Tainted pet food contains rat poison


Tainted pet food contains rat poison

The recall is expanded, raising concerns that the death toll could rise substantially.

March 24, 2007|Martin Zimmerman and Daniel Costello | Times Staff Writers

Rat poison was identified Friday as the substance suspected of contaminating pet food that has killed or sickened dogs and cats across the nation, although it is still unclear how the deadly chemical got into the food.

Federal officials, meanwhile, reported an expanded recall of dog and cat food produced by Menu Foods of Ontario, Canada. The company last weekend voluntarily recalled 60 million cans and pouches of potentially contaminated products — including popular brands such as Iams and Eukanuba and private-label brands sold by large retailers.

Rat Poison Found in Recalled Pet Food

The FDA has said its investigation has focused so far on wheat gluten in the pet food. Wheat gluten would not cause kidney failure, but the common ingredient could have been contaminated, the agency has said.

The pet food was sold in sealed packets in the United States, Canada and Mexico under 50 brand names of dog food and 40 brand names of cat food. The brands include Iams, Science Diet, America’s Choice, Preferred Pets, Eukanuba, and Nutriplan. The stores that sold them include Ahold USA Inc., Kroger Co., Safeway, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., PetSmart Inc. and Pet Valu Inc. A full list can be seen at the Menu Foods Web site at www.menufoods.com/recall.

Dogs or cats that have eaten the suspect food and show signs of kidney failure should be taken to a veterinarian. According to the FDA, kidney failure in animals is characterized by loss of appetite, lethargy and vomiting.

The agency is also requesting that people with sick or deceased pets who believe their pet might have consumed one of the recalled products contact a state complaint coordinator. A list of coordinators can be found at the FDA Web site


The FDA and the Humane Society advise consumers who have any of these products to stop feeding them to their pets.

Menu Foods now has two consumer recall hotlines: 1-866-895-2708 and 1-866-463-6738.

More information

For more information on pet food, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

SOURCES: March 23, 2007, teleconference with Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., director, Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; March 23, 2007, teleconference with Paul K. Henderson, president and CEO of Menu Foods, Streetsville, Ontario, Canada; March 23, 2007, New York State Department of Agriculture, press statement