Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Pet Food Recall

The Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association alerted my vet partner to another pet food recall:

It is a voluntary recall by Mars Petcare US, "of products manufactured at its Everson, Pennsylvania facility. The pet food is being voluntarily recalled because of potential contamination with Salmonella serotypeSchwarzengrund. This voluntary recall only affects the United States.

"Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, and, if there is cross contamination caused by handling of the pet food, in people as well, especially children, the aged, and people with compromised immune systems. Healthy people potentially infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. On rare occasions, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

"Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers with no visible symptoms and can potentially infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

"The company stopped production at the Everson facility on July 29, 2008 when it was alerted of a possible link between dry pet food produced at the plant and two isolated cases of people infected with Salmonella Schwarzengrund...." [See the article for complete text.]

American pet owners had already been sensitized by the illnesses and deaths caused by food made with tainted gluten exported from China to the United States. A February 6, 2008, ABC News report (See by Pierre Thomas, Jason Ryan and Scott Michels, states that, "A U.S. food importing company, its owners and two Chinese businesses were indicted today [2/6/08] by a federal grand jury in Kansas for their roles in allegedly manufacturing and importing a tainted pet food ingredient that may have killed thousands of cats and dogs.

"The U.S. company, called ChemNutra and run by husband and wife Stephen and Sally Miller, imported and distributed wheat gluten, a protein-rich ingredient commonly used in pet food. The gluten contained melamine, a poisonous chemical that is used to create plastics, cleaning products, countertops, glues, inks and fertilizers, the indictment states.

"The indictments allege that more than 800 metric tons of tainted gluten was exported from China to the United States between November 2006 and February 2007. ChemNutra and the Millers received the melamine-tainted product and sold it to their customers, who used it to manufacture various brands of pet food, according to the indictment.

"Melamine was allegedly added to make it appear that the wheat gluten had more protein than it really contained, the authorities said.

'Chem Nutra and Sally and Stephen Miller deny the allegations in the strongest of terms and look forward to proving their innocence at trial,' said spokesman Steve Stern. 'They had neither the intent to defraud or knowledge of wrongdoing.'

"The allegedly tainted products led to a massive pet food recall last year [2007]. Though it is not clear how many pets died from the tainted food, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that about 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs were killed...." [See the article for the complete text.]

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