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SusanHu has just informed me that Natural Balance, which has recalled several of its products, disturbing enough in that it was not tied to Menu Foods, has now announced that their recall is tied to MELAMINE in Rice Gluten:

The problem stems from melamine found in the rice protein concentrate (described by the company as rice gluten) used by Natural Balance. They confirmed that FDA testing has found melamine in the rice protein concentrate. The ingredient was produced by a US vendor, according to Natural Balance. Natural Balance recommends avoiding all rice protein in their products.

http://tinyurl.com/...

As pointed out on the consumer affairs story:

Canadian author Ann N. Martin, who researched the pet food industry for five years, called Natural Balance's recall "very upsetting."  In earlier interviews with ConsumerAffairs.com, Martin said Natural Balance is one of the few pet foods on the market made with "human grade" ingredients.

Human grade rice gluten...

A recall list and more info below the fold...

Natural Balance, made by Dick Van Patton's company, which has been considered one of the "safe" foods, has announced the recall of the following products:

  • Venison and Brown Rice Treats for Dogs
  • Venison and Brown Rice Canned Formula for Dogs
  • Venison and Brown Rice Dry Food for Dogs
  • Venison and Green Pea Dry Food for Cats

This is a very frightening development.  If you have these products, DO NOT USE THEM and watch your animals carefully for signs of illness (loss of appetite, extreme thirst, lethargy...).  

The mystery of the Melamine has not yet been solved.

Helpful links:

Itchmo's story on this breaking news: http://www.itchmo.com/...

Here are links:

Del Monte Foods Recall List

Menu Foods, Inc. Press Release

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company Press Release

Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. Press Release

IAMS or Eukanuba: IAMS web site.

Here's the link to make complaints to the FDA.

My last five diaries about this:

  1. [Update] Pet Food Recall-US Wheat Gluten Supplier Identified!
  2. Poison in Recalled Pet Food! -- plus Healthy (safe!) Pet Food links!
  3. FDA reports Melamine in Recalled Pet Food!
  4. Hill's Prescription DRY Cat Food, Alpo Dog Food, Join Recall
  5. Pet Food Recall Grows - Del Monte issues their list!

Here's a link by [tag=Pet Food Recall] to all the great diaries lately.

SusanHu wrote a great diary about the FDA's Weak Food Inspection that includes this letter to the FDA from Sen. Dick Durbin.

Here is a link to three dairies by anna, who has been closely following this story.

Here is one from (great name) Goldy at HorsesAss (whose story I linked in my last diary):  Tainted Wheat Gluten Sold as "Food Grade".

Has your pet been affected?  Report it here: http://www.PetConnection.com

Again, Christie Keith's (Pet Connection) article in the San Francisco Chronicle, YOUR WHOLE PET, The Story Behind the Pet Food Recall.

The ABC News report on the class action suit building on the recall.

TheBigKahuna's good advice: "I'd strongly recommend pet owners who think their pets may have been exposed to the tainted food have their pets tested.  If I recall correctly, I think the cost for Socks was about $15."

Important!! If your pet is sick, be sure to TELL your vet about the ingredients suspected in the poisoning (Melamine and Aminopterin).  The head vet at Cornell mentioned, during his press conference, that there are TREATMENTS for the poisons, as long as the treating vet knows about it.

Menu Foods says they will reimburse expenses for pet owners who can verify their pets were impacted by the recalled food.

How to make your own cat food: http://www.catinfo.org/

How to make your own dog food: http://www.seefido.com/... (thanks, RippenKitten)

If you have safe pet food alternatives you'd like to recommend, please post it on this thread, so we can link back to it and, if you see any recommendations of Natural Balance there, please link a reply back to this diary to make sure people know not to use it.

And thank you, SusanHu, for the heads up about this very important story!

Originally posted to jhritz on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and Recommends (168+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharoney, Ed in Montana, zzyzx, Erin in Flagstaff, Alma, northsylvania, pb, Night Owl, miriam, Cowalker, eugene, Paul in Berkeley, eleming, laurak, Barbara, Christin, Marlboro Lite, PeterHug, RunawayRose, Debby, rogun, baffled, TeresaInPa, OLinda, martianchronic, cookiesandmilk, GayHillbilly, The Baculum King, acuppajo, Matilda, Creosote, Smallbottle, pitbullEmily, dpmoyd, shermanesq, bronte17, conchita, whenwego, SusanHu, highacidity, scamp, roses, FemiNazi, Ignacio Magaloni, PoliSigh, nargel, lpettit4662, PeteZerria, matt2525, Terre, rioduran, splashy, Cedwyn, high uintas, Winnie, StealthAmerica, TiaRachel, Nina, Andrea inOregon, hoolia, cosette, katchen, MattR, Penny Century, noveocanes, defluxion10, Catte Nappe, hells kitchen, Expat Briton, lcrp, lulu57, inclusiveheart, barbwires, walkshills, Redbug, Lefty Mama, Thestral, Little Red Hen, The Gryffin, Tirge Caps, marina, pattyp, BluejayRN, Heiuan, sangemon, Bodean, Halcyon, kamarvt, jhutson, trinityfly, Bouwerie Boy, Sharon in MD, ladybug53, Ice Blue, BobOak, Joy Busey, babatunde, Yamara, Digginthislife, fotyc, Rosemary, witchamakallit, desordre remplir, Spathiphyllum, Ekaterin, distributorcap, YukonJack, danger durden, Sister Havana, begone, Mehitabel9, Ace Sigma, martini, FrankFrink, althea in il, BachFan, vigilant meerkat, emeraldmaiden, Ellicatt, rcald, mango, Marcus Tullius, CSI Bentonville, goodasgold, MJ via Chicago, Lashe, 4Freedom, Pager, CTLiberal, MBNYC, vivian darkbloom, doingbusinessas, Dreaming of Better Days, kurt, betterdeadthanred, MadMs, kidneystones, kml, Reel Woman, eastmt, AmericanRiverCanyon, old wobbly, dotsright, donnamarie, Cronesense, Cocker Mom, howardx, jetskreemr, gloriana, lemming22, Owllwoman, greenchiledem, lurks a lot, sabershadow, Thought I Was last Screamin Liberal, PrgrsvArchitect, Spedwybabs, extradish, JeffW, ShaShaMae, Kronos Blue, xicara, ReEnergizer, Goofy, Unique Material, MzAnnThrope, robroser, peaceloveandkucinich

    save the flames for the pet food mysteryindustry.

    Have you read about the Kurds and the Zoroastrians yet?

    by jhritz on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:24:33 PM PDT

        •  asdf (11+ / 0-)

          If I recall correctly, the melamine was found in human grade wheat glutein, originally.

        •  And that so many dog foods ... (23+ / 0-)

          proudly indicate their use of rice in the mix (lamb and rice, etc., etc.)

          NO GRAINS!  Orijen is one food that doesn't contain grains for its cat and dog food ... my friend Agathena visited its headquarters in British Columbia and was very impressed.  

          For example, the cat food is 75% human-grade meat and 25% vegetables/herbs with zero grains.

          And my local pet food store has stickers by all wet foods that contain ZERO grains.

          Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

          by SusanHu on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:32:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Consider - the only way our pets, carnivores (8+ / 0-)

            that they are, would ingest grains in the wild would be to eat the stomachs of prey or when munching on fresh grass and greens to purge themselves.

            So little grain would be eaten by carnivores in the wild that recommended raw foods diets for pets seldom include grains. With every notice of the dangers of prepared pet foods, the raw diet grows more appealing.

            It is something to consider that maybe our pets should not be eating much or even any grain, especially until this pet food trauma is over with.

            As to the human food supply, this finding opens up another batch of horrible possibilities.

            Update appreciated.

            In America, politics is big business. - J P Morgan

            by 4Freedom on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:43:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Our dogs, when they catch groundhogs, (15+ / 0-)

              eat the organs first. Groundhogs are vegetarians.

              bonddad's diary this morning pointed to the increasing inflation, which is hitting food very hard, and predicted to steepen. We have two large farm dogs. It's not easy on the pocket book or timewise to prepare all food from scratch, using human ingredients, even when we have our own eggs and yogurt to add. We're using kibble without gluten, in 1/2 the amount we used to, and adding stewing chicken and basmati rice cooked with carrots. Plus, we scored raw beef bones for $1/lb from a mennonite farmer. But the weather has been too horrendous this week to send them outside to chew on the bones. None of us wants to go outside for longer than it takes to feed the chickens and gather the eggs. The broccoli we set out on the 11th was shredded by the noreaster.

              Can anybody recommend a canine vitamin/mineral supplement?

              •  as with people, supplements cant (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Halcyon

                replace actual food.
                Look at your dogs and honestly assess whether you can safely feed them less food.  It's perfectly fine if  you can just see their ribs showing.

                Most pets in this country are too fat

                •  Our dogs are farm dogs. No fat. (5+ / 0-)

                  We're already feeding ourselves exclusively organic food, mostly home grown, and some purchased/bartered from neighbors.

                  It's embarassing to acknowledge that we go to all the effort to grow and buy only organic food for ourselves, yet, until this melamine contamination, we've been complcent about feeding our beloved dogs commercial dreck. It is a fact that our two dogs who weigh 120 pounds together, eat more food than we do, and thus will represent a large investment in time and expense, in order to properly feed them home-cooked meals.

                  •  ok, another point (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Halcyon, martini, donnamarie

                    high quality food like Canidae (completely unimplicated in the recall) is initially more expensive, but you feed less of it.  So it's not as expensive as it seems.  But yes it IS more expensive

                    •  Feed much less, in fact, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TiaRachel

                      if you're feeding a super-premium food such as Wellness, for example.  (I just got some California Natural for my cats and they love it!)
                      I'd say you could safely cut the amount you're feeding in half as compared to grocery-store pet food.
                      Your costs will be reasonable and the pet will be trimmer, more muscular, and healthier.
                      I strongly recommend feeding cats twice a day (as opposed to leaving dry food out all the time). They won't be finicky this way and you can monitor how much they're eating, quickly spotting any problems.

              •  Good supplement: Missing Link (7+ / 0-)

                There are 2 versions - one from a vet and one at a pet supply store. I don't know what the difference is, just that there is one.

                People feeding a home-cooked diet must give their animals a high-quality supplement. And pet vitamins don't count - particularly the ones often found at vets: Pet Tabs, which made my dogs itch.

                Also, I don't think you have to avoid food with real rice in it. Just products with the gluten form of rice or wheat. Please correct me if I am wrong.

              •  I give Ollie our 10 year old a chewable vitamin (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                walkshills, ginja, Lashe, donnamarie

                that she gobbles up willingly. The brand is Castor & Pollux. She likes that one. There are other brands that she just spits out.

                I also feed her some plain yoghurt a couple of times a week and smash up raw eggs shell and all and feed her a whole one - she's 45 pounds - no more than once or twice a week. She also gets some wild Alaskan salmon oil, and a mix of brewer's yeast and garlic powder that helps repel fleas. The brewer's yeast gives her B vitamins too. Ollie also gets glucosamine for a shoulder that used to be a little stiff.

                She has been eating raw chicken that we get from a local farmer, and she gets some raw veggies shredded up with her food. Fortunately we can work a trade for the chicken. Not everyone has that option.

                The only grain Ollie gets is an occasional organic biscuit. Ollie is very healthy and happy.

                In America, politics is big business. - J P Morgan

                by 4Freedom on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:33:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Rice/grains cheaper than protein...and most (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sharoney, GayHillbilly, Winnie, ginja, Lashe

            people think that brown rice in pet food is good for them...better for dogs who are omnivores, but not something cats (obligate carnivores) need to eat.

            •  I now feed my cats (6+ / 0-)

              canned cat food by Wellness, which is a sub-brand of Old Mother Hubbard, and which has a whole line of grain-free cat food using human-grade deboned meat and no meat by-products whatsoever. (The fish blends include grains - rice and flaxseed - but Wellness does us the favor of indicating prominently on the cans which flavors are grain-free.) The fiber is provided by veggies and fruits. But the first three ingredients on all their varieties? Meat, more meat, and meat broth.

              I've been weaning my cats off Friskies and feeding them Wellness. It is twice as costly as the national brands, but it's denser, so they eat it more slowly and eat less of it. (Two of the three can't get enough of it. The third, well... we're working on it. Old habits die hard.)

              And I buy it in bulk from the local agricultural co-op, so I get a quantity discount.

              And when you open a can of Wellness, it smells good. It doesn't smell like garbage, which is what most cat food smells like.

              You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. --Albert Einstein

              by Sharoney on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:17:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've fed mine Wellness since 2003 at least. (0+ / 0-)

                Mine like the canned food great, but not the dry for some reason. It's hard not to worry, since Natural Balance is supposed to be a pretty good food. I sure hope Wellness isn't affected.

                What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. - Albert Pine

                by pattyp on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 07:31:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Something I've noticed about premium dog food (0+ / 0-)

                is that it smells like I remember dog food smelling as a kid. Store brand dog food -- including ALPO and Purina Dog Chow, which we fed our dogs when I was young -- seems to smell different then it once did. I never considered it a good smell, but a distinctive smell, nonetheless, and store brand dog food today seems to lack that smell.

                Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

                by rogun on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:30:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Brown rice IS good for them (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Spit, Winnie

              Provides important fiber and is nutritious. White rice, on the other hand, is pretty worthless from what I've read.

              •  nutritious for DOGS, yes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                martini

                however, from what i've heard in various of these recall threads, cats are geared towards getting their energy from protein, which leaves them nigh-on unable to properly handle grains. so even though brown rice is generally a healthier alternative to white rice, for cats they're worth about the same - not much at all.

                oct 2006: -8.75, -5.79
                apr 2007: -8.00, -6.00
                Born too late to live my life

                by Kara Jade on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 07:07:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Been my concern from the begining. (34+ / 0-)

          People have not made enough of the fact that any food in this country no matter who is eating it should be safe and that if it is in animal food the likelyhood that it is in our food is awfully high.

          This whole thing is ridiculous.  BushCo could give a good god damn if they killed the entire city of Cincinati with bad food as long as they get their international deals done and make their freakin' corporate profits no matter how dirty their practices are.

