The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating a Texas laboratory's finding of acetaminophen in dog and cat food, an agency spokesman said Monday.
"We're very interested in being able to test these samples ourselves to determine the levels of those contaminants," said FDA spokesman Doug Arbesfeld. "What's significant is these things are there. They don't belong there."
The pain medication is the fifth contaminant found in pet foods during the past 2 1/2 months and can be toxic or lethal to pets, especially cats. It is not known if any animals became sick with acetaminophen poisoning, or died from it.
"We were looking for cyanuric acid and melamine, and the acetaminophen just popped up," Donna Coneley, lab operations manager for ExperTox Inc. in Deer Park, Texas, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review yesterday. "It definitely was a surprise to find that in several samples."
At least five dog and cat food samples submitted by worried pet owners and pet food manufacturers contained varying levels of the pain reliever, she said. Only the food, not individual ingredients, were tested.
The medication was found most often with cyanuric acid, a chemical used in pool chlorination, Coneley said. Varying levels of melamine, a chemical used to make plastics, also were found among the hundreds of samples ExperTox tested, she said.
The contaminants were found in foods that are not among the more than 150 brands recalled since March 16, Coneley said. The highest level of acetaminophen was found in a dog food sample submitted by a manufacturer, she said. Coneley declined to identify the company but said its officials were given the results "well over a month ago."
Full story here: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu
In response to growing concerns across the nation, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) recently introduced the Human and Pet Food Safety Act (H.R. 2108). This bill would establish critically needed mandatory federal standards to ensure the safety of the nation's food supply.
Specifically, the bill would:
* give the FDA the power to order mandatory food recalls;
* establish mandatory processing and ingredient standards;
* require more inspections of domestic and international food processing plants;
* create a warning system to identify contaminants early on;
* enable the FDA to work with veterinarians and public health officials to uniformly disseminate information about food contamination and update recall lists on the FDA website; and * require food processing companies to maintain records and make the records immediately accessible to the FDA upon inspection.
Most importantly, the bill would also allow the FDA to fine companies that neglect to report possible contamination.
If there's one Web site every pet lover should have bookmarked, it's the one for the online edition of the Merck Veterinary Manual (www.merckvetmanual.com). The print version of this essential reference has been a mainstay in nearly every veterinary hospital since it was first published in 1955. The online version is one of the most significant animal-health resources ever for any pet lover.
Although no reference -- online or in print -- substitutes for a good relationship with your veterinarian, the Merck Veterinary Manual can help you become a more knowledgeable partner in getting good care for your pet. The site is well-indexed, easy to search, and is updated with the most recent information available.That such an amazing resource is free -- there are no subscriber fees to gain access to this incredibly deep site -- is a deal too good to be believed. So take advantage of it.
First, determine which basic life-support techniques will be required in an unconscious dog:
Steps in CPR:
Is the dog breathing? Observe the rise and fall of the chest. Feel for air against your cheek.
|If YES - Pull the tongue and clear the airway and observe the animal.||If NO - Feel for a Pulse.|
Does the dog have a pulse?
If YES - Start rescue breathing.
If NO - Begin CPR.
Lay the dog on a flat surface with his right side down. Open his mouth and pull his tongue as far forward as possible. Clear the airway of any secretions with a cloth or handkerchief, then check for any foreign bodies. If present, remove it if possible. If it is impossible to dislodge the foreign bodies, perform the Heimlich Maneuver as described later.
For puppies and small dogs under 30 pounds:
For medium and large dogs:
Once you have cleared the dog's airway of secretions using your fingers and some cloth, grasp the tip of the dog's tongue and pull it forward just past the front teeth to ensure an open airway.
This is the proper way to administer artificial respiration to a dog. On brachycephalic dogs such Pugs, Bulldogs, and Pekingese breeds, it may be a bit more difficult to make a seal with your mouth, but it can be done.
For puppies and small dogs under 30 pounds:
This is the proper way to administer chest compressions to small dogs and puppies
For medium and large dogs:
Notice in 2 person CPR, your hands never leave contact with the dog's chest, even when artificial respirations are being delivered.
* Continue CPR until the dog breathes on his own and has a steady pulse. If vital signs do not return after 10 minutes of CPR, the likelihood of success is remote. Consider stopping CPR.
*Note that CPR is associated wit potential complications including broken ribs, and pneumothorax (collapsing of the lungs). Also never practice rescue breathing or heart massage on a healthy dog; you can seriously injure the dog.
This was an excerpt with images from the book, "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook" 3rd Edition by James M. Giffin MD & Liisa D. Carlson, DVM.
