Recall on Dog Food

Kelly Roper
Is your dog's food safe?

During 2007's unprecedented recall on dog food, millionsof pet owners nervously watched on as brand after brand was added to the list.

Recall on Dog Food: Biggest in History

If you followed the reports about the pet food contamination scandal that began in the spring of 2007, you probably already know that close to 100 brands of wet cat and dog food were recalled.

Most of the affected food was produced between December 2006 and March 2007, but more brands were added to the recall list on a regular basis, including some brands marketed as all natural dog food.

Many well known brands and chain stores were touched by the recall since retailers like Wal-Mart, Kroger and PetSmart unwittingly sold a lot of the contaminated dog food listed.

Sources of Contamination

The FDA's investigation into the pet food contamination originally revealed traces of melamine in whey gluten imported from China. Whey gluten itself is a natural food product used as a thickening agent in foods, but the melamine presents a definite problem.

China still uses the chemical melamine in its weed control program, but the USA does not. Melamine has proven very toxic to cats, and slightly less so to dogs, and this is probably why the death rate for cats was so much higher during the crisis.

Further investigation into the recall on dog food revealed melamine in rice gluten also imported from China, and this particular contaminant was found in additional pet food brands that would not have been included in Menu Foods' own recall.

The Recall Lists

To date, brands recalled by Menu Foods during the crisis included:

  • Americas Choice
  • Authority
  • Award
  • Best Choice
  • Big Bet
  • Big Red
  • Bloom
  • Cadillac
  • Companion
  • Compliments
  • Co-Op Gold
  • Demoulas Market Basket
  • Eukanuba
  • Food Lion
  • Giant Companion
  • Grreat Choice
  • Hannaford
  • Health Diet Gourmet Cuisine
  • Hill Country Fare
  • Hy-Vee
  • Iams
  • La Griffe
  • Laura Lynn
  • Loving Meals
  • Master Choice
  • Meijers Main Choice
  • Mighty Dog Pouch
  • Mixables
  • Natural Life
  • Nu Pet
  • Nutriplan
  • Nutro Max
  • Nutro Natural Choice
  • Nutro Ultra
  • Nutro
  • Ol'Roy Canada
  • Ol'Roy US
  • Paws
  • Performatrin Ultra
  • Pet Essentials
  • Pet Pride
  • Presidents Choice
  • Price Chopper
  • Priority Canada
  • Priority US
  • Publix
  • Roche Brothers
  • Save-A-Lot Choice Morsels
  • Schnucks
  • Shep Dog
  • Springsfield Prize
  • Sprout
  • Stater Brothers
  • Stop & Shop Companion
  • Tops Companion
  • Triumph
  • Truly
  • Wegmans Bruiser
  • Weis Total Pet
  • Western Family Canada
  • Western Family US
  • White Rose
  • Winn Dixie
  • Your Pet

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added even more dog food products to their comprehensive recall list. In addition to the brands specifically mentioned by Menu Foods, other affected brands included:

  • ALPO
  • Blue Buffalo (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Bruiser
  • Canine Caviar Pet Foods (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Champion Breed Large Biscuit
  • Champion Breed Peanut Butter Biscuits
  • Companion's Best Multi-Flavor Biscuit
  • Costco/Kirkland Signature (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Diamond Pet Food
  • Diamond Pet Food (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Doctors Foster & Smith
  • Doctors Foster & Smith (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Dollar General
  • Eukanuba Can Dog Chunks in Gravy
  • Eukanuba Pouch Dog Bites in Gravy
  • Gravy Train
  • Happy Tails
  • Harmony Farms (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Harmony Farms Treats (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Iams Can Chunky Formula
  • Iams Can Small Bites Formula
  • Iams Dog Select Bites
  • Jerky Treats Beef Flavored Dog Snacks
  • Mulligan Stew Pet Food (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Natural Balance (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Natural Way
  • Nutro - Ultra
  • Nuture
  • Ol' Roy 4-Flavor Lg Biscuits
  • Ol' Roy Peanut Butter Biscuits
  • Ol' Roy Puppy
  • Perfect Pals Large Biscuits
  • Pet Life
  • Royal Canin (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Shop Rite
  • SmartPak (RICE GLUTEN)
  • Stater Brothers Large Biscuits
  • White Rose

Affects on Dogs

Melamine appears to have a detrimental affect on dog and cat kidneys, resulting in symptoms that are very similar to those found in animals suffering from kidney disease. The progression of symptoms is quite rapid, and by the time early victims showed signs of illness it was already too late. Signs of illness associated with the contaminated dog food included:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

It's wise to seek veterinary care immediately if you ever suspect your dog may have eaten contaminated food.

Further Complaints about Menu Foods

Although Menu Foods immediately set up a help line to take calls from distraught pet owners whose animals had eaten the contaminated foods, the company eventually began to fight back against the people who were suing them.

According to a report in USA Today that was subsequently reported by AOL News, Menu Foods harassed a number of complainants with repeated phone calls. Lawyers representing these individuals filed a motion in a New Jersey federal court to stop the harassment.

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman examined the evidence and entered a consent decree that ordered Menu Foods to only contact complainants through their legal representatives.

What You Can Do During a Recall

Anytime there is a dog food recall, look deep into your cupboards for any lingering cans or packets, and check the brands and dates against the lists provided. If you suspect you've feed your dog contaminated food, call your vet right away.

Next, call the FDA to find out what, if anything, your next step should be. In some cases you may be able to receive compensation for your expenses.

Finally, remain vigilant. Do not risk feeding listed foods to your dog. Check the dog food recall lists daily to be sure which foods have been added or removed from the list. Your diligence may save your pet's life.

Recall on Dog Food