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Home > Archived Newsletter Messages > UPDATE - PET FOOD RECALL INFORMATION - APRIL 5, 2007

Archived Newsletter Messages


Sent: April 6, 2007

Another recall was announced yesterday; dog biscuits made by Sunshine Mills, a company based in Red Bay, Alabama, were added to the list of retracted products, because of the possibility it may have used contaminated wheat gluten. And Menu Foods Ltd. extended their recall date foods made between Nov. 8 and Mar. 6.

The Sunshine Mills company spokesman said that about 20 types of large dog biscuits are contaminated with the suspect wheat gluten from China. The company purchased the tainted product from a Minneapolis company, which had purchased it from ChemNutra in Las Vegas. ChemNutra obtained it from a Chinese company. The recalled biscuits include Nurture Chicken and Rice Biscuit, Ol' Roy Peanut Butter Biscuit and Pet Life Large Biscuit. Eighty percent of the tainted biscuits were sold by Wal-Mart under the Ol' Roy brand.

The FDA has embargoed further imports from the Chinese company.

The FDA has confirmed 16 pet deaths, although it is believed that thousands may have died. The FDA points to the inexplicable appearance of melamine, an industrial binding chemical used in plastic furniture, cookware, and in fertilizers overseas, as the likely cause. Lab tests found it in wheat gluten, a gravy thickener used in wet pet food. "The association between melamine in the kidneys and urine of cats that died and melamine in the food they consumed is undeniable," says the FDA. "Melamine is an ingredient that should not be in pet food at any level." Unfortunately, the FDA says it cannot be sure melamine is the culprit.

There are many unanswered questions. Richard Goldstein, associate professor of medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, a member of the Cornell team investigating the cause of death, says he would not normally expect melamine to kill a pet. Very few studies have been done on melamine's effects on animals in fact, just one on cats, which showed limited poisonous effects and no kidney damage. "It looks like it [the melamine] is causing direct cell death in the kidneys and this is not something we would have expected to happen," says Goldstein.

Although the first recall only involved wet foods, there have been a growing number of complaints about sick and dying animals who ate only dry food, which typically does not contain wheat gluten, causing some to wonder melamine is the real culprit.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has urged the FDA to test for excessive levels of vitamin D; last year a manufacturing error led to too much of the vitamin in Royal Canin pet food, causing kidney failure and death in several animals. However, an FDA spokesman states that their "analysis of the premix indicates that vitamin levels were appropriate." Other theories include aminopterin, or rat poison, which would cause the kind of kidney damage seen. An Albany lab found the substance in two pet food samples of canned foods, but the FDA has ruled these out because no other lab has been able to confirm the results.

Critics of the pet food industry point to two factors that may contribute to unsafe food--the centralization of the process for making food and the use of unsanitary material from rendering plants. Resulting from the recall was the fact that the wheat gluten which was eventually recalled came from a single Chinese company but ended up in over 100 brands of pet food. ChemNutra Inc., based in Las Vegas, bought 873 tons of gluten from the Chinese company, farmed it out to three pet food makers and one distributor that services the industry.

Information about all of the recalled pet food may be found at:


We also received the following email of interest. Please be sure to note that the payments are made to the veterinarian--NOT the client. It was sent to veterinarians.

Hill's announces Prescription Diet® m/d® Feline dry pet food medical screening payment plan

"As you know, Hill's makes all its products with an overriding commitment to the health and well being of pets. With that in mind, on March 30, we notified you of our decision in conjunction with the FDA to issue a precautionary voluntary recall of a single product, Prescription Diet® m/d® Feline dry pet food, our only product containing the wheat gluten at issue other than the earlier recalled Science Diet® Savory Cuts® pet food. A list of recalled products is available on our website, This recall was done in an abundance of caution, as the FDA has not yet been able to determine a cause for any pet illness.

"However, to further reinforce our commitment to both pets and the veterinary profession, Hill's is announcing a plan to offset medical screening costs you have incurred to support your clients who have purchased Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry pet food from January 2007 to the present.

"Hill's has decided to take this action to help support so many in the profession who have already extended themselves to assist their clients during this difficult time.

"The program will provide a one time payment of $100 per patient tested. This is being made available to help offset the costs of standard tests that would otherwise be borne by your client or yourself. In the case of tests previously conducted, it is up to you to reimburse your clients for out of pockets costs up to $100. This payment shall be available for all requests thru May 30, 2007.

"Hill's Pet Nutrition would like to thank each of you for your on-going support of the Prescription Diet business and encourage you to take advantage of this offer."

All Creatures Are Truly Special, Inc.

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