Thursday, March 22, 2007

Killer Pet Food?

Menu Foods is a company that makes pet food. Their headquarters is in Mississauga, Ontario (Canada) not far from where I live. The plants that make the pet food are located in the USA.

According to some reports, about 16 cats and dogs have died in recent weeks, allegedly of kidney failure. There are claims that nine cats and one dog died while participating in a taste test run by Menu Foods (FDA says wheat gluten may be pet death cause). Other reports say that seven animals have died (CTV News). In some reports these seven animals were supposed to have died in a test for pet food contamination run by Menu Foods.

It's very confusing. The various reports seem to suggest that there were "only" about nine pets who died from contaminated food in all of North America over the past two months. It has been reported that most (all?) were fed products made by Menu Foods. I'm not sure what the probabilities are here. It looks like Menu Foods makes just about every kind of pet food on the market.

In any case, the company acted quickly to recall all suspect cat food and dog food. This means 60 million units under 95 different brand names. They began testing the recalled food to see if there was anything wrong. The latest word is that they can't find anything wrong (Company can't explain why its pet food is fatal). The only remaining possibility is a problem with wheat glutton according to Paul Henderson, the chief executive and president of Menu Foods.
“Our hypothesis is that it is that ingredient that in fact represents the highest probability as to the cause,” Henderson said. “But we have been unable to prove that through scientific information.”
The wheat was supplied by a manufacturer in Kansas.

This is beginning to look suspicious. I'm not convinced that the known deaths were due to a problem with the food in spite of the scary headlines. Is it a case of mass hysteria or is there really something mysterious in the pet food that's killing cats and dogs?

NBC News aired a segment on the controversy where Brian Williams interviewed veterinarian Lisa Moses of Boston. You can watch the interiew on the MSNBC Website. It sounds to me like she has no evidence whatsoever that "lethal" pet food is associated with the complaints she's hearing from concerned pet owners. Nevertheless, she's looking at all cases of kidney failure in the past six months to see if the pets ate food that was manufactured by Menu Foods. (You can be certain they did.)

I'm skeptical, but Lisa Moses isn't. You can bet that angry pet owners are going to sue the pants off Menu Foods no matter what the scientific evidence says.

There are some bloggers who are convinced they know what's happening (Examining Animal Rights And Wrongs!).
It breaks my heart every time I hear of another pet dying from the 60 million tainted cans and pouches of wet dog and cat food that has been recalled. I get outraged when I realize that there is very little legal recourse that can be taken because animals are considered property rather than a member of the family. Shit! I’ve had some pets I’ve liked better than some members of my family!

It’s been a week since Menu Foods of Canada, told the public of the danger that face their pets if they eat their food sold in the the U.S. under almost 100 different names and they aren’t any closer to finding out what is causing animals to die from kidney failure! What amazes me are the stats released yesterday, which show the company tested the food months ago and one out of six animals died from eating the food! ONE OUT OF SIX! Wasn’t that enough reason to keep the product off the market?
If it's true that Menu Foods tested animals months ago and discovered that one in six were killed by their food then we have a real scandal. But I can't find any confirmation of that fact except a quotation from some FDA official who doesn't give a source.

Does anyone know the truth?


  1. Commercial dog food is a stupid concept. I feed my dog cats.

  2. And in South Korea they eat the dogs. Everybody wins! :-)

  3. Everyone's picking up on the confirmation that the pet foods were contaminated:

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