Contaminated pet food causes massive recall

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Monday, March 19, 2007

At least 10 pets, 9 cats and 1 dog have died as a result of eating contaminated pet food, says the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. The contamination caused cats and dogs to both go into kidney failure.

At least 51 brands of cat food and 40 brands of dog food have been recalled. The manufacturer of the food is Menu Foods, which is based in Mississauga, Ontario in Canada. The brands include: Iams, Nutro, and Eukanuba pet foods. Nestle, Purina PetCare Co., Procter & Gamble and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. are voluntarily recalling their pet foods as a precaution. The FDA says that only wet food has been reported to have caused the deaths. The food was sold between December of 2006 and March 3 of 2007. The recall includes pouches and cans of wet food that total over 60 million.

"We are still trying to find out what the true picture is out there of animals. We're talking about 1 percent of the pet food [supply] and it's really just impossible to extrapolate at this point," reported the FDA's head veterinarian, Stephen F. Sundlof.

The manufacturer is currently performing tests to determine what might have caused the contamination, but so far, the source has not been identified.

"We're testing and testing, but we can't identify the problem in the product," said Sarah Tuite, a spokeswoman for Menu Foods.

Anywhere from 40 to 50 cats and dogs were fed the contaminated food during testing by Menu Foods, and at least seven of those animals died. The species or how many cats or dogs died during testing is not known.

The FDA says that the possible cause of the contamination could be from heavy metals, lead or fungi inside wheat gluten which is used in pet foods as a "filler."

A complete list of the products recalled can be found here: Menu Foods Recall List. Pet owners are urged to stop using any and all food on that list that may still be in their home. Owners are also asked to seek immediate veterinarian attention if the pets are suspected of eating the food.

The recall could cost over 30 million USD.

Sources

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