Friday, May 25, 2007

CORN Gluten intercepted in Canada postive for Melamine and Cyanuric Acid

If this is true, and I have no reason to believe it's not, this is HUGE. This is the first instance of CORN GLUTEN in North America being tainted by melamine and/or cyanuric acid.

The only other instance we’ve been told about is in South Africa. The Royal Canin food recalled in South Africa is the ONLY recall attributed to corn gluten.

This is so big it makes my stomach hurt. (Thanks to Mike and Therese for the article. And for ruining my Friday.)

Food watchdog blocks melamine-tainted gluten from entering Canada

Last Updated: Friday, May 25, 2007 | 3:59 PM ET

Canada's food watchdog said Friday it has intercepted one shipment of corn gluten imported from China that tested positive for melamine and cyanuric acid.

Melamine, a chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers, was found in more than 100 brands of contaminated pet food that were recalled from the marketplace in Canada and the United States in mid-March. The manufacturers had used tainted wheat flour imported from China.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has tested 32 samples of wheat, rice, soy and corn gluten and protein concentrates coming into the country from China. The federal agency is also testing imports that entered the country over the past year.

"Shipments are being tested for both melamine and cyanuric acid since, although neither substance is believed to be particularly toxic by itself, their potency appears to be increased when they are present together," the federal agency said in a statement.

One in every five samples is also screened for other substances.

China's food and drug safety record has come under scrutiny in recent months, with investigators suggesting that Chinese companies are using potentially harmful ingredients in their products.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

US asks China to monitor exports & CPSC Powerless

My vote for quote-of-the-week goes to Senator Durbin, for the following:
"There is a harsh reality here: When it comes to food, ’Made in China’ is now a warning label in the United States"
I couldn't agree more. Here's the rest... bold and red emphasis is mine. (Thanks to Mike for both China articles!) Note that Monkfish from China has now been recalled too.

And Catfish tested positive for melamine - making the first time it's been found in the flesh of something that ate it, that we know of anyway.

U.S. Asks China to Monitor Exports

U.S. officials asked their Chinese counterparts to increase oversight of food and drug exports Thursday as the list of potentially deadly products reaching U.S. shores kept growing.

The U.S. asked China to require exporters to register with the government, amid other measures meant to provide greater assurance of the safety of their products. The requests came amid ongoing problems with Chinese exports, including chemically spiked pet food ingredients and, as of Thursday, potentially poisonous toothpaste and toxic fish.

"The Chinese understand very well that any nation that does not create an atmosphere of trust with consumers and customers, they will be disadvantaged quickly on the world market," Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt told reporters.

A Chinese Embassy spokeswoman declined to comment other than to refer a reporter to previous statements made by government officials. Earlier this week, Vice Premier Wu Yi, in Washington for high-level economic talks, warned against politicizing economic and trade issues.


The problems don’t stop at pet food. For April, China was No. 1 in countries whose imports were stopped at the border by the Food and Drug Administration. The list includes filthy mushrooms, drug-laced frozen eel and juice made with unsafe color additives.

"Obviously, there is a problem in China. It keeps getting bigger and we keep seeing more problems in different realms," said Chris Waldrop of the Consumer Federation of America.

On Thursday, even more potential problems were disclosed: The FDA said it was stopping all imports of Chinese toothpaste to test for a deadly chemical reportedly found in tubes sold elsewhere in the world. The testing will look for diethylene glycol, a chemical commonly used in antifreeze and brake fluid, spokesman Doug Arbesfeld said. The imports will be released only if they test negative for the chemical. The announcement came following reports that tainted Chinese toothpaste was sold in Australia, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

The FDA also announced an importer was recalling 282 22-pound boxes labeled as Chinese monkfish that it distributed to three states. Two Chicago-area people became ill after eating the fish, which FDA testing later revealed contained life-threatening levels of tetrodotoxin, a sometimes deadly toxin. Importer Hong Chang Corp., of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., believes the fish may actually be pufferfish, which can contain tetrodotoxin.

"There is a harsh reality here: When it comes to food, ’Made in China’ is now a warning label in the United States," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who earlier this month exacted a promise from FDA commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach and Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong that they would work toward a mutual agreement to improve inspections and the overall safety of food products and drugs traded between the two nations.

When asked Thursday if consumers could trust the safety of food imported from China, von Eschenbach told The AP: "This is one area where we have an ongoing opportunity for continuous improvement and that’s what we are going to pursue."

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chairwoman of the House Appropriations’ agriculture subcommittee, pledged to hold a hearing to examine Chinese imports.

"This is becoming a day-by-day event. We got monkfish _ poisonous pufferfish _ as just yet another example. And they’re investigating toxic toothpaste imported from China. This is truly out of control," said DeLauro, who criticized the administration’s food and drug safety requests to the Chinese as nonbinding.

And something I hadn't heard of until today. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently powerless - they have NO ability to perform regulatory activities.

The CPSC needs at least three commissioners to perform regulatory activities and to levy fines. The commission has not had three commissioners since former chairman Hal Stratton, another Bush appointee, abruptly resigned July 15, 2006 to become a lobbyist.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Act, which created and governs the CPSC, the two remaining commissioners can continue their regulatory activities for six months after a vacancy has been created. After those six months, their powers are stripped until the President fills the vacancy and as of Jan. 15, 2007, that has been the case.

