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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Still Looking for Answers on the 2007 Pet Food Recall...

***UPDATE*** March 30, 2007

FDA Announces: Melamine in Tainted Pet Foods...

This is an update concerning the March 16, 2007 pet food recall.

Menu Foods Income Fund is still searching for answers concerning the pet deaths associated with their pet food products. Some information was released today about some of the testing that Menu Foods has conducted. According to a story by MSNBC, the first pet deaths were reported on February 20th. The company then started new tests on February 27th which included 40 to 50 animals being fed the "cuts and gravy" product, seven of which died. Veterinarian Stephen F. Sundlof, who works for the Food and Drug Administration(FDA), does not know how many of which species died. However he is quoted as saying that the food appears to be more toxic to cats.

According to an article by the Canadian Broadcasting Company(CBC), a spokesperson for Menu foods Income Fund is advising pet owners to hold on to their pet food labels and any veterinary bills that they may incur. It is suggested that compensation may be paid to pet owners whose pets became ill from eating the tainted foods. The recall has also been expanded to Canadian brands of pet foods such as Loblaw's President's Choice brand, as well as store brands belonging to Dominion and Sobeys.

If you haven't already, it is recommended that you stop feeding any of the recalled foods immediately. If you are not sure if the food you have is part of the recall, you can go here where I have all of the information and associated links available for you.

If you are concerned about your pet's health you should contact your veterinarian. We have had numerous calls at work from concerned pet owners. There are several pet owners who have brought their animals in as well for laboratory blood testing and a urinalysis. Laboratory testing is the only way that you will be able to tell for sure if your pet's kidneys are functioning properly. Pet owners must also take into consideration that 75% of the kidney is usually damaged before some symptoms and laboratory changes occur. There may be additional testing required as well such as a protein/creatinine ratio test.

Some of the symptoms of renal failure include:

*anorexia (loss of appetitie)
*depression or lack of energy
*increased water intake (polydipsia)
*increased urination (poluria)

Advanced stages of renal failure will have symptoms of:

*gastrointestinal ulcerations
*oral ulcerations
*bad breath
*weight loss
*exercise intolerance
*anuria (no urine output due to complete failure of kidney function)

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms it is recommended that you take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If your pet has recently died, and you feel that it may be due to the pet food recall, it would be wise to send your pet to a veterinary teaching hospital for a complete necropsy and toxicology testing. This is the only way that you will get the answers to the questions that you have. Call your local veterinary teaching hospital for details and information on how to do this.

Finally, I would like to say that it appears that Menu Foods Income Fund is doing all of the right things concerning this distressing matter. They have voluntarily intitiated the pet food recall without the urging of the FDA. They are reporting their findings to the FDA as well. The situation is upsetting for millions of pet owners across the nation. An answer can be found if everyone works together and shares their laboratory findings within the framework of teamwork and goodwill.

Needless to say there are those among us who are not quite as socially minded as others. I am ashamed to say that there is a litigious mindset within our great country. Individuals who are looking to benefit from a disaster. Because of these types of individuals, I have had to delete a few comments on my post that has the recall information. Of course, the comments were anonymous and unsigned.

The most distressing comment was from this morning when the anonymous individual made statements such as these:

The fact that Menu Foods could get away with selling pet food that has caused the untimely death of so many of our beloved pets is atrocious. There is already a class action lawsuit underway, but here's your chance to contact the CEO of the Menu Foods yourself. Spread the word!

The commentor also included a name, address, and telephone number which they claimed to belong to the CEO of Menu Foods Income Fund along with this statement:

This guy deserves all the complaints he can get, and then some, for endangering the lifes of so many of our pets.

This comment almost made me physically ill. I also felt that it was very irresponsible. I deleted the comment for the following reasons:

First of all, I do not know if the information that the anonymouse* left was correct or not.

Secondly, I do not feel that harassment and threats of a company CEO is the way that this matter should be settled.

Third, I feel that if you are going to leave a comment like this you should be able to stand up and state your name, address, and telephone number as well. In other words, take responsibilty for your words and actions.

Fourth, why don't we give the company the chance to do the right thing? Especially since it appears that they are already doing this.

Fifth, the commentor is promoting a mindset that Menu Foods did all of this on purpose. As if the CEO was being malicious and vindictive, or that he had something to gain by poisoning our pets. This attitude does not seem logical to me at all. Is it possible that the CEO is a psychopath? An intentional act such as this would be like shooting the goose that lays the golden egg. If you kill all of your customers' pets, how would you stay in business?

And finally, I would like the mainstream media to give us the facts, quit the spin, and stop promoting and encouraging a litigious society.

We already have too many lawyers out there who are willing to contribute to this problem.

I don't have a problem with class action lawsuits, or lawsuits in general, if they represent a fair and noble cause and protect individual rights. Of if there is a reason for the lawsuit, such as trying to coerce someone who is doing illegal acts to behave within the law. That's why we have this constitutional right. But I do not like ambulance chasers. Not at all. And if you think you're going to get rich from a class action lawsuit, think again. It's the lawyers who take in the majority of the cash.

Not you.


Pet Food Recall...

**UPDATE** March 23, 2007

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has announced today that they have identified a toxin in samples of the cat foods that were recalled by Menu Foods. Scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified Aminopterin in samples of the recalled products at a level of at least 40 parts per million. Aminopterin is used as a rodenticide (rat/mouse poison) outside of the United states. It is not licensed for use within the United States except as a pharmaceutical which is used in some cancer treatments such as leukemia.

Aminopterin, a derivative of folic acid, can cause cancer and birth defects in humans and can cause kidney damage in dogs and cats. Aminopterin is not permitted for use in the United States.

