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Old 09-25-2008, 10:09 AM
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Thumbs up What is Melamine in pet food?we should know

Frequently Asked Questions about the Pet Food Recall

Q: What foods have been recalled?
A: For a comprehensive list of pet foods that have been recalled due to potential melamine contamination, please go to http://www.avma.org/aa/petfoodrecall/products.asp

Q: Why have so many different brands been recalled?
A: The first recall was due to a contaminated lot of wheat gluten that was imported from China and shipped from the importer (ChemNutra) to Menu Foods, a separate manufacturer of dry food, and several other manufacturers of certain dog treats and wet dog foods. Menu Foods contracts with a wide variety of pet food companies to produce their specialized products. Although these foods are produced in the same facility, they are made using ingredients specified by the individual pet food companies. The foods themselves are not identical despite being produced by one manufacturer. Only foods and treats that were manufactured by Menu Foods using the affected wheat gluten source were recalled by that company. Hill's Pet Nutrition issued a voluntary recall on March 30 of one product manufactured using the wheat gluten. On March 31, certain products manufactured by Nestle Purina were voluntarily recalled. Similar voluntary recalls were issued on April 2 by Del Monte Pet Products and on April 5 by Sunshine Mills, Inc. All of these recalls were related to the same shipment of wheat gluten imported from China.

On April 12, Royal Canin SA (South Africa) issued a voluntary recall due to suspected melamine contamination of corn gluten. This recall only affected South Africa. To date, no contaminated corn gluten has been identified in the US.

On April 17, Natural Balance of Pacoima, California issued a recall of certain products in response to consumer complaints. Testing of the products revealed melamine, but these products do not contain wheat gluten. The suspected source is a rice protein concentrate. The company (Wilbur-Ellis) that supplied the rice protein concentrate has also issued a recall for all lots that have been shipped to pet-food manufacturers. As a result of tracing the rice protein concentrate shipments, the Blue Buffalo Company recalled products on April 19 and Royal Canin USA recalled products on April 20 (see recall list above for specific products). Additional recalls were issued by SmartPak (April 24), Drs. Foster and Smith (April 26), Chanango Valley Pet Foods (April 26), and Diamond Pet Foods (April 26). American Nutrition, Inc. issued a voluntary recall on April 26; because American Nutrition, Inc. manufactures pet food for other pet food companies, recalls were issued on April 26-27 for certain products marketed under the names of the Blue Buffalo Company; Sierra Pet Products, LLC; Diamond Pet Foods; Canine Caviar; Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul; Harmony Farms; Kirkland; Mulligan Stew; and Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. Menu Foods expanded its voluntary recall on May 2 due to possible cross-contamination of foods—the pet foods on this list did not include wheat gluten in their recipes, but may have been contaminated during the manufacturing process. SmartPak issued a voluntary recall of an additional product on May 4. Additional recalls may be announced, pending further investigation.

It is important to note that this is an ongoing investigation. Please visit this web site regularly for the most up-to-date information regarding the pet food recall.

Q: The initial recall list was only for canned or pouched foods. Why has it expanded to include dry food and treats?
A: The initial Menu Foods recall involved a wide variety of "cuts and gravy" type pet foods manufactured at processing plants in Kansas and New Jersey. Dry foods are manufactured using different processes and at different facilities. The first recall was made in response to consumer complaints of pet illness and death associated with their food products. Investigation revealed that the likely source was wheat gluten imported from China, and the wheat gluten was traced to the importer (ChemNutra). The importer then traced all shipments associated with that lot of wheat gluten, and notified all companies involved. As a result, those companies voluntarily recalled any products that were produced with this wheat gluten. A later Menu Foods recall resulted from an internal investigation by the company that revealed a shipment of the contaminated wheat gluten to a Menu Foods plant in Canada. The recall was expanded to include all products processed at this plant.

On April 17, Natural Balance foods issued a recall of certain pet foods and treats in response to consumer complaints. The suspected source was a rice protein concentrate imported from China. The importer, Wilbur-Ellis, issued a recall on April 18 of all rice protein concentrate shipments. The manufacturers that had received shipments were notified. As a result of this recall, voluntary recalls of a number of foods were issued (see answer to previous question).

It is important to note that this is an ongoing investigation. Please visit this web site regularly for the most up-to-date information regarding the pet food recall.

