April 26, 2007 at 6:43 AM EDT
BEIJING — China said Thursday it has banned melamine from food products after the chemical was found in exports of vegetable protein shipped to the United States, but rejected it as the cause of dozens of pet deaths in North America.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials say they suspect the substance, which is a chemical found in plastics and pesticides, is to blame.
China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement there was no evidence to support the FDA's claim but that it would co-operate with the United States to find out what actually killed the animals.
The comments in a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry were the first detailed response from Beijing to concerns that emerged a month ago about the country's wheat and rice gluten exports.
China has said it was investigating the issue but had not acknowledged until Thursday that Chinese companies had shipped gluten tainted with melamine to the United States.
The ministry said the contaminated vegetable protein managed to get past customs without inspection because it had not been declared for use in pet food.
“At present, there is no clear evidence showing that melamine is the direct cause of the poisoning or death of the pets,” the statement said. “China is willing to strengthen co-operation with the U.S. side ... to find out the real cause leading to the pet deaths in order to protect the health of the pets of the two countries.”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials have said they suspect Chinese wheat and rice gluten laced with melamine and added to pet food may have killed at least 15 cats and dogs. The chemical appears to have caused acute kidney failure in animals that have died or been sickened after eating foods contaminated with the chemical.
China said an investigation triggered by FDA complaints found melamine in wheat and rice gluten exported to the United States by two Chinese companies: Xuzhou Anying Bio-technology Development Co. and Binzhou Futian Bio-technology Co.
The case has prompted China to step up inspections of plant-based proteins and to list melamine as a banned substance for food exports and domestic sales, it said.
China also invited FDA officials to visit China to help with further investigations into the case and to consult on improving inspection techniques, it said.
Last month, Toronto-area Menu Foods Income Fund recalled 60 million cans and pouches of its "cuts and gravy" style food, sold under 95 different brand names, after it received reports of kidney failure and even death among dogs and cats.
The Canadian division of French pet food company Royal Canin last week recalled five of its veterinary diet products. It also cut its ties with Chinese suppliers of vegetable proteins after finding out the rice gluten was contaminated with melamine.
Update APRIL 6 2007
1. Visit Our Pet Food Recall Resource Center for the Latest Info
VISIT THE PET FOOD RECALL RESOURCE CENTER FOR THE LATEST INFO
Late last week, news conferences held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Menu Foods, Inc., confirmed suspicions by the ASPCA that a contaminant other than aminopterin may be responsible for the illnesses and deaths of animals who ingested recently recalled contaminated foods. The contaminant, melamine, was found in wheat gluten samples of the recalled lots.
To add to the fast-breaking developments, Hill’s Pet Nutrition voluntarily recalled its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry cat food—its only product containing wheat gluten—which it believes may have been contaminated by infected wheat gluten. At this time, the ASPCA is uncertain as to whether other pet food manufacturers will issue voluntary recalls, and we advise pet parents to contact their manufacturer directly.
Although we share your concerns about keeping your companion animals safe and healthy, we also want to assure consumers that there is no need to panic or take sudden actions, such as refraining from feeding dry food altogether. “There are several dry cat and dog foods that do not include any wheat gluten in their formulas,” says the ASPCA’s Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist, “and you can get that information from the label on your pet food or the manufacturer. Further, if your pet is used to eating a particular type of food, a sudden change in diet or diet type may upset his stomach. This may be especially problematic for pets with pre-existing illnesses.”
For additional information on the pet food recall, including answers to your most frequently asked questions, please visit the Pet Food Recall Resource Center.
30 March 07 RSPCA
PET FOOD RECALL UPDATE: OTHER CONTAMINANTS MAY BE INVOLVED
Since Menu Foods, Inc. announced its massive pet food recall on March 16, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has been flooded with calls from pet parents and animal welfare professionals alike. Based on data from these calls, the ASPCA reports that clinical signs in cats affected by the contaminated foods are not fully consistent with the ingestion of rat poison containing aminopterin which, says Menu Foods, is at the “root” of the contamination issue.
