Monday, March 19, 2007

a different kind of food

I hope that by now all pet owners are aware of the massive pet food recall that was announced this weekend. Menu Foods, the manufacturer of dozens of different pet foods under various name brand and supermarket labels, announced a recall on a long list of dog and cat foods after an undisclosed number of illnesses and deaths. There is considerable discussion about how Menu Foods is handling the recall. Apparently, they were notified of sick animals and a possible connection to their food at some time before March 6, in fact, it must have been a significant amount of time because by March 6 they already had enough suspicion about a recent supplier switch that they switched again on that date. However, they did not initiate a recall until March 16. They waited more than 10 days, and I have already seen people posting about their sick or late pets that had eaten food purchased after Menu Foods already knew about the contamination, but before they revealed it.

I am also seeing accounts of pets who got sick on foods whose batch numbers were not on the recall list. Opaw was occasionally eating Nutro Natural Choice pouch food, and while the batch number on her pouches was not on the list, I am still very nervous about this. The last time I fed her one was just this past Friday, and though she has not shown signs of illness this weekend, apparently renal failure can be a slow process that is not always easy to detect until it's too late.

As late as this morning, the list of affected brands was still increasing. Now, popular brands like Iams, Eukanuba, and Science Diet are also on the list. Though Menu Foods claims that they have not found any contaminate in their foods, they do think that it could have something to do with a change in their supplier of wheat gluten back in early December. Most news reports are stating that there have only been about 10 deaths, however, just from looking at a couple of different forums about the recall, I have already seen over a dozen postings from pet owners who have lost a pet in the last couple of weeks.

I am only going to feed Opaw the foods that I have that do not contain wheat gluten at all. That includes Merrick, Innova EVO, and California Natural. Here is the most recent information on the recall, including a complete list of brands.

UPDATE: Please note that there are reports that Menu Foods has been continually updating the recall list on their website, but not indicating on that list that it has been updated. As late as this morning, they had added both brand names and additional batch numbers of previously recalled labels to the list, but left the date of the list as March 16. It looks as if the manufacture period for the tainted food is ever expanding, and Menu Foods is not trying too hard to make this known.

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