Update on Pet Food Recall

The pet food recall has expanded again.

The most recall includes Sunshine Mills. The company added its dog biscuits to the list of recalled foods. Also, Menu Foods, which originally recalled 60 million containers, is widening the dates during which its brands may have been contaminated.

Last week's recalls included two additions from Del Monte pet products. The company voluntarily recalled Jerky Treats Beef Flavor dog snacks and Pounce Meaty Morsels moist chicken flavor cat treats.

Another addition was Hill's pet nutrition prescription diet MD feline dry cat food.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company voluntarily recalled all sizes and varieties of its ALPO® Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific date codes. The recalled 13.2-ounce and 22-ounce ALPO Prime Cuts cans and 6-, 8-, 12- and 24-can ALPO Prime Cuts Variety Packs have four-digit code dates of 7037 through 7053, followed by the plant code 1159. Those codes follow a "Best Before Feb. 2009" date.**

Purina’s 5.3-ounce Mighty Dog® pouch products, manufactured by Menu Foods, were previously withdrawn from the market as a precaution on March 16 as part of the Menu Foods recall. ONLY Mighty Dog pouch products and specific date codes of ALPO Prime Cuts canned dog food are being recalled.

The food and drug administration still has not confirmed rat poison in any of the recalled foods. The feds say a chemical used to make plastics is to blame.

Click here for a link to Menu Foods recalled dog and cat food. You can also call the menu foods hotline at 1-866-895-2708.

From the Food and Drug Administration's website:

Q: When did Menu Foods first notify FDA of the problem and a possible recall?

On Thursday, March 15, 2007.

Q: What is wrong with the pet foods?

It is unclear what is causing the adverse effects reported by Menu Foods and pet owners. FDA is working with Menu Foods, pet owners, pet food companies, local veterinarians, and diagnostic laboratories to identify the source of the problem.

Q: Are only dog and cat foods involved in the recall?

Yes. The recall is only confined to pet food intended for dogs and cats. The affected products are moist (packaged in pouches) and canned diets. The products have been described as “cuts and gravy” style pet foods.

Q: What should I do if I have cat or dog food at home?

Please check the Menu Foods Recall Information at http://www.menufoods.com/recall/ to see if your pet food is involved in the recall.

If your pet food is not listed, the pet food is not affected by the recall and you can continue to feed it to your pets.

If the pet food is one of those being recalled, do NOT feed it to your animals. Feed your pets another pet food that is not included in the recall.

Q: Is dry dog or cat food affected by the recall?

At this time, no dry dog or cat food has been implicated in pet injury or death. The recall is confined to the list of products found at: http://www.menufoods.com/recall/.

Q: What should I do if I have cat and/or dog food included in the recall?

Do NOT feed the pet food to your animals. Return the pet food to the store where you purchased it and ask for a refund. Stores generally have a return and refund policy when a company has announced a recall of its products. If you cannot return the pet food immediately, store the food in a secure place where pets and children cannot get to it.

Q: What if my pet ate one of the dog and cat foods being recalled?

Monitor your pet. If your pet shows signs of illness (such as loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting), you should consult with your veterinarian immediately. If your pet is diagnosed with renal failure, we suggest you hold onto the food if the brand and lot numbers match the recall.

Q: If my dog or cat ate some of the recalled food, how soon after would I see any symptoms?

It’s difficult to say for sure, but usually within a couple of days. The important thing is to monitor your pet closely for signs of lethargy, loss of appetite and vomiting. If your pet shows any of these signs, please consult your veterinarian.

Q: What if I took my dog or cat to the vet as a result of the recall and I want to be reimbursed for my vet bills?

The FDA recognizes that there may be financial costs associated with any veterinarian visit; however, reimbursement for veterinary care does not fall under FDA’s regulatory authority.

Q: What is FDA doing about the recall?

FDA is conducting an investigation and working with Menu Foods and affected pet food companies to ensure that the recall is effective, and to identify the source of the contaminant. FDA is continuing to collect and analyze product samples in an attempt to identify the source(s) of the contaminant. FDA will continue to release additional information as it becomes available.

