Canadian pet-food producer Menu Foods is recalling more than 60 million cans and pouches of Ã¢â‚¬Å“wetÃ¢â‚¬Â dog and cat food after the food was linked to kidney failure in a number of pets. In the wake of 10 recent pet fatalities, frantic dog and cat owners are scrambling to determine whether their pets are at risk.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recall includes all Ã¢â‚¬Å“cuts and gravyÃ¢â‚¬Â style dog and cat food that was manufactured at Menu FoodsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Emporia, Kansas, facility between December 3, 2006, and March 6, 2007 and extends to more than 80 private-label and store brands including Iams, Nutro, Science Diet, Eukanuba, Mighty Dog, Foodtown, Food Lion, Publix, Winn Dixie, and Western Family. (The complete list of affected products can be found at http://www.menufoods.com/recall.)
While product testing has failed to turn up any definitive answers about the source of the problem, Menu Foods believes the timing of the issue coincides with the use of a new ingredient. Although the company did not initially identify the ingredient in question, it was later revealed that the problem related to a new wheat gluten supplier. Menu Foods has since stopped using that supplier, although they are still not sure if and how the suspected ingredient is affecting pet health.
Pet owners should be on alert for signs of renal failure in their dogs and cats, which may include lethargy, vomiting, and a loss of appetite. The company decided to initiate the recall after receiving a slew of customer complaints and queries. At this point, one dog death and nine cat deaths have been confirmed. There have also been numerous instances of non-fatal renal failure, although the precise number of cases is not yet known.
Menu Foods has promised to offer unspecified compensation to owners whose pets have died as a result of consuming their products. The company announced that the recall would cost them upward of $30 million and that a few of their retail customers, including one of their largest retail partners, have cut back on orders until the source of the problem is determined.