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Pet Food Recall Recap -- May 6, 2007

Stay up to date on the latest pet and human foods to be recalled


Updated June 13, 2011
Recall Recap
The scope of the pet food recall continues to expand, and now consumers need to be aware of the growing human food recalls; namely pork and chicken meat known to be contaminated with melamine. The FDA has said that the food supply is safe on several occasions, only to be followed by news of more recalls. According to the AVMA, the first company to recall pet foods, Menu Foods, has "added 220 products to its existing recall list on May 2." (my emphasis)

Human Food Contaminated
The first news of human food contamination was that of a small hog farm in California -- the hogs had consumed melamine-tainted feed. Since then, the human food recall has extended to hog farms in several states as well as millions of chickens now being held for examination. Both hogs and chickens raised for meat in the US are often fed remnants from the pet food manufacturing process. Officials are currently unsure if the meat from animals known to have consumed melamine tainted food is toxic to humans.

Toxicology -- the chemicals involved
The original toxin identified, aminopterin, was not found on further testing of food or animal tissues. Soon after, melamine was identified as a potential toxin, even though it is not extremely toxic by itself. Cyanuric acid was identified as an additional toxin. Cyanuric acid is used as a chlorine stabilizer in pools and hot tubs, and according to the FDA, it may be added to certain animal feeds in accordance to regulations. How did these two chemicals cause so many deaths and illnesses in pets worldwide? From the start, researchers knew that the kidneys were affected -- suffering damage from crystal formation. Until recently, no one knew how those crystals were formed. A breakthrough came from a lab at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, when the two chemicals were mixed together in a test tube at the ph level of an animal kidney. Crystals formed immediately. The person who discovered the reaction was scientist Perry Martos. "If you can imagine an instantaneous kidney stone — that's essentially the way I would perceive it," says Martos.

In other news
In related news, many people are still wondering what to feed their pets, who to trust for the "real story" involving pet and human food contamination, and when this will all be over and behind us.

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