Menu Foods told the FDA it received the first complaints of kidney failure and deaths among cats and dogs from pet owners on Feb. 20. It began new tests on Feb. 27.
During those tests, the company fed its product to 40 to 50 dogs and cats and seven animals — the mix of species was not immediately known — died, Sundlof said. The contamination appeared more deadly to cats than to dogs, he said.The recall now covers dog food sold throughout North America under 51 brands and cat food sold under 40 brands, including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba. The food was sold under both store and major brand labels at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway and other large retailers.
The FDA has yet to tally how many reports it has received of cats and dogs suffering kidney failure or death. The company has reported 10 deaths, of nine cats and a single dog, but Sundlof told reporters on Monday that he expects the number of pet deaths to increase as the agency probes the cause of tainted pet food.
Testing comes up short
Menu Foods spokeswoman Sarah Tuite told Associated Press Radio the company was “still trying to figure out the cause.”
“We’re testing and testing, but we can’t identify the problem in the product,” Tuite said.
Other companies — Nestle Purina PetCare Co., Procter & Gamble and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. — said that as a precaution they were voluntarily recalling some products made by Menu Foods.
A complete list of the recalled products along with product codes, descriptions and production dates was available from the Menu Foods Web site, http://www.menufoods.com/recall. The company also designated two phone numbers that pet owners could call for information — (866) 463-6738 and (866) 895-2708. The lines have been swamped by callers.
Tuite said the company has added more people and lines to cope with the calls. Callers who get a recording saying the line is out of order should try again, she added.
The company became aware of a potential problem after it received an undisclosed number of owner complaints that dogs and cats were vomiting and suffering kidney failure after eating its products.
Menu Foods has said the timing of the complaints coincided with the use of an ingredient from a new supplier. Use of that ingredient, which was not named, has been discontinued, it said.
The FDA said it believes it knows who that supplier was, but has not yet confirmed its name.
“We’re trying to find out whether or not that company may have supplied other companies,” Sundlof said.
I'm horrified that the company knew about this a full month ago. My heart goes out to everyone who lost a pet, especially when it looks like this at least some of the deaths could have been prevented.
Tomorrow I'll have information for you about the top 5 or so easily available and reputable high-end cat foods.
I usually give my cats Innova EVO and California Natural dry foods, and Wellness, Innova, Natural Balance and California Natural wet foods. I use other high-end dry foods as treats, instead of Whisker Lickins, Pounce, etc.