Pet Food Recall – What Actually Happened

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Back in March Menu Foods was the first company to recall its pet food products, and shortly afterwards many other companies followed suit.

Since March the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has received over 17,000 complaints from people whose pets suffered kidney problems or died after eating pet food that was on the recall list.

After looking at 60 million containers of recalled pet food, veterinarians have identified two chemicals that they believe were responsible for the kidney disease and deaths.


These chemicals are:

  • Melamine – used in making plastic; and
  • Cyanuric Acid – used to chlorinate pools.

Veterinarians state that these chemicals on their own could not cause the illnesses we saw our pets suffer from, but in combination the chemicals reacted to form crystals in our pets’ bodies which blocked kidney function.

The FDA found the chemicals were present in the imported wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate used to make pet food.

Here’s a short video explaining the findings (running time 1m 44s)

Dr Barbara Powers, who is a past president of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), has these comforting words for pet owners:

“It’s hard to prevent something like this from happening again,” she said. “I’m sure there are now safeguards in place, but you can’t check for every toxin under sun. And who would have ever thought to screen for melamine and cyanuric acid. Those were chemicals that weren’t on anyone’s radar.”

It looks like we will either have to keep fingers crossed that it won’t happen again, or seek alternatives that include making our own dog food or buying a pet food that contains locally sourced human grade ingredients.

I’m not a great believer in keeping things crossed, so I’ll be looking for an alternative for Zoe Fritz.

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