          Just so you know, my granddaddy was a chicken farmer and he actually cared a great deal about food safety.  Not only was he simply a decent sort of guy who didn't want to make people or sick or dead no matter what the profit would be, but he also was a good enough businessman to understand that you can't go around killing your consumers and expect them to come back and buy things from you again.  Sheesh.

          I am outraged.

        •  human grade my ass (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mavros

          Ask the people who work for the company to EAT the food. Human grade is bogus marketting.

          •  huh? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rogun, ginja

            The producer of the glutin labeled it food grade, not the pet food manufactures.  Food grade glutin, same as you can buy in cans and likely eat in vegetarian food. Someone in China spiked it with melamine to make it appear to have more protein in it, which also suggests they may have not washed out all the starch - lowering quality to make more money.

            So the Canadian company trusted their suppliers, and likely went for the lowest cost supplier. The US pet food companies trusted the Canadian firm to properly follow the US companies' formulations and use safe materials.

            Which company are you referring to?

            •  So if it was labeled food grade (0+ / 0-)

              who thinks it's not in human food?

            •  I read that the ChemNutra wheat gluten was (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AmericanRiverCanyon, donnamarie

              originally shipped to Menu Foods in Emporia, KS who then shipped it to the Canadian division of Menu Foods.  

              The most irresponsible speaker I have read so far is that jerk at Chem Nutra who acts like they are the victim of the China supplier purposely adding the melamine to the wheat gluten to make it read out a higher protein and it was the attitude of this corporate jerk that really offended me.  

              ChemNutra was the importer of the melamine contaminated wheat gluten and he was saying they were set up.  I think he is an ugly, irresponsible idiot because he then turns and says that he can't believe Menu Foods waited so long to notify pet owners or the FDA.

              Excuse me but it looks to me like someone loaded the stuff with melamine, but if his company is innocent why in the hecky darn is he blaming folks on either end of their company.  I am not buying it.

              These are comments by CEO Steve Miller of ChemNutra

                CEO Steve Miller stmt

              The United States company that imported the tainted wheat gluten -- ChemNutra of Las Vegas, Nevada -- says it was victimized by its Chinese supplier, XuZhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.

              In a letter posted on the company's Web site, CEO Steve Miller also said he is "appalled" that Menu Foods took so long to recall the contaminated pet food.

              "The possibility that any animal fell ill or died because of an ingredient we may have supplied to Menu Foods saddens us and also angers us because it means that ChemNutra has been victimized as well, by our own supplier," Miller wrote, adding his company will no longer do business with XuZhou Anying.

              "We are concerned that we may have been the victim of deliberate and mercenary contamination for the purpose of making the wheat gluten we purchased appear to have a higher protein content than it did, because melamine causes a false high result on protein tests," Miller said.

              Miller was referring to allegations that the melamine could have intentionally been added to the wheat gluten -- a theory raised earlier this month by the director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

              "Somebody may have added melamine to the wheat gluten in order to increase what appears to be the protein level," the FDA's Stephen Sundlof said. "Wheat gluten is a high-protein substance and by trying to artificially inflate the protein level, it could command a higher price. But that's just one theory at this point."

              Miller said his company had never heard of melamine before this recall.

              "We had no idea that melamine was an issue until being notified by the FDA on March 29," he wrote on the company's Web site. "It's simply not a chemical even on the radar screen for food ingredient suppliers."

              Miller also said his company is "distressed" with Menu Foods' handling of the pet food recall.

              "We are appalled and distressed that Menu Foods took so long to recall its products, although it clearly suspected there was a problem for weeks prior to the first recall," he wrote. "And it wasn't until eight days before they issued their first recall that Menu Foods told us that wheat gluten was one of many ingredients it was investigating."

              I am disappointed that this goof-off is so poorly informed or he is plain dishonest because the FDA discovered the melamine and as soon as it was identified Menu Foods and the FDA tracked back to ChemNutra and the food recall had been going on for a month at that time.

              What I dislike the most is Mr. Miller's attempt to shirk any responsibility for this nightmare and his knowledge of the melamine giving a higher protein reading indicates to me it is highly possible that his damn company could have been in on it.

              Questions, however, have surfaced in recent weeks about ChemNutra and its ties to China. The Canadian investigative newspaper, Canada Free Press, describes the company's Chinese headquarters as a "rundown warehouse in rural China."

              That warehouse, the paper adds, is located within 50 miles of XuZhou Anying, the company blamed for supplying the tainted wheat gluten.

              The Las Vegas Review Journal says ChemNutra's Las Vegas office -- at Durango and Charleston Streets -- is "very small ... without even a sign on the door."

              ChemNutra touts its ties to China, stating it "imports high-quality nutritional and pharmaceutical chemicals from China to the US. We purchase our inventory from quality-assured manufacturers in China; most of whom we have strong relationships over the past twelve years."

              The company's president, Sally Miller, also has strong ties to China.

              ChemNutra's Web site states she has "more than 12 years experience in China as QA Manager and Purchasing Manager ... and was responsible for purchasing large quantities of nutritional and food ingredients in China for export worldwide."

              The Web site also states Sally Miller has an MBA -- and an Engineering degree -- in Food Engineering, but doesn't state where she earned those degrees. Canada Free Press learned she "earned an MBA from City University in Seattle, as well as (an) Engineering degree in Food Chemical Engineering at Hanzhou Institute of Commerce in Hanzhou, China."

              I must say right away that I need to apologize for being such a hard head in ref. to this ChemNutra importer to jhritz and others.

              As I said elsewhere, I had already moved back to Nutro this past weekend because my formula on the oatmeal and chicken was not included in the recall and I simply didn't have time to go to Petco to get food.  

              Even after reading the recall from Dick Van Patten's site on the Natural Balance recall, the type I was using had brown rice, oatmeal, and chicken.  Therefore I would still buy it tomorrow but will stay where I am for now.  

              I believe it is the rice flour used in the Venizen and brown rice, and the Venizen and green peas.  The flour are being used for thickening gravies or whatever.  

              Don't think my dog lusts much after gravy but I think I had it in my head that it would be a lovely treat for her.  Not so much.

              Let me offer heart felt condolences to anyone who has lost a loving cat or dog from Anna Belle.  We go to the vet on Thursday to get a baseline blood test and urine to know where we are with the kidneys and my vet assured me there is treatment available.  

              Should Anna Belle require treatment of any type I will be billing Pet Smart with copy to Nutro because they have assured me of their intent to cover these kinds of expenses.  So if you have problems, my suggestion is that you start up the chain, first with your immediately which is Pet Smart in my case, then I move to Nutro, and then Menu Foods, then Chem Nutra (Not holding out much hope with this sheister) .
              Peace,
              PaintyKat

              WWYTR? "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" MLK

              by PaintyKat on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 12:00:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't apologize for that attitude (0+ / 0-)

                ...because when the timeline of the disaster is studied, it is apparent that ChemNutra knew about this problem for nearly a month before being named in public and they are still not naming all distributors nor where the imported gluten actually ended up fully. It is also completely possible they dumped or offloaded the product to another distributor to be repacked and resold in that time frame.

                Steve Miller is the CEO of ChemNutra and his wife, Sally Miller, the President, so they can claim to be qualified to be a woman and minority owned business (for US gov. accounting.) He graduated from Bringham Young University.   I would expect him to be very, very good at spinning the "we're just a victim in all of this" line.

              •  Do remember (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel

                the FDA was looking for things out of the ordinary, an importer might not be. It's one thing to run the standard battery of tests, moisture content, nitrogen percentage, and so on, and it's another to go looking for everything that might be in there. Now that there's been a case of adulteration with melamine, testing might be expanded to check for it.

                I think that the primary importer should have been doing some more testing, given China's record with quality control and history of accidental and intentional food poisonings. But it is very difficult to test for all possible adulterants, the best test would likely be feeding rodents the gluten for several weeks. That isn't failsafe as rodents have different sensitivities for some compounds than some other mammals, and it wouldn't pick up on something that didn't manifest itself quickly, say like some carcinogens.

                As for knowing melamine could be used to boost protein readings, it's the sort of thing that's easy to figure out. I did that, knowing in general how protein is tested for and knowing a bit about melamine.

                Someone in the food industry is quite likely to know the basics of the standard tests, including the test on protein content. That plus hearing the word 'melamine' followed by 30 seconds online would let you at least suspect it's in there to fake the protein percentage. "Hmm, melamine, a low solubility trimer of urea, says its 2/3 nitrogen by weight. Man, that would really goose the nitrogen test and make the stuff look like it was really high in protein." It's the sort of thing you'd learn in upper grade school chemistry, not even college level.

                •  I got the impression that ChemNutra is suspected (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Catte Nappe

                  of being too close with the Chinese exporter.  

                  ChemNutra is the primary importer and the supplier to US pet food industry and I agree wholeheartedly they should have done testing, especially in view of the fact the melamine was reported to be visible to the naked eye on top of the bags.

                  My point about ChemNutra was that they are pointing the finger irresponsibly at the China exporter and at Menu Foods and except no responsibility themselves.  

                  I find that attitude reprehensible and the food I fed my dog was Nutro and I have found both Pet Smart and Nutro to be exceptionally responsive to my inquiries and offers to take care of pet bills, etc.

                  The relationship between the Chinese company and ChemNutra is suspect and I suspected that ChemNutra has the most to gain by spiking the protein content on the wheat gluten.  ChemNutra is pretty far removed from our pets than say my local Pet Smart or Nutro who both seem to care about my pet and the integrity of the product they have sold and also seem very cooperative in identifying and eliminating  any damage in the future.

                  Peace,
                  PaintyKat

                  WWYTR? "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" MLK

                  by PaintyKat on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 10:22:10 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  ChemNutra statements (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TiaRachel

                    They are saying exactly what they are supposed to - probably with legal advice. It's the kind of statement you have to make to lay the foundation for your defense in the event of law suit.

                    Revolutionary words start revolutions

                    by Catte Nappe on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 10:41:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I think the finger-pointing is fair, but yes, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Catte Nappe

                    ChemNutra is far from innocent, not re: the initial tampering or even their failure to catch a new type of adulturant (I think I spelled that wrong), but in their delayed responses.

                    I agree that at this point, the lawyers are probably writing the statements, and IIRC, any public acceptance of blame/guilt of any sort whatsoever could cost them a whole lot of money and screw up all their legal stuff.

                    It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

                    by TiaRachel on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 11:17:41 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Should be fairly easy to tell (0+ / 0-)

                    The Chinese company had placed ads where they said they were looking to by melamine, including tag ends of lots (meaning below market price). ChemNutra would have had to buy if they are the originators of the contamination, given the amount of gluten and the levels of melamine, you're talking railcar loads of it; not something that is easy to hide.

                    Beyond that would be how is the gluten packaged when shipped from China and from ChemNutra. If the gluten comes in fairly small containers, bags, drums, or even supersacks, and that is the form it goes on from ChemNutra in, then it's not as likely the melamine was added after it left China. ChemNutra would need facilities for repackaging, and for blending the gluten to be able to introduce the melamine - they might also have to have equipment to grind it, depending on the form the melamine was in.

                    It would be much easier to introduce the melamine to the still wet gluten, so that it dissolved in the water and was dispersed through the gluten. That way the melamine would stay with the gluten as it was dried and ground up. If the melamine was added to dry gluten it would be more likely to separate during shipment, so that samples from different parts of a container would have different amount and perhaps even visable layers would form.

                    So it should be fairly easy to track, at least in relation to North America, when the melamine was added. And as I said elsewhere in this diary, melamine doesn't fit the profile of what is hurting the animals, there is something else in the gluten that is the root cause. The FDA appears to be saying this now, I included a link in another comment in this diary. So whatever that material is, it too would be traceable,. If it is aminopterin then the US is not a likely source, it's not used in quantity here and only as a fairly expensive drug. However a less pure form of it has been used for rat poison in Asia.

    •  We need to Rec this up to the top, people (10+ / 0-)

      ... so more people will see it, because a lot of people switched over to Natural Balance earlier.

      Suggested title change
      Update: Expanded Pet Food Recall, Now Including Rice Gluten

      Good catch.
      Just freakin' unbelievable.  At this point I really do think it's going to be shown to be in the human food chain as well.

    •  Don't let my dog read this! (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MattR, Lashe, kml, donnamarie, drmah, jhritz

      She's been on a hungerstrike today. The hubby bought a different kind of dog food for her and fed her this morning at 8am. Her food bowl is still full.  She's holding out for people food!

      •  At the rate this is going (7+ / 0-)

        you should probably just give it to her.

      •  No such thing as "people food" (8+ / 0-)

        All dogs (all animals, for that matter) need real food. The coined phrase is an invention of the pet food industry and they have done a very good job of brainwashing all of us, including the vets, with it.

        You don't see wildlife going to the store to buy wildlife kibble, do you? No. Dogs need real food, and I have said this before on a different thread, but dogs in the wild eat the stomachs of their prety, which are usually veggies, fruits and grains, first. The organ meat follows.

        There was no such thing as kibble 100 years ago - it's a relatively new invention, backed by a multi-billion dollar ad campaign over the 100 or so years it's been on the market.

        Another example of corporate America brainwashing.

        Just ask yourself, what did dogs do for however many years they've been on the planet, before kibble ame along?

        Our pets are smarter than us, in some ways, and holding out for real food is not being spoiled - it's being smart and essential to their survival (and longevity). I believe dogs on a real food diet outlive dogs on commercial diets. Mine ceretainly have.

        •  Yes -- very true (5+ / 0-)

          Google "BARF diet" and you'll get tons of info on feeding a raw diet.

          There are two good books by Ian Billinghurst on the subject as well.

          A pain in the butt, but a great thing to do for your pet.  You can make your 'veggie slop' in bulk and freeze them in tupperware type containers, and pull them out of the freezer as you need them.

          It really made a difference in our dogs.  We had one dog with recurring pancreatitis -- never occurred again after we switched.  Another of our dogs fought every fall with really bad skin problems -- those completely went away.  All the dogs' coats were softer and shinier, and our vet bills went down.  There are also other benefits, for example cleaner teeth (if you don't grind your bones, which you can also do).