Here's the rest:
Bush Pick to Head Safety Agency Withdraws
By Joseph S. Enoch

President Bush’s pick to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission succumbed to pressure from Democratic Senators and consumer advocates who vehemently apposed having an industry lobbyist head the consumer agency.

Just one day before the Senate Commerce Committee was set to vote on Bush’s controversial pick, Michael Baroody, the executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers withdrew.

“It became clear that he wasn’t going to get the vote, so I think he realized there just wasn’t any point in going forward,” Hank Cox, NAM spokesman and Baroody’s self-described “close friend,” said somberly.

Bush’s nomination drew so much heat because Baroody has virtually built his career around fighting against consumers' rights for the benefit of industry.

“His nomination to this critical post was astoundingly inappropriate and would have put American families at further risk because of his interest in weakening safeguards against potentially dangerous products,” Joan Claybrook, president of the nonprofit consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, said in a prepared statement.

Within days of Bush’s nomination, Democratic Senators showed dismay that Bush would pick someone with Baroody’s background.

Even an ex-CPSC commissioner couldn’t believe it. “This had shock and awe written all over it,” Ann Brown, who chaired the commission from 1994 to 2001 said. “He was the worst possible choice to lead the CPSC.”


In a prepared statement, the White House said it is reluctantly accepting Baroody’s withdrawal.

“We are disappointed he will not have the opportunity to strengthen the CPSC's ability to protect American consumers,” according to the statement.

In the likely event Baroody would not have won the vote before the Commerce Committee, Bush still would have had the opportunity sneak Baroody in through a recess appointment. Recess appointments are generally reserved for emergencies. However, Bush has frequently relied on it to get controversial nominations into high level posts.

Cox said Baroody did not want it to come to that.

“Mike Baroody has been in town (Washington, D.C.) almost 40 years and he is a man of dignity and character.”

Consumer advocates are pleased with the outcome, but are concerned about the future of the commission.

No Quorum

“The good news is that the Bush administration’s candidate has been withdrawn,” Consumer Federation of America spokesman Jack Gillis said. “The bad news is that this agency remains leaderless and without a quorum of commissioners.”

The CPSC needs at least three commissioners to perform regulatory activities and to levy fines. The commission has not had three commissioners since former chairman Hal Stratton, another Bush appointee, abruptly resigned July 15, 2006 to become a lobbyist.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Act, which created and governs the CPSC, the two remaining commissioners can continue their regulatory activities for six months after a vacancy has been created. After those six months, their powers are stripped until the President fills the vacancy and as of Jan. 15, 2007, that has been the case.

If Bush takes as long as he did last time to find a replacement, the commission will remain powerless for another six months.

Regardless, Consumer advocates and Brown are still hailing this a success.

“Not having a quorum is definitely better,” Brown said. “Not that we want to be down a commissioner, but who knows how long he would’ve been in there. Possibly well into the next administration.”

“The Baroody nomination drew attention to the important mandate of the CPSC to be the nation’s strongest advocate for consumers and the safety of their products,” Sally Greenburg, senior product safety counsel for the Consumers Union wrote in an e-mail. “We urge the administration to look for a candidate with the qualifications to further that mission.”

“Now there needs to be some pressure on the White House to nominate a qualified candidate,” Brown said.

For months, CPSC spokespeople have assured ConsumerAffairs.Com that no new regulations were being held up by the lack of a quorum. But CPSC spokesperson Julie Vallese changed her tune today.

“The time is coming where the lack of a quorum may start holding things up,” she said.

Vallese said nothing is being held up currently, but “that’s not going to last forever. … In the coming months, things are going to come up for a vote.”

Vallese wouldn’t say what regulation is soon to be pending a vote, however, the agency is currently working on:

• A rule that would limit the percent of lead found in children’s jewelry.
• Legislation that would make upholstered furniture less flammable.
• Updated design legislation for portable generators.
• Safety standards for all-terrain vehicles.

Is there no end to the ways the current administration is screwing things up?

For more of what's going on in China, see this article:

Do bananas spread Sars? China gripped by health scare

By Clifford Coonan in Beijing
Published: 25 May 2007

The word on the streets of China's cities is that bananas from the southern island of Hainan can cause Sars. And that Magician brand instant noodles poisons you because they use oil extracted from human corpses provided by funeral homes.

China is in the grip of a food safety scare, and although it has generated a number of bizarre rumours circulating in frantic text messages, the issue poses a serious potential threat to international trade.

Late last year, Hong Kong government chemists detected in salted duck eggs the Sudan II industrial dye, which was fed to the birds to make the yolk in their eggs extraordinarily red, a colour Chinese consumers see as a sign of high quality.

The Chinese government has pledged to get to the bottom of the scandal - and introducing standardised practices when it comes to food safety has become a major issue.

In Beijing, the city authorities have also announced plans to better monitor food products entering the capital after several food safety scandals emerged. Such is the mood there that some people are now saying that bad food, rather than lobbying about controversial issues such as Tibet, could be the main risk to the Olympic Games in the city next year.

Billions of pounds worth of counterfeit and substandard goods, from snack bars to fake liquor and medicines, to face creams, are produced every year in China.

