Today’s Update on the Pet Food Recall—4/10/2007

Banfield’s, the nation’s largest chain of veterinary hospitals, is suggesting that as many as 39,000 pets may have been injured by the contaminated foods that have been recalled:

WASHINGTON – Pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical may have sickened or killed 39,000 cats and dogs nationwide, based on an extrapolation from data released Monday by one of the nation’s largest chains of veterinary hospitals.

Banfield, The Pet Hospital, said an analysis of its database, compiled from records collected by its more than 615 veterinary hospitals, suggests that three out of every 10,000 cats and dogs that ate the pet food contaminated with melamine developed kidney failure. There are an estimated 60 million dogs and 70 million cats in the United States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The hospital chain saw 1 million dogs and cats during the three months when the more than 100 brands of now-recalled contaminated pet food were sold. It saw 284 extra cases of kidney failure among cats during that period, or a roughly 30 percent increase, when compared with background rates.

It’s “a coincidence” that the Chief Financial Officer of Menu Foods, the company who manufactured the foods that have been recalled, sold half his shares in the company a few weeks before the recall:

The chief financial officer of Menu Foods Income Fund says it’s a “horrible coincidence” that he sold nearly half his units in the troubled pet food maker less than three weeks before a massive recall of tainted pet food.

Insider trading reports show that Mark Wiens sold 14,000 units for $102,900 on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. Those shares would be worth $62,440 today, based on yesterday’s close of $4.46 a unit.

That represented 45 per cent of Mr. Wiens’s units. After the sale, he still owned 17,193 units and options to purchase 101,812 units, according to insider trading reports.

“It’s a horrible coincidence, yes . . .” Mr. Wiens said yesterday.

“I hold myself to the highest ethical and moral standards possible. I wouldn’t do anything to imperil the high governance standards that I demand of myself or anybody in the company.”

Mr. Wiens said the first reports of illnesses and deaths related to Menu Foods products came in to the company’s toll-free customer relations line in late February.

If you’re in Chicago, Illinois Senator Richard Durbin plans to hold hearings into the tainted pet foods:

WASHINGTON–The Senate wants answers about the federal probe into tainted pet food.Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate Whip, has long been working on food purity and food safety issues. And he is a member of the Senate Ag Appropriations subcommittee.

Durbin announced on Monday that a hearing on the pet food recall will take placeThursday afternoon, in Chicago. Witnesses will include Food and Drug Administration officials and outside specialists.

this from Durbin….
April 9, 2007

[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today confirmed that the U.S. Senate will hold an oversight hearing on the ongoing investigation and the regulatory mechanisms that govern the pet food industry as the widespread recall of contaminated pet food continues. Durbin, a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, has worked with Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), the Chairman of the Subcommittee, to schedule the hearing which will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, 2007 in Room 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Witnesses (see below for full list) will include FDA officials who will be questioned on the timeline of the investigation, the source of the contamination, and the agency’s regulatory and inspection responsibilities. The hearing will also include outside experts who will discuss the current state of the pet food industry, as well as regulatory or resource shortfalls that led to the widespread recall of tainted pet food.

11 comments… add one
  • Carol Johnson Link

    Anyone who believes anything that Menu Foods says…particularly that selling the stock was a coincidence….please contact me…I have some swamp land in Florida I would like to sell you.

  • Katie Link

    Thanks again Dave for all the updates you’ve done on the pet food recall, it’s really been helpful.

  • You’re welcome, Katie. And stay tuned—I think we’re nearer the beginning of this matter than we are to the end.

  • Katie Link

    I think you’re right about it being closer to the beginning. I have a sick cat and a sick dog (a sam) at the vet today being tested since they both have been eating recalled food.

    My vet has a very small practice and they’ve had 6 dogs die and a bunch of sick dogs. He said they haven’t had so many cats, which is pretty much the opposite of what is being reported nationally. He also commented that he thinks the problem(s) associated with bad food are a lot more widespread than is being reported.

    None of our other pets have eaten any of the recalled foods.

  • You have a Sam?! We have five. We’re, er, highly committed Sam owners. Check my categories under “Dogs”. Lots of pictures of our pack.

    Where’d you get yours?

  • Sally Parks Link

    I have a couple of questions:
    1) I want to know the harm its doing to the cats and dogs who depended on this food for their meals? For many older/senior pets, this was the only way they could eat, ie, many don’t have teeth, many just refuse any other kind of food, many have too sensitive a digestive system to change brands….
    2) What is being done to get the NON-CONTAMINATED food back on the shelves? or make new, un-contaminated food available soon before those pets (as stated above)are going to die from refusing/not tolerating other foods.
    3) Can someone tell me how to get some food for my 15 y/o? He has few teeth and did depend on this recalled food (Iams 3oz* packets). I have made homemade cat food and he turns his nose up at it. He tries to nibble at the dry food but barely can eat it, wet it down and he refuses.

  • Katie Link

    For my old guy that won’t eat I’m feeding him canned Canine Caviar, ground turkey. He sort of likes it (as much as he likes anything), and it has about a gazillion calories per tablespoon, so he doesn’t have to eat very much to maintain his already really low weight.

    Wet food is disgusting, and until this stuff I could barely contain myself long enough to open one. They have some other flavors that sounded like they’d smell bad so I haven’t bought them: tripe, green beef, and beaver. I’m told that dogs love the beaver, but my husbands family eats that and it smells so bad cooking that I can’t even imagine opening a can of it.

    I’m also cooking ground beef and rice with a little garlic in it. He’s a bad eater at the best of times and now that he’s sick it’s even worse.

  • Katie Link


    I have three sams. A show dog I got in Wisconsin (retired now), a rescue I got in Michigan, and a rescue I got in Alaska. email me if you want more details. I used to lie in northern Illinois so most of my contacts are in the midwest.

  • Barbara Link

    My cat died from this horrible error. What recourse do I have?
    Barb Winston

  • My dogs (all rescue mutts) have been vegetarians for years. I make their food. Not a big deal. They’re “New Orleans” dogs in that they eat mostly beans and rice, which is zipped up with leftovers (human). Every vet I’ve ever seen has been appalled to hear they are veg, but has had to admit they are in excellent health.

  • 05-07-07

    Hello All,

    I don’t want to sound alarmist but I have some important info about chicken livers.

    1st background info: My mom unknowingly fed our dogs treats and canned food from the recall list. (Both were added after she had bought them.)

    All four dogs were sick: diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, lethargic. Three recovered, one we had to put to sleep.

    Very recently she bought chicken livers and gizzards to add as treats to their dry food. (from a major chain) They all got bad diarrhea again. No observed vomiting yet.

    I reminded my mom, livers and gizzards filter the body of poisons. They could easily be retaining the Aminopterin (oops, I mean Melamine… [Ha!]).

    Say a prayer we don’t lose another of our beloved dogs…



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