          And man, they LOVE their dinnertime.  There's something fulfilling about watching them be so happy and satisfied with their dinner.

          When we can't feed raw, though, we feed Innova Evo -- it has no grains whatsoever.

          :-) Mel

          "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!"

          by ClickerMel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 08:47:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  thanks jhritz for keeping an eye on this... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cowalker, Joy Busey, Lashe, donnamarie, jhritz

      and thanks for the food suggestions.  I ordered the cat sample pack from HealthyPetNet which you had recommended previously, and my pootie totally loves their food... just waiting for the real order to come in now so I can completely switch her over.  even got a personal phone call from the distributor in my region to introduce herself and answer any questions about the food.

      LINK for anyone else interested, there are no grains or meat byproducts in the food...

    •  Sadly, the pet food recommend thread is close! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, donnamarie

      This will not accept new comments:
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      You might want to summarize that thread in a comment on this post?

    •  post this recall as a Jeer in today's (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, Catte Nappe, Lashe, donnamarie

      C & J.  I was extrememly shocked at this one.  Cats are finishing up Natural Balance dry food, but are not eating the recalled product. I have already started switching them to Wellness dry.  

      My Vet came to the house a week ago to do physicals on the cats as they were due for check ups.  My oldest, Neko, had been eating the Nutro max pouch (as a snack on occasion) and the Nutro Max Gourmet classics canned food in the 3 oz cans. My newest,Misha, who is on k/d food any way, liked to eat Neko's food. The other two eat mainly dry food, very little canned.  Well long story short, Nutro Gourmet got recalled.  I started to get into a panic, called the vet to check on blood work results on Neko and Misha(the day after Nutro issued the recall) and was told that all was well.  Neko had very good bloodwork for a cat his age (15.5) and Misha's bloodwork was very good as well.  So I lucked out and my batches of food were okay.  
      I took it all back anyway to Petsmart -Nutro and Proplan and got a store credit.  I had already bought Merrick and Wellness foods for them to eat.

      Now with this recall for Natural balance, it is really scary.

      "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." -Carly Fiorina CEO, Hewlett-Packard

      by baffled on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:41:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  jhritz, something to add to the general info... (10+ / 0-)

      If anyone still has any of the containers of recalled food, especially if their pet suffered any ill-effects, they may want to hold on to some of it in case the FDA or others want it for analysis.

      When we contacted the FDA originally, they told us to take the food back to Walmart.  One week later, they called us to ask if we still had any of the food so they could use it for testing.

      DOOOH!!!

      By the way, for those of you who wanted to know what Whiskers the Wondercat looked like ( Requiem for Whiskers ), I have a photo somewhere towards the bottom of the comments.  (Is it possible to pimp a comment?)

      Finally, thank you jhritz and others for staying in top of this.

      v/r

      I had come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

      by TheBigKahuna on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:22:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh BK, what a wonderful diary, what a great cat! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        martini, sima

        It's amazing how they get in our hearts and become our family.

        I missed it when you first posted.  What a terrific, well-written tribute.  It made me very teary eyed. (But then I'm weakened by recovering from flu and from panicking that my newest pootie had run away into the cold night.  Of course she hadn't.)  There really are certain cats who are the "great ones" - and I say this not to speak ill of all the other marvelous ones, some of whom I have known.  It's nice to know Whiskers the WonderCat (a.k.a. The Supreme Ruler of the United Federation of Universes by your oldest son and as FatCat by your youngest) was one of them.

        Good on you for becoming "foster parents."  Congratulations!  They're adorable!

      •  Oops, should the leftover food be frozen (0+ / 0-)

        or refrigerated or what?  Has anyone said?  I meant to ask that b/4 I got distracted with the wonderful and sad Whiskers diary.

        •  Actually, that's a good question. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sabershadow
          The FDA never told us.

          I think they were interested in unopened containers from the affected batches / lots.

          I had come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

          by TheBigKahuna on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 07:18:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I read your post (and cried) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sabershadow
        and looked through the comments, but did not see a picture of Whiskers?  If you right click the orange timestamp next to a comment, the URL you can copy from that will launch that specific comment...

        like this:

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        •  If I hadn't been such a doofus, (0+ / 0-)

          I would have been a little clearer in this comment that the picture is in the comments for jhritz's diary (further down here, in other words) and not in my diary about Whiskers.

          I had been up way too long and needed sleep.

          Sorry for the confusion.

          I had come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

          by TheBigKahuna on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 02:54:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  DAMN IT TO HELL...now I get to keep an eye (3+ / 0-)

      on Tirawa and Winston.  I just picked up a 'roll' from Natural Balance and noticed that Tirawa is pretty lethargic and seeming to drink/urinate more...this has been in the last 9 days....damn it.

      And I MAKE all their food and they also get SOLID GOLD dry foods...

      Damn it.

    •  Bloggers maintaining better master list (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel, kml

      A group of bloggers decided that the existing lists were too hard to use and created a master list of recalled pet foods.

      http://petfoodtracker.blogspot.com/

  •  They need to get to the bottom of (15+ / 0-)

    this now.  I have switched to Innova and really like the results. His coat is shiny and he seems to have more energy. NOW I have to worry again? Enough already. You wonder if someone is doing this on purpose or is it again grains from China?

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:30:26 PM PDT

    •  These seem to (12+ / 0-)

      be a US source, but they haven't identified the supplier, so anything is possible.

      It is terribly worrisome.  My cats are on Life's Abundance and are doing really well.  But I'm watching them like the proverbial hawk, just in case.

      Have you read about the Kurds and the Zoroastrians yet?

      by jhritz on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:31:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe not a US source (8+ / 0-)

        06/12/2005 - UK-based AMC Chemicals says a new rice protein concentrate can offer food makers a non-allergenic alternative to soy and whey that is better absorbed by the body than other vegetable-derived proteins.

        The ingredient, produced in China for US firm Axiom Foods, is also likely to be cheaper than many of the proteins on the market.
        "The price range on this product is much less than soy and whey," said David Janow, president of Axiom Foods.

        http://www.nutraingredients.com/...

        Looks more like the last go-round. US supplier bringing in ingredient actually produced in China.

        Revolutionary words start revolutions

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:09:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Leave it to Catte Nappe. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          donnamarie

          Very sharp pickup.

          Globalization is so great, isn't it? Sheesh!

          •  Maybe sharp, not pointed in the right direction (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            count, Thestral, kurt, donnamarie

            The industrial chemical melamine has been found in more pet food, and suspicion is falling on a second pet-food ingredient imported from China as the source of the contamination....The rice protein concentrate was imported from China by San Francisco-based Wilbur-Ellis

            http://www.usatoday.com/...

            The early clues that it might be Axiom seem to be disproved - some outfit called Wilbur-Ellis has fessed up. But, in any event, the source is still China.

            Revolutionary words start revolutions

            by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:24:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  assholes, assholes, assholes. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe, donnamarie

              According to that article, Natural Balance didn't begin testing the products until after they had received reports of sick pets. Why weren't the products tested before they were shipped, or why weren't the raw materials tested before they were added to products?

              The Chinese supplier is different from the one in the ChemNutra case, according to the article.

              •  They would have had to know what to test for. (0+ / 0-)

                Unless I've got my timelines off, the tainted rice protein was used before the wheat gluten recall was announced.

                And I bet they trust the FDA, foolish chaps...

                It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

                by TiaRachel on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 11:25:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your timeline is off (I think) (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel

                  but that is not relevant to my point.

                  Also, they would NOT have had to know what to test for. I'm not surprised you don't know this if you aren't a chemist, but it's important, and more people should know it.

                  The easiest tests to do on a raw material are to look at it and smell it. According to the reporting on the wheat gluten incident, an FDA chemist said the material contained visible melamine crystals. Melamine crystals don't look like wheat gluten.

                  A more sophisticated test, and one that is only slightly more difficult than visual inspection, is to obtain an infrared spectrum. This tells the analyst whether the spectrum of the material looks like it is supposed to, or not. A proteinaceous material adulterated with melamine has a spectrum that is different from the spectrum of the unadulterated material. Once the analyst sees the difference, then a more difficult investigation would be required to determine why the spectra differ.

                  Doing zero quality control is just not excusable or justifiable in any way, in my opinion, ESPECIALLY when food and pharmaceuticals are the topics of discussion.

                  •  good points... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    count

                    I wonder why I haven't read about this already? Not from the MSM, I don't expect them to get scientific details right...

                    My chem background is limited to pre-med classes  as an undergrad, so I had forgotten about the spectrum thingy -- I was thinking abotu a different kind of test entirely.

                    Agree completely about QC (whoever looked at that gluten, saw the crystals, and decided to use it anyway has a lot to answer for). I put most of the blame on the FDA, though there's enough to go around.

                    I may be, um, overly under-reacting. In wandering around through lots of forums, I keep seeing over-the-top rants that bring in all sorts of accusations, including the posters favorite natural-foods bugaboos despite there being no evidence whatsoever that this particular problem is related, and of course, the pet food industry has been intentionally, knowingly, deliberately poisioning our pets for years, so that's why you should buy their brand of homemade raw foods, available at givememoney.com, because they're the person involved in making or selling pet foods who doesn't want to kill your pet...

                    Slight hyperbole there, but only slight. So I may be over-reacting in the other direction.

                    It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

                    by TiaRachel on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 12:39:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Both of my cats (7+ / 0-)

      have switched to Purina DM which contains corn gluten.  Now I have to wonder how long it'll be before melamine or worse is found in that.

      How long will it be before the first human victims start showing up?

      -4.50 -5.44

      "They're all crazy. They're all crazy except you and me. Sometimes I have me doubts about you." -- Garrett Fort

      by Spathiphyllum on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:34:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  sigh.. but (7+ / 0-)

      Innova contracted with MenuFoods to makes some of their products.  It was a different factory, but still...

      makes you really wonder whom to trust.
      Natura statement

      In a video message to Natura customers, Peter Atkins, one of Natura’s founders and owners, made assurances that no Natura canned food contains the suspected contaminate, wheat gluten from China, or wheat of any kind. Furthermore, Natura’s canned foods are made exclusively in a Menu Foods South Dakota plant, rather than in the affected Kansas and New Jersey plants. Nonetheless, Natura plans to remove any doubt that they are producing pet foods with unsafe ingredients.

      to their credit, the press release talks about their plans to build their own factory, to avoid problems like this

      •  Wellness contracts out to Menu Foods, as well... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Winnie, martini, donnamarie

        sigh...it's just all one megabatch of potentially tainted food.

        What foods are locally produced?

        •  Cite? (0+ / 0-)

          I need to know. I just switched to my cats to Wellness, and they say on their website that they don't use wheat gluten from China at all, and use strict quality controls when contracting with Menufoods. Are you saying that Wellness has been lying about their products?

          Thanks in advance.

          You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. --Albert Einstein

          by Sharoney on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:23:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dont think it's a lie (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            donnamarie

            the bigger issue is.. if the quality control at Menufoods was bad enough to allow this contamination, can we trust ANY food made by them, even in other factories..

            •  If it is the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rogun, TiaRachel, marina

              melamine, which as a chemistry geek is odd to me, but then who knows...

              then they wouldn't have any tests for such a thing, because up until now it's been seen as pretty low toxicity (as in, no reason for concern at all). Bear in mind, this is not a new chemical -- this is something that's been used in all kinds of plastic stuff for 40-50 years.

              IMO, the manufacturers shouldn't be importing this kind of thing in the first place, but that's a bit beyond the "quality control" level and into the corporate boardroom.

        •  per Wellness site (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lashe, Dreaming of Better Days, kurt

          food is made by Menu foods but at a different location.

          As you may already know, Wellness brand pet food is NOT affected by the product recall involving wheat gluten and other pet food manufacturers. We do not use wheat gluten in our products, and none of our products are made in the Menu Foods Emporia plant that is the main focus of the product recall. All Wellness products, including canned, dry, treats and supplements can be enjoyed safely.

          snip

          Our ingredients are primarily sourced in the United States and Canada. We source some unique ingredients internationally—for example lamb and venison from New Zealand. However, we do not source anything from the supplier in China at the center of the recent pet food recalls.

          http://www.omhpet.com/...

          "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." -Carly Fiorina CEO, Hewlett-Packard

          by baffled on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:56:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I seem to remember reading something recently (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        count, donnamarie

        about the FDA finding melamine in a third Menu Foods plant that had previously been considered safe. And the three plants mentioned were in Kansas, South Dakota and New Jersey.

        I can't recall where I read this, but I believe it was in one of the more recent updates (not this site) of this ongoing saga.

        Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

        by rogun on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:48:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I just switched (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GayHillbilly, Winnie, Lashe, jhritz

      to Inova today for my five cats and dog.  So far everyone is eating it, the first hurdle.

      I found a store about a half hour away that carries it and other good brands (Merrick, etc.).  

    •  Innova Evo (0+ / 0-)

      Try this Innova version -- no grains at all.

      :-) Mel

      "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!"

      by ClickerMel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 08:50:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about human food? (22+ / 0-)

    What sort of guarantee do we have that contaminated gluten made its way into delicious, healthy, prepared food items in the US? I think I might not want to know the answer to this one.

  •  Trade, Profits and no standards (16+ / 0-)

    Look at this article about the lack of imported food inspections.  

    Another article (I didn't check the credibility of this).

    So, China has completely different safety rules regarding pesticides and safety for humans, ever mind our pets is being disregarded.

    http://www.noslaves.com http://forum.noslaves.com

    by BobOak on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:35:07 PM PDT

    •  Didn't someone diary here (OC115 or (6+ / 0-)

      CSI Bentonville or JR Monsterfodder) that Wal-Mart is eager to purvey organic food....imported from China, where there is no monitoring to ensure the faarms are actually organic?

      RandyMI diaried yesterday about pollution in China. I don't believe there is any regulation there. The free market paradise.

      •  Supposedly 25% of the pollution over L.A. is (11+ / 0-)

        attributed to China (according to the E.P.A. as cited by Tom Friedman in last Sunday's NYT Mag.