Counterfeiting often extends to branded foods and you have to read the labels carefully in shops to make sure that you are getting the right food. Alcoholic drinks are particularly prone to copying and it is important to check to see if your beer or your breakfast cereal is the real thing.

China revealed in 2004, in one of its most highly publicised health scandals, that 13 babies had died from malnutrition in the eastern province of Anhui after being fed fake baby milk powder. But the problem is going global, spreading way beyond China's borders.

Chinese-made food products which are exported are being examined for toxins after safety breaches involving poisons in dog food and toothpaste, following reports of tainted products arriving in the Dominican Republic and Panama.

The Dominican Republic authorities said they had removed 10,000 tubes of the Chinese toothpaste brands Excel and Mr Cool from shelves after learning they contained diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze and brake fluid.

During talks this week between Washington and Beijing, the United States said food quality from China was a "top concern" and called on Beijing to improve food safety standards. The Americans want China to make food regulation more transparent, and to allow their audit teams to travel to China to examine the food factories and farms.

The Chinese government has launched investigations into the use of melamine - a non-food-related, industrial additive that found its way into the food chain and caused at least 16 pets to die in the US - and the companies exporting toothpaste containing the lethal chemical.

Meanwhile, the company which makes instant noodles under the "Magician" brand has had to take out newspaper advertisements to publicise the findings of scientific research showing that their products were not made from human body oils.

The manufacturers believe their competitors started the rumour, but everyone is suffering as sales of instant noodles, which are to Chinese cuisine what fish and chips are to British food, are dropping sharply.

A mass outbreak of food poisoning could be extremely damaging for the image of the Olympic Games, which begin in August next year. One scenario being thought through is if a team of top athletes came down with Beijing Belly just before a race.

To avoid that nightmare, the city is planning to increase rewards for uncovering unlawful production methods from 10,000 yuan (£660) to 50,000 yuan, the Beijing News reported.

(See the rest at the link above)

For even more, see my previous post "Stop all Chinese Imports"

Iams Dry Food - Lab Reports Cyanuric Acid In Unrecalled Dry Food

Updated June 3rd, 6pm: I have added (and will continue to add) reports at the bottom of this post of suspected illnesses and deaths due to Iams Dry food. These are reports that other people have posted online, on other sites. I am providing links to them so you can check them out for yourself.
Itchmo has learned that a toxicology test reported the presence of cyanuric acid in an opened bag of what is alleged to be Iams Large Breed dry dog food.

According to the report obtained by Itchmo, the results have been certified by a forensic toxicologist. The testing method detects concentrations in excess of 0.1%. We have obtained a copy of the toxicology report and you can see for yourself. We have remove personal information for privacy reasons and a correct lot number was obtained.

We have contacted Iams and we’re waiting on their response. Iams Large Breed does not list rice protein concentrate or wheat gluten as ingredients.

We cannot stress this point enough: This test was performed on a sample from an opened bag. We do not know if this is an isolated case of contamination before or after the sale, or if it is widespread.


Note: Like with the Nutro Dry, there are many reports posted online suspecting illnesses and deaths due to Iams Dry food. Check out these links and read the comments posted by people like yourselves.

And let's not forget this from back in March (posted over at FDA Issues Warning Against Iams Dry and Wet Foods
FDA has warned the Iams company in January against using an untested “dietary supplement” in its cat and dog weight control formula wet and dry foods. “The FDA considers chromium tripicolinate to be genotoxic, meaning it can damage DNA and cause mutations and tumors.” Amazingly, the FDA posted the letter only today.

No word yet if Iams has complied with the warning to remove the ingredient chromium tripicolinate. We’ve read several posts concerning the removal of weight control formulas from stores.

...We have several articles that suggest a link between this substance and chronic as well as acute renal failure below...

(click link above for the full posting, including the full Warning Letter and links to articles mentioned)


Updated June 3rd, 10pm: I have added (and will continue to add) reports here of suspected illnesses and deaths due to Iams Dry food. None of these foods have been recalled.

These are just a few of the comments that other people have posted online, on other websites, forums and blogs. I am providing links to them so you can check them out for yourself. If I have received permission to repost then I have included the comments in full, otherwise I have posted a small portion of the comment and you can click the link to read the rest. I've tried to include links from different sites - in most cases there are multiple stories on the same site.

Disclaimer: These are reports by people like yourself who posted online (or emailed me) that they believe a certain food made their pets sick. This information is simply for you to use as part of making an educated difference about what products you purchase - both for yourself and your pet. None of these foods have been recalled, and the problems reported may have nothing to do with the current round of recalls. If your pet has eaten any of these foods and got sick, please report it to the company and FDA!

Iams Dry Cat Food - unspecified type/flavor cat died Monday evening after being fed from a bag of Iams dry food. She was 8 years old, healthy and lively... I bought the bag of dry food Sunday and fed her from it that day. Monday evening when I got home from work, she was obviously sick, with diarrhea, vomiting, excessive drool and she was lethargic. I took her to the emergency vet, who, because dry food is not on the recall list, said it “must be a tummy ache from something she ate” asked for thousands to run tests and for “fluids”, and because I did not have the funds, sent her home insteads with some pain medicine for her stomach and droplets to start the next day. My cat died of Acute Renal Failure that night. ...

