Pet Food Recall- The Tip of the Iceberg

DogtorJ

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#1
Hi Everyone,

I have very mixed feelings here. Of course, I am saddened by the death of the affected pets and the trauma this has caused the owners. BUT, this is the absolute best thing that could happen TO the pet food companies. I could not be more excited about the potential for seeing the much-needed changes in pet food manufacturing that may finally come about as a result of this "scandal". This recall should serve as a HUGE warning shot being fired across all of our bows.

The latest is that 14 pet deaths have been linked directly to the recalled foods, with 6 of them being cats that died in the studies conducted by Menu Foods themselves to confirm that the food was the culprit. The mortality and morbidity rates have shown that cats are more susceptible the effects of this food, which makes sense from a gluten standpoint since cats are a more strict carnivores and would be less adapted to dealing with eating grains. The FDA, as of this date, still holds that they do not know what the exact culprit is while the company itself has been quoted as saying that they believe it is the wheat gluten acquired from a new supplier. They have replaced the gluten and gone back to manufacturing the recalled foods according to one report that I read. So, if that's true, they must be pretty convinced that it's the wheat gluten.

And wheat gluten CAN do this. Gluten, in sensitized individuals, can induce both chronic and acute kidney failure. The form of kidney failure is typically what we call an IgA nephropathy, in which antibodies and immune complexes formed against the gluten are deposited in the kidneys, which leads to damage and ultimately failure. Again, this can be chronic leading to persistent blood (microscopic) and protein in the urine or it can be very acute.

In most of the cases of the "tainted" food deaths, the pets had been eating these foods for months before succumbing to its effects. Many of you saw the emotion-charged interviews on national news that dealt with owners who thought they were doing the right thing by feeding their pets these foods but have now learned that "all of these months" they were poisoning their dogs.

First of all, is it a "tainted food"...one that contains a poison or a toxin in the usual sense...OR is it one that simply has a gluten in it that is too powerful for pet's (or human) consumption? I could easily believe that it is the latter and that they will find that this new source of gluten came from some a GMO or hybrid wheat that IS too powerful for human consumption and that is why it was cheaper and chosen to rpelace the company's old gluten.

It could be the old Starlink (CRY9C) corn story all over again. You remember that one, right? This occurred in 2000 and Taco Bell became the poster child, as they had to recall taco shells suspected of having this GMO corn that was intended only for animal feed. Of course, that story died quickly (like I am trying to keep this one from doing) and the public never heard about the millions of dollars spent to rid our food supply of this transgenic maize (GMO corn). They ended recalling over 350 brands of corn products in their attempt to clean this situation up. Who knows whether they were really effective, as corn allergies in humans have risen as I certainly believe they have in pets.
Their concern was it may cause "allergic reactions". Well, if you call immune-mediated reactions like rheumatoid, lupus, and asthma "allergic reactions" then that might be accurate.

This story should be sending shock waves through the public and veterinary communities but the response thus far has been one that seems limited to being concerned in a way similar to an E. coli outbreak. But if we KNEW beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the wheat gluten and if we KNEW what wheat gluten was capable of (like we who study celiac disease know), then we should be seeing the bigger picture here: That is this just the tip of the iceberg and that dogs and cats have been dying from this stuff all along and we have not known it. Then all it takes is for us to wake up to the fact that dogs and cats should not be eating these grains to begin with, whether man has genetically modified these foods to death or not (which they have).

The startling fact is that it is well-established that the lectins of gluten (wheat, barley, rye), dairy products (e.g. casein, lactalbumin), soy and corn are ALL capable of inducing serious health issues in those (sensitized) individuals consuming them. I am of the firm belief that these "big 4" are not healthy for anyone. They are simply more harmful to some than others. As I have written many times, it is a matter of when they will cause a problem much more than IF they will. That's why I lovingly call them the "four horsemen of the apocalypse". You are starting to see why, right?

But why do these proteins wait to cause problems? That is a great question and one that keeps people from seeing the truth about these harmful glycoproteins/lectins. The fact is that the onset of the lectin-related disorder- whether it be rheumatoid arthritis, type-one diabetes, lupus, etc- is usually preceded by a secondary event, such as viral or bacterial infection. Other things such as vaccines can act as triggers as well. As a result, there is a rather sudden influx and attachment of these inflammatory proteins to various cells in the body ushering in what we often refer to as "autoimmune" disorders. Of course, I hate that term because it implies an immune system that has gone haywire, attacking the body for no reason. No! Our body and immune systems never makes that kind of mistake. These things happen for a reason and these food proteins are ofetn the culprit. Viruses also play a role (described on my Website).

