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Edited article, see http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...03/petscol.DTL

for the whole.

Bigger than you think: The story behind the pet food recall

By Christie Keith, Special to SF Gate

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

...Early coverage reported only 10-15 cats and dogs dying after eating

canned and pouched foods manufactured by Menu...

...But I'm a contributing editor for a nationally syndicated pet feature,

Universal Press Syndicate's Pet Connection, and all of us there have close

ties to the veterinary profession. Two of our contributors are vets themselves...

And what we were hearing from veterinarians wasn't matching what we were

hearing on the news.

When we started digging into the story, it quickly became clear that

the implications of the recall were much larger than they first appeared.

Most critically, it turned out that the initially reported tally of

dead animals only included the cats and dogs who died in Menu's test lab

and not the much larger number of affected pets.

Second, the timeline of the recall raised a number of concerns.

Although there have been some media reports that Menu Foods started

getting complaints as early as December 2006, FDA records state the

company received their first report of a food-related pet death on February 20.

One week later, on February 27, Menu started testing the suspect foods.

Three days later, on March 3, the first cat in the trial died of acute

kidney failure. Three days after that, Menu switched wheat gluten

suppliers, and 10 days later, on March 16, recalled the 91 products that

contained gluten from their previous source.

Nearly one month passed from the date Menu got its first report of a

death to the date it issued the recall. During that time, no

veterinarians were warned to be on the lookout for unusual numbers of

kidney failure in their patients. No pet owners were warned to watch their

pets for its symptoms. And thousands and thousands of pet owners kept

buying those foods and giving them to their dogs and cats.

At that point, Menu had seen a 35 percent death rate in their test-lab

cats, with another 45 percent suffering kidney damage. The overall

death rate for animals in Menu's tests was around 20 percent. How many

pets, eating those recalled foods, had died, become ill or suffered kidney

damage in the time leading up to the recall and in the days since? The

answer to that hasn't changed since the day the recall was issued: We

don't know.
 

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I'm tired of Rosie's anti-animal tirades. First of all, the American public obesses over all kinds of things far more petty than the deaths of their pets. Soldiers are dying while the media go into a tizzy over Bald Britney or "American Idol." Why isn't she getting upset at this waste of precious news exposure?

Heaven forbid Americans might want to know that a packet of treats could KILL their pets.

And secondly, I don't think anyone, especially not animal advocates, would agree that war atrocities should be ignored. Most animal-compassionate people are very distressed by the war and want to see it halted. Sharing information about protecting our companion animals in no way prevents people from advocating an end to the war.

Finally, average Americans feel pretty helpless when it comes to the trajectory of military clashes. Helping those who live in our homes is something we CAN do, so naturally people will actively want, and discuss, this information.

I think Rosie's had a bad attitude toward animals in general. ever since PETA tried to sue her.
 

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My dogs are my babies. Just like everyone else I suppose. I'm thankful for all the coverage...that way I know what to stay away from. At this point I couldn't take another death. It would literally kill me I believe.
 
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