... story about my indoor tortoise cat. She is 10 and has never been fed anything but Iams dry food. She had bloodwork done the end of 12/06 prior to a dental cleaning and her bloodwork was perfectly sign of kidney disease. Suddenly on 3/7/07 after eating from a newly opened bag of Iams, she started vomiting violently and refused to eat anything, which she had never done before. ... 3/9/07 ... I was told she had acute renal failure, and her bloodwork verified this ...

Iams Dry Multicat

...This food nearly killed my cat. He weighed 16 pounds before i put him on this last march. By the end of May he weighed 9.5 lbs and was losing 1/2 lbs every 2 weeks. I spent over $500 in vet bills on xrays & pills. The xrays revealed that his intestines were inflammed. The vet vet thought he might have an irritable bowel syndrome. When the pills did not work it was assumed that it was probably intestinal cancer. I did not expect him to live past the end of June. at that time time I switched back to what I had been feeding him, and today he is back up to his full weight and he seems healhty and happy

Iams Dry Hairball and Iams Indoor Weight Control Cat
LorieVA Says:
May 25th, 2007 at 9:12 am
Double posting to make sure you see this:
this is for your IAMS spreadsheet not sure if you saw post from way back that my 2 cats last spring had issuse with IAMS hairball formula and indoor wt control they ate the two mixed together,
Geisha had bloody runny stool and develop a UTI with perm crystal problem vet said she at some bacteria, she is an indoor cat of a very parinoid cat owner MOI who makes everyone remove shoes, no plants etc……..
Topaz would vomit yellow bile and then foamy stuff in about 20 piles at a time all over the house upstairs in down, vet said she had sensitive stomach issues from turning seven
Switched food to Eukanuba sensitive stomach for Topaz no more vomiting till new problems with FF this past March
Switched Geisha to Science Diet RX C/D no more problems till FF this past March

Iams Dry Dog Food
I have 2 friends in NE Ohio who have dogs that died of kidney failure in the last month. Both ate IAMS dry dog food and both were otherwise healthy 4 year old Labs. ...
...My 7 year old dog Angel was fed the Iams dry dog food from January 5th to the 25th of January and died that night. She had a very high fever, was vomiting profusely, and couldn't hold her bladder. She couldn't stand up It was almost like she was having a stroke. ...Our precious little angel passed away that night.
I had three cats, all of which ate primarily Iams Multicat dry food. We had to put our 17 year old, Buttercup, to sleep in late December due to kidney failure. In early January we took our 13 year old, ..., to the vet for a check-up. He had lost a few pounds in the last few months .... His bloodwork showed he was severely Anemic. ... the vet was never able to determine the cause of the anemia. ...They also did protein tests and x-rays to look for possible cancerous tumors, and nothing. In the midst of this we switched his food to PetGuard canned food, in hopes to curb his weight loss. With no medication except for Pet-Tinic (a vitamin), his HCT is now magically up to 36. The only change in his life was the food, and I am convinced that was the cause of his anemia. ...

Iams Dry Dog Food Green Bag
(You may need to be a member of this Yahoo Group to read the post. If so, the same gentleman has posted other places about his dog's death, including here:
Our Dear Abby Gayle Died last night at 10:05 pm with my wife, sons and daughter at her side. Almost 4 years old, purbred Airedale Terrier, picture perfect health record, She died of kidney failure due to eating tainted, contamiated, IAMS Dry, Green Bag, purchased from Walmart. ... If I was warned before my dear Abby got sick, I would have fed her anything, steak, chicken, rice or anything other than the poisons they are selling us. I have called the FDA and are shipping the suspected bad food to Cornell University for tests. ... Opened a new bag of food on thursday, she would not eat saturday but was active enough to not alarm me or my family. Monday am she was in the back yard having trouble walking, called vet, walked her in the garage, she layed down on warm pad and we started fluids. Vet said, bring her in in the morning if she makes it through the night. She did not.

Iams Dry Dog Food Mini Chunks>1=9145&BoardsParam=Page%3D23

...our family had to put are japanese chin bruce to sleep he was in full renal failure was fine on friday saturday was just a little wobbly sunday got sick a few times monday morning took him to doctors and had to have him put to sleep doctor said can not save him when he was wobbling on sat it was already to late feed him iams mini chunk dry food does not get any wet vet said either food or antifreeze he is an inside dog only goes out to go to the bathroom in a fenced yard he is not replicable it was a great loss ...

My pet dog age 6. Died March 11,07 before the recalls came out. She only ate dry IAM's mini chunks, dog bones and tartar treats.
I reported it to IAM's but they didn't sound to concerned since its only about the wet food. Same with FDA. ...

On Feb. 19, 2007, we lost our beloved 5 year old dog Allie to Iams dry mini chuncks. She died in less than 3 days after eating a new bag.

Nutro Dry Products blamed by Pet Owners for Illnesses

Updated 6-3 12pm

There are links below this article to more reports of illnesses and deaths that are suspected due to Nutro Dry Foods. I am continuing to add more links to this post. New reports/links are added at the end of the post.

Pet Owners Blame Nutro Products for their Dogs' Illnesses
A California pet owner is furious that Nutro Products continues to claim its dry dog foods are safe.That company’s senior dry food, she says, nearly killed her two dogs.


