Rat Poison In Recalled Pet Food
By Mark Johnson
Aassociated Press Writer
Posted: March 23, 2007
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Rat poison has been found in pet food blamed
for the deaths of at least 16 cats and dogs but researchers still
don't know how the toxin got into the food, New York's agriculture
commissioner said Friday.
The toxin was identified as aminopterin, state Agriculture Commissioner
Patrick Hooker said in a statement. Aminopterin is used to kill
rats in some countries but is not registered for that use in the
United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The substance was found at a level of at least 40 parts per million
in tested cat food samples, according to Donald Smith, dean of
Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Testing was
done at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at
Cornell and at the New York State Food Laboratory.
amount of this product is too much in food," Hooker said.
The lab tested three cat food samples provided by Menu Foods,
the manufacturer that produced all the recalled food. Aminopterin
was found in two samples. The lab has not tested any dog food.
Hooker said the lab would be testing individual components of
the pet food.
Aminopterin inhibits the growth of malignant cells and is used
as a cancer drug. It also suppresses the immune system. In high
doses, the chemical is highly toxic.
The officials would not speculate how aminopterin got into the
pet food, saying that question was outside the scope of the food
"This is the first step
in perhaps a long trail," Smith said.
Officials said they were releasing the test results to give pet
owners and veterinarians a better idea of how to treat sick animals.
The Food and Drug Administration has said the investigation was
focusing on wheat gluten in the food. Wheat gluten itself would
not cause kidney failure, but the common ingredient could have
been contaminated by heavy metals or mold toxins, the FDA said.
State and FBI officials said they knew of no criminal investigations
in the case.
The pet deaths led to a recall of 60 million cans and pouches
of pet food produced by Menu Foods and sold throughout North America
under 95 brand names. There have been several reports of kidney
failure in pets that ate the recalled brands, and the company
has confirmed the deaths of 15 cats and one dog.
Aminopterin causes kidney failure in dogs and cats, Smith said.
He said anecdotal evidence including calls from veterinarians
suggests more than 16 pets have died from the tainted food.
Bob Rosenberg, senior vice president of government affairs for
the National Pest Management Association, said he had never heard
of the substance before Friday and said he had "a lot of
questions" about how it could have gotten into the food.
"There is no product approved for use in U.S. that would
ever be directly applied to a crop," he said. "It would
make no sense to spray a crop itself with rodenticide."
He said grain shippers typically put bait stations around the
perimeter of their storage facilities.
Menu Foods last week recalled "cuts and gravy" style
dog and cat food. The recall sparked concern among pet owners
across North America. It includes food sold under store brands
carried by Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway and other large retailers,
as well as private labels such as Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba.
Menu Foods is majority owned by Menu Foods Income Fund of Streetsville.
The company also makes foods for zoo cats, but those products
are unaffected by the recall.
The company's chief executive and president said Menu Foods delayed
announcing the recall until it could confirm that the animals
had eaten its product before dying. Two earlier complaints from
consumers whose cats had died involved animals that lived outside
or had access to a garage, which left open the possibility they
had been poisoned by something other than contaminated food, he
Menu Foods planned a press conference for later Friday, a spokesman
A spokesman for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he
was not aware of any criminal investigation involving the tainted
food. FBI spokesman Paul Holstein in Albany said Friday he was
not aware of any FBI involvement in the case.
know where we'll go from here," he said.
A complete list of the recalled products along with product codes,
descriptions and production dates was posted online by Menu Foods
and is available at http://tinyurl.com/2pn6mm. The company also
designated two phone numbers that pet owners could call for information:
(866) 463-6738 and (866) 895-2708.
New York State is home to two laboratories that are part of federal
emergency lab networks, created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
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 and is capable of running a number
of toxin tests on food, including the test that identified aminopterin.
Article at: myfoxny.com
Recall of Pet Foods Manufactured by Menu Foods, Inc.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been informed that
Menu Foods, Inc., a private-label pet food manufacturer based
in Streetsville, Ontario, Canada, is recalling all its "cuts
and gravy" style dog and cat food produced at its facility in
Emporia, Kansas between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007.
The products are sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The recall was prompted by consumer complaints received by
the manufacturer and by tasting trials conducted by the manufacturer.
There has been a small number of reported instances of cats
and dogs in the United States that developed kidney failure
after eating the affected product. To date, Menu Foods, Inc.
has reported 14 animal deaths to the FDA. Nine cats died during
routine taste trials conducted by the company. Consumers reported
deaths of four cats and one dog. The firm has undertaken extensive
testing of the pet food products in question, but to date has
been unable to find the source of the problem.
The products are packaged in cans and pouches under numerous
brand names and are marketed nationwide by many pet food retailers
including Ahold USA Inc., Kroger Company, Safeway, Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc., PetSmart, Inc., and Pet Valu, Inc.
Menu Foods, Inc. has identified the potentially contaminated
products on the Internet at http://www.menufoods.com/recall/.
Consumers who have any of these products should immediately
stop feeding them to their pets. Dogs or cats who have consumed
the suspect feed and show signs of kidney failure (such as loss
of appetite, lethargy and vomiting) should consult with their
veterinarian. Menu Foods, Inc. is notifying retailers by telephone
and mail and is arranging for the return of all recalled products.
FDA is conducting an investigation and working with Menu Foods,
Inc. to ensure the effectiveness of the recall. Consumers with
questions may contact the company at 1-866-895-2708. Consumers
who wish to report adverse actions or other problems can go
to contact the FDA complaint coordinator in their state.
FDA pet food recall information: FDA