This quick finding was a collaboration of efforts between Cornell University and the New York Food Laboratory.

New York State is home to two laboratories that are part of federal emergency lab networks, created through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after 9-11 to keep the nation’s animals and food supply safe. The New York State Food Laboratory is part of the Federal Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and as such, is capable of running a number of unique poison/toxin tests on food, including the test that identified Aminopterin. The New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University is a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and thus, is uniquely qualified to investigate the causes of animal health emergencies, like the sudden deaths of dogs and cats from the recently recalled pet food.

We have already received some telephone calls from clients who have heard that the recall has been expanded to dry pet foods. According to today's New York Agriculture report, this is not the case. The list of pet foods that have been recalled has not been expanded. It is also important to recognize that the poison has only been found, and confirmed, in some of the tested cat food and tissue samples.

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Anonymous catmanager said...

TJ, Well done. Thank you for a reasoned, fair assessment of the situation and for urging calm. I agree completely with your comments about those who are urging vilification of Menu and its CEO.

We really gain nothing by jumping to conclusions. Let's try to refrain from making up our minds until all the facts are in.

March 20, 2007 8:13 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Catmanager...

Thank you...

And I totally agree with waiting for the facts.

All of them.


March 20, 2007 8:58 PM  
Blogger Pattie said...

*clap, clap, clap*
Way to go, TJ. Your points are well articulated and I agree with every word.
Maybe an attorney wrote it? *LOL*
(no offense to attorneys...I don't think all of them are ambulance chasers....)

March 21, 2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger Tyson's 'Mom' said...

I, too am troubled by the sudden increase in talk of litigation.. including posts I've noticed elsewhere urging the contacting of specific lawyers. Particularly when we don't yet have all the facts. Apparently, there is already a lawsuit underway, courtesy of a woman in Chicago!

I do believe that Menu acted irresponsibly in waiting two weeks to notify the public after its food began killing its test subjects. (I purchased the food that sickened my cat twelve days after those animals began to die, and eight days after they had attributed the illness to gluten purchased from the new supplier.. who was subsequently dropped. Why were these products still on the shelves? Where was this 'precautionary recall' then?)

I'm not into litigation, but I would like to see Menu cover the (rising) cost of my cat's veterinary expenses. I, however, am hoping they will do this of their own accord.. no lawyers necessary.

March 21, 2007 12:02 PM  
Blogger Tyson's 'Mom' said...

Additionally, kudos to you for removing the CEO's personal information. While the information is probably easily obtained elsewhere, I think that broadcasting it and inviting harassment could potentially place this man and his family at risk- particularly while things are still so volatile.

March 21, 2007 12:11 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Pattie...

Thanks for the compliment. I have to confess that I wrote the post without the advice or guidance of a good, ethical and respectable lawyer. I know they're out there.

Hey Tyson's mom...

Thanks for stopping to leave a comment and thank you for the 'kudos'.

I'm sorry that your cat is ill. I pray that there is a full recovery.

As for the timing of the recall, I think it was implemented as quickly as possible.

If my sources are correct, the animals that died were part of a test group for a new product. When the animals died, the researchers were trying to figure out what went wrong. They then began to question the products which had been made available to the general public since they had been manufactured with similar ingredients to the test product .

I feel that this was very ethical behavior on their part. They could have swept the reported deaths of the lab animals under the rug. Instead, they began to realize that there was a possibility that there was a possible public health risk to our pets.

What a lot of people fail to realize here is that the employees, managers, and the CEO of Menu Foods more than likely have pets. Pets that they feed these same foods to as well.

Why wouldn't they want to do the right thing?

It will be interesting to see what the final reports have to say about it all. Hopefully, Menu Foods will be financially able to make retribution as well to the owners of ill pets.


March 21, 2007 12:29 PM  
Blogger Tyson's 'Mom' said...

It is entirely possible that you may be correct- indeed, I hope that is the case. I'll be the first to concede that I'm not familiar with the workings of the corporate world.

Granted, I don't have much insight into the legal profession either, but I find myself seriously questioning the motives of the lawyers that are already attempting to cash in on this one.

Thanks for the well-wishes, btw. I just received a call from our vet- cat continues to appear healthy, and renal values have not only stopped rising, but are finally beginning to drop. I'm cautiously optimistic at this point. At least we are finally starting to move in the right direction!

March 21, 2007 1:25 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

I just received a call from our vet- cat continues to appear healthy, and renal values have not only stopped rising, but are finally beginning to drop.

This is really good news!

March 21, 2007 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Paul L. McCord Jr. said...

I am so glad that I am not the only one that feels that way. I work with a few people that have that outlook where they feel they can get money. I believe you reap what you sow. Good story.


March 22, 2007 3:29 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Paul...

I *know* that you reap what you sow.

It's one of those "spiritual truths".

Have a great day!


March 22, 2007 4:54 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

Hey T.J. - Amen to this post. I AM an attorney and I can tell you the only people who will benefit from this are plaintiff's attorneys. They'll get a big ole class action going. Maybe they'll settle for a few million dollars. They'll take one third of it in cash and the members of the class will probably get their part in coupons for more pet food. The price of the food will go up because of the lawsuit and the customers will pay.

The company seems to be doing everything they can do. They are acting morally: they are taking steps to stop the problem by removing the food from the shelves and looking for the reason(s) the pets are getting ill.

Thank you for being a voice of reason.

March 22, 2007 7:44 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Jan...

I really appreciate your comment.

I didn't realize that you were an attorney. I should've known because of your references to work and the fact that we share the same alma mater.

Well, I'm still just a 'senior', and I'm fairly certain I'll graduate.

;+ )


March 22, 2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger aqoona said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 09, 2007 2:27 PM  

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