All one needs to do is study celiac disease (gluten intolerance) to see how all of this works and appreciate the health implications that accompany this extremely common condition. And it does occur in dogs and cats. That has become painfully obvious over the past 7 years I have been studying this. The Irish setter is the only known breed to suffer from gluten intolerance but it is clear that gluten is affecting many, many or our breeds or dogs and cats. And why wouldn't it? It is affecting us and we have had millennia to adapt to eating wheat. The pets have only been eating wheat-based pet foods for about 20 years now.

This leads to the final point (other than the fact that many of you are up in arms about so many of your "quality pet foods" being made by one big company in Canada): Are your pet foods "scientifically" made like you think? I used to think so. Hey, I used to parrot back what I was taught that the pet food companies spend millions of dollars and years of intense research coming up with balanced and nutritious foods. I used to warn people not to add any table food so that they did not upset this "balance". I was one of their biggest fans...patsies.

But then I woke up and wrote "Gluten Intolerance and Your Pet". Why are we feeding dogs and cats wheat, barley, soy, and corn (and now dairy products...again...after removing them all 20 years ago). I'll tell you why. It is because of one of two things: The manufacturers of pet food either don't have a clue as to what they are doing OR they know better and are doing the wrong thing anyway. I'll let the reader decide but if I were in the pet food industry, I'd rather claim ignorance.

If the research and development departments of these companies that are starting to use dairy products again in their foods TRULY think that lactose is the culprit (rather than the lectins of casein, lactalbumin, etc), then the executives in charge need to fire the entire lot of them and start afresh. If they really don't know what gluten can do to the kidneys, joints, intestinal tracts, brains and other organs of our beloved pets, then they all need to go back to school or find another line of work.

DO NOT let this story die. It does not matter whether they ever tell us that wheat gluten caused these problems. The fact is that it CAN...and does...and that it has no place in pet food. The gluten found in the non-recalled dry food versions of these foods is only incrementally better, causing subclinical issues that shorten our pet's lives.

Do you really want to know why the average dog's life is 12 years and that of the cat is 13 years (in the USA) when the former can live to be nearly thirty and the latter to 40? Look no further than what's in their bowl. In a study that was done in Europe, those pets that were fed table scraps lived an average of 3 years longer than those fed commercial diets alone. Why? Highly processed foods cannot possible contain all of the essential nutrients found in fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. And if our veterinarians can't understand that, then they too need a refresher course.

The combination of these foods being woefully deficient in nutrients and the fact that they are downright HARMFUL is an abomination. It is time to change this. Let this recall story be a warning sign but please do not let it die.

I hope this helps,

John

PS. The fact is that wheat gluten CAN cause kidney failure all on its own and with the relatively small number of deaths that have occurred, the gluten IS the most likely culprit. Wheat gluten can cause an IgA nephropathy that can either result in chronic or acute kidney failure.There does not have to be another toxin involved. In fact, mold toxins primarily affect the liver and the amount of other toxins that could be present would have to be much higher to cause kidney damage. And if they were that high, many more individuals would be affected.

So, they are right in pointing the finger at the wheat gluten but the FDA is very wrong in saying that gluten cannot cause kidney failure.
 

bubbatd

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#2
This is going to get worse before it gets better . All we can do is be very aware .
 

moe

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#3
CROSSPOSTED FROM ANOTHER FORUM.

www.petconnection.com has created a database where pet owners can report sick or deceased pets involved with the dog food recall.

and this is only for people who know about the site and are reporting the deaths... i imagine the REAL toll is ten times higher.

From the PetConnection.com database. 6 a.m. PT:

Total reports of sick or dead pets: 1529
Deceased pets: 769
Of those:

Cats, deceased: 460
Dogs, deceased: 309
As we’ve written before, these are self-reported numbers. But we asked people to check the food against the recall list, to list the food and give us the names of their veterinarians. The majority did all of this.

To us, this means that although the death toll reported here will never match any “official” FDA number, it strongly suggests the numbers will grow far higher than what has been released so far. Some of these pets probably died from something else, but those numbers are more than offset, we believe, by the numbers of pets who died eating tainted food who will never meet any official standard, because they died before the recall was announced, and the cans and pouches they ate from have long ago been send to the landfills, their batch numbers unchecked.