What does everyone use for flea & tick control? Has anyone heard of or used Bio Spot?
More Foods Recalled – Many Are Premium-Quality
Is Yours On The Recall List?
(Or WILL It Be Soon?)
See below for a website that will email you when a new food is recalled
Some (BUT NOT ALL) of the products made by these companies were recalled in the last two days:
- Blue Buffalo
- Drs. Fosters & Smith
- Natural Balance
- Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul
- Lick Your Chops
- CostCo’s Kirkland brand
- Mulligan Stew
- Canine Caviar
- Harmony Farms
To see if (or when) YOUR pet’s food is recalled, you should check daily with either the manufacturer’s website or the FDA’s website http://www.fda.gov/
Many other websites are keeping up to date. A good one you can check is Itchmo (News and fun for cats, dogs, and their parents) at http://www.itchmo.com/ Click on the top right side “GET FUTURE RECALL ALERTS” and they will email you when a new food is recalled. The site also has information about a protest march and postcard-writing protest calling for accountability.
From the site:
Leftover tainted pet food was fed to hogs on hog farms (and possibly one or more chicken farms, too) in at least 6 states. Several hundred of those hogs were slaughtered and shipped out. They're still trying to track where that pork went.
The FDA has decided to test the following imported raw ingredients as well as human and pet foods already manufactured that contain those ingredients:
- Wheat Gluten
- Corn Gluten
- Corn Meal
- Soy Protein
- Rice Bran
- Rice Protein Concentrate
So this could easily continue to expand and expand and expand.
What's Really for Dinner? Cow brains. Sheep guts. Chicken heads. Road kill. Rancid grain. These are a few of the so-called nutritionally balanced ingredients found in the commercial pet food served to companion animals every day.
More than 95 percent of US companion animals derive their nutritional needs from a single source: processed pet food. When people think of pet food, many envision whole chickens, choice cuts of beef, fresh grains, and all the nutrition that a dog or cat may ever need -- images that pet food manufacturers promote in their advertisements. What these companies do not reveal is that instead of whole chickens they have substituted chicken heads, feet, and intestines. Those choice cuts of beef are really cow brains, tongues, esophagi, fetal tissue dangerously high in hormones, and possibly diseased and even cancerous meat. Those whole grains have had the starch removed for corn starch powder and the oil extracted for corn oil, or they are hulls and other remnants from the milling process. Grains used that are truly whole have usually been deemed unfit for human consumption because of mold, contaminants, poor quality, or poor handling practices. Pet food is one of the worlds most synthetic edible products, containing virtually no whole ingredients.
Pet food manufacturers have become masters at inducing companion animals to eat things cat and dogs would normally spurn. Pet food scientists have learned that it's possible to take a mixture of inedible scraps, fortify it with artificial vitamins and minerals, preserve it so that it can sit on the shelf for more than a year, add dyes to make it attractive, and then extrude it into whimsical shapes that appeal to the human consumer. For this, pet food companies can expect to earn billions in sales per year.
Commercial dog food is a danger to your dog.. the truth is the majority of dog food produced today is made with the consumer in mind. The pet food companies focus on us instead of our dogs because profit is their motivating factor and not our dog's optimum health. Commercial dog food generates over 11 billion dollars annually in sales. What most consumers don't realize is that the pet food industry is built on the waste from the human food industry. It's a way for large corporations to take what should be considered garbage and turn it into a profit by putting it in our dog's food. It is not a coincidence that four of the five major pet food companies in the U.S. are owned by large food production companies, we are all familiar with these:
Colgate Palmolive makes Hills Science Diet
Proctor & Gamble makes Eukanuba and Iams
Nestle makes Alpo and Mighty Dog
Heinz makes Gravy Train, Kibbles & Bits and Nature's Recipe
Consumers are constantly being subjected to deceptive marketing and less than half truths by many large companies. They count on our lack of knowledge and our desire to have convenient low cost options to feed our dogs. In many ways they have given us what we want, but it is not what our dogs are designed to eat. It is my sincere belief that if consumers knew the truth about the actual ingredients in their current dog food they would choose differently. None of us would deliberately feed our dogs items considered unfit for human consumption. None of us would continue to put down a bowl of food everyday that only allows our dogs to survive and not thrive. Everyday across America dog owners are unknowingly subjecting their family dogs to waste from slaughterhouses. The list includes fecal waste, toxins, mold, heavy metals, antibiotics and harmful preservatives. The lack of testing and regulation allow our pets to digest these types of hazards day after day. It is both shocking and disturbing to find out what is a legally acceptable ingredient in dog food. Whether you buy from the supermarket or various brands from your vet you can believe that most commercial dog food is riddled with poor and potentially dangerous ingredients. My personal favorite is the animals they use in pet food. There is actually a term for it called, "4-D". This stands for dead, diseased, dying and disabled animals. Then there's the ever popular by-product. Basically a by-product is what gets scraped off the floor after being deemed unfit for human consumption and then used in dog food. This consists of skin, lungs, kidneys, blood, bone, hooves, cancerous tumors, beaks and stomachs. How are these ingredients acceptable? According to the pet food industry, these are perfectly fit protein sources for our animals. I'm certain most pet owners would disagree!