        China makes everything so cheaply not only because people are paid dollars for a day of work, but because a company can dump its waste in the river and the downstream peasants and animals take the hit. I traveled through one region of industrial China at night, and the putrid chemical smells permeated the train whose windows were blackened by pollution (I wondered why one wouldn't want to look out while traveling).  I was forced to buy some Chinese herbs, but dumped them because I figured they were grown in poisoned soils.

        The Chinese gov. wants us to clean up our CO2 act before it takes any efforts. My contribution is to buy nothing made in China, if at all possible!  American companies take manufacturing there and produce products on the cheap...advertising makes the products "desirable," and the profits roll in. Of course, the fact that we are all breathing the same air, sharing the oceans, and have one planet in distress is not considered part of the cost!  [Read "No Logo" by Naomi Klein.]

        •  I don't buy Chinese products unless (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, CSI Bentonville

          that is the only place the product is made...such as fireplace lighters.  I started this habit in 1989.  I save lots of money...if it's made in China, I just say NO!  Nice to hear there is someone else out there not buying their products.

          I hear there are towns in China that do nothing but manufacture Xmas decorations...how very strange.

          Wasn't there an article just a few days ago that stated the Yangtze (sp?) River is irreversibly dead?
             

          •  my husband is in china right now (4+ / 0-)

            and visiting factories and guess what he markets??  Christmas products.

            Its sad, really, because he works for a domestic manufacturer that is literally - dying on the vine and turning to manufacturing more product in China in an effort to remain in business.  HIs competitors import 100% of their product and if his company wants to compete, they have to play the same game.

            The fault, in my opinion, lies squarely in the lap of Wal Mart.  They demand the cheapest products, American's shop there in droves, and all other retailers HAVE to compete on Wal Marts playing field or face an ever shrinking market share.

            The message really should be that more Americans should do as you do.  DONT buy products manufactured in China.  Its simple.  It will save jobs not to mention what it will do for the environment.    

            As it is, he's turing to Chinese products to keep the company in business and the stories he tells me of the poverty there are chilling.

            How hard is it for the average Joe American to understand the power of the pocketbook?  Evidently, its too much to ask that they 'get it'.

        •  The link to Friedman + more (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AmericanRiverCanyon, donnamarie

          I happened to have the Friedman article open in another tab. Haven't read it all yet. Have heard for years the reason for the spectacular sunsets on the West Coast are from the pollution in China including the expansion of their big desert and horrid dust storms caused from actions as far back as the time of the Red Guard/Cultural Revolution.

          One of the worst parts about China is that they do use massive amounts of petro-chemicals to grow and it's killing their soils making them non-productive no matter what lengths they go to in the future.

          Corn is another greedy crop. This whole ethonal rush could kill the Mid-West in about 15 years if we don't change the way things are done.

          ~~~~

          Here are just some of the recent articles on China I've been reading...

          Air conditioners batter ozone layer
          China, India use growing amounts of harmful refrigerant
          Keith Bradsher, New York Times
          Friday, February 23, 2007

          China turning to Brazil to meet a growing demand for soybeans
          By Alexei Barrionuevo, New York Times News Service  |  April 8, 2007

          And here are JR Monsterfodder's diaries that have "organic" and "China" in them and the search with just organic.

          While Wal-Mart is the worse for pushing organics to China, the other big store brand organics such as Safeway and yes, even Whole Foods/Wild Oats are guilty as well. Wal-Mart though actually has been caught pretending food is organic when it isn't.

          Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

          by CSI Bentonville on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:27:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Another thread on DKos re: risky food from China? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BobOak
      I swear I saw at least one comment with orange timestamps (thus leading me to believe it was here on DailyKos) that rattled off a starlting list of untrustworthy and/or poisonous foods that have slipped through FDA or other import inspections in the past year or two.

      Anyone recall this comment (or comments)?  Maybe I'm misrecalling and the thread was somewhere else, but it seemed like it was on a DailyKos diary, in the past week or so.

      Thank you!

  •  Another great diary. Thanks n/t (11+ / 0-)

    "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." ~ Diderot

    by Bouwerie Boy on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:35:12 PM PDT

  •  Go organic (8+ / 0-)

    that's what I'm doing at least because the standards to be certified organic are much higher.

    I just knew this was going to happen.

    http://www.noslaves.com http://forum.noslaves.com

    by BobOak on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:36:33 PM PDT

    •  If you can't afford to go organic... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SusanHu, Winnie, TiaRachel

      ...and don't have the time to cook your own pet food....please consider....

      Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul.

      No wheat, wheat gluten or rice gluten used

      •  recommend meat (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SusanHu, BobOak, buddabelly, Owllwoman

        I feed my dogs the Raw Food, or the Bones and Raw Food (BARF) diet.  It includes raw chicken wings, necks, backs, plus eggs, liver, mushed up veggies, some yogurt once in a while.  I really recommend it.

        BARF diet FAQ

      •  I got some of that for my cat (0+ / 0-)

        but he doesn't like it. Barely touched it.

        I've been reading ingredient lists like a hawk. A lot of the better fish based canned food has no gluten of any kind. There's a premium Sheba cat food that I found at PetSmart that had NO grain of any kind, just meat/fish (he likes that). Also some of the pouches - the one tuna pouch I bought (major brand, I think it was Whiskas) had no grain either (he liked that one too).

        There are some common brand foods that don't have grain products, but you DO have to read the labels.

        Dry food is the real problem, because just about all of that has some grain of some kind.

        •  Remember to bring your magnifying glass! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GayHillbilly, CSI Bentonville, jhritz

          I found several grain-free cat foods at the independent pet store, including Innova Evo dry.

          It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

          by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:54:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've been using Whiskas (0+ / 0-)

          I just got a cat about 6 months ago and he's a finicky eater....I had to try a series of wet and dry foods before he settled on the Whiskas pouches of wet food....apparently Whiskas is safe....

          Dreams of empire die hard; empire, that goes away quickly.--Juan Cole

          by nota bene on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:00:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with Whiskas/Sheba (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rogun, dirtfarmer, donnamarie, sabershadow

          Is it's a subsidary of Mars, Inc which is one of the 18 families behind the repeal of the Estate Tax (among other things).

          I boycott on that alone. See my dairy from February:

          Here are the 18 families behind the repeal of the Estate Tax along with the companies they are associated with and for both Mars and Campbell's a listing of their product lines:

          The dirty dozen and a half:

          Allyn-Soderberg Family (Welch Allyn Inc.)
          Blethen Family (Seattle Times Co)
          Cox Family (Cox Enterprises, Inc. Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
          DeVos and Van Andel Families (Alticor/Amway)
          Dorrance Family (Campbell Soup Company)
          Gallo (E&J Gallo Winery)
          Harbert Family
          Johnson Family (BET, RLJ Development Co.)
          Koch Family (Koch Industries)
          Mars Family (Mars Inc.)
          Mayer Family (Captiva Resources)
          Nordstrom Family (Nordstrom Inc.)
          Sobrato Family (Sobrato Development)
          Stephens Family (Stephens Inc)
          Timken Family (The Timken Company)
          Walton Family (Wal-Mart -- you knew there was a reason I knew)
          Wegman Family (Wegmans Food Markets, Inc)

          Mars, inc. products include M&M'S, Snickers, Skittles, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Kudos, Combos, Starburst, Twix and M-azing. Uncle Ben's rice products, which include Country Inn, Suzi Wan, and Kan Tong labels as well as the organic product line Seeds of Change foods and also seeds. There is also the pet food lines of Pedigree and Whiskas [and Sheba].

          Mars is owner of Dove "premium" candies and ice creams as well.

          Campbell's encompasses their condensed and Chunky soup lines as well as Franco-American, Pepperidge Farm, Swanson, Prego, and the premium chocolate line of Godiva.

          Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

          by CSI Bentonville on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:36:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Chicken Soup is made by Diamond (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, donnamarie

        and the tainted food made by Natural Balance was packaged in a Diamond plant, according to one of the articles mentioned in this diary. Just thought you'd wanna know.

        And I may be wrong, but I believe that Diamond made a product for another company and that product was on the Menu Foods recall list. I probably shouldn't have said that, because I'm not sure that it's correct, but I'd rather be wrong and make a mistake, then be right and say nothing, under the circumstances here.

        Other then that, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul seems like a great product, but like someone comment below, my dogs won't eat it and I know other people who have said the same thing about it with their dogs. I have no idea why, because it seems like a nice product, but my dogs just won't eat it. I'm now feeding them Canidae and ... gulp ... Natural Balance Ultra Premium kibbles; neither of which contain any wheat or rice gluten. I'll probably hold off on the Natural Balance kibble for awhile though.

        Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

        by rogun on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:50:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can anyone ID a reason this crap would be in... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SusanHu, Winnie, BobOak, martini, lemming22, jhritz

    the gluten (rice, wheat, whatever...)?   Does it bulk up and create volume so that they have to use less real stuff?

    I mean - how/why would it even get near any of these "food grade" ingredients?

    Any thoughts?

    •  Don't know for sure (9+ / 0-)

      but there have been some allegations that the melamine may have been deliberately added to the Chinese wheat gluten to make the protein content appear higher.  Depending on how the protein content is tested using a urea based product might do that (any analytical or food chemists want to comment)?

      If this is so, it is at least logical that a similar contamination might show up in rice gluten.

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:55:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Protein Value (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, barbwires, donnamarie

        Reported protein values aren't actual protein values. The actual analysis is to determine nitrogen content, and multiply be a factor to calculate a protein value. A chemical like melamine is much higher in nitrogen than any protein is, so its inclusion gives a protein number that appears to be higher that the actual protein content.

    •  I believe it is used as a thickening agent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      just like you would use flour to make gravy.  I am not sure but it may add to the protein content?

      "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

      by Owllwoman on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:58:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's one link about how easily melamine (5+ / 0-)

      migrates. (The info on the rest of the site is pretty scary too.) The migration is from plastic melamine tableware into food, but that migration was pretty easy and complete.

      This links to a discussion of the migration of substances, including melamine and formaldehyde from Eastman plasticizers used in food packaging. Possibly packaging is the source of some of the contamination.

      The discussion centers around FDA approval for these products. Maybe some chemists can help make sense of the origins of the contaminaion.

      In America, politics is big business. - J P Morgan

      by 4Freedom on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:03:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Chemnutra, the US importer of the tainted wheat (7+ / 0-)

      ...gluten, claimed that the melamine was added somewhere over on the Chinese side of things so when the product was tested for protein content, it would register higher.  When they do the lab tests for protein they actually measure for certain base chemicals and multiply for a percentage of assumed "protein."
      Anyway, that's their excuse.

      Supposedly then if you used a product with a higher percentage of protein in your feed mixes,and you were a manufacturer, you'd need to use less.

      The Chinese vendors I've looked at who are offering to export grain protein powders (vital wheat gluten, soy protein, corn glutens, etc) into the United States are advertising their products as having a higher protein content than I would expect from just normal processing of those grains.  (over 60% in some cases. Normal unprocessed whole grain is about 8 to 10%, depending on type, the processed inner kernals or heart of the grain should be higher, maybe 40+% for soy meal.) They claim it is because of how they are processing.

      If it does not make a human overtly sick there is no way of telling just what IS in some of this stuff if it is not tested nor inspected closely.

    •  Wikipedia entry on melamine (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogun, Winnie

      seems to suggest pesticides sprayed on wheat were converted by the wheat into melamine, and the contaminated wheat made it into the foods.

      No idea if that's true or not, but that seems to be what this author is implying....sounds plausible but speculative....

      Dreams of empire die hard; empire, that goes away quickly.--Juan Cole

      by nota bene on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:57:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just SWITCHED my dogs to this! (14+ / 0-)

    God, is there no place safe?

    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:46:08 PM PDT

  •  I swear to god...i just opened a can of (15+ / 0-)

    Venison & Brown Rice canned dog food this morning and fed both my dog & cat.  I just give canned food as treats in the morning, so they both got small amounts,but this is too damn scary.

    Thanks for keeping on top of this situation! you & itchmo have been invaluable!!!

    THANK YOU!!

    •  OMG - I am (10+ / 0-)

      so glad you saw this diary.

      Look folks, don't mean to shill for recommends, but please recommend this diary.

      I think there are a lot of people who might be using this food.

      It's so scary.

      I'm so glad you saw this and for what Itchmo (and SusanHu) are doing.

      Have you read about the Kurds and the Zoroastrians yet?

      by jhritz on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:51:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is very distressing (11+ / 0-)

        that so many people switched to this food after the initial reports of the recall, only to learn that it too is not safe.

        The only solution for now that I can think of is to buy food with zero grains, and thankfully there are many (!) brands with no grains at pet food stores.  

        Jhritz, do you have any other ideas?

        Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

        by SusanHu on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:59:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's where (4+ / 0-)

          I'm leaning.  The food I use has some brown rice bran and brewer's yeast (brown rice source) for vitamins.  I called them and they assured me it has no gluten and is locally grown.

          My cats are doing great, so I'm hopeful that it won't be a problem, but I'm watching them carefully.

          Guess that's the best advice:  Avoid foods with grains, make your own food for them if you can (see links above) and watch your animals until this is all sorted out.

          Have you read about the Kurds and the Zoroastrians yet?

          by jhritz on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:02:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have another Q for you (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GayHillbilly, Winnie, martini, jhritz

            A lot of veterinarians are warning people against making their own foods but many recipes I've seen look 100% safe -- i.e., the recipes include the additional supplements that animals need (cats, taurine).  

            Do you think vets recommend against home-prepped meals because 1) they worry people won't follow the good recipes, or 2) they supplement their own incomes with sales of pet food?  

            Dr. Michael Fox, formerly head of HSUS, has an excellent article on pet nutrition -- and there's a link on the left side of the page to recipes that he personally recommends:
            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            (Then, for those for whom such preparation is too much, there are the "raw foods" that people can buy at pet food stores.)

            Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

            by SusanHu on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:13:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong link -- here it is: (4+ / 0-)

              Dr. Michael Fox's article on the recall:
              http://tedeboy.tripod.com/...

              His link to recommended recipes:
              http://tedeboy.tripod.com/...

              Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

              by SusanHu on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:14:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  My vet told me (4+ / 0-)

              that he's seen problems with home-prepared foods with people who aren't careful enough with the nutritional balance. Also, since we know that salmonella, e coli, and who knows what other bacterial  contaminants might be in any of our meats, I suppose if the meat isn't well-cooked enough, that could be an issue.

