Rat poison may be to blame for pet food deaths

Rodent poison may have come in on imported wheat
By: Heartland News & The Associated Press

*See bottom of page for complete lists of recalled brands

ALBANY, N.Y. - There's new information on just how rat poison may have gotten into pet food linked to the deaths of at least 16 cats and dogs.

The poison (aminopterin) may have been on imported wheat that was used in the pet food. The type of poison identified by the network is one that is used to kill rats in some countries -- but according to the E.P.A., it's not registered for use in the United States. The chemical is also a

cancer drug, and it's highly toxic in high doses.

Earlier today, a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets said rat poison had been found in the pet food. She wouldn't identify the chemical or its source.

The pet deaths led to a recall of 60 million cans and pouches of pet food produced by Menu Foods and sold under 95 brand names throughout North America. The company has confirmed the deaths of 15 cats and one dog.

Lawsuit filed over pet food recall, seeks class-action
A Chicago woman has sued Menu Foods, alleging the pet food manufacturer delayed recalling dog and cat food despite knowing its products were contaminated and potentially deadly.

Dawn Majerczyk says her orange tabby fell sick last week just two days after he ate a single package of Special Kitty. It is one of 95 cat and dog food brands recalled by Menu Foods of Canada. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the recall came two weeks after nine cats died during routine company taste tests of its products.

Majerczyk say she took the 9-year-old cat to its first-ever veterinarian visit the day of the recall. The cat was euthanized after his organs began to fail.

Majerczyk's lawsuit seeks class-action status.

A Menu Foods spokesman says company officials had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

Major recall of pet food has animal owners frantic
A major recall of pet food has animal owners worried and scrambling to find substitutes. The recall involves dozens of brands made by Menu Foods. The company says an undetermined number of cats and dogs have suffered kidney failure after eating the food and about ten have died.
The pet food is widely sold throughout North America under 48 different dog-food brands and 40 cat-food labels, including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba. The products are distributed by major retailers like Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway.
Two other pet food companies -- Nestle Purina and Hill's Pet Nutrition -- are voluntarily recalling some of their products that are made by Menu Foods.
The Food and Drug Administration doesn't know yet what's wrong with the food. But Menu Foods says the recalled products were made with wheat gluten from a new supplier. That supplier has been replaced.
Test of suspect pet food killed seven animals
As many as one in six animals died in tests of dog and cat food that is part of a big recall. The manufacturer conducted the tests after complaints the products were poisoning pets around the country.
The government says Menu Foods tested suspect dog and cat food on as many as 50 animals after it learned of the problems. Seven test animals died. Menu Foods told the Food and Drug Administration it received the first complaints of kidney failure and deaths among cats and dogs on February 20th.
The F.D.A.'s top veterinarian says an investigation is focusing on wheat gluten as the likely source of contamination in the wet-style food. But he says agency investigators are looking at other ingredients too.
The recall now covers dog food sold throughout North America under 51 brands and cat food sold under 40 brands.

For the latest information you can call Menu Foods at their recall hotline:


You can also click the link we have provided on the right of this story, this will take you directly to the Menu Foods web site where more information is listed.