Explains the ASPCA’s Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist, “There are so many inconsistencies in the purported link between aminopterin and the animals affected that we urge veterinary toxicologists and veterinary pathologists at diagnostic laboratories to continue looking for additional contaminants.”
Pets who are being treated for kidney failure suspected to be related to contaminated food should stay on their treatment. If your pet has eaten contaminated food and shows any signs of illness, including loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in water consumption and changes in urination, please consult with a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately. In order to help with your pet’s diagnosis, you are advised to:
- retain food samples for analysis
- save all packaging and receipts, and document the product name, type of product, date codes and/or production lot numbers
- document the dates that the product was fed to your pet, how much was eaten, and the time when you first noticed symptoms
Adverse effects or deaths of pets conclusively linked to eating the contaminated foods should be reported to the FDA. Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association website contains helpful information for pet parents and veterinarians.
For a complete list of recalled pet food brands, please visit http://www.menufoods.com/recall.
----- Original Message -----
From: Katie Walter
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Subject: To all rescuers - Please read this, regarding tainted pet foods
I just received a call back from a representative of the FDA, in response to a message I left had with them this past Friday afternoon. I spoke with a very nice woman there, who informed me that if we have any complaints of our animals becoming ill, or dying from ANY kind of dog or cat foods, that we need to log on to: http://www.fda.gov/default.htm ,
and then click on Consumer Complaints Coordinator: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html ,
and then find your State.
Then find the correlating phone number for your State, and call to report your pets illness or death to that number for your own State. She told me that this really the only way that the FDA will really know exactly how many animals are being affected by the tainted foods, and if other foods (like some dry foods) might also actually be affected.
She also told me, that if you suspect you are having a problem with any of the dry cat or dog foods making your animals ill, that this is the only way an investigation will be opened on those particular foods. She told me that as of today, she had not heard of any animals dying from any of the dry pet foods, and so I went on to explain to her how many emails I had been seeing and receiving, where many consumers believe that some of the brands of the dry pet foods have also been affecting their animals. She sounded very surprised, and again stated that this NEEDS to be reported to your various local State FDA complaint divisions phone numbers.
I just hope that I have explained all of this, so that it sounds clear enough to all of you, as I felt I needed to get the word out right away, so that we can get the ball rolling on this.
This is not meant to cause any kind of a panic, but as I stated earlier, I have been seeing so many emails, where people suspect that some of the dry foods could also possibly making their animals ill.
Please feel free to cross post!
Let me help you ensure the safety of the animals in your own home in light of the Menu Foods dog and cat food recall and tell you what PETA is doing to hold the dog and cat food industry accountable.
You must know that dog and cat food manufacturer Menu Foods is recalling some 90 name brands of canned wet food, including Iams and Eukanuba, that have been linked to renal failure and more than a dozen animal deaths.
How to Keep Your Animals Safe
Make sure you are not feeding your animal companion any of the recalled foods. You can find the full list of products that are being recalled by Menu Foods here.
If you believe that your animal companion has fallen ill from eating a product manufactured by Menu Foods, immediately take the animal to your veterinarian. Symptoms of kidney failure include lack of appetite, listlessness, increased thirst, increased urination, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Please also report any animal illness or death to Menu Foods at 866-895-2708 and to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at 888-463-6332.
What PETA Is Doing
The fact that animals are dying from tainted Menu Foods products is horrific. To make matters worse, the company's response is stupefying and infuriating.
It's our understanding that Menu Foods learned of animal deaths as early as February 20 but didn't issue a recall for almost a month.
PETA is urging government authorities in Canada and the U.S. to investigate Menu Foods and file criminal charges if the company is found to have violated laws by waiting nearly a month before recalling contaminated food and intentionally feeding it to healthy dogs and cats in laboratories, killing several of them.