Q: How many confirmed pet illnesses and deaths have been reported to the FDA?

It is difficult to determine confirmed illnesses and deaths associated with the recall. Since the recall was announced, FDA has received many complaints and we are following up. The FDA’s primary concern is in identifying the source of the contaminant, assuring that the recall is effective and providing information to the public.

Q: What if I need more information about the recall?

Consumers with questions may contact Menu Foods at 1-866-895-2708. Some of the other affected pet food companies whose products are included in the recall may also have consumer question lines. Check the product label of the pet food. Some firms have also notified FDA that they have issued press releases; links to these press releases are available on the FDA internet page, Pet Food Recall, at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html.

Q: What if I want to report an adverse action about a pet food?
Consumers and veterinarians who wish to report adverse reactions or other problems can go to the FDA internet page at http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html to obtain contact information for the FDA complaint coordinator in their state. When reporting an adverse event or complaint, please try to have the following information:

Brand name and lot numbers for the pet food fed to your dog or cat when it was ill

If your pet received treatment by a veterinarian, the name, address, and telephone number of attending veterinarian

Date illness first noticed

Signs displayed

Any veterinary reports available

Q: What advice do you have for veterinarians concerned about this pet food recall?

Veterinarians who have case files and post mortem results relative to cases where renal failure is involved and the clients were feeding food involved in the recall are encouraged to contact FDA through the complaint coordinator in their state http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html. FDA is gathering as much information as possible to identify the nature and the extent of the problem.

Q: I understand Menu Foods, Inc. is focusing on wheat gluten as the possible source of contaminant? Is this true?

Menu Foods, Inc. suspects that wheat gluten might be the source of contamination; however, as part of the ongoing investigation, FDA is looking at all ingredients.

Q: What is wheat gluten and how is it used in pet foods?

Wheat gluten is a mixture of two proteins obtained when flour of wheat is washed to remove the starch. One use of wheat gluten is as a filler and binder in wet-style, cuts-and-gravy-type pet food. It provides a gelatinous consistency and is used to thicken pet food "gravy." It also has uses in human food products as a stabilizer or thickener. It is not generally associated with food contamination; however, it could possibly become contaminated by a toxic mold or other substance.

Q: How does FDA regulate pet food?

The FDA's regulation of pet food is similar to that for other animal feeds. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that pet foods, like human foods, be pure and wholesome, safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. In addition, canned pet foods must be processed in conformance with the low acid canned food regulations to ensure the pet food is free of viable microorganisms (see Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 113). There is no requirement that pet food products have premarket approval by FDA. However, FDA ensures that the ingredients used in pet food are safe and have an appropriate function in the pet food. Many ingredients such as meat, poultry, grains, and their byproducts are considered safe “foods” and do not require premarket approval. Other substances such as mineral and vitamin sources, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives may be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) or must have approval as food additives. (See Title 21 CFR, Parts 73, 74, 81, 573 and 582). For more information about pet foods and marketing a pet food, see FDA’s Regulation of Pet Food and Information on Marketing A Pet Food Product.

Q: What are the labeling requirements for pet foods?

The FDA regulations require proper identification of the product, net quantity statement, name and place of business of the manufacturer or distributor, and a proper listing of all the ingredients in order from most to least, based on weight. Some states also enforce their own labeling regulations. Many of these regulations are based on a model provided by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). For more information about AAFCO, please visit its website. There are two documents on CVM’s web site that provide more details about labeling requirements: Interpreting Pet Food Labels and Interpreting Pet Food Labels -- Special Use Foods.

Q: Have there been other recalls involving pet foods?

Yes. The following are recent pet food recalls: In February 2007, FDA recalled Wild Kitty raw cat food http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01562.htmlafter Salmonella was detected during routine testing performed by FDA. In December, 2005, Diamond Pet Foods initiated a voluntary recall after aflatoxin was discovered in their product http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/diamond12_05.html. For information on other pet food related recalls, please see http://www.fda.gov/cvm/petfoods.htm.