“I cannot even begin to describe the hell our pets have gone through,” Cynthia H. of West Hills, California, says of her six-year-old Pomeranian, Killer, and her nine-year-old American Eskimo-Sheltie mix, Juliet. “This has been weeks of vomiting and diarrhea and illness -- skin infections, bladder infections, not eating, lethargy -- basically, they were poisoned by this bad food.”

Cynthia says she’d just started feeding her dogs Nutro Max’s Senior Dry food around the first of this month, and chose that brand because it wasn’t included in the nationwide recall of more than 60 million containers of pet foods.

“That’s the irony of the whole thing. This food was something new that I started feeding them because of the pet food recall. I was being very careful not to give things on that recall list.”

Since March, 18 companies have recalled more than 5,600 pet food products. That action came after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed two ingredients used to make the products -- wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate -- were tainted with melamine and melamine-related compounds.


In Cynthia’s case, her dogs became sick shortly after they started eating Nutro Max’s dry food. And their symptoms mirror those in pets that have eaten the tainted -- and recalled -- foods.

“Juliet got sick first,” Cynthia says, adding she bought the Nutro Max dry food in April, but didn’t start feeding it to her dogs until May. “And she has been very ill for nearly three weeks. She’s had bloody diarrhea, repeated vomiting, and her system also started shutting down, resulting in a bad bladder infection. She has also been on two different types of medications.”

Cynthia’s Pomeranian experienced similar problems.

“He has vomited and had severe diarrhea for more than a week. His system started to shut down, and he ended up with a serious skin infection. He’s still on antibiotics and is not yet well.”

Both dogs, she says, were also extremely lethargic.

“I was down at the vets office with both of them and I didn’t think they’d come back. They’ve been through hell.”

Is it possible that anything besides of the food made the dogs sick?

No way, Cynthia says.

“My dogs have been incredibly healthy dogs. They’re indoors dogs and only go outside with me supervising them. There’s nothing else they could have gotten into; there’s nothing else that could have done this to them.”

She adds: “I just know it happened because of the food.”

Her vet agrees. “She concurred with me that I should stop feeding them Nutro Max.”

Contacted FDA

To protect other dogs from getting sick, Cynthia contacted the FDA and Nutro Products with her concerns about the dry food.

“I filed a compliant with the FDA, but they’re being very unresponsive. I called the Los Angeles office in Orange County and got a call back from someone in Arizona. Apparently, Los Angeles got a lot of bad pet food and there are a massive amount of people calling the FDA office in Orange County.

“Orange County’s FDA office wanted samples of the food and they were going to send someone over to my house to pick it up,” she adds. “But they haven’t called me in three weeks. I thought there should be some urgency because this stuff is still on the shelves.”

Deaf Ears

How did Nutro Products respond?

“My concerns fell on deaf ears,” Cynthia says. “I did speak to someone in their corporate office and they kept saying that they feel their dry food is safe. They are also refusing to do anything for anyone. And I’m out $500 in vet bills.”

Cynthia isn’t the only pet owner who has contacted with concerns about Nutro’s dry food.

Consider some of the similar complaints we’ve received in the past few months:

• Kevin S. of Roseville, California, wrote: “I have to put down my dog of six years today as she has the same symptoms as the other animals that have eaten contaminated foods. I realize that there has been no official recall of dry dog food, but my dog has only eaten two products in her life, Nutro Max dry dog food and Purina Beggin’ Strips. Please stop this nightmare and help keep other animals safe for this tragic event. I have spent over two thousand dollars attempting to save my dog. Today is her last day as she is being put to sleep this afternoon.”

• Bonita L. Wachs of Germantown, Wisconsin, told us: “My three-year-old Shih Tzu became very ill in the fall of 2006. She was extremely thirsty, drank excessively, lost her appetite, lost weight, had diarrhea and vomiting, was lethargic, and was very ill. She refused to eat her food, but, as many owners did, we forced her to eat the food she didn't want. She developed a high level of glucose in her urine and a urinary tract infection.

"The vet was stumped with her condition. I had asked if it could be her dry dog food -- Nutro Max. The vet said that was a good brand and did not think so. In the spring, when the pet food scare was in full force, I called the service line and reported my dog’s illness to the company. They said they had not had any problems with the dry food or Nutro treats, but would document my complaint. I switched to Purina dog food back in January, and now my dog is clear of glucose in her urine. The vet is still stumped, but happy she is well. Molly had a rough few months, and we have a few hundred dollars in vet bills. We pray there is no physical damage to her kidneys.”

• Angelique of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told us: “My dog (only four-years-old) died within 4 days of me buying a new bag of Nutro Max dry dog food. This is not on the list of recalled foods, but this was the only major change in his diet and he was never out of my sight. He was fine on Sunday until 2 a.m. when he started having diarrhea,vomiting, lethargy, bloody diarrhea, and by the time I took him to the hospital at 1 p.m. the next day he was in shock. His system shut down and he died at around 4:30 p.m. This needs to be stopped. The company refuses to acknowledge there is a problem, but if you search on the Internet you will find many people saying the exact same thing happened to them. This food needs to be recalled now.”

No Response tried to reach Nutro Products, but the company did not return our calls.

