Purina Adds Alpo To Recall List As Pet Owner Outrage Grows
Dean A. Ayers
Animals C.LU.B.- Freedom
31 Mar 07
Two days after the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company "reassured" the public that Mighty Dog 5.3 ounce pouch-packaged products were the ONLY Purina® brand products affected by the Menu Foods' recall, now the company has announced that it is voluntarily recalling all sizes and varieties of its ALPO® Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific date dates.
On Wednesday, March 28, Purina had stated that "all Purina brand cat food products, all other Purina brand dog food products, including Mighty Dog canned products and all Purina brand treats can continue to be fed to your pets with complete confidence".
That statement is a prime example that you can't believe the statements being issued by pet food manufacturers in the wake of the epidemic pet food recall which has resulted in deaths and illness to thousands of animals. Anxiety, distrust and open anger continues to consume pet owners, worried about the health of their pets, like children to many.
Purina issued its latest recall Friday after learning that wheat gluten containing melamine, a substance not approved for use in food, was provided to Purina by the same company that also supplied Menu Foods. The contamination occurred in a limited production quantity at only one of Purina's 17 pet food manufacturing facilities, according to Purina.
Purina officials said that the company's Crete, Nebraska plant was the only facility to produce the recalled ALPO Prime Cuts in Gravy canned dog food product. While Prime Cuts are also produced at the company's Allentown, Pa., plant, Purina maintains none of those products are included in the voluntary recall nor have they been impacted by the contaminated wheat gluten.
The recalled ALPO Prime Cuts in Gravy products was produced in mid February 2007.
Early Friday, the FDA announced the finding of melamine in products related to the March 16 Menu Foods recall, and advised Purina of the source of the contaminated supply. Purina then determined that it had received some quantity from the suspect supplier. The company says it proactively notified the FDA and immediately began this recall process.
The FDA said that while they had found that recalled pet foods contained Melamine, a chemical banned in this country and used to make plastics and fertilizer in Asia, they had not detected any rat poison as had been identified by Cornell University last week in samples of cat food produced by Menu Foods.
At the FDA press conference Friday, Dr. Donald Smith, a veterinarian from Cornell University said the "association between melamine in the kidneys and urine in the cats that died and what was in the food they consumed is undeniable".
The FDA said it had found melamine in samples of cat food manufactured by Menu Foods and said that the chemical had been detected in wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the recalled wet-style products. FDA officials said that that melamine-contaminated wheat gluten had allegedly been shipped to a U.S. company which manufactures dry pet food but they refused to name the company.
Purina says they are not that company.
Menu Foods of Ontario, Canada, told reporters Friday that they have ceased doing business with the China company and that it would compensate consumers whose pets were affected by the recalled products.
While the official death toll is still listed at 16, it's likely that the figure is much higher with hundreds, maybe thousands of cats and dogs incurring kidney failure as a result of ingesting contaminated pet food. Veterinarians say that thousands of dogs and cats could be affected and say that the scope of the problem is being seriously underreported. According to the Veterinary Information Network website, there have been 104 deaths attributed to the contaminated food and others are still undergoing treatment.
If your pet displays symptoms of vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, decreased or increased output of urine, difficulty urinating, more of less frequent urination or increased drinking or decreased drinking, contact your veterinarian immediately.
A complete list of the recalled products along with product codes, descriptions and production dates has been posted online by Menu Foods at http://tinyurl.com/2pn6mm or http://www.menufoods.com/recall/ The company has also designated two phone numbers that pet owners can call for information, 866-463-6738 and 866-895-2708.
Menu Foods recalled 60 million cans of wet pet food on March 16 after receiving reports of sickened animals and has admitted that they withheld making the recall until they could determine if their pet foods were responsible. Company officials said since the recall began, they have received more than 300,000 complaint calls.
Purina claims that the contaminated wheat gluten has been isolated to this limited production quantity of ALPO Prime Cuts canned products.
The recalled 13.2-ounce and 22-ounce ALPO Prime Cuts cans and 6-, 8-, 12- and 24-can ALPO Prime Cuts Variety Packs have four-digit code dates of 7037 through 7053, followed by the plant code 1159. Those codes follow a "Best Before Feb. 2009" date. This information should be checked on the bottom of the can or the top or side of the multi-pack cartons.
Purina's 5.3-ounce Mighty Dog® pouch products, manufactured by Menu Foods, were previously withdrawn from the market as a precaution on March 16 as part of the Menu Foods recall. ONLY Mighty Dog pouch products and specific date codes of ALPO Prime Cuts canned dog food are being recalled, for the moment.
Purina is claiming that no other Purina dog food products, such as the popular Puppy Chow and Dog Chow, is being recalled, no Purina cat food products, Purina treat products or Purina Veterinary Diet products.
Purina warned consumers to immediately stop feeding ALPO Prime Cuts products with the above-listed date codes to their dogs and consult with a veterinarian if they have any health concerns with their pet.
Purina guarantees all of its products, and consumers can receive the full replacement value of the recalled products. Consumers can visit www.purina.com or call 1-800-218-5898, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT, to receive more information.
Purina says it is fully cooperating with the FDA and made the decision to voluntarily recall this product in consultation with the FDA. Company officials said that wheat gluten is a high quality ingredient that provides protein and produces the consistency and texture desired in their products. It is a commodity ingredient sold on the global market. Purina said that only a minority of their wheat gluten supply originates in China. They said they were not still buying wheat gluten from their China source.
The company said that had no plans to discontinue the use of wheat gluten in their products. Purina said it had not been their practice to test wheat gluten supplies for melamine nor is it the pet food industry's standard to test ingredients for melamine. Melamine has no approved usage in food and had not been identified as a known contaminant for any pet food ingredients, including wheat gluten. FDA has announced it will be instituting a 100 percent review and sampling program for all wheat gluten imported from China.
On Friday, Hill's Pet Nutrition recalled its Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry cat food, becoming the first manufacturer to recall its dry pet food. The food included wheat gluten from the same supplier that Menu Foods used. The recall didn't involve any other Prescription Diet or Science Diet products, said the company, a division of Colgate-Palmolive Co.
At least six class action lawsuits have been instituted against Menu Foods in the United States and in Canada as well as numerous individual lawsuits.