              He does sell food, but he told me that if I wanted to go to the trouble, he was sure I'd do fine.

              It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

              by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:07:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bacteria are really not as big a problem (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cedubose, Winnie, dirtfarmer

                as you would think. Your dog will drink out of your toilet and love it. My dogs favorite snack is a nice fresh horse apple yummm. Animals esp dogs can handle a much wider range of germs than we can.

                "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future" Oscar Wilde

                by buddabelly on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:11:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, what with the Super-Extra-special- (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Winnie, buddabelly, CSI Bentonville

                  Immuno-enhanced-antibiotic-resistant organisms we're breeding in our farm animals...

                  It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

                  by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:21:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Its insane and the only reason (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cedubose, CSI Bentonville

                    antibiotics are needed is because they cram the animals so close together. If they would return to the older and admittedly less profitable ways of farming illnes would be minimal in farm animals.

                     Its so bad it is actually hard to find pig grower or chick starter without antibiotics, heck it's hard to find pig food period thats not medicated.

                    I havn't had a sick chicken in 10 years, no drugs.

                    "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future" Oscar Wilde

                    by buddabelly on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:28:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  I can always tell when my dogs have (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  buddabelly, donnamarie

                  gotten into the kitty litter box by the way their breath smells when they lick my face.

                •  Bacteria not theoretically an issue (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, Catte Nappe, buddabelly

                  I believe it's because the food stays in their system for a much shorter time -- shorter intestinal tract.  I think I've read also that their stomach acids are much stronger than ours, although I haven't verified that.

                  Feral dogs (and wild canids) eat stuff that's been dead for days or weeks without problem, for the most part.  

                  However, if you are feeding raw you should remember to wash your hands afterwards -- the bacteria might not affect them, but can affect us!  (Although we've never had a salmonella or e coli issue after years of feeding BARF, I'm sure some folks have if they are careless with cleanup).

                  :-) Mel

                  "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!"

                  by ClickerMel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:08:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Would think (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel, Catte Nappe, Thestral

                it's the nutritional balance thing, for the most part. Dog knows I know plenty of humans that can't even seem to get a handle on their own nutritional needs, and those of their pets are very different.

                I've known several people going vegan who didn't bother to research nutrition, either. "What are you doing for B-12?", I asked. "What's B-12?", they responded.

                I don't say this to cap on vegans in general, just to say -- I wish everybody would do some serious research, from reputable sources, before futzing with diets -- their own or their pets'.

            •  I've been making my own (0+ / 0-)

              The way I look at it, dogs have been living off table scraps for centuries. I realize this doesn't mean that they've eaten a nutritious diet in that time and so there may be a need for supplements. For this reason, I mix what I make at home with premium kibble and am hoping that my current brand of kibble (Canidae) remains unaffected.

              I'm sure it's not perfect, but I put more effort into making sure that they eat a proper diet then I do with myself. If nothing else, at least they won't be eating as much kibble as they might if they were eating kibble alone and, hopefully, will be less affected should I mistakenly feed them any kibble that's been recalled.

              I don't know enough about cats, so I can't really say when it comes to them.

              Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

              by rogun on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:11:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The nightmare that (14+ / 0-)

    just keeps getting worse.  This is so scary to me, I can't even find the words.

    Thanks to all of you who are keeping me abreast of this.  

    (On a personal note, thank you Susan.  My girls are now completely transitioned over to Wellness and I settled on Chicken Soup For the Cat Lover's Soul for feeding my strays.  This price of Wellness is well worth the piece of mind I'm feeling when my cats look up at me from their food bowls.)

    Wellness canned cat food contains NO grains.  Click on each flavor for full ingredients.  And their dry Core contains NO grains.

    "Ancora Imparo." ("I am still learning.") - Michelangelo, Age 87

    by Dreaming of Better Days on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 03:58:07 PM PDT

  •  Rice gluten (11+ / 0-)

    atleast one source of rice gluten in the states gets it from China

    UK-based AMC Chemicals says a new rice protein concentrate can offer food makers a non-allergenic alternative to soy and whey that is better absorbed by the body than other vegetable-derived proteins.

    The ingredient, produced in China for US firm Axiom Foods, is also likely to be cheaper than many of the proteins on the market.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:03:08 PM PDT

    •  "Meet Axiom Foods" (5+ / 0-)

      Axiom Foods is an international leader in the food, beverage, nutraceutical and specialty foods industries. At Axiom Foods, we’re dedicated to developing and producing the finest ingredients. We recently introduced a line of rice protein concentrates (Oryzatein™), rice sweetener syrups (Oryzose™) and rice sweetener powders (Oryza™). Not only are they superior in taste, our rice-based products are hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO and maintain the highest level of nutrients.
      We believe that there ARE all natural alternatives to achieve the same functionality as chemically derived products and that is what Axiom Foods strives for, finding those alternatives.

      http://www.axiomfoods.com/

      Axiom Foods, Inc. | 12100 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 800 | Los Angeles CA 90025 | 1.800.711.3587

      Revolutionary words start revolutions

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:55:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could Rec many times (8+ / 0-)

    People switched to Natural Balance because it was 'safe'...they need to know.

    Financial decisions are ethical decisions.

    by trinityfly on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:06:34 PM PDT

  •  jhritz thank you so much for all the work (6+ / 0-)

    you've done on this issue and keeping us informed.  I've been sick (no, not wheat-gluten related, just a "thank you to my brother and many {adorable} small children gathered for easter-egg hunt type illness!) and realized I needed to update myself on this problem and  VOILA! you answer my needs.

      While this may not be the appropriate post, a belated Happy Birthday to You!  I hope your birthday week, oh make it a month, has gotten better!  But it made for such a delicious rant.  :)

  •  Dang (8+ / 0-)

    I mostly use Wellness and Innova and Merrick but have a few cans of the Natural Balance Venison on hand as well (one of my cats likes variety). I guess I'd better check that for gluten of any kind.

    I've fed my guys high-quality food for years, and Natural Balance, I'd thought, was one of the good ones.

  •  Closing FDA Labs (11+ / 0-)

    The Bush administrations answer is to close half of the FDA labs. See how this works is no testing of your food no contaminants found in your food no problem for the corporate food producers-Got It?

  •  I would just like people to consider (18+ / 0-)

    these are the imported foods that local farmers are competing with. We simply must get an idea of what's going on with our food system and start to fix it. Learning more now so we can participate with some knowledge as the Farm Bill comes up again this year is important.

    From the New York Times:

    Some Suspect Chemical Mix in Pet Food
    By DAVID BARBOZA
    Published: April 12, 2007

    Meanwhile the FDA only inspects about 1% of the food imported into this country and still their budget is under the Republican knife.

    More and more food found in supermarkets especially Wal-Mart and even Whole Foods is coming from China even though China is massively polluted (a series of diaries all on it's own) and doesn't have enough land to feed it's own (instead having soy grown in Brazil -- wish I had time to include all the links).

    ~~~~

    I changed my cat's diet because this whole episode forced me to take a look at just what I was buying and I was horrified to see mostly corn (and GE/GMO at that). Now it's a bag from a natural foods store with the promise of no GE/GMO, no by products, and a lot of other nos. Guess what? He's not eating nearly as much. He's actually gained a bit of weight (which is good for him as he was getting boney) and his output doesn't stink like it did. Moreso, I realized once broken down by price per ounce the new food is only minimally more expensive.

    I'm kind of embarrassed knowing all I do about human food in the States that I had been feeding my cat so poorly. Just never occurred to me. Who would think corn would be a major ingredient in cat food? Even cows don't eat corn naturally.

    Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

    by CSI Bentonville on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:31:16 PM PDT

    •  Soy grown in Brazil=rainforest decimation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSI Bentonville, donnamarie

      It's just incredible that we should be importing wheat gluten from China when wheat is grown widely in the U.S.

      Add to this the recent articles claiming the Yangtze River is irreversibly polluted, and you get an idea of how unregulated or poorly regulated chemicals and emissions are.

  •  Something is so wrong still about this whole (7+ / 0-)

    mess .. aminopterin was reported found in NY and in Canada, but now the emphasis is on melamine.

    What happened to the aminopterin?
    Was it a false test result?
    At two different labs?  

    http://www.businessweek.com/...

    http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/...

    Here's the latest from AVMA - {American Veterinary Medical Association}

    http://www.avma.org/...

    •  There's likely to be a connection (6+ / 0-)

      Rat poisoning is a common occurance in China. Just recently in fact:

      But lax food-safety regulation and standards are a problem [in China]; food producers sometimes dye meats to make them look fresher and even sell fake milk powder for babies.

      This week, the Chinese government reported that an elderly woman died and 202 people were sickened at a hospital north of here after they consumed a breakfast cereal that turned out to be laced with rat poison.

      [emphasis added]

      Imported food rarely inspected
      By ANDREW BRIDGES, Associated Press Writer
      Mon Apr 16, 3:13 AM ET

      Each year, the average American eats about 260 pounds of imported foods, including processed, ready-to-eat products and single ingredients. Imports account for about 13 percent of the annual diet.

      "Never before in history have we had the sort of system that we have now, meaning a globalization of the food supply," said Robert Brackett, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

      FDA inspections focus on foods known to be at risk for contamination, including fish, shellfish, fruit and vegetables. Food from countries or producers previously shown to be problematic also are flagged for a closer look.

      Consider this list of Chinese products detained by the FDA just in the last month: frozen catfish tainted with illegal veterinary drugs, fresh ginger polluted with pesticides, melon seeds contaminated with a cancer-causing toxin and filthy dried dates.

      But even foods expected to be safe can harbor unexpected perils. Take wheat gluten: Grains and grain byproducts like it are rarely eaten raw and generally pose few health risks, since cooking kills bacteria and other pathogens.

      Even so, the FDA can't say for sure whether the ingredient used in the pet foods was inspected after it arrived from China. And if the wheat gluten was, officials said, it wouldn't have been tested for melamine. Even though the chemical isn't allowed in food for pets or people, in any quantity, it previously wasn't believed toxic.

      Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

      by CSI Bentonville on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:48:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody knows what happened ... (8+ / 0-)

      with the aminopterin (so-called rat poison).

      Here's the CREEPY part:  The food that the NY lab tested in which they found the aminopterin was provided TO the NY lab by Menu Foods Inc.

      Why would food that Menu Foods submitted for testing contain aminopterin?  But not melamine?

      Quite a mystery.  Itchmo's been wondering about this for weeks.

      Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

      by SusanHu on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:48:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have you seen this info? (5+ / 0-)

        This link was posted to one of the pet health forums I belong to:

        http://tedeboy.tripod.com/...

        Dr. Michael W Fox,DVM etc. states in part:

        How this melamine got into the gluten is still an open question, and some toxicologists still doubt that this is the main cause of so many dogs and cats becoming sick and even dying from kidney failure. I believe that the
        China contaminant is the tip of the iceberg, and could become the scapegoat.

        Possibly glyphosate, an herbicide that is liberally applied to crops across the US, and is a absorbed by crops that are genetically engineered (transgenic or GM, genetically modified), so that they are not harmed by the weed killer while all else growing in the fields is wiped out, could be part of the problem. This widely used herbicide has caused kidney damage and other health problems in laboratory tested animals.
        It is most probably in the pet food that made so many animals sick and even die, and is in most of the crops currently being fed to beef cattle, pigs, poultry, and dairy cows whose produce is not Certified Organic.

        Farmed animals, whose various produce non-vegans consume, are also fed corn and other feeds from genetically engineered crops that produce their own insecticide called Bt. High levels of Bt in crops have made farmers ill and poisoned sheep. Since pet foods show no labels to the contrary, and the FDA does not even permit the labeling of human foods when they contain GM ingredients, we have no way of knowing what we are really eating or feeding to our pets.
        (For details see my books ‘KILLER FOODS: What Scientists Do to Make Food Better is not Always Best.’ The Lyons Press, 2004 and "EATING WITH CONSCIENCE: THE BIOETHICS OF FOOD. New Sage Press, 1997)).

        While my theory that a melamine-like derivative insecticide like cyromazine could have been produced within the wheat plants as a result of genetic engineering may not hold up, and we are dealing instead with a simple chemical contamination, accidental or deliberate, one fact remains. Two independent laboratories found the chemical aminopterin in samples of the recalled pet food that they identified as a rat poison. And that it is, but
        rarely used, and costly. This chemical is used as a genetic/DNA marker, and is included in  U S Patent 6130207, filed Nov 5, 1997 (Cell-specific molecule
        and method of importing DNA into a nucleus).

        There's much more at the site, worth a look.

        you were sick, but now you're well again and there's work to do- vonnegut

        by zzyzx on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 07:31:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I thought that only the lab (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martini

      that Menu Foods contracted to test after the fact found the rat poison and all others found no trace of it.

  •  What about corn gluten??? (5+ / 0-)

    A lot of dry pet foods have corn gluten.

    And what is it about "gluten" that is prone to contamination?

    •  cats dont need (4+ / 0-)

      any grain gluten...
      they are carnivores --- meat is what they need --- and a little vegetables are ok

      i didnt mind a bit of whole grain rice or barley --- but now i will avoid that

      as for dogs i dont know

      they add fillers to gluten --- for color or protein count

      He may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot. Send him back to his father and brothers...

      by distributorcap on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:48:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I suspect the processing. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MattR, jhritz

      It's not that gluten itself is a problem -- whichever grain it comes from -- it's that the grain needs to be processed to separate the gluten protein  from the rest of the grain, and any time there's a processing or handling step, that's an opportunity for contamination to occur.

      There was a diary here that made some suggestions as to how the contamination happened.

      It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

      by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:16:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was an excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel

        With a very plausible theory

        This article (found through howl911) is also very thought provoking. Long article, but well worth a read.

        Of particular concern are indications that Xuzhou Anying, whose main office consists of two rooms and an adjoining warehouse here, may have purchased melamine, the chemical linked to the animal deaths. The company has distanced itself from the pet food contamination and recall, saying it neither manufactures nor exports wheat gluten, but only acts as a middleman trading agricultural goods and chemicals.
        ....
        In recent months, Xuzhou Anying appears to have posted several requests on online trading sites seeking to purchase large quantities of melamine.