We know from experience that Menu Foods has never put the interests of animals ahead of its profits. Do you remember when a PETA investigator went undercover at a contract testing laboratory in Missouri that conducted cruel experiments on animals for Menu Foods and Iams? What PETA's investigator uncovered there was shocking; some dogs had huge chunks of muscle removed from their legs and were left to suffer for days. You can read more about the investigation here. We took action then and changes were made, but now ... this!
What You Can Do to Keep Animals Safe in the Future
Each of us, as loving companions to the cats and dogs in our care, must stand up to corporations like Menu Foods and Iams and hold them accountable for the food they are selling. Please take immediate action:
Buy pet food only from companies that test their foods in modern ways, not by experimenting on animals. The list of cruelty-free companies includes PetGuard, Evolution, and V-dog. One of the surest ways to stop corporations like Iams and Menu Foods is by not purchasing their products until they are proved to be safe and cruelty-free. For a list of manufacturers that do not test on animals, click here.
- Demand that Menu Foods take full responsibility for these animal deaths from tainted food and the company's slow response in letting people know. Insist that the company take measures to ensure that this will never happen again, and ask Menu Foods to end its cruel and old-fashioned experiments on dogs and cats.
- Demand that Iams (Menu Foods manufactured the recalled Iams food) immediately end all laboratory tests on animals.
Thank you for everything you do for animals,
Ingrid E. Newkirk
P.S. PETA's demand for accountability from Menu Foods is already making international headlines. By taking the three steps listed above, you can speak out against this rapidly growing scandal.
VOMITING AND KIDNEY FAILURE! PLEASE CROSS POST
SEE LONG LIST OF CAT/DOG FOOD BRANDS BEING RECALLED!
IF YOU HAVE ANY AT HOME, PLEASE OPEN THEM AND THROW THEM IN THE TOILET
TO AVOID ANY NEGLIGENT DOG WALKERS DOGS AND/OR STRAYS EATING THEM!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, March 17, 2007
Subject: *LATEST UPDATE* This is bad!- MILLIONS OF CANS RECALLED- OVER 50 BRANDS LISTED HERE-DOG & CAT FOOD!- URGENT - WET PET FOOD RECALL - HUGE NUMBERS ***CROSSPOST***
VOMITING AND KIDNEY FAILURE! PLEASE CROSS POST.
Fox News announced massive dog and cat wet food recall. I have attached the list of foods posted 1/2 an hour ago on the manufacturer's website. Here's the link to more information. CHECK ALL YOUR FOOD - the number of foods listed is shocking!!!
Animal Lovers League
Recalled Cat Product Information
Recall Information 1-866-895-2708
1. Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
3. Best Choice
6. Demoulas Market Basket
7. Fine Feline Cat, Shep Dog
8. Food Lion
10. Giant Companion
11. Good n Meaty
13. Hill Country Fare
15. Key Food
16. Laura Lynn
17. Li'l Red
18. Loving Meals
19. Main Choice
21. Nutro Max Gourmet Classics
22. Nutro Natural Choice
24. Presidents Choice
25. Price Chopper
30. Special Kitty
31. Springfield Pride
33. Total Pet, My True Friend
35. Western Family
36. White Rose
37. Winn Dixie
Recalled Dog Product Information
Recall Information 1-866-895-2708
1. Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
4. Best Choice
5. Big Bet
6. Big Red
11. Demoulas Market Basket
12. Fine Feline Cat, Shep Dog
13. Food Lion
14. Giant Companion
15. Great Choice
17. Hill Country Fare
19. Key Food
20. Laura Lynn
21. Loving Meals
22. Main Choice
25. Nutro Max
26. Nutro Natural Choice
30. Pet Essentials
31. Pet Pride
32. Presidents Choice
33. Price Chopper
36. Roche Bros
39. Springsfield Pride
41. Stater Bros
42. Total Pet, My True Friend
43. Western Family
44. White Rose
45. Winn Dixie
46. Your Pet