I got an e-mail from someone this morning who said we were fueling hysteria. I don’t think we are. I think we’re reporting something that was on its way to being pretty much ignored: “A recall? 10 pets? Oh, that’s not so bad. Next story.”

Which, by the way, is exactly what Menu Foods was hoping for. They dropped their news release late on a Friday, the day when smart businesses and politicians always report bad news, in hopes that by Monday, the impact is lessened, or the story even forgotten. Further, they put their news release out to the business press, in hopes that the recall would be seen as a business story, like the recall of an MP3 player with a bad battery.

The team at PetConnection has decades of combined media experience. We know how this works. And it might have worked. The food would have been recalled, and the dead pets mourned without their owners every imagining what the real story might have been.

Except … except … in addition to hundreds of anecdotal reports from pet-lovers that were flooding the Internet, we became aware that veterinarians were alarmed. Nearly every veterinary practice we know has a pet affected by this. That would put the number far higher than what we have now, even if you figure that many of those pets are at the vet’s for other causative factors, such as ingesting anti-freeze.

Fueling hystery? We don’t think so here at the PetConnection.com. We admit to fueling something else, though: A fire under the rumps of some complacent entities. We hope in the memory of those pets who have died and the people who loved them that we will see changes in inspections and labeling that will help to prevent this from happening again.

That, my friends, is citizen action at its best.

We’re now working on stories offering you options for feeding your pets, now and in the future. Many have asked about home-prepared diets, and we’ll give you some information to start your research. But we also do believe there are and will continue to be high-quality commercial products from good companies, and in the days to come we’ll write about those, too.

If you came here to report a pet, please: Use the database. We can’t count your pet if all you do is leave a comment.

We’ll release new numbers at 6 p.m. PT today.



mO
 

Zoom

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#4
Great post!

I have one question: how do we know dogs and cats can live into their 30's and 40's?
 

Doberluv

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#5
Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing. What is your background and education, if you don't mind my asking? Are you a nutritionist or vet?

At any rate, the whole thing is very scary.
 

Red_ACD_for_me

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#6
This whole thing is very scary! I hope they take more drastic measures to keep the pet food more safe in the future. I have already turned several of my customers at the bank I work for onto Timberwolf organics and Innova. Most of these people were feeding Iams or Nutro. I have worked in the animal field for over 12 years and have been educating myself on pet nutrition for the past 3 years since before I got my ACD. I wish I knew then what I know now because my past dogs would have never have eaten the crap I fed them :rolleyes: Great post! Thanks for sharing :)
 

Debi

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#7
excellent information...thank you! sadly, I heard it WILL get worse before getting better. just as a sidenote, Innova has sold out at our feed store and I have no clue where I'll be able to buy food. online? I hope so. I also am beyond thrilled to keep the story alive and keep the fire under the powers that be.
 

Miakoda

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#8
Turns out it wasn't the wheat after all.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070323/ap_on_re_us/pet_food_recall_4

Rodent poison found in pet food
By MARK JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
7 minutes ago



Rat poison has been found in pet food blamed for the deaths of several animals around the country, a spokeswoman for the State Department of Agriculture and Markets said Friday.

Spokeswoman Jessica Chittenden would not identify the chemical or its source beyond saying it was a rodent poison.

State agriculture officials scheduled a news conference Friday afternoon to release laboratory findings from tests on the pet food conducted this week. The deaths led to a nationwide recall.
 

MafiaPrincess

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#9
ABC News U.S.

March 23, 2007 — ABC News has learned that investigators have determined that a rodent-killing chemical is the toxin in the tainted pet food that has killed several animals.

A source close to the investigation tells ABC News that the rodenticide, which the source says is illegal to use in the United States, was on wheat that was imported from China and used by Menu Foods in nearly 100 brands of dog and cat food.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2975912&page=1
 

Miakoda

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#10
March 23 2007, 9:52 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2975912&page=1&US=true

Rat Poison to Blame for Pet Food Contamination

By DAVID KERLEY

March 23, 2007 — ABC News has learned that investigators have determined that a rodent-killing chemical is the toxin in the tainted pet food that has killed several animals.

A source close to the investigation tells ABC News that the rodenticide, which the source says is illegal to use in the United States, was on wheat that was imported from China and used by Menu Foods in nearly 100 brands of dog and cat food.

