Pet-Food Recall Expands Yet Again

Pet-Food Recall Expands Yet AgainA month ago, relatively few people in the United States had ever heard of the chemical known as melamine. Fewer still knew that melamine, a chemical used as fertilizer and in the production of plastics and resin, caused kidney failure in dogs and cats. Unfortunately, people are learning all too much about melamine as the presence of the chemical has managed to mysteriously contaminate a huge supply of pet food in the United States.

This week, two more pet-food companies announced voluntary recalls of their products due to fears of melamine contamination. California-based Natural Balance recalled all of its Venison dog products and 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.

According to a company press release posted by the FDA, “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 company had received a string of consumer complaints related to cats and dogs that developed kidney failure after eating the affected products. The rice protein concentrate, which is being blamed for the melamine contamination, was recently added to their dry venison formulas.

In a story that is likely related to the Natural Balance recall, Wilbur-Ellis Company, a supplier of rice protein concentrate to pet-food manufacturers, recalled their product because of a risk that it may have been contaminated by melamine. According to the company, it received its rice protein from a single source in China, Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Co. Ltd.

The original pet-food-contamination outbreak, which led to a huge recall by pet-food manufacturer Menu Foods, was related to wheat gluten also imported from China and also contaminated with melamine. Now, however, the news about Chinese-produced rice protein concentrate may lead to a slew of further recalls as FDA investigators continue to scratch their heads.

According to the FDA, “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.”

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