        In one March 29 posting on a trading site operated by Sohu.net, a Chinese Web site, people who said they were with Xuzhou Anying wrote, "Our company buys large quantities of melamine scrap all year around." There were also postings on several other online trading sites, like ChemAbc.net.

        ...
        Despite Xuzhou Anying statements, workers in the area say the company does manufacture gluten. A truck driver who was resting Tuesday across the street from the company's main office said that Xuzhou Anying had manufacturing facilities and that he trucked goods for the company.

        "Yes, they have a factory that makes wheat gluten," said the man, who did not give his name and then telephoned the manager of Xuzhou Anying before offering any more information.

        http://www.iht.com/...

        Revolutionary words start revolutions

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:44:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  And once more, I am going to remind everyone (13+ / 0-)

    that chemicals banned for use in the US and Europe can be used in other places, and the foodstuffs can be brought into the US.

    How much testing goes into any of these foods?

    How many stockpiles exist throughout the world with outdated pesticides?

    How do we know that these banned chemicals are not being used on crops grown outside of the US and EU?

    http://www.mindfully.org/...

    http://www.albionmonitor.com/...
    http://www.albionmonitor.com/...

    http://www.ens-newswire.com/...

    http://www.milieukontakt.nl/...

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/...

  •  Monsanto's GM corn MON863 shows (7+ / 0-)

    Monsanto's GM corn MON863 shows kidney, liver toxicity in animal studies

    A variety of genetically modified corn that was approved for human consumption in 2006 caused signs of liver and kidney toxicity as well as hormonal changes in rats in a study performed by researchers from the independent Committee for Independent Research and Genetic Engineering at the University of Caen in France.
    http://www.newstarget.com/...

    Does survival trump goodness?

    by mattes on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 04:54:49 PM PDT

  •  Makes you wonder if gluten allergies (9+ / 0-)

    (which have been becoming more common recently) aren't really allergies and are really people being sensitive to Melamine????

  •  makes me wonder about science diet (6+ / 0-)

    our dog, who was starved nearly to death and still fairly emaciated when we got him, stopped eating his science diet.  We thought it was because he has bad teeth.  When we got him, he would eat anything as fast as he could.  Not like him to turn up his nose at food.

    •  It certainly could be his teeth. (5+ / 0-)

      I suspect that we'll see announcements over the next day or two of other companies which did/didn't use ingredients from the same source. Well, the rice gluten, anyway -- and maybe there'll be enough of a blow-up that other ingredients from the same vendor will be mentioned.

      I'd take him to the vet, mention that you're also worried about tainted foods so they do those blood tests.

      It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

      by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:31:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh shit. My cat's been eating (8+ / 0-)

    Natural Balance Venison and Green Pea Dry Food for Cats.  The last couple days he's looked horrible and has been acting sick.  Thank you, thank you for the tip!  I never even thought of the food.

  •  Thank you again and again and again...... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mad Mom, martini, kml, jhritz

    ....for your ongoing updates and superlative links!  I almost bought this venison mix for my cats but thought they would not like it.  I bought another organic brand that does not contain glutens - my cats won't eat it.    They love tuna but only get that occasionally ( I rinse off the salt).  Now I think I'm going to buy chicken and beef and cook up meals myself.  One of my cats is obese and a link you provided made me realize I need to be more concerned about his condition and what I feed him.  Lots to read but I am soooo grateful for all that you share with us.  Thanks again!

    •  Make very sure you get the nutrients right. (5+ / 0-)

      There are several grain-free canned cat foods, and Innova Evo dry is grain free. It won't hurt the cat to eat just meat or meat and rice for a few days (I used to cook up and puree plain chicken and rice, nothing else,  for my cats after their dental cleanings), but you don't want to go much longer than that.

      It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

      by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:36:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ugh (8+ / 0-)

    I'm going to cry.

    My Great Dane is on Nature's Recipe and my Pug is on Pet Promise. Since I thought they were safe, the bags got tossed (the food is kept in air tight containers to keep from going stale). Now I have to rummage through the garbage again.

    Thanks to everyone who has been keeping us up to date on this.

  •  for christ sakes... (11+ / 0-)

    ...i drove 20 miles out of my way to a feed and seed lot SPECIFICALLY to buy natural balance for my cat. and now this. WTF am i supposed to feed him???

    The radical invents views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. - Mark Twain

    by FemiNazi on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:26:32 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mad Mom, martini, CSI Bentonville, kml, jhritz

    Good work, as always. Multiple recs if I could.

    There is so much to absorb here - a formerly 'safe' food is off the list, a new gluten (rice) is implicated, it came from the US?, and the Natural Balance recall has gone from 2 food lines to 4.  Based on the last go round we can conclude that other food makers may find they have used the same tainted supply, etc. etc.
    What is absolutely horrifying is that people may have switched to this food (or others that may become implicated) to protect themselves from the Menu Food associated brands - even if the particular food in those brands didn't use wheat gluten.

    Of course, I've been out poring over ingredient lists on my cans and bags - corn gluten in the dry, no gluten whatever in the canned. This is so scary to all of us, I know, but especially since our kitty is under ongoing treatment for chronic renal failure (CRF).  What may be helping to save our bacon is I gather gluten is used to enhance protein, and CRF cats are supposed to be on a low protein diet.

    Revolutionary words start revolutions

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:32:47 PM PDT

  •  Put foods you want to recommend here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Expat Briton, The Gryffin, kml

    Please reply to this comment if you have foods you want to recommend.

    Have you read about the Kurds and the Zoroastrians yet?

    by jhritz on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:43:51 PM PDT

    •  For cats (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSI Bentonville, kml, donnamarie, jhritz

      Innova Evo dry is grain-free (but I believe there was some problem for some cats, maybe those who need to be on a low-protein diet?)

      Merrick, Wellness, Chicken soup for the cat-lover's soul I hate that name. Much too long for me., Innova, Felidae, and Newman's Own Organics are some canned grain-free foods (the ones they have at my local store). Double-check, some flavors might have either whole grains or processed grain products.

      It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

      by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:55:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  FWIW all Newman's have brown rice (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, CSI Bentonville, jhritz

        I included a link to their ingredients list in my comment below, but it looks like all the Newman pet foods contain organic brown rice.  I have no idea if that is something to worry about, though.

        •  Whole grains shouldn't be a problem. (4+ / 0-)

          The contaminant was probably introduced at some point in the processing/handling chain.

          I think the Newman's uses only US sources...? Maybe that was another brand.

          It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

          by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:14:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Think you are right (4+ / 0-)

            about Newman's using US sources.  Can't find anything specific on their website, but I just read one of the cans I have and it says they "searched across the United States for only the very best ingrediencts."  I think I'm gonna keep using it, especially since I only give her about a can a week.

            Shouldn't you be working on tonight's diary? :)

        •  I have read several places that (5+ / 0-)

          Whole grains are ok as they are not as processed as the other grains parts that are used.  The organic rice should be fine.  but I would keep an eye out all the same.

          "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." -Carly Fiorina CEO, Hewlett-Packard

          by baffled on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:21:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have switched my cats to (0+ / 0-)

            Innova Evo and Wellness.  Male will eat anything that says "Cat Food" on it, but female has always been picky.  She hates dry food and just nibbles at the wet Innova and Wellness. The only damn thing she really liked was Fancy Feast Salmon Florentine (Purina), which I tossed.  She should weigh about 16 pounds (Maine Coon) but in fact weighs barely 12.  She has a heart murmur, but is frisky and good natured.  How worried should I be if she won't eat as much as I think she should? Any suggestions most welcome.  

            To God: Please stop talking to George Bush. Too much is being lost in translation.

            by miriam on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 08:55:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ooooh - Maine Coon! (0+ / 0-)

              A "large tail with a cat attached on one end".
              Is the 16 pound expectation because of her breed, or her personal history? (ours is small for her breed, not far from 12 lbs. at her healthiest)  If the weight expected is because of her personal history and she's gone from 16 to 12 I hope you've been in consultation with her vet.

              In either case, the important thing is that they eat. It may be a little bit of a nibble, but they have to eat something every day.

              Our cat is CRF (chronic renal failure) and has been less than pleased with her prescription diet - especially the canned. We used to supplement with small treats - flakes in gravy from several brands now recalled (dodged a bullet there). Since the recall we've started using a sprinkle of dried tuna/bonito flakes on the prescribed food - wow! suddenly that dry boring bland stuff got "pretty tasty".

              Revolutionary words start revolutions

              by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:34:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I love Maine Coons (0+ / 0-)

                Neko is a Maine Coon and a very vocal one at that.  He usually weighs in around 12 lbs, but has lost a bit of weight with age.  

                "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." -Carly Fiorina CEO, Hewlett-Packard

                by baffled on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 12:48:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Catte... (0+ / 0-)

                Maine Coon (Tosca) hasn't lost weight--never did weigh more than 12 pounds since she was two years old.  She's now close to three.  But her mother, sister, and aunt all weighed 15+.  Her cousin, my male Maine Coon, weighs 23 pounds and is not at all fat, but simply a big boy.  My vet thinks she's "on the thin side" (which isn't much help!) The breeder is mystified (also no help!). Thanks for your suggestion--I'll try the dried tuna/bonito flakes.  And I suppose she could simply be a nibbler as compared to her cousin who breathes in food.  She is a bit of a diva.

                To God: Please stop talking to George Bush. Too much is being lost in translation.

                by miriam on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 02:20:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Dogs and cats (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, Expat Briton, jhritz

      Pet Promise

      You can read the ingredients right on the website (thanks Catte Nappe!).

    •  Dogs and Cats (5+ / 0-)

      Halo Spots stew. there is a chicken stew and a chicken and clam stew.  I have only seen the chicken stew.

      Nature's variety / Prairie  NO wheat, soy, corn, rice. they also make a raw food diet.  I have bought a couple of cans(not raw) to see if the cats like it.  So far so good.

      Felidae NO corn, wheat, soy.  some brown rice.  cats are taste testing this as well.  

      The main canned food for them right now is Merricks and Wellness.  Most are Wheat,soy,corn,rice free.  Check the labels.

      "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." -Carly Fiorina CEO, Hewlett-Packard

      by baffled on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:19:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  my supremely picky eater (0+ / 0-)

        has taken to the Felidae canned food amazingly well.  the dry food?  Even if my life depended on it he wouldn't eat it.  

        I'm still searching for an organic dry food that he'll eat.  I'm losing faith.  I'm on the 3rd brand, I just don't see this ending well.  

      •  Nature's Variety (0+ / 0-)

        Link.

        We started feeding our cats their "Raw Instinct" brand a few months ago, and they're healthier than I've ever seen them, you can see it and feel it in their coats, the only problem is that they've now got so much energy we can barely keep up. From their site:

        All Nature’s Variety Raw Diets, Canned Diets, and Instinct Kibble Diets are entirely grain-free. Our Prairie Kibble Diets are made with whole, hearty grains (brown rice, barley, oatmeal, and millet) sourced only from the USA.

        They've also got a store locater on there if anyone wants to give them a try.

    •  So far (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Expat Briton, jhritz

      still sticking with Innova. I see no rice in the cat food, whole brown rice, which shouldn't be a problem, in the dog food. The same company's Evo, which I haven't switched to, is grain free.

    •  Wysong Organic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Expat Briton, jhritz

      Wysong Organic http://www.wysong.net/ makes excellent food for dogs and cats. We feed our dog Bailey a mix of either Wysong dry Maintenance or Synorgon supplemented with meat, eggs, veggies or whatever we have that is not spiced/salted. His vet always comments on his coat - how soft and shiny it is.

    •  Great diet for canines, easy and not too costly-- (0+ / 0-)

      But it does take a little time to get it instituted and part of your routine---and absolutely worth it.  I've had dogs all my life, and this is a GOOD THING.

      Use (cooked) brown rice as your "dry" food.  Cook it so that it is fluffy and completely done.  I usually cook enough for 2-3 days in a big pot to cut down on time.

      For your meaty/goody ingredients, obtain organ meats, odds and ends, (avoid most of the fatty chicken stuff) from a local butcher or your friendly counter guys at the local supermkt.  Depending on the store and the type of stuff they stock, you can end up with all sorts of great stuff, and for not a lot of $.  Cook it up with a little garlic ( for artery health---not too much, tho, they'll hate it), and add all sorts of things---a glop of peanut butter, sweet peas, cooked carrots---I add a bit of nutritional yeast every other day. You don't use a hell of alot of this mixture, so it sits in container in the fridge---just whip it out!

      So:  2-3 cups of the brown rice, cover it with a cup of the meat potage, and there ya go.

      I know this sounds very elaborate, but it honestly is not.  Once you get the routine down and the right containers together, it's relatively easy. I'm a busy woman and it's just not a prohibitive routine.  The reward is REALLY healthy pets that almost never have any health problems, great coats, and they just are Happy Campers.  

      These are despicable people, and they do despicable things. Mario Cuomo

      by sally lambert on Fri Apr 20, 2007 at 10:52:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was lucky in that my cat isn't a finicky eater (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, CSI Bentonville, jhritz

    at all. I was able to switch from IAMS kibble to Pet Promise kibble to Wellness wet food, and she eats it. And now that I'm shopping at Whole Foods for pet food, I'm switching myself to more organic foods as well.

    Take a look at the best Progressive T-Shirts around. Drawn by me! On sale now!

    by The Gryffin on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 05:51:36 PM PDT

  •  @#$%@$% (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MattR, AmericanRiverCanyon, jhritz

    I've been feeding both my dog and cat Natural Balance products because I thought it was one of the highest quality pet foods available.

    Thank you for this diary, as bad as the news is I'd rather know it now than before tomorrow morning's feeding.

  •  Off the cuff (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, MattR, CSI Bentonville

    and, to be totally honest, it looks like nobody knows what the *$#&@! is going on, it appears to me to be that everybody wants to avoid any foods with "rice protein" or "rice protein concentrate" listed in the ingredients. Whole rice, which is a common ingredient in a lot of dog food, shouldn't be particularly implicated in this -- but then...