A press release on the company’s Web site, however, states: “Nutro wishes to reassure its customers that Nutro's dry dog and cat foods are safe to feed their pets…and none of Nutro's dry pet foods are involved in the latest dry pet food recall announcements involving contaminated rice protein from China.”

The press release also states: “None of Nutro's dry dog or cat foods have been involved in any of the melamine related recalls…and an independent testing laboratory has tested the rice protein used in Nutro's dry pet foods and no melamine was detected.

“In the current environment, we want to communicate frequently with our customers about Nutro's products and reassure you that our dry dog and cat foods are safe.”

Cynthia vehemently disagrees. And she plans to continue warning other pet owners about Nutro’s dry dog food.

“This food was supposed to be safe and it isn’t…it nearly killed our two dogs.”


More comments about Nutro Dry Food can be found at the links below. (Note: Nutro dry CAT food reports have also been received.

Some of the comments on the NutrA Nuggets post at include problems with NutrO - you can find those here. Lots more over at itchmo that I will post direct links to later.

Update 6-3: I am continuing to add to this post. I have a lot more to add.

Nutro Dry CAT food
From Helen, posting over at
Kim: Yes you have permission to cross-post my comments about Nutro. My cat DID know there was something wrong with it. She had eaten it all her life and suddenly didn’t like it anymore. She ate very little of it, but got sick anyway: vomiting, which she had never done much before, lethargy, drinking extra water, extra urination, suddenly looking like “an old lady cat”, difficulty jumping. She continued to have good appetite for the other foods she was eating. I had attributed the above symptoms to her age (until the recalls started), but she is fine now. She is completely herself again. I feel like it is just dumb luck I still have her with me, and if you want to use my comments to help inform other people who are trying to keep their pets safe, please go ahead. As far as I know I am the only “Helen” posting here, and I have made several past comments about this, which you are free to copy.

Nutro Max Dry Dog
From Deb G, posting over at
Kim you totally have my permission to use my post on this tread with reference to Nutro Max Dry which sickened my Shih Tzu several months ago. Still have those (2) 25lbs bags I will never use. I thank you for gathering this info and doing something about it. Please keep us posted and let us know if we can do anything to help.

Nutro Dry Dog
From Barbara, on Dry Dog (corrected) food, posting over at
I have posted here about Brewski’s decline in health this past winter. Seemed to age very rapidly and expeienced an acute illness on March 6th after eating from a new bag of Nutro Natural Choice Dry Senior the night before.. He experienced symptoms smiliar to Helen’s cat. If you do not have my post. I can give you more details. Brew has made a remarkable recovery. I am feeding him Canidae and adding chicken and ground beef on occasion.
Our vet couldn’t believe the change in his health status on a recheck visit...

And from comments posted previously on this blog:
Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think there might be something with the Nutro Large breed. My dogs eat it (Australian Shepard and Chihuahua), and occasionally the Australian Shepard pukes a vile up, yellow in color. The Vet said it had to do with him being intolerant to lipids... but after this .... The little guy seems to be just fine. The big guy rarely throws anything up any more, it seems to have past. I do worry though.

Carolyn Damon said...

I notice others have had a problem with Nutro. I had a problem with Nutro, at least it would seem so. I lost my 41/2 years old energetic Brittany in Feb. of 2004. She had all the symptoms that the dogs poisoned by melamine had. She was sick three weeks, and unfortunately an incompetent bunch of veterinarians didn't help.

Added 6-3
Nutro dry cat food
My healthy, seven-year-old, completely indoor male cat died of acute renal failure March 21. The only change in his diet was dry Nutro food purchased in late January, which I began feeding him in early February when my dry Science Diet (purchased weeks before) ran out. ...

Nutro Max Cat Chicken dry cat food


Nutro Max Cat Senior dry
Lost my 10 yr old male cat 4/19/07. He was an indoor cat & was on Nutro max cat senior dry. Very healthy when examined last september & behaving quite normally 4/15 and morning of 4/16. Started showing weakness evening of 4/16, congestion morning of 4/17, vomiting evening of 4/17. Took him to the vet on 4/18 & ... had low temp ...but urinalysis showed some signs of kidney problems...By evening of 4/18...Xrays showed complete organ failure - fluid in lungs, fluid around heart, liver damage, kidney failure, even stomach & colon were enlarged. The vet said she’d never seen anything like it. This came on too hard and fast to be anything but environmental. ...
Nutro Max Puppy Dry

I have talked to Nutro at corporate several times, was informed they did not check the dry food – Nutro Max Puppy for contaminants but are checking the new food only being manufactured of dry food. ...had one of our dogs get sick, excessive bloating, vomiting, slightly enlarged heart, slight congestion in the lungs, temp 104, immediately was taken to ... vet.... Looked like blood and crystals in the urine, await the lab results. ... 4 of them had been on NutroMax. Two of the 4, were sick the first part of April, one had a staph infection – ... The other dog had started vomiting and not eating, another trip to the vet with a urine sample showed Mild Struvite crystalluria – Triple 3-A,M,P, treated with meds. ...Called the FDA, if I want the food checked will have to send to a laboratory myself, as they will have to send out also and will cost them money, so will have to do it ourselves. A...

