Vets Suspect 5 Foods, Will Test Soon

From the Sacramento Bee article:

Local veterinarians who’ve tracked kidney ailments nationwide have tentatively identified five more foods, not at this point under any recall, that they plan to have tested as soon as possible.

The Veterinary Information Network, used by about 16,000 of the estimated 35,000 U.S. veterinarians, noticed the five foods kept recurring in vet-described disease reports, said Paul Pion, the Davis vet who co-founded the service. Pion said it would be premature to name the foods.

Emphasis ours. We should also note that we hold Dr. Pion in the highest regard and we hope that you will also trust him to do the right thing at the right time. We do.

Why is releasing this information important if there’s no confirmation? We want the FDA and others to take notice and tell us who else got the rice protein. Dr. Pion shouldn’t have to do this. It’s not his job. The supplier already told us the food went to more than Diamond. Someone already yelled “fire” in a crowded theatre.

125 Responses to “Vets Suspect 5 Foods, Will Test Soon”

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  1. teric says:

    Sounds like Wilber is blowing a bunch a smoke up our *****

    One single pink bag - not like the rest? The pink bag was immediately quarantined. If that’s the case then why is it in NB? Give me a break. We may have been born at night but not last night Wilber!

  2. elliott says:

    PLEASE - read Dr Michael Fox’s recent site.

  3. 5CatMom says:

    Here’s the link to Dr. Fox:

  4. elliott says:


  5. 5CatMom says:


    You bet.

    FYI, I sent an email to Dr. Pion today, and asked him to test food samples for :


    Not that Dr. P needs my help, but it never hurts. Anyway, I’m having a real hard time keeping my big mouth shut about this stuff.

    Have made some new “friends” in D.C. this week!!! LOL LOL
    I’m glad that Dr. P stepped forward to help, ’cause we ain’t gonna live long enough for FDA to get it figured out.

    I’ve tried to talk to them about the Aminopterin, Cypromine, Melamine thing, talked to a Dr. who’s in Dr. Sandlof’s Department, but you have to submit a blinkin’ White Paper or something. I was in the process of writing an email to her when the news about Dr. P popped up.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wrote to Pion and received this in response:

    I am sorry that the SacBee article unnecessarily upset you. Carrie Peyton Dahlberg, the reporter who wrote the article, did not intend the wording to communicate that I was keeping any information from the public. But I do think the way it was worded could have come across that way.

    The reality is that we have contacted and requested food samples from some of our colleagues/members who have reported cases of renal failure in pets who were not eating recalled foods.

    We are doing this only to be complete and to remove any questions surrounding a few of the cases reported to us.

    Rest assured that none of the foods we are testing are associated with cases that have histories which lead us to believe the results will be positive. We will be very surprised if any of the results are positive.

    Thus it would be unethical and irresponsible (to you and other pet owners) for us to name these foods.

    If a pet has been eating a food throughout this disheartening time and is fine, then the likelihood is that continuing to eat that food is safe. My greatest fear would be to raise concern without any justification and cause a pet owner to change foods from a food that has proven safe for their pet to one that is potentially unsafe.

    I talked to Carrie at the Bee today and she is going to try to insert a clarification in the paper. We have worked throughout this difficult time to keep abreast of the facts, collect data, keep veterinarians and the public informed, and help anyone who asks for help.

    That our trying to leave no stone unturned and pay for the analysis of a few low probability foods has been misinterpretated and led to many letters that are mean and hateful is more upsetting that you can imagine.

    I hope this letter gives you some peace of mind.


  7. JM Leong says:

    That is a reasonable response from Dr. P and I thank you for sharing it.

    Also, re the Dr. Fox page: Good info. However I do have question. Didn’t I see in several different places that the suspected wheat gluten was, in fact, in some instances marked “human grade”?

  8. straybaby says:

    They’ve updated that press release and are urging the manufacturers who bought the RPC from them to recall their products . .

    “Wilbur-Ellis began importing rice protein concentrate from Binzhou Futian Biology Technology in July 2006. A total of 14 containers holding 336 metric tons of rice protein concentrate were sent from Futian to Wilbur-Ellis. Wilbur-Ellis has distributed 155 metric tons to date.
    On Monday (April 16), a pet food distributor issued a voluntary recall of its pet food, believing the source of contamination to be rice protein concentrate supplied by Wilbur-Ellis. As an additional precaution, Wilbur-Ellis is urging all pet food manufacturers using rice protein concentrate supplied through Wilbur-Ellis to recall any pet food that may be on supermarket shelves.”

    there may be other changes in the release from the prior one, but I thought this was interesting. Let’s see how long it is until they step up . . . Who’s got Friday after the market closes? anyone?

  9. FMtz says:

    This letter should stand as proof that it wasn’t just one pink bag.

    I’d bet on late Friday as well.

  10. Sharon says:

    How many animals are going to die because they are withholding this information? I can’t believe it. Will someone please picket the pet food convention in Chicago or march on Washington? While the government and industry sit around and figure out how to cya animals are dying.