It is any wonder veterinarians are seeing more chronic health problems and diseases than ever before and at all ages. Allergy and skin problems across all breeds are more common than ever. It has become widely accepted by many veterinarians that the alarming increase in cancer among dogs is primarily due to the use of chemicals in their food. Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths in pets 10 years and older. Take a look at the label on your dog's food. It more than likely will include BHA or BHT or worst of all Exthoxyquin. These preservatives may also cause liver, kidney and other major organ damage.
The truth is most of us have never considered reading the ingredients in our dog's food. We believe through advertising not fact or research that our dogs are eating choice cuts of meat, dazzling vegetables and golden grains. Furthermore, we have bought into the idea that the same standard dog food feed day after day to our pets will provide "complete and balanced nutrition". Simple put, that's a myth. We cannot afford to continue to be fooled or silenced by billion dollar industries that are hurting our dog's health. Become educated. Become vigilant. Become part of the solution.
There are some alternatives, if you don't have time or find the prospect of cooking for your dog initimidating... Dining for Dogs and Sojourner Farms are just a few options. I can tell you that I hate to cook, and rarely do so for myself, however, I now cook every meal my dogs eat. It isn't difficult, and it makes me feel good to know I am doing something to enrich and prolong their lives. There are tons of books out there now about home-prepared meals for dogs & cats, and I will be posting recipes soon. Three Dog Bakery also has a cookbook out now for special treats :)
- Current Mood: raging
Officials: Pet Food Contamination May Have Been Intentional
That is one theory being pursued by the Food and Drug Administration as it investigates how the chemical, melamine, contaminated at least two ingredients used to make more than 100 brands of dog and cat foods.
In California, state agriculture officials placed a hog farm under quarantine after melamine was found in pig urine there. Additional testing was under way to determine whether the chemical was present in the meat produced by American Hog Farm in Ceres since April 3, the state Department of Food and Agriculture said.
So far, melamine has been found in both wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China. Media reports from South Africa suggest a third pet food ingredient, corn gluten, used in that country also was contaminated with melamine. That tainted ingredient has not been found in the United States, the FDA said.
FDA investigators, meanwhile, are awaiting visas that would allow them to visit the Chinese plants where the vegetable protein ingredients were produced.
"Melamine was found in all three of those; it would certainly lend credibility to the theory that it may be intentional. That will be one of the theories we will pursue when we get into the plants in China," Stephen Sundlof, the FDA's chief veterinarian, told reporters Thursday.
Chinese authorities have told the FDA that the wheat gluten was an industrial product not meant for pet food, Sundlof said. Still, melamine can skew test results to make a product appear more protein-rich than it is, he said. That raises the possibility the contamination was deliberate.
"What we expect to do with our inspections in China will answer some of those questions," said Michael Rogers, director of the division of field investigations within the FDA's office of regulatory affairs.
Wilbur-Ellis Co., the U.S. importer of the tainted rice protein, said Thursday it was recalling all the ingredient it had distributed to five U.S. pet food manufacturers. The California company in turn urged its customers to recall any products that may be on store shelves.
So far, just two of those companies have done so: Natural Balance Pet Foods and Blue Buffalo Co.
Natural Balance announced a limited recall Monday of its Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.
Blue Buffalo followed Thursday by recalling 5,044 bags of its Spa Select Kitten dry food. The company intercepted most of the kitten food before it reached distribution centers, company co-founder Billy Bishop said.
FDA officials would not release the names of the other two manufacturers that Wilbur-Ellis supplied, citing a continuing investigation.
The FDA and the Agriculture Department also were investigating whether some pet food made by one of the five companies supplied by Wilbur-Ellis was diverted for use as hog feed after it was found unsuitable for pet consumption.
"We understand it did make it into some hog feed and we are following up on that as well," Sundlof said.
The FDA could not provide updated numbers of pet deaths or injuries due to the contaminated pet food. The agency has received more than 15,000 calls since the first recall was announced more than a month ago.