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FDA warns Iams about food for fat dogs and cats
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning letter to pet food maker Iams about an additive in some of its products for fat dogs and cats.
The letter, dated January 8, 2007, and posted on the FDA Web site on Thursday, said that several Eukanuba-brand dry and canned pet food products made by The Iams Company, a unit of Procter & Gamble Co., contain chromium tripicolinate, which is only allowed as a source of supplemental chromium in swine feed.
The company will take chromium tripicolinate out of future formulations of its Eukanuba Veterinary Diets Optimum Weight Control and Restricted-Calorie dry and canned products for obese dogs or cats, spokesman Kurt Iverson said.
He pointed out that the FDA had not ordered a recall of the products now in pet owners’ homes or on store shelves.
Since chromium tripicolinate has not been tested for safety in dog and cat food, products containing the chemical are considered adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA letter said.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said on Thursday it would hold a news conference Friday to urge the FDA to expand its March 16 recall of some wet pet foods to also include dry varieties subject to complaints until they are tested for safety.
The recall, ordered after several pets died of kidney failure, applied to millions of pounds of wet pet foods made by Canada-based Menu Foods and sold under more than 50 labels including Iams and Eukanuba.
The letter issued by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine also said Iams had earlier tried to demonstrate that chromium tripicolinate is non-genotoxic, but the agency determined that data submitted by the company did not sufficiently address its safety concerns.
Genotoxic compounds can cause genetic mutations or tumors, according to the FDA Web site.
Chromium tripicolinate is known to boost metabolism in both humans and animals, Iverson said.
“The FDA wanted additional studies to prove certain things but those would require us to go beyond our animal welfare policy, so we’ve chosen to take that ingredient out,” he said.