  11. CathyA says:

    RE: Natura guarantees that the organic rice protein concentrate used in Karma is not sourced from China and that it is 100% safe and absolutely free from melamine contamination.

    I want to know how they know this - just based on the fact they didn’t get rice protein conc. directly from China? Or did they actually TEST for melamine. Seems if they actually TESTED they would say that. We heard these same words from people who didn’t use wheat - no wheat, don’t get it from China, etc. Then there was a new problem with rice protein.

    Nothing personal about Natura. I just think ALL pet food companies at this point need to show some proof they’ve actually been proactive in this situation and offer more than words.

  12. CathyA says:

    # Sue J Says:
    April 18th, 2007 at 7:11 pm
    the FDA does not initiate recalls. They are all ‘voluntary’. I believe that at best, they can seize products, and stop distribution via an injunction, but they cannot require a company to do a recall without initiating legal action.

    …….Well sh*t! Obviously THAT needs to change.

    Was looking for the Hearing next Tuesday (Googled House Committee Food Safety) and found a treasure trove of articles. Here’s one from 1998 which explains why we are are in this mess. A lot of talk - no action. And shows you how long Durbin has been on food safety issues:

  13. CathyA says:

    The Pink Bag
    Oh please, like a giant arrow saying POISON HERE, POISON HERE. Give me a break.
    In the future we’ll blame everything on the pink bag. What went wrong? Oh, it was The_Pink_Bag. TPB

  14. CathyA says:

    Dr. Pion, rather than clog up your email box, I’d like to offer a public thanks for your help in resolving this pet food fiasco.

    “That our trying to leave no stone unturned and pay for the analysis of a few low probability foods has been misinterpretated and led to many letters that are mean and hateful is more upsetting that you can imagine.”

    I am so sorry. Many people are in grief. Many are anxious. Most everyone is disgusted. Some think it is appropriate to lash out at anyone. Certainly after a month of not knowing anything, this latest event has pushed people way past the tipping point. I don’t even feed commercial food but I keep thinking about what it would be like to try to pick a “new” pet food based on what a company says or doesn’t say and what might happen tomorrow. I hope you can ignore these attacks and know that most people do not feel this way.

    I feel the issue of labeling must be addresed by the AVMA. We must have current and truthful labels. Not knowing exactly what is in the bag or can is not only upping the anxiety but making people just plain crazy. We don’t have to wait for regulation change either. Pet people are asking for truth in this matter. Some statement backing this consumer driven issue by the AVMA would get us there faster. And certainly make diagnostics a bit easier for the veterinary community. It is obvious at this point that one cannot trust the label of any company, unless they explicitly state that the formulation will never be changed without a change in the label.

    I commend you and the VIN community for stepping out of the box on this issue. I especially appreciate the pages from VIN professional pages that are accessible to the public (Promo page) and have passed them on to many people. Also your willingness early on to talk about “real” numbers is highly appreciated by the pet community, as the press is stuck on 16.

    I’ve often held vets feet to the fire on some issues. This isn’t one of them. Taking the initiative to keep pets safe by doing something no one else is doing is commendable.

    Miscommunication and noncommunication has figured prominently throughout this whole affair. Your willingness to clarify things is appreciated.

    Thank you.

  15. Apollo's Mom says:

    I think you’re all missing the point of the “pink bag” theory. It’s not that the melamine came from the (obviously shipped in error) pink bag. Employees spotted the pink bag (d’oh! Unless you’re completely color blind, that’s gonna stick out…) and acted properly to pull it aside and quarantine it. The extra pink bag also would account for the odd lot shipping quantity of 146 - the pink bag clearly was not intended to be part of that shipment, and got loaded onto the wrong truck, ship, whatever. Anyone who deals with shipping and receiving will tell you those sorts of errors happen ALL of the time. Heck, who here can say they have never, ever ordered anything from a catalog and gotten the wrong color, quantity, etc, or at least knows someone who has? Just yesterday, when I pulled away from the drive thru window at McDonalds, I realized I had an extra french fry order in the bag. Poor guy behind me probably got no fries at all!

    No, the smoking gun here is that the pink bag proves the bagging facility bags both rice proteins AND melamines. The “dirty bag” theory discussed in the Forbes article posits that the bagger may have reused bags previously containing melamine to pack rice proteins, resulting in residual contamination of the rice from the dirty (reused) bags. This would be an obvious cost saving measure: say a run of melamine was accidentally put into the wrong bags. Instead of destroying the bags at a loss, you just empty them out, send ‘em over to the rice line where they belong, and repack the melamine in the proper (apparently pink) bags. A very plausible scenario, and no grand consipracy needed. Simple human error + a drive to keep costs low by any means = bad decisions that end up costing pets their lives.

    The irony of this is that in most cases, decisions like this come back to bite the corporation which made them in the arse. Pet food companies are in the business of making money, and recalls/bad press/consumer outrage seriously cut into the bottom line. Therefore, American importers are going to be far LESS likely to do business with this supplier again, cutting their profitability instead of improving it. Short term cost slashing seldom if ever yields ling term corporate gains. What truly amazes me is that so many people running corporations still fail to “get” this. Perhaps it is because too many of them are paid on short term results, and seldom stick around long enough to clean up the long term messes they create.

    Anyhoo, I just wanted to add a bit of perspective on the whole “pink bag” thing, and wish everyone whose pets may have been affected the best. My Boxer baby, Apollo, eats nothing but NB venison & brown rice (only thing that got rid of a year’s worth of pudding poop… *sigh*) and his kitty brother Cody eats a range of the NB cat products, including NB Venison & Green Pea dry. I tend to buy in bulk and stock up, so my supplies were purchased long before NB’s ill advised decision to tinker with their formula, and the critters are still happily chowing down. No, I’m not going to throw out every scrap of NB food in my house. It’s high quality food that keeps my animals in amazing condition. And yes, as soon as NB starts shipping clean batches again, I’ll be buying it. Am I annoyed that they changed an allergy formula, of all things, without at least letting people know ahead of time? You bet. Do I think they’re likely to do this again, after the way this turned out? Um, no. They do want to stay in business, after all, and this will have cost them a BUNDLE in both bottom line and customer base. So I feel pretty safe with NB for the forseeable future.

    Love to all the pooches and kitties,


  16. Anonymous says:

    FirstMate Pet Foods is okay. I called there head office and had a chat with their raw materials buyer. They are not affected in any way with the tainted Chinese ingredients. They get their ingredients from N. America and manufacture FirstMate in their OWN plant.
    They are also certified by the EU - which holds companies to a higher standard.

  17. Geff says:

    Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if the Good Ol’ USA protected it’s citizens to the same high level as the EU………

  18. Debbie4747 says:

    Purina just updated their site

    They are elaborating on the wheat gluten and how they are dedicated to our pets’ health and nutrition, and go into details about everything you wanted to know about wheat gluten. I think we’ve all figured that one out and are staying away from it. No mention about the rice scare we’re having now or about their mysterious plant in China that they don’t know about. Be very careful with this company. They occupy a huge share of the foods out there in supermarkets that are reasonably priced for those feeding a multitude of assorted pets. They’ve evaded the wheat gluten issue before saying the rest of their stuff is good, then a few days later pulled Alpo cuts. They denied having a plant in China to me on the phone and are scampy on info that you’d be most likely to ask about.
    Just a heads up on them; their remaining products may be good but buyer beware.

  19. teric says:

    Someone was asking on one of these boards for a list of where they can find products MADE IN CHINA. Dont know which board? I found this. Hope it’s helpful.

  20. Geff says:

    I’d sure like to see the US government put a temporary 100% ban in any food imports from China. It would not solve the problem, but it would send a message.

  21. barb says:

    I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about the contaminated CORN gluten imported from China found in Royal Canin foods in South Africa only. Yes, it had melamine in it. My vet called Royal Canin (while I was in his office) and he was assured that none of the South Africa manufactured food is shipped here.
    Now we also have CORN GLUTEN that came from China.
    I called Purina Pro Plan and asked them where their corn gluten comes from.
    I applaude Nestle Purina. The call was answered immediately by a real human being based here in the USA. The person could not answer my question, and asked me to hold while he transferred me to a supervisor. That person asked me to hold while she contacted her supervisor, and came back about 60 seconds later and told me that Nestle Purina is aware of the Corn Gluten problem in South Africa and at the corporate level is tracing all of their supplies of Corn Gluten immediately.
    She took my name, phone number and email address and told me that they would both call me and email me the answer as soon as it became available. She said they would know either later today or else tomorrow.
    They were the only company that both answered their phone AND were aware that a problem has now been found in Chinese corn gluten.

  22. CathyA says:

    barb Says:
    April 19th, 2007 at 7:07 pm
    She said they would know either later today or else tomorrow.

    …..hope you’ll post back! I do have a hard time beliving, in this age of computers, why it would take so long to find that information in the database. That is good customer service to get your answer so quickly. Haven’t been to their website, but hope that they have that information front and center. Would save on phone calls and let their customers know that they understand the worries.

  23. CathyA says:

    Uh oh Barb, I take that back. Here is what Purina put on their website today:
    Updated FAQs – April 19, 2007
    Do you use rice protein concentrate in any of your products?
    * No. Nestlé Purina PetCare Company does not use rice protein concentrate in any of its U.S. or Canadian pet food products.
    Do you source any other ingredients from the Chinese supplier of the rice protein concentrate in question?
    * No.
    Where do you source rice used in Purina brand pet foods?
    * All rice used in Purina brand pet foods is sourced from North America.

    ……..Oops, they asked and answered the wrong question in number 2. Question should have been, do you source any other ingredients from China. We really don’t care about which supplier it came from as so far we’ve had 2 different ones.

    …….so stay tuned I guess.

  24. Pet Food, Joost, Gender, and Internet Democracy · Elaine Vigneault says:

    […] list of unsafe pet foods is growing… Itchmo re-reports that veterinarians suspect five more foods not yet listed on any recall […]

  25. Sam 2007 says:


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