Watch "World News" for full details on the extent of the poisoning.

A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon by experts in Albany, N.Y., where scientists at the state's food laboratory made the discovery a week after a massive recall of 60 million cans and pouches was issued.

The chemical is called aminopterin.

What investigators can't say so far is whether this is the only contaminant, if it is in all of the recalled food, or if it's in enough quantity in to sicken more animals.

There is some good news according to the source. Knowing the chemical should aid veterinarians who are treating animals that have been sickened by the pet food.

Aminopterin is used in the United States in, of all things, a cancer drug, according to the source.

For a week, investigators have been looking for a cause behind the 15 confirmed pet food deaths tied to contaminated pet food. Many animal doctors, including those at New York's Animal Medical Center, suspect there will be a much larger rash of cases after they learned about an additional 200 reported cases of kidney failure in animals.

Doctors at the hospital, which is considered the Mayo Clinic of veterinary medicine, say they noticed the kidney failure while studying sick animals from last Friday to Monday, and traced the cases back to the 60 million cans and pouches of recalled food from Menu Food.

"I was shocked and surprised — acute kidney failure is not a common problem," veterinarian Cathy Langston told ABC News. "I've already heard about 200 cases, and so I bet that there are probably going to be thousands."

So far, the government and the pet food maker, which sells food under 91 brand names, have confirmed 15 deaths. But the investigation to locate the toxic contaminant that caused the kidney failure in animals had not pointed to a cause until today.

"This is very much like finding a needle in a haystack," Don Smith of the Cornell Veterinary School said earlier this week. "We're going to keep working at this until we find the cause."

Investigators had already begun looking at the possibility that a pesticide or chemical may have been on the wheat used to produce the Menu Foods dog and cat food.

The Food and Drug Administration, which was notified of the tainted food one day before the recall, said it's frustrated and realizes the growing crisis is an emotional one.

"This is tragic," said Stephen Sundolf of the FDA's Veterinary Medicine group. "It is certainly uncommon. We expect pet food to be safe."

And it's a crisis, if the New York hospital is right, that may not end for weeks.

"I'm worried that there are more deaths to come from chronic renal failure over the next several months," Langston said. "It's not over."
 

bubbatd

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#11
Lord ... I'd say that company will be out of business !! Many law suits by the dog food companies .
 

DogtorJ

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#12
Update

Here is a comment I received:


They've been reporting that Aminopterin levels of at least 40 ppm were detected in the tainted cat food.

According to a relative of mine (who is a chemist in the pharmaceuticals industry), this is a high- and extremely dangerous- quantity of this particular drug.

I found a bit of an abstract from an article posted in the Annals of the NY Academy of the Sciences suggesting that aminopterin was found to be toxic to rats and chicks in quantities as low as 3 ppm, which is in line with the numbers proposed by said relative.

As far as the death toll, according to petconnection.com's tally, they've received over 1,300 complaints of pet deaths believed to have been associated with these foods. (They are no longer reporting tallies for sickened pets who have survived.) These numbers have continued to grow by the hundreds daily since PC set up their database.

Additionally, some individuals who have gotten through to the FDA are reporting that the representatives they spoke with have discussed totals 'in the thousands'.. and I read earlier today that they've received somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,400 complaints thus far. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure- but it's pretty clear at this point in time that there have been far more than 16 casualties at this time.

As far as IgA nephropathy related to gluten sensitivity, my cat has been eating products containing wheat gluten for much of his life without incident. He became ill (acute renal failure) almost immediately after having consumed a relatively small quantity of the recalled food. I have been offering him another cat's dry prescription diet as he recovers, because I'm leery of purchasing any pet food at this time. He has shown no sign of problems on the prescription food, despite the fact that it too contains wheat gluten. As such, while gluten may be a serious problem for some animals, I'm inclined to believe that the gluten itself was not the problem for him.

Just a few thoughts.


Here is my response:

Thanks. I do now believe it was the aminopterin, especially with the numbers now being posted. That was the illogical part of all of this....the small number being reported at first. But, as far as the IgA nephropathy, it is a fact that gluten can do this and this point needs to be remembered because this story is much bigger than the poison and people are starting to see that. The fact that a pet was eating this gluten-containing food all along may just be the cofactor in why they died when the aminopterin was introduced. There has to be a reason why some were affected and died and while others didn't. It also helps to explain why the cat was so much more affected. This story is likely to be the "syndrome" effect that I talk so much about, where multiple factors come together to produce the disease state, such as in the case of epilepsy, cancer, MS and many other disease states.