Nutro Ultra Dry Dog
C.... in Massachusetts says:10 weeks agoMy 5 year old doberman is in the hospital with kidney failure... he was admitted on March 10th. We have consistently feed him NUTRO ULTRA DRY DOG FOOD. ...It may be too late for my baby, the doctor thinks his kidney's may be too badly damaged but we are hoping and praying for a miracle. ... We have already spent almost $5,000.00 and he still may not make it.
Also, numerous reports of dogs vomiting bile while on Nutro foods can be found here

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nutra Nuggets Dry Dog Food Recalled by Diamond Pet Foods

Diamond Pet Foods Recalls Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula Dry Dog Food in 40 Lb. Bags Due to Melamine Cross Contamination

Meta, Mo. (May 23, 2007) – Diamond Pet Foods announced that it has recalled a limited quantity of Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula dry dog food in 40 lb. bags because of melamine cross contamination. To date, no animal deaths have been reported.

This action is limited to Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula dry dog food in 40 lb. bags with production codes of NLR0404A2SL or NLR0404B2SL, “Best Before” Oct. 9, 2008. The recalled product was manufactured at the company’s Lathrop, Calif. facility and sold through retailers in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada. No other Nutra Nuggets products are affected.

The recalled product was manufactured at the same facility following production of other products that contained rice protein concentrate later found to be tainted with melamine, which is not an approved food substance. Pets who may have consumed the affected product should be monitored closely. Affected pets will usually drink a lot of water and will vomit within 24 hours after eating the food. Affected pets may exhibit the following symptoms, including but not limited to loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting. Consult your local veterinarian if your pet is exhibiting these symptoms.

Consumers who purchased Nutra Nuggets Lamb Meal and Rice Formula dry dog food in 40 lb. bags with production codes of NLR0404A2SL or NLR0404B2SL, “Best Before” Oct. 9, 2008, should stop using the product immediately and return unused portions to their retailer for a full refund. Consumers may also contact the Diamond Pet Foods Customer Information Center toll free at 1-866-214-6945 for further information. The Center, which is staffed by veterinarians, is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CDT.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stop all Chinese Imports (and a bunch of links)

Are we in a cross-contaminated episode of "24" and "The Twilight Zone"? A bunch of things to make you go "oh-my-god-what-the-hell-are-we-doing?" (Thanks to Mike for most of the articles!)

Contaminated toothpaste from China from The New York Times (thanks Therese)

Making China clean up its act from a Washington Post reporter in The Star-Telegram

China trade reveals gaps in FDA system from The Chicago Tribune

“Mom! This food tastes funny…”

“Eat your poisoned food from China Tommy; it’s good for… um… the economy”.

As the story slowly unravels from the sluggish, mostly quiescent US press it turns out that China has been shipping toxic food products to the United States for years, and over-worked, under-funded federal inspectors have known all about it.
So all of you out there who are arguing in favor of libertarians and further deregulation, beware of what you wish for, you might just get a mouthful of toxins, with love, from China.

Our cats' and dogs' health could have been compromised long before tainted pet food was recalled. From The Wichita Eagle

China grapples with food contamination credibility crisis from International Herald Tribune

Weeks after tainted Chinese pet food ingredients killed and sickened thousands of dogs and cats in the United States, China faced growing international pressure to prove that its food exports were safe to eat.

But simmering beneath the surface is a thornier problem that worries Chinese officials: how do they assure the world that this is not a nation of counterfeits and that "Made in China" means well-made?


"We're now learning some of the dirty secrets behind this fast-growing economy"
"Still, doubts remain about the ability of Beijing to tackle what many experts see as rampant fraud in its booming economy, and a culture of counterfeiting."
"China is also pressing the United States and the European Union to accept imports of Chinese poultry products...." [yeah, just what we want, send more....]

Former China drug regulator on trial from the Prescott Herald

China‘s former top drug regulator went on trial Wednesday accused of taking bribes to approve untested medicine, including an antibiotic that killed at least 10 patients last year before it was taken off the market.

Dozens of people have died in Panama after taking medicine contaminated with a chemical traced to a Chinese company

The Good News - Some companies ARE paying attention:

Mission Foods and Tyson say NO to ingredients from Tyson
From The LA Times

As the recall of tainted pet food mushroomed into an international scandal, two of the largest U.S. food manufacturers put out a blanket order to their American suppliers: No more ingredients from China.

Chinese Imports nixed by key firms by USA Today
Menu Foods, North America's biggest maker of wet pet foods and the company that launched the pet food recall, is phasing out ingredients from China.
(Note: Royal Canin and The South African pet food institute already swore off Chinese imports - weeks ago.)

What else is being done:

Bayh asks Bush, FDA to restrict Chinese food, medicine imports (added 5:45pm)
The United States should yank away the “welcome” sign for many Chinese food and medicine ingredients, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., told President Bush and the head of the Food and Drug Administration in letters he sent Monday.

A proposal to consolidate federal food safety agencies is not as headline-driven as it may seem. From the LA Times

Lawmakers push for change in food safety oversight from

Bill Allowing Civil Actions For Harm Caused By Tainted Pet Food Advances

ChemNutra Calls for Pet Food Ingredients Safety Summit July in Las Vegas (Okay, but we'd rather you not import food at all)

And finally, who not to believe:

The Pet Food Institute - read their latest at PR Week

Bush: What's your opinion of the media's handling of the situation?