Q: What ingredient in the pet food is contaminated?
A: The ingredients in US pet foods that were found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds were originally identified as wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate. However, investigation and testing by the FDA has determined that both products were mislabeled when shipped to the US, and were actually wheat flour. This does not change the recalls themselves because it does not change the foods affected, but it provides additional information for the investigation.

Q: Have all of the recalled pet foods been associated with illness and/or death?
A: No, many of the recalls have been issued on a precautionary basis.

Q: Is there going to be a shortage of pet food? Should I cook homemade food for my pet(s)?
A: It is important to remember that all of the recalled products added together represent approximately 1% of commercially available pet foods. There are still many safe pet foods and treats available.

Cooking homemade meals for your pets is not the same as cooking meals for yourself. Dogs and cats have different nutritional needs, which are very different from human nutritional needs. In addition, many human foods, such as grapes, onions and chocolate, can be toxic to pets. Commercially made pet foods have been developed with the guidance of animal nutritionists, and still represent the most balanced diets available for your pets. If you choose to cook for your pet, please go to http://www.avma.org/press/releases/0...made_diets.asp for information.

Q: What should I do if I have the recalled pet food in my house?
A: Do not feed the food or treats to your pet. If the product is unopened, you may return it to the store from which you purchased the food or treats.

If the product is opened, dispose of the remaining food or treats so that your pet cannot get to it. If your animal appears normal, consult with your veterinarian and/or monitor your animal closely for signs of illness.

If your animal shows any signs of illness and has been fed one or more of the recalled foods or treats, have your animal evaluated by a veterinarian. Store any opened food or treats away from the reach of animals, and contact your state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Complaint Coordinator. For a state-by-state list of Coordinators, go to http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html. Please include as much information as possible, including the specific product name, lot numbers, veterinarian's report and diagnosis, etc.

Q: Does the problem affect dogs and cats equally?
A: To date, it appears that cats are more commonly affected than dogs, and small dogs may be more affected than larger dogs. This may be because cats and smaller dogs are more sensitive to the causative substance, or because they are more likely to be fed the types of food involved in the recall.

Q: My pet has eaten the food that has been recalled. How do I know my pet is sick?
A: Signs of illness include loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, sudden changes in water consumption, or changes in the frequency or amount of urination.

These signs may also occur with other illnesses. Any animal showing signs of illness should be examined by a veterinarian, even if the animal has not eaten any of the recalled pet food.

Q: My pet is showing signs of illness. What do I do?
A: Have your pet examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Q: What will my veterinarian do?
A: Your veterinarian will examine your pet, and will most likely take blood samples and collect a urine sample to test for kidney disease or other problems. Other diagnostic procedures, such as radiographs (x-rays) or ultrasound examinations, may be recommended to eliminate other causes of kidney disease and vomiting.

If the tests determine that your pet has kidney disease, your veterinarian may recommend treatment including intravenous fluid therapy and medications.

Q: What is in the food that is making animals sick?
A: The cause of the illnesses has not yet been confirmed, and the FDA and laboratories are continuing to evaluate samples and reports of illness or death. The substance melamine has been detected in the affected wheat gluten, corn gluten and rice protein concentrate, but it has not been definitively determined as the cause of the illnesses and deaths. Other substances that may be in the food, such as cyanuric acid, ammilene and ammilide, may react with the melamine and increase the toxic effect. Because the cause is not confirmed, the treatment can not be specifically directed to one cause. Generalized treatment for kidney disease and vomiting is recommended until a more specific treatment can be determined.

Q: If there is melamine or a melamine-related product in my pet's food, will it be included in the list of ingredients?
A: No. Melamine, cyanuric acid, ammilene and ammilide are not accepted ingredients or additives to pet foods, and are considered contaminants.

Q: Why is there melamine or a product related to melamine in my pet's food, if it's not supposed to be there?
A: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the matter. It is possible that the melamine and related products were added to elevate the protein level of the product, but this has not been confirmed. Melamine is occasionally used as a fertilizer in Asia, and the contamination may have occurred as a result of its use in this manner.

Q: What is being done to prevent further contamination of pet food?
A: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has halted the shipment of any products from the two Chinese companies implicated in the contamination, and is inspecting 100% of corn meal, corn gluten, wheat gluten, rice protein concentrate, soy protein and rice bran imported from China. Although contamination of all of these products has not been found, they are using caution and inspecting all of the vegetable products imported from China. The Chinese government is conducting an investigation, and the FDA is sending inspectors to China to investigate the matter in cooperation with the Chinese government.