For example, carcinogens don't "cause" cancer in most cases. Viruses do. The carcinogens simply "motivate" the virus into causing the cancer. But, the viruses alone don't do it. In fact, some need helper viruses to do this. But that alone doesn't result in cancer. We have to have an incompetent immune system ("governor") for cancer to develop. It takes a fair amount of wrong-doing to end up with an incompetent immune system, such as a poor diet (for quite some time), air pollution, lack of sleep, immune-suppressive drugs or chemicals, etc etc. So, the combination of all of these things results in cancer, which used to occur in the elderly and now occurs in the young. Why? We all know the answer to that one.

God in His infinite wisdom and love actually made it quite hard for His beloved Creation (man and animals) to get sick. It's just that we've made it sooooo much easier, with our harmful diets, crazy lifestyles and polluted environments. Most people can see that inconvenient truth, I believe. :)

John
 
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#13
Now they will change?

This tainted food debacle like the previous ones will fade away. They -Menu Foods will investigate and assure us that they very sorry and safeguards are being put in place. The truth is that this will happen again at this company or others. At the very best they are purchasing junk foods from throughout the world at the very lowest cost and if the process works correctly our pets will not die because of it - at least not right away. People; this industry is not going to change. For those who care it is very easy to educate oneselves on the basics. Look at more then the front of the bag, what are the first 6 to 10 ingrediants are the label [ they are listed by volume ]. Would you eat a diet that is 50% corn or animal byproducts - oh boy yummy. The very best commercial foods have all human grades foods in them, but the very best are still over processed. Are we feeding our best friends or are they just animals?
 

Miakoda

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#15
Are we feeding our best friends or are they just animals?
Are your dogs 4-legged "human" children or are they your dogs that you have as pets? Mine are dogs. I love them dearly, but they are dogs. I take care of them & show them love & affection, but they are dogs.

If given the chance, my dogs will eat any week old carcass. My dogs will roll in the crawfish heads that were missed by the cleanup crew after the crawfish boil & thus have been rotting in the sun for 2 weeks. My dogs will eat dog, horse, & cow poop. No offense, but I don't think they dogs need to eat the exact same ingredients that are in my freezer & pantry.

(for the record, my dogs are all on DVP's Natural Balance Ultra Premium & 1 is on the Venison formula)

But what do people think dogs lived off of in the old days? And thanks to pictures & family records, most of these dogs lived to be over 10 years of age as well.
 

Zoom

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#16
I'm sure that in the old days though, the rotted carcasses were of a higher quality to begin with (if that makes sense). And they weren't being fed high amount of cereal grains in place of real meat.
 

Kayla

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#17
I have one question how did the rat poison get into the different wet foods? How can they be sure it was wheat gleutin and where does that leave us? What are the chances it could of left amounts on the equipment thereby tainting other product. The reason i ask is because Neutro's wet food products were recalled and yet there ingredients do not anywhere state wheat gleutin? I only feed Duke Wellness dry food now but up until 2-3 weeks ago from the age of 9 weeks he ate dry with a forkfull of wet food mixed in to encourage him to eat it. Wellness's wet food which is made at menu foods has not been recalled but I just don't understand how the rat poison got into the products if not all of the recalled brands do not have wheat gleutin in them.

I've regardless stopped feeding my cats wellness wet cat food and will stick to there dry line. Parinoid or not I just have a bad feeling the whole story has not yet come to light.

Now I can't help but worry what happens I've been slowly poisoning my beloved puppy and cats.

Kayla
 

nica

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#18
Luckily i switched my dogs to home cooked meals 6 months ago. My motivation came from my brother's dogs who passed on 6 months ago suddenly because of cancer, I suspect it could be their food as they do not eat anything else except for commercialised pet food.

If you want to know more about how i prepare my dog home cooked meals easily, check out my blog at www.dogcarezone.com/blog.

Health to all pets out there. Hope this pet food recall do not happen again.
 
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#20
There seems to be conflicting stories as as to the cause but the common thread seems to be "it" was in the wheat glutton that was brought by a broker and imported from China. To me the lesson to learn isn't so much what was the cause as much as learn that the brand matters little - if you don't know who made it and what it was made with;educate youself as to what one is feeding your pet - don't feed it to your friend. BCB
 

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