Recalled pet foods contained a chemical used to make plastics, but government tests failed to confirm the presence of rat poison, federal officials said Friday.
The Food and Drug Administration said it found melamine in samples of the Menu Foods pet food, as well as in wheat gluten used as an ingredient. Cornell University scientists also have found the chemical, sometimes used as a fertilizer, in the urine of sick cats, as well as in the kidney of one cat that died after eating the company's wet food.
Click Here For a List of Pet Food Brand Names Subject to Recall.
Menu Foods recalled 60 million containers of cat and dog food earlier this month after animals died of kidney failure after eating the Canadian company's products. It is not clear how many pets may have been poisoned by the apparently contaminated food, although anecdotal reports suggest hundreds if not thousands have died. The FDA alone has received more than 8,000 complaints.
The new finding comes a week after scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified a rat poison and cancer drug called aminopterin as the likely culprit in the pet food. The FDA said it could not confirm that finding.
New York officials have detected melamine as well, though it's not clear how that chemical would have poisoned pets. It's typically used to produce plastic kitchen wares, though it's apparently used as a fertilizer in Asia, said Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.
New York remained confident in its aminopterin finding, said Patrick Hooker, commissioner of the New York state Department of Agriculture and Markets. Hooker added that neither aminopterin nor melamine should be in pet food, but that it was unclear why the latter substance would be poisonous to the cats in which it was found.
"While we have no doubt that melamine is present in the recalled pet food, there is not enough known data on the mammalian toxicity levels of melamine to conclude it could cause illness and deaths in cats. With little existing data, many questions still remain as to the connection between the illnesses and what has caused them," Hooker said.
The apparently melamine-contaminated wheat gluten also was shipped to an unnamed company that manufactures dry pet food. The FDA is attempting to determine if that product, imported from China, was used to make any pet food, Sundlof said. There is no risk to human food, he told reporters.
Now they tell us an "unnamed" dry food might be contaminated as well? Even if it is just suspected they should be telling us before animals start dying!
DA is conducting an investigation and working with Menu Foods, Inc. to ensure the effectiveness of the recall. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-866-895-2708. Consumers who wish to report adverse actions or other problems can go to http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html to contact the FDA complaint coordinator in their state.
- Menu Foods Recall
March 16, 2007
Rat Poison Found in Killer Pet Food That Sparked Nationwide Recall
Pet Food Recall!!