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California Animal Health Laboratory Finds Melamine in Nutro Max Cat Gourmet Classic — Not on Recall List!

We've been hearing rumors and reports from pet parents all across the country that their furbabies have been experiencing symptoms of tainted food even though...

Joy  |  Apr 10th 2007


Nutro Chicken Cacciatore.jpg

We’ve been hearing rumors and reports from pet parents all across the country that their furbabies have been experiencing symptoms of tainted food even though they were eating non-recalled products. Now the fears are confirmed. There is more tainted pet food out there!

Now we have to ask more questions:

Which brands really are tainted that have NOT been added to the recall list?
How many contaminants are there? First we had a cancer drug and now we have melamine! Do the authorities really know how contaminants are in the food supply and what they really are?
How long has the taint been occurring?
How do we get it out of the pet food supplies?
How safe are the human food supplies?
What do we have to do to keep this situation from happening again?
Isn’t it time to block the importation of ALL food supplies from countries with less stringent quality and safety controls on their foods?
Is the FDA lying, too incompetant or just too understaffed to know the full reality of the situation? (My money’s on too understaffed!)

Thanks to the Marin Independant for this article.

New tainted pet food confirmed from Marin case
By Jim Staats

Scientists at a state animal health laboratory confirmed Monday that a popular brand of pet food submitted for testing by Marin veterinarians was indeed contaminated, even though it is not on a growing list of recalled pet foods.

The pet food apparently sickened a cat owned by a Greenbrae woman. The cat has slowly recovered and was returned to its home on Monday.

At the request of the Mill Valley Pet Clinic, three varieties of Nutro Max Cat Gourmet Classic, in three-ounce cans, were tested by the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The food tested positive for melamine, which has been found in wheat gluten imported from China. Melamine is used to make plastics and other industrial products.

Tests were ordered by the Mill Valley Pet Clinic after the cat was diagnosed with acute renal failure on March 26. UC Davis officials supplied the test results to the Mill Valley Pet Clinic, but declined comment.

“We do not discuss results from specific testing with third parties,” said Birgit Puschner, of the lab’s toxicology department.

Dr. Marianne Willis, veterinarian at Mill Valley Pet Clinic, said the UC lab “doesn’t want to be in the middle of all this. They said since we ordered the test and paid for it, we were free to do what we want with it.”

She said clinic veterinarians were notifying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the food manufacturer of the tainted food.

Last week, the FDA added dog biscuit manufacturer Sunshine Mills Inc. to a growing list of companies that have recalled more than 100 brands of pet foods and treats made with imported Chinese wheat gluten.

Several varieties of Nutro Max Gourmet Classics brand – all three-ounce food packages – are on the FDA’s list. But the list has not included the three-ounce cans. The canned cat food that tested positive for melamine at UC Davis were the lamb cutlet platter, California chicken supreme dinner and chicken cacciatore.

A Nutro spokesman could not be reached for comment Monday.

The recall covers “cuts and gravy”-style products made between Nov. 8 and March 6 from a select variety of popular brands including Iams, Hy-Vee, Nutro, Paws and private label brands sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kmart and Longs Drug Stores.

Last week, the FDA said 21 pet food samples obtained from consumers tested positive for melamine. The recall is one of the largest pet food recalls in history, according to Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. The FDA has received more than 12,000 complaints but has confirmed only about 15 pet deaths.

Mill Valley Pet Clinic officials ordered the food sample test for Cleo, an 11-year-old domestic short-hair cat brought to their office last month after she stopped eating. She was rushed to the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin, in San Rafael.

Kellie Little, her owner, said she purchased the food from Pet Club in Corte Madera on March 19. She said she has been in contact with officials of the food’s manufacturer, Nutro Products, about six times over the past two weeks, but was told that only the food in pouches had been recalled, not the canned food. She provided two samples to the company’s office in addition to the samples sent to UC Davis.

Her cat has slowly recovered under constant veterinary care, and Little, brought Cleo home Monday.

“I feel it’s kind of a victory that we may be able to save some other cats’ lives,” she said, of Monday’s test results.

When it comes to specific pet foods on the recall list, “we’re getting updates every day,” said Dr. Chris Rodi, Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin.

Information about the recalled pet food can be found at the FDA site.

The three varieties of contaminated food tested were Nutro Max Cat Gourmet Classic, 3 oz. cans, lamb cutlet platter, California chicken supreme dinner and chicken cacciatore. UPC codes found on products are 79105 352055, 79105 300117, 79105 300148