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FDA adds labels to its list

Del Monte Pet Products voluntarily recalls certain pet goods sold under private labels.

April 03, 2007|By Kelly Strodl

More pet-food labels have been added to the Food and Drug Administration's recall list this week due to contamination that has sickened pets across the country, including at least 13 in the Newport-Mesa area, although many veterinarians have not been able to pinpoint a cause.

Friday the FDA notified Kansas-based company Hills Pet Nutrition, Inc. that it had found melamine and melamine byproducts in wheat gluten used by the company to make Prescription Diet m/d Feline Dry cat food. Whether melamine is the ingredient causing the alarming number of pet deaths has not yet been confirmed, according to the FDA.

Saturday Del Monte Pet Products voluntarily recalled a number of products, including dog snacks, wet dog food and similar products sold under private labels, according to the American Veterinary Medical Assn. The Del Monte products included Jerky Treats, Gravy Train Beef Sticks and Pounce Meaty Morsels.

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Less than 1/10 of those products were contaminated. Other Del Monte pet treats, biscuits or wet dog food, dry cat food, dry dog food, wet cat food or pouched pet foods were not affected, according to a Del Monte news release.

In mid-March the FDA announced that Canadian-based pet food manufacturer Menu Foods, Inc., was recalling all of its wet dog and cat food produced at a facility in Kansas between Dec. 3 and March 6. Nine cats died during taste tests, suffering kidney failure after eating the food, according to the FDA.

Rodenticide — the original chemical thought to be responsible for the federally reported deaths of 16 cats and dogs — has been eliminated as a possibility.

"The number is not finite … this is still an ongoing investigation," FDA spokeswoman Rosario Quintanilla Vior said.

The recall has affected more than 50 pet-food manufacturers and a number of local pet supply stores.

Both Petco stores in the Newport-Mesa area have pulled all brands affected by the recall, according to each stores' staff.

"If they ask to return any of the brands we take it back — no questions asked," said Dave Knapp, general manager for the store at 1280 Bison Ave. in Newport Beach. The staff will even offer holistic alternative, natural foods, brands that do not carry those ingredients, Knapp said.

Local animal care specialists emphasized the need for pet owners to bring their pet in as soon as possible if they show signs of illness.

"We always recommend lab work if there is any concern," Kerryann Shurdim of the Newport Beach Veterinary Hospital said.

Monitor pets if they have consumed contaminated foods. At any signs of illness — vomiting, or loss of appetite — contact a veterinarian immediately, according to the FDA website. Also anyone whose pet is diagnosed with renal failure is advised to hold onto the food if the brand and lot numbers match the recall.

For details on the Del Monte recall visit www.delmonte.com/petfoodrecall.html. For more information on Menu Foods, Inc. contaminated items, visit www.menufoods.com/recall. Visit the FDA website for further questions at www.fda.gov

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