March 29, 2007
Pet Food Recall
The Humane Society of the United States Demands Answers
WASHINGTON (March 29, 2007) – As the nationwide pet food recall continues, The Humane Society of the United States is demanding more information about how the accidental poisoning took place, what details are known to date, and what steps Menu Foods is taking to ensure that dogs and cats are safe.
"Millions of pet owners are extremely concerned about this situation," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. "They are losing confidence in the pet food industry's ability to provide safe and unadulterated food for their animals. Menu Foods has an obligation to immediately share everything that they know about this tragic situation with pet owners, pet food companies and the FDA."
Menu Foods reports that scientists at Cornell and the New York State Food Laboratory have identified the toxin, aminopterin, in some pet food samples. It did not report the level of toxin found in the samples nor did it indicate how the toxin might have got into the pet food.
The poison has been blamed for kidney failure and death of a still unknown number of dogs and cats. Some reports indicate that hundreds of pets may have been poisoned. It is suspected that the wheat gluten ingredient in the food was contaminated with the poison, but it has not yet been determined how that toxin got into the food or where it came from. There has been speculation that the food may have been tainted with other toxins, but there has been no validation of that concern as yet.
Earlier this week, members of Congress raised questions about the recall. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) sent a letter to the FDA requesting answers to questions regarding the investigation and the agency's oversight. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) inquired directly of Menu Foods about the source of the toxin found, the scope of the problem, and the chain of events that led up to the recall.
"Over 60 percent of American households include pets," said Pacelle. "Congress is weighing in on this and demanding answers. The Humane Society of the United States supports the efforts of members of Congress to examine this problem and welcomes their involvement in getting to the bottom of this issue as quickly as possible."
The recall is limited to "cuts and gravy" style pet food in cans and foil pouches produced in Menu's manufacturing plants. Menu Foods reports that dry pet food is not affected by this recall.
The HSUS urges pet owners to check their pet food supply and immediately stop feeding any products on the recall list. Recalled food may be returned to the store where purchased for a full refund.
The HSUS urges anyone whose pet has consumed the recalled food to take the animal to a veterinarian immediately. If the animal exhibits any signs of kidney failure, contact your veterinarian or go to an emergency veterinary clinic. Symptoms of kidney failure include loss of appetite, vomiting, weakness, disorientation, and changes in water consumption and urination.
"The Humane Society of the United States is very concerned about reports of animals becoming ill and dying as a result of contaminated food," said Pacelle. "Pets bring us companionship, joy, and unconditional love. They are part of our families and they deserve better."
Note: The HSUS has received financial contributions from Hill's Pet Nutrition, which voluntarily recalled five canned cat food products that are manufactured by Menu Foods. The contributions support The HSUS's work with animal shelters.