” and “by-products” are describing an ingredient - yuk…

    Chinese: who destroyed those melamine pla…uhmmm I mean wheat gluten plants before the FDA could get there to inspect - the Chinese government or the Chinese plant owner/mgrs? I would not be surprised if it was the government. I feel sorry for those plant owners (not) - I wouldn’t want to piss off the Chinese government and I’m sure they were very upset that the plant owners were so stupid as to have gotten caught.

    Why is the FDA allowed to withhold information related to our food supply? In light of the fact that they conducted a roughly 72 hour assessment of health risk (is that the new scientific standard for evidence-based risk assessment - send an intern to the library on Friday night to see if there have been any studies conducted on melamine deaths by ingestion???), it really doesn’t make me give a huge sigh of relief…whew, no chance of short or long-term health risks from eating adulterated chicken, pork, or fish cause the FDA said so.

    My feeling is this: I should have the right to have a choice and make an informed decision as to what products I want to buy. Even if a concoction of plastic and acid WAS safe, if it was not supposed to be included in feed or food, let ME please make the decision whether or not I want to eat the adulterated items. We have labeling laws - it gives information to make decisions on what to buy - this is for REGULAR ingredients. Why can’t I have the same info for food that has stuff in it that is NOT supposed to be there?

    I want to know the name brands of the chicken, fish, and hogs. I demand it and I think we all ought to demand it. It’s unfathomable that we are not given this info as a routine matter…

  2. Kiki says:

    From the FDA Food Safety “Czar” - Dave Acheson

    “We believe that it is in the public’s best interest to know the facts as soon as they are validated.”

    Oh really? Then please tell me: what are the companies and/or brand names of the chickens, hogs, and fish that have eaten the adulterated feed??

  3. lainie says:

    Ive Been Reading Labels Of Everything I Use And Everythng I Buy. Was Amused To Find My Hair Care Products Are More Informative Then Any Food Products Ive Checkd. It Says Mfgrd In The Usa With Usa And Imported Ingredients. At Least They Let Me Knw Not All Is Frm The Us Y Cant Our Food Pet And Human Do The Same.

  4. Kiki says:

    From the food safety czar, Dave Acheson:
    “Don’t forget, this is a proactive approach. We’re getting out there looking for melamine and melamine-related compounds in places that we don’t currently know that there is a problem, so clearly the resources need to be devoted on tracking down areas where we do know there’s a problem. Initially that was focused on pet food, it then swung more recently to poultry and hog situation, and now it’s swinging yet again to the fish issue.”

    Dave - This statement hardly describes a PROACTIVE, deliberate, targeted, and systematic approach - it sounds more like a reactive, chickens with their heads cut-off, out of control, don’t understand the scope of the problem, don’t have a clue what we are doing, running around in circles, what next approach.

  5. Dogmom says:

    Just saw a news trailer that Walmart has “suffered” its worst month of sales in 27 years! Can’t say that it is due to the fact that peole are not buying their pet food there anymore, but it is an interesting coincidence. I know that I am avoiding them. In a small town in the midwest, that is difficult. They have “run out of town” our clothing store, Pharmacy and one of the only two grocery stores that we had. We have also lost our locally owned hardware / home improvement store.

  6. Sharon says:

    I hope Walmart’s demise was assured the day it put Special Kitty on the shelf. They are the one’s that forced Menu to do whatever was necessary to meet their price point.

  7. Maureen says:

    Re: Walmart’s sales drop

    The Wall St. Journal summary about Walmart’s sales drop did also say that there was a drop in their “pet food sector.” I read earlier that the important thing about pet food customers is that they shop frequently, therefore increasing sales not only of pet food but other things as well.

  8. purringfur says:

    Sharon & DogMom: Walmart here has run two smaller department stores out of business. I stopped spending my money at Walmart quite a few years ago when I learned they made companies meet their price points, which, of course, has led to inferior products that still carry the brand name.

    Companies break down and opt for volume sales (a store every 30 miles was Walmart’s goal, I believe) or sell a higher quality product in smaller stores at a higher price. Companies, wanting the high volume sales, opt for the cheap foreign materials and production and have lost their mission to produce a high quality product.

    We’ve caused this by wanting the cheapest prices and having an insatiable desire to have everything we see.

  9. Pit Bull Lover says:

    From The Pet Connection’s May 8, 2007 blog:

    “The FDA’s Kimberly Rawlings today by phone confirmed that the third company may, at some unspecified time in the future, also recall some pet food products” … “She said she was unable to put any kind of timeframe on such a recall.”

    Not sure why, but I envision Ms. Rawlings to look like a flying monkey minion from The Wizard of Oz. I’m stunned by the very seemingly neverending existence of these so-called human beings subserviently toeing the line on callous decisions made by Government (nevermind Industry). Can these flying monkeys really not figure out how to leak information to the press — or even the blog world? Or perhaps it is that they lack the cojones or the conscience to do so.

    *scowl* Happy Friday, everyone.

  10. DaveyD says:

    There press seems confusing to me…
    “May 4, 2007 – Cereal Byproducts Company is announcing today that the FDA has determined that there are melamine and/or melamine derivatives in the rice protein concentrate…”
    “Cereal Byproducts proactively notified their customers of this finding, and thereafter both parties implemented their own voluntary recall of the contaminated products on or about April 19, 2007.” WHO DID??
    “We are confident that our customers have implemented on-going recalls”
    WHO???

  11. LorieVA says:

    Hi everyone,

    I am from a small town in PA originally, and WALMART super store came to town a couple years ago, and it has put all of our small town business under also. My home town is like a ghost town now, the downtown area is barren empty store fronts etc…when I go home to visit all my favorite spots from my younger days are gone.

  12. menusux says:

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap.....1RDQO1.htm

    Business Week/AP May 10, 2007
    Retailers post weak April sales

    “Wal-Mart also blamed its performance on cold weather and the earlier Easter. It also said product recalls by dog and cat food manufacturers contributed to a slowdown in pet supply sales during April.”

    Yeah, they admitted it–sort of–blaming it on the recalls. A relative’s cat was hit by what was in one of the Menu/Special Kitty pouches. This was a couple of weeks before Menu “allowed” the rest of us to know their ugly secret. She apparently had only gotten one dose of that–was rushed to ER within 2 hours of having eaten it. Happily, she recovered fully. We took ALL Special Kitty back to W-M for credit/refund, telling them that we no longer had confidence in this food because of their connection with Menu.

    http://news.mywebpal.com/news_.....3&on=1

    The Catoosa County (GA) News May 2, 2007

    “Menu Foods executives said last week that the company was still shipping products to Procter & Gamble, which has contracts with Menu to produce some Iams and Eukanuba wet foods. Procter & Gamble failed to respond to requests for comment.

    “Most of Menu Foods customers do not have long-term supply contracts tying them to the company, but it seems they have nowhere else to take their business.

    “Many major producers of wet pet food, like Nestlé-Purina, avoid contract work for other companies. Del Monte on the other hand is fully booked by Wal-Mart. There are other companies in the industry, including American Nutrition, but they lack the production capacity to replace Menu Foods.

    “A spokeswoman for Wal-Mart said its stores had removed all Menu products. She added that Menu had produced only selected sizes of house-brand products for Wal-Mart. Citing company policy, she declined to say whether Wal-Mart would continue to use Menu as a supplier.

    “Several other Menu customers, including Safeway, Kroger and Pet Valu, have not responded to requests for interviews or statements.

    “In 2001, Doane Pet Care, a major contract producer of dry foods in the United States, was acquired. In 2003, the company acquired a Procter & Gamble plant in South Dakota. ”

    So we know that most of Menu’s production contracts are NOT long-term (Hey, they’ve been broken anyhow by the recall, if these companies want to do fine print & clauses.), and that many of the biggies weren’t talking, as of May 2, as to whether or not they’d still be having Menu produce their brands.

    For those who haven’t gone public with their decision to either keep or drop Menu, they should know that the rest of us intend to spend our pet food dollars on items which are NOT made by Menu. Wal-Mart’s choice of company to produce quite a few of their products is what was responsible for their lousy April. Keeping them can make for lousy May, June, July–and so on.

  13. DaveyD says:

    I like this product on the Cereal Byproduct website…They sell Corn gluten to use as a fertilzer and for weed control. YIKES

    “Earth Friendly is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal is a product of the corn milling industry. Corn gluten meal has been used for years as a pet food and animal feed ingredient. Recently, researchers have found corn gluten meal to have weed control properties. Since corn gluten meal is all natural, it is an excellent source of slow-release nitrogen.”

  14. menusux says:

    DaveyD Says:

    May 11th, 2007 at 9:22 am
    There press seems confusing to me…
    “May 4, 2007 – Cereal Byproducts Company is announcing today that the FDA has determined that there are melamine and/or melamine derivatives in the rice protein concentrate…”
    “Cereal Byproducts proactively notified their customers of this finding, and thereafter both parties implemented their own voluntary recall of the contaminated products on or about April 19, 2007.” WHO DID??
    “We are confident that our customers have implemented on-going recalls”
    WHO???

    If you compare what we have from last night at the links, it looks like the third producer’s products were water-damaged and had to be discarded–never offered for sale.

    http://www.itchmo.com/read/sum.....ment-16883

    http://www.itchmo.com/read/sum.....ment-16903

  15. Steve says:

    Markets for biofuel co-products (DDGS, soy meal) are important. Co-products will compete with each other and with alternative feed ingredients.

    http://www.petfoodindustry-dig.....040_fg.png

  16. Steve says:

    Yummy. Just what I want. Bio-Fuel By-Garbage Meal.

    Leave no garbage left behind.

  17. Helen says:

    Note to Wal-Mart: If you kill your customers with tainted products, they aren’t around to shop in your store anymore.

  18. Linda says:

    Katie/Amy
    Thanks for your input. As a result of places like this to get and trade info., we can be empowered with IMPORTANT

  19. Linda says:

    sorry, hit return by accident!
    information. The vet called back and I will have more confidence as to what to ask…they don’t tell you things unless you ask the right questions it seems. Best wishes

  20. menusux says:

    http://dailynews.att.net/cgi-b.....amp;src=ap

    China: April Trade Surplus Nearly $17B Updated 3:50 AM ET May 11, 2007-AP

    ” China’s monthly trade surplus more than doubled in April to nearly $17 billion, the government said Friday, adding to pressure on Beijing ahead of closely watched talks with Washington on its swollen trade gap.

    “Chinese and U.S. trade envoys are due to meet May 23-24 in Washington for talks on Beijing’s surpluses, currency controls, product piracy and other contentious issues.

    “Some U.S. lawmakers are pushing for punitive tariffs on imports of Chinese goods if Beijing fails to ease currency controls that critics say keep its currency undervalued, giving exporters an unfair price advantage and adding to China’s trade surpluses.”

    So now we need to know how to contact the US trade envoy to China to voice our concerns re: the pet food issue.

  21. lablover says:

    “I like this product on the Cereal Byproduct website…They sell Corn gluten to use as a fertilzer and for weed control. YIKES”

    Corn gluten meal is a all-natural fertilizer for your lawn…. I supposed you’d rather have chemicals on your lawn for your kids and pets?

  22. DaveyD says:

    “I supposed you’d rather have chemicals on your lawn for your kids and pets?”

    No, you are right… Guess I’m not thinking right.

  23. Steve says:

    menusux maybe if China raises their wages above 28 cents an hour they can buy their own stuff-junk-crap.

  24. Eric says:

    Question for all cat owners:

    Can anybody tell me how often and much their cat(s) drink water? I just want to know what is normal. Thank you in advance!

  25. LorieVA says:

    Eric,

    I am not sure if I am nuts or what but mine seem to be drinking more these days. i swear this whole mess makes me parinoid about every little thing. They might just be drinking the same and I am just now paying attention. Why do you think yours are drinking more??????????????????

  26. Eric says:

    LorieVA,
    Here’s the scenario: We have five cats, but one a male calico named Gidget, is my baby and I tend to watch him extra closely. Last night, amid chasing his toy mice around the house, he stopped three times and had a quick drink. He’s always kinda liked water, but I don’t recall ever seeing him getting a drink three times in one evening. Just like you, this whole thing is making me completely paranoid!

  27. LorieVA says:

    What all are you feeding Kumpi and what else……………….

    I really do think my fountain gets empty alot sooner these day.

    Evy had said on her website about her cat Tonga:

    The most interesting thing I noticed was her few month on KumpiKat - she drank and drank and drank! I didn’t realize at the time she was helping her body cleanse from the years of poor nutrition - even though I was doing the best I could. FYI I recommend using bottled water vs. tap water for all pets.

    So keep praying that is what is going on

  28. Steve says:

    Friday, May 11, 2007

    Hawai’i pet owners filing suits against Menu Foods

    Advertiser Staff
    Two lawsuits are expected to be filed today against pet food manufacturer Menu Foods, which allegedly brought tainted pet foods into the market.

    Thomas Grande of Davis Levin Levingston Grande and Emily Gardner, attorney at law, said they will announce the lawsuits at a news conference today at their office on Fort Street.

    Plantiffs include Hawai’i consumers who fed their pets Menu Foods’ tainted wet pet food in cans and foil pouches with brands names such as Iams and Eukanuba.

    According to a news release, the suits include multi-party personal injury suit for pet owners who suffered the death or severe illness of their pet, filed by Gardner, and a consumer class action suit against the manufacturer for Hawai’i consumers who purchased tainted pet foods.

    In attendance to discuss what happened to their pets will be families whose pets died after eating Menu Food items.

    The news conference starts at 11 a.m

  29. Zoe says:

    I, too, have been reading every ingredient on every label. Yesterday i returned some canned tuna packed in water because this was listed in the ingredients “sodium acid pyrophosphate”. Here’s what I found about that little ingredient:

    Sodium pyrophosphate and Sodium acid pyrophosphate

    A slightly toxic mildly irritating colorless transparent crystalline chemical compound containing the phosphate ion… Used as buffering agent, emulsifier, thickening agent often used in food as additive. Common foods: chicken nuggets, canned tuna, crab meat soy based meat alternatives, toothpaste as tarter control agent in household detergents.

    Also in medication to prevent kidney stones. When looking up the medication I saw that the precautions were don’t use if you have kidney problems or allergies. No more canned tuna. Yikes!

  30. erin says:

    Wow, I hate to do this LorieVa but…..

    http://www.checnet.org/Healthe.....ain_ID=270

  31. Zoe says:

    Notice how all these ingredients seem to all relate to the kidneys and kidney problems.

    Maybe that’s why cat’s are thought to have kidney problems from eating canned fish. It’s not the fish but the stuff they put in the fish.

    Also I noticed nearly all the canned fish is packed in soy. What about people who are allergic to soy?

  32. LorieVA says:

    Erin,

    That was a quote form the lady who make cat food not me. I use Brita filtered water mixed with distilled, in my pet fountain, I all ready know bottled water is bad that is why I am allowed to drink it strait on the rock and the kitties can’t. *WINK*

  33. purringfur says:

    STEVE: Steve Says:

    May 11th, 2007 at 9:52 am
    Markets for biofuel co-products (DDGS, soy meal) are important. Co-products will compete with each other and with alternative feed ingredients.
    ………

    I read that article also. It looks as if the pet food industry is trying to “solve” the problem for company’s disposal of industrial chemical wastes — call them what they ARE — in our pets’ foods!

    Already a study was posted of adding glycerin to poultry feed — seeking the highest percentage they could add without harming the growth/weight of the bird for market. This was a “by-product” of the bio-deisel fuel industry! (Correct me if I have the wrong chemical.)

    With all of this added industrial waste to our pets’ and our own food (animals for human consumption), the ACCULUMATION FACTOR is definitely at work!

    Reading these reports is enough to make anyone WANT TO FAST FOR LIFE!

  34. Helen says:

    Eric: My experience with cats is that they don’t drink a lot of water, meaning if you are changing the bowl daily, you wouldn’t notice a huge change in the level of water for one cat. If you keep track of how much water you put in the bowl versus how much you take out when you change it, you will know how much the cats are drinking. If you are noticing the level of water in the bowl being unusually low, someone is drinking more water. If you have any doubts, I would go to the vet. If cats are used to wet food and are eating more dry food, it makes sense that they would feel thirstier. Dry food is about 10% moisture and wet food is 70-85% moisture. Hope all your cats are OK.

  35. Steve says:

    purringfur exactly the PFI apparently sees our pets as living garbage and toxic waste disposals.

    No wonder palatability studies are so big in their ongoing profit-racket.

  36. Monika says:

    Eric and LorieVA

    Re: Cats and drinking water

    I also started to notice that my two drink more water while on Kumpikat (and I still have the issue of them eating it up constantly and begging for more. Can you say kitty crack? hahah But since I heard the Kumpikat is high on carbs I’m getting worried as they’ve never wanted to eat this much) in any case, they are also drinking more water. I found this on the CRF website (my cats don’t have CRF, btw):

    “Cats drink more water when they eat dry food and they drink more when the weather is warm. There is no set amount of water for a normal cat to drink each day. More than six to eight ounces per day is usually considered excessive for a normal cat. CRF cats may drink more than this daily.”
    http://www.felinecrf.com/managd.htm (scroll down for the part about WATER)

    It didn’t occurr to me that maybe they’re just drinking more because it’s been warmer! haha. So hopefully that’s it.

    Anyone else feeding Kumpikat and noticing they eat it up in a flash and beg for more? I thought they were supposed to eat LESS of the Kumpikat because it was so nutritious.

  37. Eric says:

    LorieVA,
    Right now, they eat KumpiKat, freeze-dried chicken treats from Three Dog Bakery and baby food meats mixed with water.

  38. Eric says:

    Monika,
    Our cats all seem to like the KumpiKat okay, but I would say they eat less than they did when they were eating junk (Purina). We free feed though, so they always have at least a little bit of food in their dish.

  39. erin says:

    LorieVA….sorry bout the misunderstanding. It seems to be a common misconception though that bottled water is healthier. Having worked for a water purification company at one time and seeing the test results made me realize just how bad some of those bottled waters are.

  40. Helen says:

    Monica, I have read of some cats really pigging out on high-end food for a period of time when they first start getting it (like they were starved for something in it) and then levelling off. If your cats have only been on it for a short time, that could be the case. You could email Evy and ask her about that. She will answer you pretty fast. Her email address is on the website.

  41. Steve says:

    http://itchmoforums.com/index.php?topic=320.15
    « Reply #20 on: May 10, 2007, 11:29:10 PM »

  42. purringfur says:

    Steve: I believe there was also an article in the online trade journal you cited that discussed putting fibrous plant sources in the food, looking at how much could be put in without deterring the dog’s appetite. Looks like another way to get rid of low-quality by-products by piling it in our pets’ bowls.

    Did you see the article by ____ Phillipps on pro’s and con’s of commercial food vs. biological diet. I was surprised to see the alternate view in an industry paper. Basic point of Phillipps’ column: biological diet (reduced grains/carbs) eliminates obesity, insulin resistance, etc. — the same diseases humans acquire.

    That was an excellent source you posted! Gives you an inside look at what the next moves are… adding trash to pet food! Please post when a new issue comes out.

  43. LorieVA says:

    Monika,

    My two vultures live for wet food and of course they are off all wet completely right now been feeding chicken tenderloins and canned wild salmon god is that stuff gorss with all those bones init for me to dig out ick. Anyway, they do like their Kumpikat and munch on it while I am away or refuse to give them anything else. Spoiled little creatures, in frig everytime I open the door. Right now very grateful for that though seeing how they both refused to eat while being poisoned. I never thought of the warmer weather factor we just turned our AC on yesterday. They both have been cleared of kidney damage afer 3 blood test and one urine test so I hope it is just the weather and the change in diet.

  44. Barb says:

    Oh boy can I relate…watching my GSD pup for months now. Everytime she takes a drink I freak out. this whole thing makes me nervous.

  45. LorieVA says:

    Erin, just re-read my blog sorry if I sounded snippy. Its heard to express emotions on here. LOL No need to apologize, i never new bottled water was worse till about 2 or 3 weeks ago when someone else blasted me on here . LOL We all have each others best interest at heart and I love each and every one of you. This sight has been my saving grace.

  46. Eric says:

    It does suck that every little thing our cats or dogs do right now sends us into a panic. But with such nonspecific symptoms as the pet food poison has, we all see our furries with some of these symptoms from time to time. Last year at this time I’d have thought nothing of my kitty stopping for a few laps of water throughout the evening, especially since he was playing hard, but things have changed.

  47. LorieVA says:

    Eric,

    you are so right life as we know it will never be the same after this. Things taht use to be no big deal like my cat throwing up a hairball is a heart stooping experience anymore. I question the amt pee in the litter box, how many time they have BM vs everyting from before this. Why are they slepping why do they not want ot play why is she under the bed on and on. I hope all the people that caused this drama end up in anice warm place with a guy who has a pitch fork someday.

  48. Barb says:

    Panic is not the word I would use. I brought my GSD pup to the vet for a re-check on her eyes last night. I’m glad she is ok, but I asked him about her kidneys. Last month she went in for testing because she was showing signs, not wanting to eat, drinking a lot, but she was acting fine. I went into the panic mode so I brought her in. Her kidneys were slightly elevated. So a few days later we went back and they were elevated again but the vet said not to worry. (yeah, right) We did do the urine test and found nothing. She is active…eating and drinking. her poop is good, no vomiting. I wonder how long does it take for her to go downhill from the recall food? Hmmmm…shall I test her again? the vet said maybe a hi protein diet will cause the kidneys to be elevated. Oh brother. ALWAYS something to worry about.

    Thanks.

    Barb
    Phx, AZ

  49. Eric says:

    LorieVA,
    I could not have said it better myself. My cats all think I’m crazy, cause when they want to sleep (which is pretty often since they are CATS), I try to wake them up to play. They do however appreciate the expensive treats they get all the time (got to make sure they have an appetite you know).

    Those responsible for this have no clue how they’ve changed our lives and the emotions that we are all going through.

  50. Helen says:

    LorieVA and Eric:
    Recently my cat hid under the bed, and I had a panic attack, then remembered it was raining and she hides under the bed when it rains. Then she did have a hairball and I had a panic attack until I saw hair in it. The maddening thing is that the symptoms are things cats do anyway: sleep, vomit, hide under the bed! I wonder what the Friday afternoon recall will be today.

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