Like so many of you I’m shocked. And I'm pissed. The more we learn the worse it gets.
According to this, Menu Foods makes some of the HIGHEST END foods available. They even make the Innova, Wellness and Wysong brands. I noticed earlier today that the Innova website did not say that their foods are not manufactured by Menu Foods, so I’m assuming this information is true. I emailed the company asking them to confirm or deny. (Not the nicest email I've ever sent, hopefully they'll respond anyway.)
Why am I so upset about this? Several reasons. First, I've trusted these companies. They represent themselves as caring, and their food as high quality, natural, unlike other foods. Second, see the PETA report on the life of cats and dogs at Menu Foods. Warning - it's horrifying. I will never again buy any food made by Menu Foods. Third, I really believed that they made the food themselves. I had no idea that something as important as the food we feed our beloved pets was farmed out to a contract manufacturer. It's mind boggling to me.
I'll have a lot more information here in the next few days about what pet food companies make food that is healthy and safe, AND who make it without harming other animals in the process.
One food which consistently meets these criteria is Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance. I've yet to find a negative review on Natural Balance, though it might take some pets awhile to adjust to the taste. My cats will only eat it some of the time. Felidae and Canidae look like another good option - I'll report more on them tomorrow.
As of now, I've discontinued feeding my cats Innova (Natura Pet), Wellness and California Natural (also Natura Pet). While I don't think these foods are affected by this particular recall, I found enough comments about unexplained pet deaths that I'm very concerned. Given these foods are made by Menu Foods, it's a no-brainer for me to stop buying them.
(Note - big kudos to Pet Food Express, not only are they the only ones providing this information, they responded immediately to my email. If you're in the Bay Area in California, stop by their stores. They definitely have integrity. (I shopped there for years before moving to Santa Fe last year.)
A recap of what is going on with the Menu Foods recall…
Menu Foods, the largest North American manufacturer of wet pet foods, has recalled canned and pouched food products that contain wheat gluten that they manufactured between December 2006 and March 2007. They took this action based on reports they received of animals that died or became ill with kidney problems associated with certain foods manufactured by Menu Foods.
After examining their records, Menu Foods observed that the dates of the complaints coincided with the date that they switched their supplier of wheat gluten. From this they concluded that the wheat gluten must be the cause of the problem. There is still, however, no definitive proof of what caused the problem. According to Menu Foods, tests of the wheat gluten did not turn up any problem and other ingredients are being looked at as well.
Because we are not yet certain what the cause of the problem is, Pet Food Express has stopped selling all cans and pouches made by Menu Foods as a precaution, whether they contain wheat gluten or not. Furthermore, we are ceasing sales of all cans and pouches of every manufacturer we represent until we are able to ascertain whether they were produced by Menu Foods, even if they have not been specifically recalled, and if there have been any reports of problems with them.
Brands made by Menu Foods and withheld from sale are:
- Science Diet
- Nutro/Nutro Ultra
Brands not made by Menu Foods and available for purchase are:
- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
- Breeder's Choice/Pinnacle (except for Chicken and Oats formula which is made by Menu)
- Castor & Pollux
- Natural Balance
- Solid Gold
Merrick (Pedigree, Cesar, and Whiskas) Kal Kan
Brands made by Menu Foods that have not been recalled, do not contain wheat gluten, have no reports of sick or dead pets, and available for purchase with your informed consent are:
- Nature's Variety
- Newman’s Own Organics
(Please be aware that we cannot definitively vouch for the safety of these products at this time because as yet there is no specific evidence of what caused the problem.)