Why Toxins In Pet Food Is Nothing New

Pentobarbital, a drug frequently used to euthanize pets, continues to be found in pet food. An article on AlterNet asks the question “Why is the pet food industry killing our pets?” The author, Ann Martin, writes that she is able to trace euthanized pets to rendering plant, but the FDA says that no dog or cat DNA was found. Instead, they say that “the pentobarbital residues are entering pet food from euthanized, rendered cattle and even horses.”

However, the American Journal of Veterinary Research says that horse DNA was not found in their samples of pet food and added: “Cattle are only occasionally euthanized with pentobarbital, and thus are not considered a likely source of pentobarbital in dog food.” The research can’t point the finger at pets, but casts doubt in the FDA’s answer.

The FDA is aware of pentobarbital in pet food and believes that it should not be in there. However, Dr. Stephen Sundlof of the FDA’s Center of Veterinary Medicine says they are “not planning to undertake any special enforcement efforts to detect pentobarbital in pet foods.”

The FDA believes the small amount of pentobarbital doesn’t cause problems, but some vets disagree.

More information after the jump.

Highlights from the article:

The contention of the FDA/CVM is that this drug was found in such small amounts in the pet foods that it should not cause a problem. Dr. Tamara Hebbler of the Healing Hope Animal Clinic in San Diego, Calif., disagrees. By feeding your pets foods that contain even traces of pentobarbital, Hebbler states, “you can definitely be slowly causing chronic degenerative disease to happen, much, much faster.”

Along with a euthanizing drug that could be in your pet food, you’ll find additives, preservatives, vitamins, and mineral mixes that are usually added in higher amounts than deemed necessary because the processing can degrade these supplements. At present dog food manufacturer Royal Canin is facing a $50 million class-action suit on behalf of pet owners who claim that some of Royal Canin’s foods contain excess levels of vitamin D, often damaging or fatal to pets.

And concludes:

As our veterinary bills mount, we have been brainwashed by the industry to think that if we feed our pets human food, we will be causing them great harm. While it is not recommended to include your pets in your junk food habits, there is no harm in sharing a well-balanced diet with your pet. You wouldn’t want to eat food from the same bag every day, so don’t force your pets to do just that.

Source: AlterNet

(Thanks Irene)

31 Responses to “Why Toxins In Pet Food Is Nothing New”

  1. mittens says:

    barbituates aren’t the half of it another lovely product from our friends Monsanto appears- an insecticide they manufacture called Ethoxyquin.


    “API has a partial list of pet foods that contain EQ: Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Ralston One and 9 lives Friskies. It’s listed in ingredients of cat food such as Whisker Lickens and Whiskas. Jean Hofve, DVM, explains that EQ is not listed on labels when it’s added to fish meal, a prominent ingredient in most cat food. “

  2. Debbie4747 says:

    **However, Dr. Stephen Sundlof of the FDA’s Center of Veterinary Medicine says they are “not planning to undertake any special enforcement efforts to detect pentobarbital in pet foods.”**

    Doesn’t seem to me that the FDA much effort at all to detect anything in the pet foods. Then again, has anyone been able to detect any brains in the FDA?

  3. mittens says:

    implausible denial with the ever honest helpful pet food institute blazing the way:




    note that all the studies come from the company that makes this stuff-Monsanto.


  4. mittens says:

    rumours of anyone in the fda having brains or ethics have been highly exaggerated. monsanto told them theyre good little lap doggies, everyone, with a big juicy bone awaiting them upon exiting the fda for more the greener, highly fertilized and insecticide sprayed fields of corporate america.

    remember the fda does not test-they rely on their former and future employers at the various big companies to do all that pesky, time consuming regulatory work.

  5. Krista says:

    I’m getting really tired of hearing THESE SPEWS!!!!

    FDA - “Well, this shouldn’t be in the pet food” but…. OR… this is not enough to pose a health hazard, OR…. we don’t THINK it could pose any harm” Or… “levels are low…” OR Dilution factor.. for every suspect ingredient AND TOXIN !!!!!!!!!

