March 31, 2012: They’re Killing Your Pet.  And You Could Be Next!

I’ve been reading Marion Nestle’s Pet Food Politics, a book that details the mass 2007 tainted pet food recall and its far-reaching implications.  For those of you who don’t know, back in 2007, cats and dogs started dying under mysterious circumstances.  Panicked pet owners contacted the FDA which, in turn, contacted pet food companies.  Ensuing tests discovered the presence of melamine (used as a fire retardant, fertilizer, and in industrial plastics) and cyanuric acid (a chlorine stabilizer) in their products, two chemicals that, when combined, can result in kidney failure.  Further investigation revealed that their presence in the pet food was clearly not an oversight or mistake on the part of Chinese suppliers.   Melamine and cyanuric acid, it turns out, are added to animal feed by unscrupulous suppliers because they make the feed appear as though it contains high amounts of protein. In the case of the pet food ingredient coming in from China, wheat gluten was the culprit.

The book offers a fascinating and incredibly troubling overview of the scandal, the fall-out, and the possibility that it could happen again because there are no proper safeguards in place to protect our pets – and, apparently, the human food supply. Among the surprising revelations in Nestle’s book is the fact that some of that tainted wheat gluten found its way into animal feed – chickens, pigs, and fish destined for dinner tables.

It may also interest you to know…

– Menu Foods, the company at the heart of the largest pet food recall in history (60 millions cans), manufactured pet food for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers. From cheap Walmart brands to high-end premium labels like Iams and Eukanuba, “they were all lumped together in one recall, all made at exactly the same place, all with virtually identical ingredients, and all made by one manufacturer.” (Pet Food Politics, Marion Nestle – P. 14).  Menu Foods is criticized for waiting so long to issue a recall (about a month after the first reported cat deaths) and there is the implication that they would have waited even longer had their best customer, Proctor & Gamble, not forced their hand.  Menu Foods  was bought out by Simmons Pet Food in August 2010.

– Menu Foods had bought the contaminated wheat gluten from a company called ChemNutra, a Nevada-based importer of food, animal feed, and pharmaceuticals that has described itself as “The China-Source Experts”.  The wheat gluten it sold to Menu Foods had come from a Chinese manufacturer, Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development, that denied any knowledge of how the melamine got into the food and even denied shipping wheat gluten to the U.S.  However, a truck driver interviewed by a New York Times reporter revealed the company had a factory that made wheat gluten, a factory that was, suspiciously, shut down since the scandal broke.  There are suggestions the company ran a shipping scam, exporting the wheat gluten through another company (Suzhou Textiles Silk Light Industrial Products Arts and Crafts Import and Export Company) to bypass Chinese food inspection.

– The Chinese government shut down the companies associated with the scandal and detained its managers.  Neither, it seems, faced any criminal prosecution. Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of the state food and drug administration didn’t fare as well. He was accused of accepting $800 000 in bribes for drug approvals and subsequently executed.

– From 2006 to 2007, China was the largest supplier of food additives to the U.S. More than 50% of U.S. apple imports originated from China, 21% of seafood imports, and 24% of animal food products.

– The FDA is surprisingly ineffectual.  It doesn’t have the power to issue recalls of harmful foods, only suggest voluntary recalls.  They are underfunded, receiving 20% of budgetary support to the USDA’s 80% (even though the FDA is responsible for monitoring the safety of 80% of the food supply as opposed to the USDA’s 20%). They are also undermanned.  In 2007, they were able to inspect only about 1% of the 25 000 daily food imports.  Of the 20 000 food products that came in from China in 2006, they were only able to inspect roughly 2%. (Pet Food Politics by Marion Nestle – PP. 146-147).

– The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is even less inclined to get involved in matters relating to the health and safety of our pets.  According to a spokesperson for the CFIA, Canada doesn’t regulate pet food  because “We’re the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  We deal with food – and food is for humans.” (Pet Food Politics by Marion Nestle – P. 158).

Which brings us to this week when I noticed Jelly was feeling under the weather, vomiting and drinking excessive amounts of water.  I brought her to the vet who checked her out and sent her home with some meds.  She was on the road to recovery when Bubba fell ill, exhibiting the same symptoms.  Was it mere coincidence that we had picked up a bunch of new treats for them earlier in the week?

According to the labels I checked, the products were made in North America – but that’s small solace given that there’s a difference between being made in North America with North America ingredients and being made in North America with ingredients from China, a distinction that is lost on some companies.  Add to this the fact that a couple of the pet food companies caught up in the recalls claimed to have no knowledge that some of their ingredients were sourced from China, and I’m erring on the side of caution.  The treats went into the trash.  At which point I turned my attention to the dog food I’ve been buying – Royal Canin and Hills both of which, it turns out, were part of the mass recall back in 2007.  Yesterday, I contacted both companies and asked them whether the ingredients in any of their products originate from China.  I’ve yet to hear back but will report their responses when I do.

While I was doing a little online research for this entry, I learned of another ongoing pet food issue.  Dogs are getting sick (600 reported cases including my sister’s husky, Aspen) and all fingers point to chicken jerky treats from China, but no recall has been issued because, according to the FDA, “a definitive cause has not been determined”.  Still, that hasn’t stopped the FDA from linking three products to the recent problems:  Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky, Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Jerky and Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats, the first two made by the Nestle Purina Pet Care Company and the latter made by the Del Monte Corporation.

