Thursday, May 3, 2007

Pet Food Recall Update and Call to Action

Dear Friends, Since March 16 more than 5,600 pet food items have been recalled after the discovery of contamination with the industrial chemical melamine. Please be aware that today , May 2, Menu Foods expanded once again the items on the recall list. Check the FDA recall list for updates on recalled items. The list of contaminated protein sources has also grown from just wheat gluten and rice protein to include corn, soy, mung bean and other protein (amino acid) additives. As pet care professionals, we are outraged by this, the largest food poisoing incident in U.S. history. We are deeply saddened by the loss of two of our clients, a dog and cat, as a result of ingesting tainted food. Initially, the FDA would confirm only 16 deaths associated with the food poisoning but on April 27 they reported 17,000 consumer complaints (1950 cats and 2200 dogs deceased.) The largest nationwide chain of veterinary hospitals, Banfield, has extrapolated from data they collect on clients that here could be as many as 39,000 pets affected by the poisoning. What you choose to feed your pet is the most important choice you make for their health and longevity - you have complete control over this aspect of your pet's life. Can we honestly say that we believe that a highly processed cereal based food is the ultimate nutrition for the etire life of our dog or cat? Could you eat wheaties for your entire life at every meal and be healthy? Feeding your dog or cat wholsome, fresh food is the best way to provide optimal nutrition. If your Vet can not provide you with advice on home prepared meals find another Vet or check out resources posted on the Creekside Critter Care website for preparing meals for your pet. Perhaps you never use commercially prepared foods - fantastic - but chances are you know someone who does - encourage them to think carefully about what they are feeding their pets. Could it be the the illness and untimely deaths of our beloved animal companions should serve to alert us to a broader danger in our food supply? This week we hear reports of pigs and chickens ingesting contaminated feed entering the human food supply. The FDA tells us that there is "minimal or no risk" associated with such an exposure - this is an easy claim to make when we have no experience with such an exposure. This week the FDA is testing a range of foods we consume every day from bread to infant formula. At this point, there is no doubt that the poisoning extends to the human food supply. We man not get sick and die like the thousands of cats and dogs but make no mistake - there are human health consequences as a result of chronic exposure to chemicals in our food supply be it melamine or pesticides. Let's think about our food choices and reduce demand for food stuffs that are cheap, convenient and inferior. We can all make a difference with simple every day purchasing power. Summer is just ahead of us take a trip to the local farmers market and make a meal with fresh ingredients for you and your pets.- see The Honest Kitchen website for great free pet food recipie ideas ( Wishing you health and well being, Maryellen Elcock, MPH, PhD .