    Once again we hear >>>>However,“not planning to undertake any special ENFORCMENT EFFORTS to detect……

    If you don’t ENFORCE, what the hell do you think happens???? ON EVERYTHING that shouldn’t be there? HELLO !!!! If you don’t investigate, you won’t find, damn-it!!!


    SICK TO DEATH OF THIS CRAP REPORTING play down, damage control—now there is where your effort is FDA !!

  6. Krista says:

    Mittens -

    Your right on the GM’s and monsanto.. Have you seen these videos over on the discussion forums? Called the Future of Food? Talk about shake you up!! OMG !!


  7. TC says:

    Oh please, cattle are not slaughtered using phenobarital - we freaking eat cows. We don’t take them to the vets to be put down, we rarely do it that way before putting them into our fridges and freezers. I don’t want to be callous, but that is the way it has always been here, so nothing new.

    The FDA well knows that little factoid, and I will tell you that factoid alone suggests that they have no respect for the American public, and are very comfortable lying through their teeth to us.

  8. High Note says:

    This just really makes me angry! If the FDA knows it is in the pet food and knows that it should not be in there then why not test and do something about it! It is their job! Even a pet should have healthy food! I have never heard of them killing cattle that way! I am sure that would be too expensive to do. We all know where it is coming from and so does the FDA and does nothing about it. Really truly sick! I hate them for doing nothing about it and wish I could shove some of that tainted food down their self loving throats!

  9. Anonymous says:

    More of the same sucky slop from the frankenfoods and drugpushers association.
    Fabrications and denials. Basically not worth a pile of horse puke.
    The only surprise is that anyone actually thinks they are serving the public at all.
    We are at the mercy of corporate criminal malfeasance aided and abetted by the agencies of g-ment.

  10. Lisa Clay says:

    I’m glad to hear that the FDA considers pentobarbital something that isn’t a problem in small amounts. We can add that to the list of all the other things that don’t hurt anyone in small amounts… Has anyone considered ADDING all these things together? Small amounts of LOTS of different things make up one big contaminated MESS!

    A little pentobarbital here, some melamine there, add in some acetaminophen, EQ, anti-freeze, but we will be OKAY! However, make your own pet food and face the health consequences!

    And here are 2 more lovely stories in today’s news:

    Geese’s revenge: Foie gras may cause disease
    Liver dish linked to brain disorder in people with genetic susceptibility


    A mystery of fish mortality
    Elusive illness plagues some Virginia rivers

  11. Ruth says:

    To Lisa Clay: Add all this and the mysterious “5th” ingredient that the FDA won’t identify.

    The FDA just keeps sinking its head deeper into the ground. Maybe its just all in our heads since we are the hysterical mass while our pets continue to get sick and die. AND now we have to deal with toxins in our food and not to mention medicine brought in from India and China.

  12. rjc says:

    Why would anyone expect to find DNA sequences long enough to identify in meat that’s been treated with corrosives and heat (rendering)?

  13. Ann H says:

    IMO, Acetaminophen is probably the 5th redacted ingredient. They didn’t want us to know then, and they don’t want us to know now.

  14. petslave says:

    right rjc–plus it’s mixed with a bunch of other DNA from other animals. Usually the DNA tests are run on pure samples from one organism, not contaminated with thousands of other animals from dozens of different species! Contamination from other DNA throws the test out the window. Plus exactly what did they test? Another staged batch that did not have pets in it? Not every rendering plant processes dead pets 24 hours a day! Sounds like a bunch of usual FDA hooey to me

  15. Lorna says:

    “More of the same sucky slop from the frankenfoods and drugpushers association.
    Fabrications and denials. Basically not worth a pile of horse puke”

    The thing is that horses don’t have the mechanism required for regurgitation/puking.
    I know there are,however,lots of other animals who would be more than happy to fill in for them and get the job done…cats and dogs to mention a few.
    Or….the horse’s other end could also be valuable in this regard.Anythng to be part of a good cause.


  16. petslave says:

    yes it’s interesting how quickly the acetaminaphin issue dropped out of sight. if they redacted that 5th ingredient then, it’s still redacted now.