Q: How do I report my pet's illness from the pet food?
A: You should contact your state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consumer Complaint Coordinator. For a state-by-state list of Coordinators, go to http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html. Please include as much information as possible, including the specific product name, lot numbers, veterinarian's report and diagnosis, etc.

Q: What if I want to have the pet food from my house tested independently?
A: We do not provide referrals for private laboratories to perform tests. If you choose to have the pet food tested by an independent laboratory, it is your responsibility to locate and contact the laboratory, and the costs associated with the testing will be your responsibility.

Q: Has any of the melamine made its way into other species' food?
A: As a result of the investigation of contaminated rice protein concentrate imported from China, it was determined that some of the pet food was sold to hog farms in several states. All of the affected farms were quarantined or placed under restricted movement status pending investigation. No illness has been observed in the hogs. On May 15, the USDA announced that their tests revealed no accumulation of melamine or its related products in the meat of the pigs tested. Based on these results, they released up to 56,000 pigs from hold in California, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Kansas, Utah and Illinois, and will allow them to be processed.

On April 30, the USDA and FDA announced that pet food byproducts manufactured with the contaminated wheat gluten were used for poultry feed on approximately 30 broiler farms and 8 breeder farms. The breeders have been placed under voluntary hold by the farmers, but all of the broilers were processed prior to determining that they had been fed contaminated wheat gluten. At this time, there is no evidence of harm to humans from the poultry products, and no recalls have been issued. The FDA and USDA anticipate that additional farms will likely be identified as the contaminated products are tracked. Additional information can be found on the AVMA pet food recall Web page (http://www.avma.org/aa/petfoodrecall/default.asp), the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Web page (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/), and the FDA Web page (http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html).

It is important to note that the hogs and poultry were NOT fed recalled pet food. During the pet food manufacturing process, some amount of the food is deemed unacceptable for commercial sale (e.g., it is poorly shaped, crushed, etc.). This 'salvaged food' may be sold for further processing and feeding to hogs or poultry. If the pet food contains any meat products from ruminant species (e.g., cows, sheep, goats, deer, etc.), it cannot be fed to other ruminants due to US regulations intended to prevent the spread of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or 'mad cow disease').

On May 8, the FDA announced that some of the contaminated products were shipped to Canada and processed for fish food. The fish food was sold to hatcheries and commercial aquaculture farms in the US. All of the potentially affected fish food has been recalled by the company, and the FDA is continuing its investigation of this matter.

Q: Why can't the AVMA—or my veterinarian—recommend a safe food?
A: This is an ongoing investigation by the FDA, and new developments are occurring regularly. Because the AVMA does not investigate or regulate the pet food industry, we cannot make any guarantees about the safety of any pet food or pet product.

Q: Where can I go for up-to-date information?
A: The American Veterinary Medical Association's home page (www.avma.org) includes links to more information, and is updated as soon as new information becomes available.
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Old 09-25-2008, 10:21 AM
Ferreted Ferreted is offline
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Default Re: What is Melamine in pet food?we should know

The ingredients in US pet foods that were found to contain melamine and melamine-related compounds were originally identified as wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate. However, investigation and testing by the FDA has determined that both products were mislabeled when shipped to the US, and were actually wheat flour.

So? melamine = wheat flour i.o wheat gluten? hope so cause the melamine i know is those plastic bowls.. eek!
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Old 09-25-2008, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: What is Melamine in pet food?we should know

Melamine is an organic compound that is often combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a synthetic polymer which is fire resistant and heat tolerant. Melamine resin is a very versatile material with a highly stable structure. Uses for melamine include whiteboards, floor tiles, kitchenware, fire retardant fabrics, and commercial filters. Melamine can be easily molded while warm, but will set into a fixed form. This property makes it ideally suited to certain industrial applications.

Melamine resin is manufactured by mixing urea with formaldehyde under heat and pressure. The substances begin to polymerize and are forced into a mold which will create the desired shape. Under pressure, melamine releases water, which could make the plastic unstable if it is not removed. The materials finish polymerizing and create a finished product, melamine resin
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: What is Melamine in pet food?we should know

imagine

when i'm using melamine foodware (like bowls chopsticks), i'm using formaldehyde to eat my food with ....the only time i have experience with formaldehyde was in my sixth form when we have to dissect rats and we soaked them in formaldehyde!

maybe i should eat with my hands or ask for metal utensils!
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