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7 comments

What's Not on the Menu

Posted March 19, 2007 4:37 PM by Steve Melito

Menu Foods, a leading manufacturer of cat and dog food, is recalling some 60 million containers of wet pet food from retail stores across North America. This recall covers cans and pouches of so-called "cuts and gravy" style pet food, an amalgamation of chunks of meat and wheat gluten. Last week, the Canadian-based food processor received the first of several reports linking pet food manufactured between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007 to vomiting and renal failure. Pet owners should note that although these products were processed and sold under private-label names, they were also contract-manufactured for well-known brands such as Iams and Eukenuba. If you're worried about what may be sitting in Fido's bowl or on Fluffy's plate, check out these lists of recalled cat food and recalled dog food on http://menufoods.com.

Wait! There's more to the story. According to a company press release (no longer posted), Menu Foods has completed "a substantial battery of technical tests" to identify the contaminant that has now claimed the lives of at least 10 pets. Although CEO Paul K. Henderson admits that his company is still "not 100 percent sure what's happened", the press release notes that the first reports of tainted pet food coincided with the introduction of wheat gluten from a new supplier. Menu Foods has since changed suppliers and pledged to increase testing of "all raw materials and finished goods" - all while eating the cost of a product recall which could top $30 million. Because two of Menu Foods' three manufacturing facilities are located in the United States (the other is in Canada), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now involved in both the product testing and brand identification efforts.

According to the FDA's web site, "consumers can take comfort in knowing that pet food is manufactured under a series of standards and regulations". In fact, a plain-looking page called "Pet Food: The Lowdown on Labels" even indicates that the FDA has approved an irradiation process for use with both pet foods and feed ingredients. Google "where does pet food come from", however, and you can learn more about what's not on the menu. Are you sure you really want to know? According to a site called "The Truth About Pet Food" (no longer posted), some of the items that end up at pet-food rendering plants include spoiled meat from the supermarket (Styrofoam and all), roadkill, diseased cattle, and euthanized pets.

Steve Melito - The Y Files (no longer posted)

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: What's Not on the Menu

03/21/2007 4:04 PM

Glad you shared this.

I believe there should be a mass recall of the MeAT RENDERED foods as well.

Not just foods that have GLUTEN. a filler of course not nutritional.

What do I do know? write letters?

I buy PETGUARD products without road kill for my cats.

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Guru
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: What's Not on the Menu

03/21/2007 4:21 PM

Glad you enjoyed the story, Guest. Hope you'll visit CR4 again and register with us. One of the benefits of joining CR4 is that you can subscribe to and track stories that interest you.

BTW - I tried to contact the owner of "The Truth About Pet Food" web site, but my email bounced back. I'd been hoping that someone else with an interest in this issue would comment. So thanks!

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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: What's Not on the Menu

03/21/2007 4:48 PM

As of today, they still can't pinpoint a cause. According to this article (no longer posted), "wheat gluten itself would not cause a kidney failure, but the common ingredient could have been contaminated by heavy metals or mold toxins." Or so says the FDA.

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Guru
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#4

Re: What's Not on the Menu

03/23/2007 3:34 PM

Update - 03/23/07 3:30 PM

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has identified the fatal toxin as aminopterin, a substance which is used in cancer drugs and rat poision. Although the aminopterin found in cat food samples was at least 40 parts per million, "any amount of this product is too much in food," according to Donald Smith, dean of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

CBS News is reporting (no longer posted) that the Cornell lab tested cat-food samples from Menu Foods weeks before issuing its recall. "To find out they knew about this weeks ago, and that the cats they tested died!" former cat owner Dawn Marjerczyk told CBS. "Why wasn't it pulled off then? Why do so many people have to suffer right now?" Paul K. Henderson, president of CEO of Menu Foods, delayed announcing the recall until the company could confirm that the animals had eaten its product before dying.

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Anonymous Poster
#5
In reply to #4

Re: What's Not on the Menu

03/27/2007 12:39 PM

Have you seen anything anywhere about the potential of rat poison entering the pet food via using rendered animal products? It seems to me that if one can find rendered rat anywhere in the pet food, we might have an answer (and a disgusting realization for a large portion of the pet-owner population). Then again, if a rat is rendered, how could you find it?

Also, I wonder if this poison is ever used to euthanize sick/downed animals in feedlots, etc.?

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Anonymous Poster
#6
In reply to #5

Re: What's Not on the Menu

03/27/2007 6:37 PM

This whole story with Menu Foods is merely blowing the cover off the multi billion dollar pet food industry. I was well aware previously of the cruel animal testing done by several BIG name pet food companies through Menu Foods and independant labs..but that is another story.

The rendering of dead, diseased, downed and euthanized animals of all types, including cats and dogs, to be used in pet food and animal feed is VERY SCARY. Not only are our pets being exposed to biological and chemical poisoning, so are we. The animal feed is made of the same type of rendering that pert food is. And this is fed to cattle, pigs and chicken...that we end up eating.

I really don't want to become a vegetarian..I enjoy my steaks far too much, but after doing much reading on the implications of the whole issue I must admit I am scared. I think it is time for people to open their eyes and demand proper monitoring of all types of food products...from pet food to animal feed to "human consumption" food. This is the time to demand that health needs be made more important than chasing the $$$ sign.

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Guru
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#7
In reply to #6

Re: What's Not on the Menu

03/28/2007 8:59 AM

Yep, it's time for me to find my copy of "The Jungle" and brush up on what Upton Sinclair had to say about the meat packing industry back in the days before food safety regulations. I seem to recall something about rats being rendered right into the meat.

It's amazing how history repeats itself. Or does it just continue along the same track?

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