  17. sandi says:

    Some of you answered my thoughts. My first reaction, why would a dog or cat food that has only chicken or turkey show phenobarbitol. It, does, prove to me, if this is so, that , perhaps other sources of meat are being used. Like cats, dogs, etc.

    Meat byproducts, another one.


  18. 3FURS says:

    Noaha’s Arc is in that slop, cats n rats n elephants n maybe even a unicorn. then it’s compressed, cut in different shapes and each has their own flavour sprayed on, and of course the dyes added. That why a can of beef dog stew leaves a fishy odor on a dog’s breath.

  19. thomas says:

    One of the things we can do whether it will do any good quetionable go to http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usdafarmbill?
    We can read the proposed farm bill for 2007. We can contact our federal senators http:www.senate.gov/ and our members of the house http://www.house.gov/ and tell them what we like and don’t like. we can also contact the House and Senate Agriculture comittees and voice our concerns over the lack of food safety for humans and pets. THE FOARM ACT 2007 IS SUPPOSED TO BE VOTED ON NEXT WEEK.

    We can ask for more funding for organic food and that the requiements for food to be called organic become stronger for organic labeling not weaker as they have proposed. We can ask that the farm subsidies be changed so they help the smaller farms and not the agribusunesses. I don’t know if people are aware that food stamps come out of the usda budget and many times the poor suffer to further line the pockets of the large wealthy farms.

    If you want to see the injustices of the farm subsidy system go to http://www.ewg.org.

  20. thomas says:

    In my previous message the senate was left out http://senate.gov/

  21. thomas says:

    Should http://www.senate.gov/

  22. Katie says:

    FDA - more lies, more spin and don’t worry it’s the dilution… I’m sure the PFI is really worried that all the Independent testing just might turn up more than acetominophen. All these years, all the “c**p” that has been dumped into pet food. I’m sure they have been saying their prayers hoping we never find out the truth. And Monsanto; how can a company be so unethical and so depleted of morals. Seeing the FDA and Monsanto working together sends chills down the spine.


  23. Steve says:

    A Stunning Record Of Secrecy And Corruption, Of Cronyism Run Amok

  24. petslave says:

    here’s another provision just put into the upcoming farm bill that takes away local rights



    Consumer, Environmental, Farmer and Animal Welfare Groups Protest Clause that Wipes Out State and Local Authority on Meat, Poultry, Biotechnology

    Washington, June 19, 2007-Forty consumer, environmental, farmer and animal welfare groups today announced their opposition to a sweeping provision in the 2007 Farm Bill that wipes out critical state and local authority to protect food safety, the environment, and humane animal treatment. The provision, Section 123 of Title I, was quietly inserted in the House bill several weeks ago by the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee….

    …..”At a time when we have seen repeated food safety failures at FDA and USDA, we need more food safety protection, not less,” states Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports). “This clause would tie the hands of states on meat, poultry and genetically engineered food,” she said……”

    This will then give all the power to you know who!

  25. Judy says:

    In response to Mittens post about the Ethoxyquin. I don’t know about the rest of them, but Iams does not have Ethoxyquin in any of their products.
    They actually test for it to make sure it is not there. As well as for Antibiotics, and now Melamine and Acetemetaphen.
    Iams was the first company to do away with it and start using a natural preservative system.

    I do know that SD does still use it because it is on the label.
    They don’t even try to hide it.

    We need some regulations in this industry!

    Being a cat and dog breeder of long standing, I have used Iams products long before the Eukanuba was even invented. Throughout the years I have had nothing but wonderful results with these products. Because I was so disgusted with them for even being part of the recall, I switched to other foods, but because they were the ones who threatened to blow the whistle on MF, if they didn’t DO something, that they did redeem themselves in my eyes, and show that they do have some integrity after all. I have since switched back to the dry Eukanuba products, because this is the only food that I can depend on to keep the weight on my girls even with large litters.

