Rat Poison Responsible for Pet Deaths; Class Actions Filed

As the number of pet deaths continues to grow, the New York State Department of Agriculture announced today that their testing of Menu Foods’ tainted cat food revealed the presence of aminopterin, an ingredient used in the manufacture of rat poison. At this point, company and state officials have no leads as to how the substance got into the contaminated pet food.

Earlier this week, a Wisconsin pet owner filed a class-action suit against Menu Foods. The suit was filed by Progressive Law Group, who claims that they are receiving around 200 queries per day about the case. Class actions have also been filed in Chicago and Seattle, and a number of class actions have been filed in Canada as well. The suits are claiming that Menu Foods acted negligently and dangerously by its lack of sufficient quality-assurance measures and its failure to adequately test the safety of these products.

In addition, news has spread that Menu Foods delayed announcing the recall until they’d confirmed a connection between the pet illnesses and their products. Apparently, company officials first believed that the illnesses may have resulted from other sources, even though all of the affected pets had been fed a Menu Foods product.

A nationwide recall of the tainted “wet food” products, which has expanded to include nearly 100 separate brands, was initiated last week as reports of pet deaths and illnesses began to roll in. According to New York state officials, “Aminopterin, a derivative of folic acid, can cause cancer and birth defects in humans and can cause kidney damage in dogs and cats. Aminopterin is not permitted for use in the United States.” At this point, Menu Foods has confirmed the death of 15 cats and one dog, but that number is expected to increase dramatically.

Testing revealed that aminopterin was present in the pet-food samples at a level of at least 40 parts per million.

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