Flint River Ranch is NOT included in this recall in any way.
I know that the news of yet another pet food recall - and the scale of this particular recall - is disconcerting to everyone. No one likes to hear about anything like this happening. We are all aware that somewhere, families have lost their beloved pets and it saddens us to think of their unexpected and shocking loss of a beloved family companion. The numbers being affected by this recall appear to be growing - we truly hope that none of you or your friends were affected.
I feel it's important for my customers to know that Flint River Ranch DOES NOT buy from the supplier of the suspect ingredient(s) or any type of product from the Menu Company. Nor do we "piggy back" onto massive production runs to make our formulas. Our products are made with care, under individual control and in small batches.
One reason that we have never faced - and probably never will - this type of recall is that we choose not to buy from small independent suppliers, direct from the farm or jump around suppliers trying to get the lowest price. Every ingredient we use is purchased from known national suppliers with whom we have strong, long-term relationships. Proteins and grains are acquired from human-food producers, which provide human-grade ratings and can subject those ingredients to USDA protocol testing. Buying ingredients from major producers means that we get a consistently better and safer product from a supplier who knows exactly what we want. Additionally, all of our ingredients are certified by the supplier and tested upon receipt. Our formulas are quality-control tested every 15 minutes as they are cooked and samples of each run are kept for a minimum 6 months.
Some manufacturers may choose to shop around for the lowest pricing which can create problems. Flint River Ranch believes it is better to pay higher prices for premium ingredients to be assured of the quality of those ingredients.
Flint River Ranch's company mission remains to produce the very finest All-Natural, Super and Ultra Premium Canine & Feline nutritional formulas and treats for your beloved pets.
If you would like further information about Flint River Ranch formulas, products or ingredients, visit us online at the Company website; www.frrco.com/1bv7. We will work on expanding our database to give a fuller picture of our Company, our philosophy, processes and procedures in making our formulas. This recall and the swarm of questions has shown that everyone is hungry for more information on proper care & feeding of their beloved pets. We will do our best to share our knowledge with you.
Also - please contact your distributor directly at numbers or websites that you are familiar with; I'm confident they are waiting to share their industry knowledge and other customer experiences with you.
To share your comments or questions please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may not be able to answer everyone, but I will do my best. Everyone at Flint River Ranch shares their concern with those affected by this recall. Again, we truly hope that none of you or your friends are affected.
Sincerely, Jay P. Margedant, President
Flint River Ranch
Natural Balance - April 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Pacoima, CA -- April 17, 2007-- Natural Balance, Pacoima, CA, is issuing a voluntary nationwide recall for all of its Venison dog products and the dry Venison cat food only, regardless of date codes. The recalled products include Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. Recent laboratory results show that the products contain melamine. We believe the source of the melamine is a rice protein concentrate. Natural Balance has confirmed this morning that some production batches of these products may contain melamine.
The recall was prompted by consumer complaints received by Natural Balance involving a small number of cats and dogs that developed kidney failure after eating the affected product.
Dogs or cats who have consumed the suspect food and show signs of kidney failure (such as loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting) should be seen by a veterinarian. We recommend our customers immediately stop feeding our recalled venison products regardless of date code and return unused product to their retailer for a full refund.
The products are packaged in bags, cans and zip lock treat bags and sold in pet specialty stores and PetCo nationally.
No other Natural Balance products are involved in this voluntary recall as none of our other formulas include the rice protein concentrate.
Although the problems seem to be focused on a particular production period of the venison products, over the last four days we have notified our distributors and retailers by phone and e-mail to immediately stop selling and return all recalled Venison dog foods and treats and the Venison dry cat food. Venison canned cat food is not involved.
The source of the melamine appears to be a rice protein concentrate, which was recently added to the dry venison formulas. Natural Balance does not use wheat gluten, which was associated with the previous melamine contamination.
None of Natural Balance’s other dry formulas, none of our other canned or roll products and none of our other treats are involved with this voluntary recall.
We continue to work closely with the FDA in their ongoing investigation.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-829-4493 or email email@example.com.
Menu Foods - March 2007
The Ontario-based company that produced the pet food, said Saturday it was recalling dog food sold under 46 brands and cat food sold under 37 brands including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba. The food was distributed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico by major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway.
An unknown number of cats and dogs had suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, the company said.
22 Brands of Dog Biscuits Are Added
to Pet Food Recall
A recall of pet food tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastic products, has been widened to include 22 types of dog biscuits, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday.
The biscuits, made by Sunshine Mills Inc., contain wheat gluten imported from China that contained melamine, said Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the F.D.A.
Sunshine Mills, of Red Bay, Ala., manufactures branded and private label dry pet food and biscuits. The recalled biscuits include Nurture Chicken and Rice Biscuit, Ol’ Roy Peanut Butter Biscuit and Pet Life Large Biscuit.
Conrad Pitts, a lawyer for Sunshine Mills, said 80 percent of the tainted biscuits were sold by Wal-Mart, under the Ol’ Roy brand. Mr. Pitts said that the company had produced about 24 truckloads of biscuits with the contaminated gluten, and that the majority of the product was large biscuits. He said wheat gluten accounted for less than 1 percent of the total weight of the biscuits.
