The Pet Food Recall That Wouldn’t Die

Melamine, cyanuric acid, aminopterin, amilorine, amiloride, and now acetaminophen. What is this stuff doing in pet food anyway, and what else have they simply not reported yet?

According to Pet Connection, the FDA is investigating imported Chinese wheat gluten, corn gluten, corn meal, soy protein, rice bran and rice protein concentrate, in both the human- and pet-food systems. These products are widely used in human food production, in breads, pastas, “meat”-substitutes, pizza, baby formula, protein drinks and bars and more. The tainted pet food has also been fed to hogs, poultry and farmed fish.

The first recall had more than 60 million containers of cuts and gravy style food that turned out to have wheat gluten tainted with melamine, which is used in the manufacture of plastic countertops, cleaning agents, glue and fertilizer. The products were all made by Menu Foods under almost 100 different brand names at all price points. Subsequent recalls have included dry foods, and foods containing rice protein concentrate and corn gluten. At time of this writing, companies continue to pull products.

The Veterinary Information Network’s extrapolation indicates that pet deaths are in the range of 2,000 to 7,000, affected pets in the tens of thousands, with veterinary costs in the range of $2 million to $20 million.

To find out what foods have been recalled, what to do if your pet is sick, and how to prevent trouble, check out Itchmo’s pet discussion site, which focusses on the recall.

Alternative pet foods are emerging as the primary beneficiaries of the recent pet food recall crisis, and could enjoy double-digit growth rates over the next two years, according to a new study by market research firm Packaged Facts. Packaged Facts estimates there will be a brand shift in the market worth $1.3 billion to $4.3 billion in pet food sales. The report identifies the main beneficiaries in this brand-switching trend as “high-quality pet foods chosen as alternatives to traditional brands”.

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