  26. Jan says:

    The ethoxyquin only has to be listed on the label if the company actually adds it into the food itself. But… chicken grown for pet food consumption are fed ethoxyquin by the chicken growers to preserve the meat after slaughter. This is used in non- human grade feeds. Soooo even though the label does not say the word ethoxyquin its in there via the chicken. labeling laws only make them label what the manufacturer puts in the bag or can, not what is put into the meat prior to the company using the meat.
    again if the food does not state human grade, or organic or free range then guess what ITS IN THERE! and maybe a little acetemephene for some extra added kick! Bottom line if it isn’t real food it shouldn’t be in there period! And you wonder why dogs years ago only died of just simple old age. now they die of cancer, organ failure at young ages etc its all the chemicals that are killing them . I read years ago aboout ethoxyquin I believe it is actually a rubber stabilizer not a pesticide. It was originally used for the vulcanization of tires. kinda makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy doesn’t it. lets see we can drive our cars on it and feed it to our pets too! P.S. it is banned from the human food chain because of the cancer causing properties in it!But its ok for pet food>

  27. petslave says:

    I hadn’t heard that about ethoxyquin & chickens, but that is also true for fish. If the fish is not going into the human food supply, it HAS to be treated with ethoxyquin by law to preserve it until it gets processed. This is done before it even gets to the pet food manufacturer, so it does not have to be listed on the label. If you’re feeding pet food with fish in it, make sure it’s human grade to avoid the ethoxyquin.

    When my dogs were diagnosed with food allergies, I picked up a bag of Eukanuba catfish formula food at the vets (don’t ask me why, I would normally never feed this stuff but I was kind of desparate to get them off their other food immediately). When I got home, I read the label more completely & sure nuff, ethoxyquin was in it. Guess this was on top of the dose they put in at the fish processor’s place! I made an extra trip into town to get better food that day.

  28. Buster says:

    So how did you get that job, Sundlof?

  29. YaYa says:

    There are more websites than I could count, talking about the pentobarbital in Pet foods.
    Articles from magazines and papers for studies, tho I couldn’t find any past 2003,tonite.
    One Gent that was doing work for the Canadians and a book {you know that one: “Foods our dogs die for”}, he said, the FDA put him off over and over for copies of their “studies”, even filed a Freedom of Info Act request, yet put him off for 5 years for it!!!

    Seems they just work at the FDA to Hide stuff More than to FIND stuff, to me!

    His site said that, Pentobarbital does Not Degrade during processing and that is one reason it’s Still in the Foods once it’s canned etc.

    His or another site said that Drs. had also found that dogs being put to sleep for surgeries, were More Resistant to pentobarbital too, and need MORE to be put to sleep for the surgery, than what’s considered Normal. Tolerance level was UP.

    “Nope, nuthin’ wrong here”
    Cujo- Stephen King

  30. sandi says:

    Hi, I know about ethoxoquin and fish. A fisherman once told me that even fish for human consumption, is preserved asap with ethoxoquin.

    If one checks all or most of the dog and cat food has some sort of fish in it, hard to avoid.

    I think I confused the list, if a food cat or dog has only chicken in it, has phenobarbitol been found in it??


  31. YaYa says:

    Good question Sandi. I thought to read it, it did not matter what the label said, whether Only Chicken or Turkey or not. They still found it.
    Am I reading it right folks?

    Horses? They ‘blame’ it on horses being put down going into the food too?
    I don’t know if I could possibly found out any stats on that or not but I just might try.

    I can NOT Imagine that there are enough horses being put down in a weeks time, let’s say, for it to begin to Show up in the amounts/levels people have found. No Way. Not in my mind or experiences. I could be wrong but—–

    What is the real number of pet food plants? I’ve seen 3, I’ve seen 5 {the Biggies}??.

    If you as Conservation/Park officers etc., something like this, If a Wild edible animal is “put down” can you eat the meat?
    {not shot with a bullet type},
    They will tell you NO, can’t eat it.

    Be-Cause of the medication in the darts etc and the sorts of medications used to put them to sleep.
    {not that That happens everyday either}

    Deer, Elk, Bear, etc. Doesn’t matter as far as Ive Ever heard. You can’t eat the meat. They don’t allow it.

    So why No and for Humans {or a pet} consumption, under Those circumstances????

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