    Then again, nobody appears to know jack shit.

    I'm sticking with the Innova we've been using for the moment, which does include whole rice in the dog food -- I'm not seeing it in the cat food ingredients. But then, seems nothing is quite as safe as it appears, so there you go, take with a grain of salt.

    •  whole rice vs rice gluten (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CSI Bentonville

      I was just thinking about this and trying to figure out if unprocessed rice was safe.  I use Paul Newman's wet chicken and rice as an occassional treat for my dog.  They say it is 100% organic and their ingredients list looks pretty good except for the brown rice (and I saw Paul Newman eat a couple spoonfuls on Leno last year).  

      I'm not gonna put anyone on the spot and ask them if this is safe since new details keep popping up.  But I am wondering if anyone can add any info about the difference between the two and if whole rice is likely to be safer.

      PS.  I feed my dog Eukanuba dry food most of the time.  I am 99% sure that is OK, but please correct me if I missed something.

      •  There's a difference (5+ / 0-)

        in terms of the processing. Without going into much detail, glutens (and rice protein) are just the bulk of the proteins involved in grains (and rice, for rice protein), processed out, essentially by themselves. Given that it appears that it is an unofficial "additive" in the processed gluten/rice protein from specific sources, it is likely that whole grains and whole rice are relatively safe. But again, I've given up on trying to figure this whole problem out logically.

        Another off the cuff thing. Seriously, I am at a loss.

      •  Newman's Own organics (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, CSI Bentonville

        I recently switched my two cats to Newman's Own food (away from Science Diet). They really love the food and the thing I like most about it is that it's based on organic, free-range chicken and turkey. I really like being able to buy cat food and know that it's not made from confined factory-farmed animals, so that's been a big plus for me above and beyond the food safety issues.

        Ocelopotamus: News, politics, and culture. Not necessarily in that order.

        by Ocelopotamus on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:34:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Organic == no chemical fertilizers, pesticides... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hardhat Democrat

        Organic means it's less likely to have the melamine in it as well as dozens of others some of which are used in China but not legal in the States (another reason to buy local). However, I don't believe I trust organic that comes from China and I'm feeling iffy on organic that comes from big companies that answer to Wal-Street.

        If the wheat gluten turns out to be the source of the contamination due to melamine contamination, then organic pet foods would indeed be safer because melamine is not an approved ingredient for use on organic crops.

        Newman's is a privately held company that donates profits to charities -- however his ades, lemon and lime have High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) so I'd stay away from those but they don't claim organic either.

        Still it wouldn't hurt for some of us to write to the companies and ask where they source their ingredients. Even if we don't get answers it will let them know they are being watched.

        I'd also caution, if one is going to go to the hassle of making one's own pet foods then to source the best ingredients and not the CAFO meats and other ingredients sold for human consumption in most grocery stores especially Wal-Mart.

        Mais, la souris est en dessous la table, le chat est sur la chaise et le singe est... est... le singe est disparu! -- Eddie Izzard

        by CSI Bentonville on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 02:51:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  new formula (4+ / 0-)

    NB had just "redone" thier venisons formulas adding rice gluten for the first time in the most recent batches produced. They have declined to name their rice gluten supplier thus far. Strangely, the cat food venison and peas claims not to include any rice products on the label, but does indeed have the gluten in it (new formula). I guess they have a perios of time before they're required to update their labels.

    •  They do (2+ / 0-)

      I had this conversation with the vet when he was at my house.  They have up to 6 months to update the labels.
      Really sucks.

      "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." -Carly Fiorina CEO, Hewlett-Packard

      by baffled on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:27:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  unbelieveable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AmericanRiverCanyon

        Esp when they tout having allergen free fomulas (including no rice).

        I don't think we had any of the newer batches - thankfully we'd gone on vacation and had stocked up for our sitter, so I'd been using stock I'd bought several weeks ago. Regardless, I'm thowing it out. I was still using the wet food, not realizing it would be recalled too.

        Baffled, what food are you using?

        •  I am feeding Wellness Dry (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe

          and for one cat it is being mixed with Science Diet k/d.  Canned is now mainly Merricks and Wellness.  I buy on occasion Halo spot's Stew.  I am also trying out Felidae canned and Nature's Variety/Prairie to see how the cats like it.

          For now the K/D is okay, although I am not excited about the ingredient listing.  It does contain Corn Gluten and so far there are no problems with that.  I am trying to keep up with the recalls and am hoping that no problems turn up with corn gluten.

          "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." -Carly Fiorina CEO, Hewlett-Packard

          by baffled on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 07:43:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I feed my dog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CSI Bentonville

    Dry food called "Innovative Veterinary Diet" by Royal Canin. The website says it is safe. Is that in light of this new Rice Gluten thing?

    It's not easy being a Floridian.

    by lawstudent922 on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:00:50 PM PDT

  •  You gotta be kidding me. (14+ / 0-)

    For whatever it's worth, Whiskers the Wondercat, the Supreme Ruler of the United Federation of Universes, surely would appreciate the continuing effort to educate pet owners on this tragedy.

    114-1447_IMG

    That's the recently deceased Whiskers at the bottom and the (so far) healthy Sockie-Pooh (a.k.a., Stupid Kitty Pig) at the top.

    While Whiskers can NEVER be replaced, for reasons beyond understanding Me and Mrs. BK have become "foster" parents to a couple of orphaned kittens.

    It's almost as bad as when our two sons were babies.  We had to get up at 2 am this morning and give them both a bath 'cause one of them had an upset kitty tummy.

    And the reason I put the word foster in quotes is I know what the real outcome of this supposed "foster" arrangement's gonna be:  they become permanent members of the BK family.

    Welcome Scylla and Charybdis (named after two horrible female monsters in Greek mythology).

    Hosted by Webshots.com

    (Disclaimer:  This is the first time I've included pictures in any of my comments or a diary.  If I did anything wrong, please let me know.)

    v/r

    I had come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

    by TheBigKahuna on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:02:53 PM PDT

  •  Canidae (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rogun, CSI Bentonville, donnamarie

    I just switched from NB Venison to Canidae. I found out Saturday night about the NB recall at Petco. I posted on an Open Thread on Sunday about it, but its really blown up since then. I've been looking far and wide for a good alternative and keep hearing about Canidae. There's a kitty version called Felidae. So far this company seems to be very progressive, but who knows for sure.

    •  I switched to Canidae All Life Stages (0+ / 0-)

      The only grains I found in their ingredient list were brown rice and white rice.  I am contemplating tryin to find a dog food with NO grain.  I just bought another 20 pound bag yesterday and am either going to have to go to the pet health food store and find a grainless food or break into the 20 pound Canidae.
      On a bad note, I've also been feeding Winston the Natural Balance loaf in the lamb formula.  It hasn't been recalled but I'm really worried so I'm going to hunt down an alternative to that just in case.

      Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.- maybe George Carlin. Or not.

      by donnamarie on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:05:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Itchmo has an email alert... (3+ / 0-)

    Somewhere on the front page. I got this email alert from them just after 5pm today.

    (Not to disrespect those who hurry to post these diaries. The more people reached, the better.)

    It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

    by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:10:40 PM PDT

  •  jhritz--hugs for all of your good work!! (6+ / 0-)

    thanks!  I am a member of a breed group--so I hear from others about all of this--I never knew all of this stuff before though--you do us a great service.

    Since this is read by so many animal lovers, I thought I'd put in a plug for a great idea--this woman makes cooling vests for the War Dogs in Iraq--temps reach over 130 degrees and the dogs really suffer, but keep doing their work--check out how you can help here at Helping Udders plus they have great products for your furkids!!!!

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." ~ H.L.Mencken

    by PoliSigh on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:13:42 PM PDT

  •  In previous diaries about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Halcyon, jhritz

    I wrote about how we have been feeding our pets a raw food (meat) diet for many years...and that it's working well for us and them...healthy, shiny coats and few medical problems (the only one that I had to deal with every spring is them getting a reaction to mites from the chicken house...so I don't take them down there in the spring any more).

    There are may sites easily accessed through Google...just put in Raw food diet for pets.

    Financial decisions are ethical decisions.

    by trinityfly on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:15:09 PM PDT

  •  FYI.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...i sent an email to Natural Balance (the address listed on their recall notice and under "contact us" on their web site.

    the email bounced back.

    this is the error notice i got:

    550 5.1.2 <info@naturalblanceinc.com>... Host unknown (Name server: naturalblanceinc.com: host not found)

    the toll-free phone number has been busy for hours.

    this is bullshit.

    The radical invents views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. - Mark Twain

    by FemiNazi on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:20:47 PM PDT

    •  Um (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaintyKat, Catte Nappe

      Did you forget the first "a" in "balance"?  Or did you copy the error notice wrong somehow?

    •  not poking fun at you, truly... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PaintyKat, Catte Nappe

      ...but teh email might go better if it was addressed to info@naturalbalanceinc.com

      i get typos all the time, sreiously.

      oct 2006: -8.75, -5.79
      apr 2007: -8.00, -6.00
      Born too late to live my life

      by Kara Jade on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 08:19:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but but but... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, Catte Nappe

        ...what i did was click on the email link on the press release, bringing up outlook. the junk i got in the email that bounced back is what i copied and pasted in my post up above.

        i spent about a half hour on the phone (not counting the 20 minutes i was on hold) with a rep from the company around 9:30 mountain time. he told me their servers were overwhelmed with emails and that mine probably pinged back.

        don't ask me to explain the vagaries of the internets.

        the food i bought was a mixture they've recalled. the rep told me that their weight management blend has brown rice but no added "gluten." actually, we spent quite a while talking about gluten. he didn't want to refer to it as "gluten," rather a "rice protein." i'm gluten intolerant, and i've only ever heard "gluten" used in relation to wheat, but i ain't no scientist.

        the company is sending me coupons for their weight control blend, which is ok because my cat is rather chubby.

        i'd at work until 9 tonight, and came racing home to make sure the cat wasn't dead, or lethargic, or puking up his kidneys (i feel like such a bad pet parent). he seemed to be his usual sassy self, so i went to the grocery store and bought some friskey's (because it's not on the recall list (at least not yet). i bought myself some thinly shaved roasted chicken from the deli, but gave the cat a slice. spoiled rotten furball. he never eats the expensive deli chicken the next day, because it's "day old" then, i guess.

        sigh

        The radical invents views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. - Mark Twain

        by FemiNazi on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 01:08:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Email Address for Natural Balance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      donnamarie, jhritz

      Dick Van Patten's
      Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc.
      12924 Pierce Street, Pacoima, California 91331
      1 (800) 829-4493 or email us.

      info@naturalbalanceinc.com

      This is the email listed at their web site:

        Natural Balance

      I haven't used the venizen & brown rice but the ingredient that I see that is different than the chicken forumla that I feed that has brown rice and oatmeal is the rice flour and that would be the gluten.

      I remove my recommendation for any of the Dick Van Patten products until there is some kind of all clear.

      This past weekend I moved back to the Nutro, chicken , rice, and oatmeal because it didn't ever include the wheat gluten in the adult forumla.

      However, the puppy and large breed were the large cuts of meat with the gravy in which the wheat gluten was used for thickener.

      Thanks, Jhritz, Susan Hu, and all of you who are sharing and staying on top of this.  I am off to go and real everything and see what the whole score is on updates.

      Peace,
      PaintyKat

      WWYTR? "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" MLK

      by PaintyKat on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:50:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree on the unrecommend (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PaintyKat

        of the Natural Balance from Van Patten.  It seems like when one thing is recalled it seems to snowball.  Now I need to find an alternative to the Natural Balance loaf.

        Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.- maybe George Carlin. Or not.

        by donnamarie on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:08:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Getting a bit scarier (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          donnamarie

          If I was a betting person, I would figure that Nutro already has cleaned their nest and routed out the culprits and that was my thinking on the weekend.

          I just thought that since my food wasn't on the original recall other than those pouch foods that I fed only as a treat.

          But I did read later last night that the Dick Van Patten line, the products were produced in New Zealand that were causing a problem and there had recently been a change in the recipe and ingredients.

          I use the oatmeal base because it is good for sensitive stomachs.  Guess I will be checking to see where it is grown or if it is imported.

          With this past years screw ups in people food like the contaminated spinach and various other vegetables, it is not too surprising we are seeing this kind of lax control over pet food, even the organics.

          Peace,
          PaintyKat

          WWYTR? "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" MLK

          by PaintyKat on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 10:32:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  this is a real shame (5+ / 0-)

    My dog has been on Natural Balance for a few years now. She gets very sick every time she ate animal products such as chicken or beef (we assume she has a reaction to the antibiotics & stuff due to factory farming.) She gets sick with most every kind of food out there, except Natural Balance.

    I had just gotten her two flats of Venison & Rice canned food, but now I'll have to return it. Hope they have cans of Duck&Potato! It's her main treat on a limited diet.

    Does anybody have any recommendations about food for very sensitive dogs?

    In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

    by Lefty Mama on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:23:14 PM PDT

    •  with a sensitive dog your options (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Mama, donnamarie

      are limited, and Natural Balance was serving that purpose well.  Now, however, I would be very careful about any Natural Balance product.  Their website says only the vension products are affected.  Just be careful.

    •  Canidae lamb (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogun, Lefty Mama

      I'm trying it now and my chicken sensitive dog is doing well. So far, they're not invloved in any recalls.

    •  You might try Paul Newman canned dog food (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Mama, Ocelopotamus

      I think it's pretty similar to NB and some say even better. Surprisingly, some of the Krogers stores in my area sell it, so if you shop at Krogers, you might even be able to pick it up there.

      Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

      by rogun on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 01:01:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Mama

        As I noted in an earlier comment, I've become a big fan of the Newman's Own pet food. I'm impressed with Paul Newman and his daughter Nell's commitment to producing quality organic food -- I've been buying their cookies and spaghetti sauce for humans for a couple of years now. So when I decided to switch my cats to organic food, Newman's seemed like a logical choice, and then I discovered it had been there on the shelves of my local Whole Foods all this time. I encourage anyone looking for an organic, cruelty-free pet food to check it out -- you can read the ingredients lists at the Newman's Own site.