Ekedahl: There were specific articles that were troublesome and bloggers who were off the charts.

[I'm proud to be one of those off-the-charts bloggers - if not for us lots more pets would be dead. So screw you Mr. Ekedahl.]

Want something to do? Per reader/contributor Mike's request - Email The Pet Food Institute - , feel free to copy Mike's words: Mr Ekedahl: Take a lesson from the courageous Pet Food Industry of South Africa and little Royal Canin -- 'swear off' the use of suspect ingredients from cheap foreign suppliers...

Nutra Nuggets Dry Dog Food (Not On Recall List)Test Positive For Melamine

Itchmo breaks it, PetSitUSA (owner of The Pet Food List) adds more information (see below).
[Um, what does the FDA do?]

More information about this from (added 6pm)

Dog owners warned about potentially contaminated food
May 21, 2007 - Dog owners are being warned about a batch of possibly contaminated food, sold at a Visalia Costco around mid-April, after at least four dogs fell ill.

Two of the dogs who became sick, a nine-year-old chocolate lab named Bob and his 1 1/2-year-old adopted sister, Pearl, have been staying at the Lone Oak Pet Clinic in Visalia, since May 11, after they began throwing up.

"We took them in... and her kidney was 80 percent shutdown,” said owner Ken Womack.

The dogs are being fed through intravenous tubes and are regaining their strength, but their struggle doesn’t seem to be isolated.

Two other dogs apparently came in earlier with the same symptoms.

Veterinarian Dr. Matt Humason says “We began asking questions...we found the dogs all ate the same food from the same store at the same time... so we sent a sample to get it tested and it came back positive with melamine."

All four dogs ate Nutra Nuggets brand food.

A sample was sent to a lab at UC Davis and Womack's fears were confirmed. "All I'm trying to get people to do is notify the people and let them know we may have problem. Unfortunately I feel Costco has been very hesitant to do that."

That's because Womack and the owner of the other sick dogs threw out the bags once they took the pet food home.

They're working with the distributor to track down the specific batch number. A Costco representative tells KSEE 24 news once it's been tracked, they will immediately yank the product in question.

Until then, there are a lot of sleepless nights ahead for Womack,"I feel bad we fed them the food. They'd eat anything. In essence, it's our fault giving them the good, really it is. I feel responsible."

Dr. Humason offers some tips to keep your pet safe:

- watch the recall list
- monitor your animal
- If your pet is:
or has diarrhea, you are urged to call the vet immediately

From PetsitUSA

As seen in my last post, UC Davis has reported melamine in Nutra Nuggets. I’ve just spoken with Diamond Pet Food, the manufacturer, and have more info…

  • The product in question is Nutra Nuggets 40 lb. Lamb & Rice
  • Product code: NLR0404, with a best by Oct 9 & 10, 2008
  • The Nutra Nuggets product in question was sold at Costco in CA, WA, OR, AZ, NV.
  • It was not sold in Fred Meyer or Smart and Final

Diamond is still waiting on confirmation from the testing. I’ll update as soon as I have more info.

Have you sent pet food out for testing? Email me and let me know!

Do you suspect other pet food not on the recall list has made your pet sick? Email me and let me know.

I've heard from some of you - thanks! - and will get out an interim list as soon as I can, hopefully later today.

And, I **really** apologize for the delays - I've been dealing with some chronic pain issues made worse by too much computer time and so it's been slow going. More info on that and my history with 'but-the-FDA-said-this-medicine-was-safe' another time. (Just stopped taking Oxycontin and other RX pain meds a few weeks ago because of the side-effects, and I'm adjusting slowly. )

Volunteers Needed! Get food off shelves...,,,, and have joined together to ask for your help.
Update 6-10: Recalled food was purchased from a
California store on 5-29th – this stuff is still out there!
We need Volunteers to help get recalled food off store shelves. Read this post at Spocko’s Brain for instructions. Print a list (or two) on this site. Visit stores, then report safe stores here at

Printing Information:
1. Print the main FDA Pet Food Recall page – this will be handy to show retailers who haven’t heard anything about the recall. (3 pages)

2. Print the list of 14 Major National Brands - it includes flavors and date information where applicable so you can tell if specific products for these brands have been recalled. The brands are: Alpo Prime Cuts, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Doctors Foster and Smith, Eukanuba, Gravy Train, Hill’s Science Diet, Iams, Jerky Treats, Lick Your Chops, Mighty Dog Pouches, Natural Balance, Nutro, Pounce, Royal Canin. (It’s 7 pages and includes FDA contact information.)

3. Print the List of All Brands – it will remind you what products have been recalled - but it does not give you date and flavor information, there is just too much to put in one document. (7 pages, but the 7th page is links to more detailed information so you don’t need to print it)

If you want, and are going to a store that you know has store brands that have been recalled (such as Walmart), go to that recall information at the links on the summary or at the FDA site and print it out. Some of the information is formatted in ways that make it difficult to read (one of the main reasons for this site), but it’s better than nothing.

Note: The FDA is the official source for all recall information and recalled products. This is an unofficial volunteer effort to help get the word out and get recalled foods off of shelves. We’re doing the best we can but can’t guarantee these lists are completely accurate. Again, here is the official recall site: