All over the nation, pet owners are trying to find answers to their questions on if our pet food is safe. Instead of waiting for the FDA or hearing that their food is unsafe from a company recall, many owners have been taking the matter into their own hands and testing their own cat and dog food to see if there are any contaminants in the food.
UC Davis’s lab is reporting that they found melamine and cyanuric acid in 35% to 40% of pet food tested out of 650 samples. They generally work through vets, but they tested some pet food samples from owners of cats and dogs because of the high demand. That 35-40% percentage seems quite high for pet food testing positive for melamine or cyanuric acid. We wonder how many of those tested pet food samples are NOT on the recall list.
Many Itchmo readers are familiar with Don Earl and his cat, Chuckles, who died in December of sudden kidney failure. Determined to find some answers on Chuckles’s food, he found a private lab to conduct tests on his cat’s food at his own expense.
“If anything comes out of this, it’s going to be through the efforts of people like me doing the research and testing on their own,” Earl said.
“We’re over three months into this thing and private citizens are finding evidence that no one else is even bothering to look for. And that’s beyond unacceptable.”
FDA officials and other experts, however, don’t recommend the path taken by Earl, saying that consumers don’t have the means to determine whether a lab is reliable.
ExperTox, the lab that tested Earl’s cat food, found traces of acetaminophen in several pet food samples including Earl’s pet food sample. ExperTox said that about 70% of the pet food samples that are being tested are being requested by individual pet owners. A spokesperson for the lab said that there were 5 or 6 samples that tested positive for acetaminophen.
Earl then tested his cat’s food at an Oregon lab for common toxic chemicals, not including melamine, and the results came back negative. This has not deterred Earl from continuing to test for acetaminophen, melamine and other toxins in pet food.
“I’m looking for a third lab to see if they can duplicate the ExperTox results,” Earl said. “The FDA didn’t want to do testingâ€¦. After each recall, they’d say everything else was safe, until the next week when they came out with another recall. After a certain point, you stop believing them.”
That could be the crux of the issue: some pet owners’ unwillingness to trust the government to get to the bottom of the issue.
More on pet owners testing their pet food on their own to find answers after the jump.
From the LA Times (registration required):
The Texas lab, ExperTox, has been under fire by pet food companies and the FDA because Menu Foods said that they disputed the lab’s findings and said that FDA tests resulted in negative findings also. Although it seems like the FDA cannot confirm that they tested the same cat food that Earl tested.
Zawisza [FDA spokesperson] could not confirm that the agency tested Pet Pride food, but she said it had obtained at least five samples of food that consumers believed had been tainted with the pain reliever, and that each tested negative.
In addition, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab at UC Davis tested a different sample of the same product that Earl submitted to ExperTox and also did not find acetaminophen, Poppenga [a professor of veterinary diagnostic toxicology at UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine] said.
“There’s no evidence of a widespread problem,” Poppenga said. “A lot of people are getting worked up about something that may not be real.”
Amidst all of the conflicting results, lack of communication and action from the FDA and pet food companies, the questions and the concern for pet’s safety still remain in the forefront of pet owners’ minds.