        Ocelopotamus: News, politics, and culture. Not necessarily in that order.

        by Ocelopotamus on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 02:08:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just got home (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donnamarie, jhritz

    Where did the Rice Gluten come from?

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:40:35 PM PDT

    •  They haven't announced that yet (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Halcyon

      just that it was a US supplier.

      Have you read about the Kurds and the Zoroastrians yet?

      by jhritz on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 06:45:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  From China (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogun, TiaRachel, Catte Nappe

      through a US supplier whose CEO claims that he told the FDA a whole WEEK ago that the rice gluten was contaminated. Also, they claim to have sold the rice gluten to five pet food manufacturers, but would only name Diamond as one. SO who are the others?????????

      See this link

    •  Rice Gluten in Venizen & Brown Rice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      donnamarie

      I am guessing from reading the ingredients listed on site and I am guessing it is the rice flour that must be used for a thickener.  i previously recommended the chicken formula and it does not include the rice flour but I do recall reading that Dick Van Patten's products  are made in the USDA facilities.

      Would have guessed their procedures would be fairly safe, but it sure doesn't look like it.  

      But if in doubt I sure would be combing any ingredients for rice flour, rice gluten, or wheat gluten.  

      I'm off to read at the FDA site but my sweet Anna Belle has an appt. for Thursday and the vet is going to do a baseline for kidney function because I would rather know so we will know what and where to address any potential damage or future happenings we don't know about yet.

      Again, thanks to all who have continued to be so diligent with gathering and publishing this info.

      Peace,
      PaintyKat

      WWYTR? "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend" MLK

      by PaintyKat on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:57:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am having a lot of trouble (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, marina, Mad Mom, sabershadow

    believing this is not in human food too.

    Best Wishes, Demena

    by Demena on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 07:18:15 PM PDT

  •  Mainstream News (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winnie, jhritz

    I haven't seen anything about this on the mainstream news.  I wonder how people will never hear of this recall.

    •  MSM (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel

      There was a brief mention this morning - either ABC national or our local affiliate. Thus I was on the look out for useful info - like this diary. With the Virginia Tech tragedy other stories are getting short shrift. Also, the initial "menu foods" recall didn't get good solid coverage for over a week.

      As with the last recall, waiting for MSM news will mean lots of affected pets. Net-roots and personal networks are the best way to get the news out in a timely fashion. Refer yourself and everyone you know to howl911 or itchmo to stay up to date.

      Revolutionary words start revolutions

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:09:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  USA TOday (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      is doing a great job covering this.

      Itchmo & USA Today

    •  It was on NBC local in Tampa (0+ / 0-)

      this morning at 5 am.  Word is getting out but it's just so damn confusing to the non-blogger world.  I'm doing my best to keep my non-blogger friends aware of the updates.

      Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.- maybe George Carlin. Or not.

      by donnamarie on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 05:10:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rice Protein was imported from China and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rogun, jhritz

    sold to five pet food manufacturers:

    latest from Itchmo

  •  Here's the odd thing (0+ / 0-)

    Most of the foods being recalled seem to be the fancy expensive stuff, rather than the Purina Cat Chow and Little Friskies, etc.  And of course, the more expensive the food, the less interested is my cat.

    Although the only thing she seems to be interested in is sleeping on my lap for hours at a time!

    In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

    by Paul in Berkeley on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 08:44:49 PM PDT

  •  earthsongranch.com has a GREAT supplement (0+ / 0-)

    that if you MAKE your own food and need the vitamins/nutrients to add.

    Jessica calls it 'sprinkles'...they are AWESOME.

    Go to her website and check them out, they are available for dogs for sure and I believe cats.  They provide all herbs/vitamins/pro-biotics....and are VERY affordable and easy to use.

  •  I've been feeding my cat's mostly tuna, lately (0+ / 0-)

    I've been giving them tuna with a little bit of Iams hard food to give them a bit more balance.  I was hoping this recall stuff would have all blown over by now, but it seems like it just keeps coming and coming and coming...

    I don't know what to feed them anymore.  I really don't.  I don't want to keep them on a mostly tuna fish diet for more than a month...but at the rate the recall list is growing, I'm afraid that by the end of the month, I won't exactly have any more choices.  

    Ugh...this just keeps getting worse and worse...
    Why hasn't this been solved yet?!

    •  Consider a canned cat food (0+ / 0-)

      with NO grains (there are quite a few of these, listed elsewhere on these petfood diaries). A good place to look is in a people-health food store, or in a local pet supply place (not the chains so much) that carries better food. "Wellness" is one brand that's been mentioned a lot and is often available in such stores.

      You are right that the tuna is not a good diet for them. Some people are finding out more about cat nutrition and making their own cat food at home, but if you don't want to do this the NO grain canned foods are an excellent alternative.

      I tried the Wellness cat food with my cat, but he is not used to eating canned food at all and won't eat much of it. Now I'm trying another one, "Life's Abundance" from healthypetnet.com that was recommended by one of the diarists (jhritz). He's still not sure he wants to eat canned food, but we're working on it!

      "It is time, brothers and sisters, for America to be patriotic about something other than war." John Edwards, 1/14/07.

      by sillia on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 10:00:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You might try Merrick's (0+ / 0-)

        (I think I've got the name right) -- it looks and smells a lot like people-food. Or maybe try giving meat-only baby food as a treat, to get him used to the texture.

        It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

        by TiaRachel on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 11:32:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel

          The Merrick's is on my list, of those I might try. But from what I'm reading I just need to be patient and keep offering it--he will slowly adjust. Now he likes it if I give him some in a spoon, but won't eat it out of the bowl! LOL...my husband says, "Are we spoiled yet?"

          The baby food is a good idea too. A few years ago one of my cats (now deceased) was sick and we needed to get her to eat--we tried the baby food at the vet's suggestion, slightly warmed, and it worked out great. She was a healthy kitty for many years after that!

          "It is time, brothers and sisters, for America to be patriotic about something other than war." John Edwards, 1/14/07.

          by sillia on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 12:57:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Tuna is not good, you're right. (0+ / 0-)

      (I thought I'd answered this yesterday -- post got lost in the tubes, I guess.)

      I'll second -- try a whole-grain or grain-free canned food, like Merrick, Wellness, or some of the others mentioned above (make sure you read the labels, ingredients vary by flavor).

      If there isn't an independent pet store or a health food store near you, most of these can be bought online. Some of the brand's websites have links. If you need pointers to reliable online pet-supply dealers, I can wade through my bookmarks & emails to  give you a couple...

      It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

      by TiaRachel on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 11:38:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is so scary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, donnamarie

    I have a bagful of sample bags of Natural Balance that I've been giving Barney. I had two sample bags of the Venison & Brown Rice food but he hadn't had any of that, thank goodness! I tossed those but he's been eating the other flavors. I mix them in with Purina One, which has been his regular food.

    It really makes me nervous wondering what's going to be the next product recalled - is there anything safe I can feed him? Luckily he's doing fine (and he's not a super picky eater) but I worry.

    Proud to live in a Blue State!

    by Sister Havana on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:10:35 PM PDT

  •  But their product description was SO reassuring (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winnie

    Advantages︰ rice protein (feed grade) looks bright and the color is offwhite .It mainly be used to feed the animals .The rice protein concentrate which is the byproduct of rice starch is rich in nutrition. It plays an important part in helping animals grow and against illness . It is good additive, so the animals can grow stronger and eat more . Especially , we can make sure that the animals would be needed for it at all times. Also, people can make good use of the feed ,then ,much proteins will be remained ,feed energy will be improved and feed cost will be reduced .At last ,making animals grow stronger will come ture . Finally, we want to say that it is very useful for feeding cattle , pigs ,chickens, ducks and marine lives ..etc. So it can't be lacked in the feed line.

  •  Pet food companies hit by price increases... (4+ / 0-)

    I got this from a comment over at itchmo.com

    The pet food industry (yes, I own a small pet food company) got SLAMMED with a 20% increase of ingredient costs in Oct/Nov of last year. I pay the bills, so I can testify. Do some homework on commodity markets and you’ll see it.

    This is why I fear that Natural Balance will not be the last recall we’ll see and I have been trying to post about this issue as often as I can. Companies are being forced into trying to meet a certain price point with their products and looking for ways to keep you happy in both price and product. It’s a crisis point for every major manufacturer of pet food. Corners had to get cut and some choices got made that are hurting them now....

    Also, that is why some of your pets aren’t touching their food that they’ve always eaten with such gusto. Formula’s are changing like crazy - and you’d be AMAZED at how you can change a formula with the exact same label, bag after bag and year after year.

    It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

    by TiaRachel on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 09:40:22 PM PDT

    •  And who has been using that rice gluten? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogun, Winnie, count

      We don't know.

      Thacher [CEO of the import company] says it told the FDA on Sunday that it had detected melamine in some rice protein concentrate imported from China about a week ago

      The rice protein concentrate was imported from China by San Francisco-based Wilbur-Ellis. ... the concentrate, which is being tested, is suspected to have melamine, as it was the only new ingredient.
      Wilbur-Ellis CEO John Thacher said his company sold the concentrate to five pet-food makers, but that most of it went to two firms. One of the primary companies was Diamond Pet Foods, which packs some of the Natural Balance product but doesn't use the concentrate in any Diamond-made foods, says Diamond spokesman Jim Fallon. The other major customer, which Thacher would not name, tested the rice protein and found no melamine, Thacher says

      How can that be, that one company is testing positive and another is not?

      Revolutionary words start revolutions

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 10:12:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They didn't find it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        donnamarie

        Doesn't mean they looked for it, or that it isn't there.

      •  And what the heck does Diamond do with it (0+ / 0-)

        if they don't use it in Diamond-made foods?

        •  excellent question. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe

          I think it's semantics.They don't use it in "Diamond-made foods" but perhaps it's used in other foods made within the Diamond facilities?

          •  That was my impression also. (0+ / 0-)

            And I may be wrong, but I believe I remember reading somewhere that Diamond made one of the products on the Menu Foods list for another company. The reason I say this is because I was looking into switching to Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, which is made by Diamond, and I think this is the reason I decided not to use it (along with the fact that my dogs wouldn't eat it.)

            Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

            by rogun on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 01:19:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Diamond makes Kirkland foods (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rogun, TiaRachel, Catte Nappe, count

          Sold at Costco. It is the same as Diamond Professional. Prices did go up this year, but it is still reasonable. There is no gluten of any kind listed. Whole brown rice and white rice flour in the dog food Lamb and rice. No white rice in the cat food. No byproducts, wheat, corn or soy. The rest of the ingredients are fairly typical premium food ingredients like cranberries and whole veggies, and taurine. My critters do very well on it, and not so well on supermarket brands (especially the cats-their fur gets harsh on supermarket brands and the catbox reeks. The dogs eat supermarket brands like they are hungry all the time.) Kirkland also acts like a premium food--great coats, eat less of it, smaller poops. I've fed many of the expensive brands such as Innova, and the Costco food seems as good. Innova silver has too much protein for all the time dog feeding. I do use Innova large breed puppy for weaning standard poodle pups and for at least 6 months of puppy feeding.

          Prairie food is also excellent. But being disabled I seldom can afford it. Prairie is organic and contains probiotics. Catbox stank less when the cats were eating it. They only liked the chicken and rice. Not the other flavors. Never tried their raw foods, of which Prairie has a large selection. I had a poodle who was allergic to something in the chicken and rice dog food, so I switched back to Kirkland. Problem solved (red eyes and runny nose).

          Barbara Lee and Howard Dean Speak for me! -9.25 -9.18

          by laurak on Tue Apr 17, 2007 at 11:30:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •   Norquist's bathtub again (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bensdad, TiaRachel, Sister Havana, mavros

      Right on. As I noted a while back on my home blog, this is all really just one more side effect of the Republican campaign to deregulate everything and starve the government of funding for needed programs, so that billionaires can get those sweet, sweet tax cuts. That's why the FDA hasn't had the resources to monitor pet food as carefully as it should have been.

      So it all goes back to Grover Norquist and his famous line about wanting to drown the federal government in the bathtub. It just so happens that he may have also drowned a bunch of cats and dogs in the process.

      Ocelopotamus: News, politics, and culture. Not necessarily in that order.

      by Ocelopotamus on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 02:15:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, mavros

    We should all start cooking everything from scratch, and buy organic ingredients!

    The process is the reality. ~ Samuel Johnson

    by splashy on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 12:46:47 AM PDT

  •  I'm late in coming (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winnie, jhritz

    but I am absolutely aghast.  I just started feeding Winston the Natural Balance loaf along with his Canidae when this whole thing started.  Thanks jhritz and SusanHu for all your work on this.

    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.- maybe George Carlin. Or not.

    by donnamarie on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 03:47:32 AM PDT

  •  Our animals depend on us.... (0+ / 0-)

    This is just scary. Our Kidz(pets) Depend and trust us to feed them well, and care for them.  

    Yet we get the fear and uncertainty that we can actually do that with all the recalls. This is just a frightening thing.

    I feed my dog and cat the same dry food. My cat will NOT eat cat food. So far both are healthy, and the dry dog food i use is not on the recall.  

    The only Treats doggie gets are rawhide and jerky sticks.

    But I'm still worried.....This is a scary thing.

    •  Feeding the same food? (0+ / 0-)

      Same brand, or actual same food? Because cats have nutritional needs that aren't met with dog food. It's also better for cats to have wet food, because it's a way to keep them hydrated.

      Your cat will not stay healthy without the right nutrition. Maybe you need to try other brands of cat food.

      There were food suggestions above, and howl911.com has an assortment of links that can help. To get the cat used to the texture of wet food, you might try giving meat-only baby food as a treat -- the best brand is just pureed meat and broth.

      Yes, it's scary. And infuriating.

      It's the Sausage Grinder of Snark: the Daily Show/Colbert Report spoiler (and chat) thread, Live at 11.

      by TiaRachel on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 11:51:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More foods added to list (0+ / 0-)

    Didn't see it mentioned here, but Itchmo has two more recalls.

    Natural Balance cans and pouches.

    American Bullie dog chew products.

    Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

    by rogun on Wed Apr 18, 2007 at 12:11:59 PM PDT

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