Until last week, when moist cat treats, dog jerky and a type of dry cat food were added to the recall, it had been limited to wet pet food sold under a variety of brand names.
Menu Foods, which last month recalled more than 90 brands of its “cuts and gravy” pet food, said yesterday that it had extended the period of time covered by its recall to include food made after Nov. 8, 2006. The company, based in Ontario, initially recalled only food made from Dec. 3, 2006, to March 6, 2007.
The company also added 20 additional varieties of those brands to the recall list yesterday. Information about the recalled pet food can be found at www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html.
Toxin found in tainted pet food is used in rat poisonBy Holly McKenna and Scott Valentine
ALBANY, NY/TORONTO (Reuters) - An ingredient used in rat poison that causes kidney failure in cats and dogs and has been blamed for the deaths of at least 14 animals, was found in samples of Menu Foods cat food, New York State officials said on Friday.
Aminopterin, a folic acid derivative used in rat poison, was discovered in samples obtained from the Ontario-based company, New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said at a press conference.
Use of aminopterin is forbidden in the U.S. because it can cause cancer and birth defects in humans as well as kidney failure in dogs and cats, the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets said.
"We are pleased that the expertise of our New York State Food Laboratory was able to contribute to identifying the agent that caused numerous illnesses and deaths in dogs and cats across the nation," Hooker said in a release.
Menu Foods is located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and has plants in Emporia, Kansas, and Pennsauken, New Jersey, among others.
Executives of Menu told reporters in Toronto on Friday that they will begin testing all suspect raw materials, and that they consider the possibility of tampering to be "remote."
"Some raw material has entered our supply chain that did not meet the quality that had been represented," Menu Foods President Paul Henderson said at a press conference.
On March 16, Menu Foods' brands of its cuts-and-gravy wet pet food -- marketed under a variety of brand names, including Iams, Eukanuba, President's Choice and Nutro Max Gourmet Classics -- were recalled.
The New York State Food Laboratory found 40 parts per million of aminopterin in cat food samples, but were waiting to hear from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on how safe that level was and if it came from the wheat gluten that was previously suspected of causing illnesses and deaths in pets, Department spokeswoman Jessica Chittenden said.
The FDA said previously that wheat gluten, which is used to thicken the gravy in wet pet food, was the likely cause of contamination.
Menu would not confirm or deny earlier reports that identified wheat gluten from China as the suspect ingredient. Continued ..
© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.
The Cat's Not Out of The Bag - Yet
As pet food recalls widened this weekend it has become blatantly clear - NOBODY really knows what happened. Nobody really knows what ingredient has killed hundreds and perhaps thousands of animals. Thousands of anecdotal reports have been received (to date the FDA says they have received over 8000 complaints) not to mention calls to vets and the pet food companies all over the country.
WHAT WE DO KNOW:
• Over 100 brands including some top name brands and private label brands have been affected
• Previously the recall included only wet foods produced by Menu Foods’ plants in New Jersey and Kansas but now a brand of dry cat food has also been recalled
( Prescription Diet m/d Feline – Hills Pet Nutrition ) – recall announced on March 30, 2007. The recall widened also with the announcement by Nestle Purina on March 30th that it was voluntarily recalling all sizes and varieties of its ALPO Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific production dates) This comes only two days after Purina advised the public that Mighty Dog 5.3 ounce pouch-packaged products were the only Purina brand product affected by the Menu Foods recall.
• A New York State Food laboratory and testing facility announced on March 30, 2007 that it had identified AMINOPTERIN, a rat poison in samples of the recalled cat food by Menu Foods.
• FDA claims that it did not find rat poison in the samples it tested but it did find melamine. FDA is not focusing on the rat poison theory (Aminopterin) but rather on the melamine found in wheat gluten imported from China.
• Animal Health Lab at the University of Guelph, Canada also confirmed the presence of AMINOPTERIN in samples of the food.
• Researchers at Cornell University said they could not find evidence of the rat poison.
• No one is discussing food safety, HACCP and trace back systems (that we have been able to find) but food safety/traceability sessions have just been added to the agenda at the upcoming PET FOOD FORUM meeting to be held in Chicago mid-April 2007.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:
• How many dogs and cats have been affected nationally by the tainted foods.
• Which plant(s) in China the tainted wheat gluten came from?
• If the tainted wheat gluten has also affected products in the human food chain – FDA officials said they “didn't believe the contaminated wheat gluten had entered the! human food supply, however they are NOW testing all wheat gluten imported from China for Melamine.
• How pet food manufacturers and co-packers of branded pet foods control traceability/food safety from outside manufacturers? Purina recently stated: “We have a sophisticated traceability system that enables us to track all ingredients from time of receipt at our plant through their inclusion in finished products and on to our customers to which the finished products were shipped.” - And before they enter the plant?
• Why FDA is choosing to ignore the rat poison theory and is only focusing on Melamine? Clearly there is justification for testing both. Why not test/search both? Jessica Chittenden, a spokeswoman of the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets stated: “Melamine is not a known toxin. There’s not enough data to show that it is toxic to cats. We are confident we found Aminopterin and it makes sense with the pathology.” From Dr. Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA: “At this point in the investigation we are not focusing on aminopterin” but he added he was not certain that melamine was the chemical causing the illness in dogs and cats.
