Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pet Food Recall Widens: Just What Is Safe?

The plot thickens at Menu Foods, with the FDA finding melamine in the food and in wheat gluten used to make it. The FDA could not repeat the earlier finding of the rat poison aminopterin in the food. The suggestion has been made that the recall now be widened to include dry food manufactured by Menu Foods, although this is being resisted so far.

Hill's Pet Nutrition has now recalled one of its prescription diet dry foods, because they used wheat gluten from the same source as Menu Foods - incidentally Hill's is also based in Kansas, alongside one of the Menu Foods plants. Who knew Kansas was the pet food capital of the US? Be that as it may, Hill's is a widely trusted 'premium' brand and the affected food from them is a prescription diet sold only by vets. While this recall is precautionary, it begs the question when it comes to feeding our pets, just what can we trust at this point?

One of the most surprising and troubling aspects of this whole thing for me was the sheer size of the brand list supplied by Menu Foods. From cheapest store labels to Eukanuba, there are 90 brands made in the same plant. So much for consumer choice. It's as if when you went to buy a car, they were all Fords, no matter what brand you thought you were buying.

For the record, the corgis are fed Merrick Wilderness Blend, which as far as we can tell is actually manufactured by the company whose name is on the label. Angie likes to feel she's doing her bit for the environment with this food, as she believes it is made from real wilderness.

UPDATE: The recall widens yet again, with Purina in the US recalling some Alpo foods.

Steve Janke is doing an excellent job researching this whole thing, including the toxicity or otherwise of melamine. Reading his work makes me think we're (a) a long way from knowing the truth about the causative agent here and (b) a long way from the end of the recall.