Pet Deaths by Kidney Failure, Dog Foods Recalled & Cat Foods Recalled

A ‘cuts-and-gravy’ style wet pet food made by Canada-based Menu Foods is the subject of investigation in deaths of at least 10 animals by kidney failure. So far wheat gluten has been determined to be the source of the contaminant.

The recall involves such well-known brand names as Iams, Eukanuba, President’s Choice and Nutro Max Gourmet Classics, produced at Menu Foods’ Emporia, Kansas facility between December 3 and March 6.

According to the FDA, Menu Foods received the first of six complaints about kidney failure in pets on February 20. Seven days later, the company began an internal taste test of its food. A cat in the study exhibited signs of kidney failure and died on March 2.

Menu Foods manufactures a number of different pet foods sold under private label and store brands at companies including (but not limited to) Meijer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Safeway Inc., and at specialty pet retailers like Petsmart Inc.

Menu Foods also makes pet food under contract for national brands like Procter & Gamble’s Iams unit, the Hills Pet Nutrition unit of Colgate-Palmolive and Nestle’s Purina PetCare.

All companies have pulled brands in question. A list of affected brands has been posted by Menu Foods at menufoods.com/recall.

The FDA has also posted a news release on this important dog food recall and cat food recall at FDA.gov/…/2007/NEW01590.


UPDATE:
MAR 27 2007 — Hundreds of veterinarians have reported cases of sick and dead dogs and cats related to rat-poison-tainted pet food, a veterinarians’ group said Monday — far more than reported by the Food and Drug Administration.

Veterinarians Information Network, a website of 30,000 veterinarians and veterinary students, said members had reported 471 cases of kidney failure in the 10 days since Canada-based Menu Foods Income Fund announced its pet food recall.

The substance in the rat-poison-tainted pet food was identified as aminopterin, a cancer drug that  was formerly used to induce abortions in the United States and is still used to kill rats in some other countries.

The federal government prohibits using aminopterin for killing rodents in the U.S. State officials would not speculate on how the poison got into the pet food. No criminal investigations had been launched, as of March 27.