• We don't know how the CEO of Menu Foods can assure consumers that all products manufactured since March 6, 2007 is safe just because melamine was NOT found in gluten his company uses from other supply sources – when the FDA has not yet confirmed that Melamine is the culprit.
WHEAT GLUTEN, MELAMINE, and AMINOPTERIN
It appears that the same supplier! (s) or source of tainted wheat gluten (from China) supplied Menu Foods, Hills Pet Nutrition and Purina – all companies involved in the recall so far. Here’s an interesting fact – about 70 percent of wheat gluten used in human and pet foods comes from the EU (European Union) or Asia. The International Wheat Gluten Association is made up of 16 members that produce 90 percent of the world’s gluten supply. (We located 9 suppliers of wheat gluten in China but could not confirm at the time of this writing if they were members of the association or independent suppliers or if they had supplied any wheat gluten to U.S. importers recently). Wheat Gluten was first developed in China as a human food and is a natural protein from wheat or wheat flour. If it is extracted in the wet form it is known as gum gluten which can then be dried into high protein powder. When it is rehydrated it regains its natural character. Where might you find wheat gluten? In pet food and fish food as a protein source and a binder, in human cereal products and specialty bread and bakery items. Gluten provides the elasticity of kneaded dough and you could associate the chewiness of a bagel with gluten. Wheat flour is a! co product of wheat gluten and it is used in many food applications. The current price for wheat gluten in the US domestic market is .65-70 cents per pound – up from .55 cents in the spring of 2006. Chinese wheat gluten is about 10 cents per pound cheaper than domestic product. But it’s not the wheat gluten that’s the problem – it’s the MELAMINE that they found in the gluten that is the issue.
Melamine was found in the urine of cats and also in the kidney of one of the cats who died after eating the recalled foods. Melamine is a white powder /chemical compound consisting of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. It’s a very strong and versatile material which when used in plastic or Formica products is heat tolerant and often used for floor tiles, kitchenware and in the manufacture of fertilizer. You may remember MELMAC dinnerware – made from this very compound. It has proved toxic in lab tests on rabbits and rats but there is very little information in scientific literature on melamine exposure in dogs and cats.
Scientists found drug levels of at least 40 parts per million of Aminopterin in some cans of the tainted cat food. Veterinarian Dominic Marino, chief of staff at Long Island Veterinary Specialists in Plainview, indicated aminopterin is being tested in clinical trials by the National Cancer Institute for some rare human cancers. “When aminopterin is used inappropriately, in large doses, it forms crystals in the kidneys, forcing them to shut down, which his how it is used as a rat poison.” Kidney failure or related condition is the reason attributed to most animal deaths as a result of eating the tainted food.
Looking at what we do and don't know it’s impossible to reach a conclusion at t! his time. It’s very difficult for any company or agency to pinpoint the culprit with the amount of testing and research available right now. There are still a lot of unanswered questions. Why have more cats died than dogs? On April 1, 2007 the AP reported that Steven Hansen a veterinary toxicologist and director of the ASPCA Poison Control center in Urbana Illinois stated: ‘I am concerned we have a situation where we have a sensitive species and it is the cat”. Melamine has a very low toxicity in rodents but apparently the cat is different – and there is no history on cats. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has already sent the FDA its data base on Melamine and the FDA acknowledged the only study they have is a single study in 1945 that tested it on dogs. “That study suggested that the chemical increased urine output when fed to dogs in large amounts”. Nothing more. And we can’t ignore the rat poison found by two different laboratories in the canned foods – that was certainly real. However, the only thread of commonality is the melamine at this point which was found both in the wheat gluten (apparently found by the FDA and Cornell University in raw form in concentrations as high a! s 6.6 percent) and kidney tissue of the dead cats. And nobody has any idea how melamine got into the wheat gluten in the first place. It took months to get to the bottom of the Dole human organic spinach recall earlier this year and trace it back to a contaminated water supply on one farm. They will eventually find the cause but it may take much longer if indeed it is the wheat gluten from China. While the official death toll still remains at 16, it is expected that hundreds and thousands of animals may die of kidney failure as a result of eating the contaminated products. According to the Veterinary In formation Network website over 104 deaths have already been linked to the food and many others are still being treated.
In the meantime why not try feeding an alternative pet food like a natural, raw food diet. Consider buying foods with ingredient listings that you can pronounce and understand – for both human and pet food purchases. Be sure to contact the company you intend to purchase from if you have any concerns about any of the ingredients listed. Buy gluten and grain free foods – you’re pet wont suffer, they were not raised on grain and corn in the past. One final thought – don’t attempt to make a human food version for your pets or just feed human food. Pet diets require very specific ingredients that will provide them a proper complete and balanced nutritional meal which is not easy to achieve at home in the kitchen unless you are certain about what you are doing. Unfortunately recalls and contaminations in any food chain, animal and human can and do happen and this situation is not reflective of the industry as a whole.