Back in July 2011, when first approached about the possibility that it’s product may be making dogs sick, Waggin’ Train responded: “…In 2007, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice regarding dog illnesses, but was unable to determine a definitive cause of the illnesses or a direct link to chicken jerky products. To date, extensive testing performed by the FDA has not uncovered a contaminant or specific ingredient as the cause of any illness, including in Waggin’ Train treats. It is widely accepted that any association between dog illnesses and chicken jerky is likely the result of dogs (primarily small dogs) consuming treats in excess of normal or recommended levels. Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be used occasionally, in small quantities. Consumers should read and follow the feeding guidelines found on Waggin’ Train packages.”  In other words: “It’s not OUR fault.  It’s YOUR fault.”

Doubt it.

The attitude of the FDA, the CFIA, the government, and these pet food companies is maddening.  They say they care about the health of our pets but actions speak louder than words.  I don’t trust any of them.  And, after reading Pet Food Politics, you may have reservations as well – when it comes to not only pet food safety, but the safety of the food you eat as well.

So, what can be done?  Well, you can start by getting involved, making some noise, writing your government and these pet food manufacturers to let them know you’re worried and want to know what they’re doing to address your concerns.

Educate yourself on your food sources.  Buy local as much as possible for both yourself and your pet.

And, if you can, start cooking for your pet.  Today, I’m picking up some chicken, beef, and veggies for the gang.  Will they be safer?  Probably?  Will they be happier? Definitely.

March 31, 2012: They’re Killing Your Pet.  And You Could Be Next!

58 thoughts on “March 31, 2012: They’re killing your pet. And you could be next!

  1. @Das – Happy Anniversary!

    I can’t agree more about the buying local thing. It’s so beneficial on a number of levels, health not being the least of which. The mystery of the modern food production chain should be of a great concern to everyone. It pays to be as well informed as possible.

    What even more troubling is that there are forces in both countries which would have have even less or NO regulation of food production and quality. Scary.

  2. Love it!

    BTW – Cookie Monster got his copy of The Punisher. Thanks, Kymm. Monster say no tanks kim.

  3. Hilarious video! Hey Joe, Ron and I have been going through the same thing you are with the dog food and treats. We use Hills Prescription and as far as I know, the prescription diets were not involved in the recall. I have been back and forth with all this for about a month. I contacted the company that makes the treats I’ve been using for years only to be told that the treats are made in the USA, but when pressed a little harder by asking if they were made without Chinese ingredients, the person on the other end hadanothercallgottagonicetalkingtoyou. As of this week, I’m making their treats and their food. I contacted my vet for suggestions for my dogs, and she had plenty, so that’s a help. Of course, the change will have to be over the course of a week or two, but we’ll see how they do. Molly is very finicky, Gumbo will eat anything that’s not nailed down, and Elway will love anything I make for him. Luckily, no more pink slime in the meat at Publix. 🙂 Damn, what a world we live in!

  4. I want to generically commend you on your blogging skills – great research, informative, straightforward, accurate phrasing. Please don’t direct me to the spam bin, but there is more excellent about your foray into this genre of writing than just the topic you chose. Take one apostrophe out and it’ll be too polished for Time magazine.


    I disagree that the FDA is under-funded. I think they should be unfunded. Make them compete for our trust with the certifying agencies, think tanks, and information providers that could exist if their main competitor wasn’t funded by involuntary contributions. The FDA can even use legal violence to silence competing information providers.

    As it is, I don’t trust what the FDA says about whether something is safe and I’ve seen cases where government agencies have falsely classified safe things as unsafe. Government regulatory agencies are how big businesses get unfair competitive advantages over upstarts and their competitors. Claims of advocating for safety are just the gimmick they use to be allowed to exist.

  5. Wow. I surprised, but at the same time, I’m not. I’m no longer surprised at the lengths a big company will go to save a penny or two. When ensuring quality is sacrificed for the sake of profitability, we all lose. It seems more and more, I hear about all the shady manufacturing practices and health and labor violations going on in China. Between that and just the sheer lack of build quality, I recently decided to stop buying products made in China. It’s fairly easy since I don’t shop at WalMart. Haven’t for about 7 years. The supermarket I shop at is a locally started, owned, and sourced establishment that has just as good prices as everybody else so it’s really a non-issue. Plus, I like that the produce comes from local sources and that the money stays local.

    After reading this, I’m fairly certain that this is what caused my cat Wacko’s death. It was by kidney failure. This makes perfect sense.

    As for the tainted wheat gluten, I wonder what other products that stuff got into. I’ve got a few friends that over the last few years acquired some degree of celiac’s disease. Basically, they’re allergic to gluten. But to differing degrees, and that’s what I can’t figure out. I don’t have any allergies, so I don’t know. I just figured allergies were all or nothing. But if they were repeatedly affected by tainted wheat gluten and their body grew more and more intolerant of gluten because it couldn’t process it with those bad chemicals, it makes sense that those enzyme producers in your digestive system that normally digest gluten would stop working properly.

    Other than that, I noticed the increased frequency of dog videos in your blog. If this is what it becomes due to you being overly busy with everything that’s going on with the comic, the horror movie, and the potential series’….. I’m ok with that! Like I’ve said before, pugs are my second favorite breed, so I’m perfectly happy with the content.

    -Mike A.

  6. I saw you were reading Marion Nestle’s Pet Food Politics and thought you might comment. You must name the product that is now in the trash that made Jelly and Bubba and your sister’s dog sick. I want to know. I don’t want to buy it for my dog. We all need to unite!! If a product makes your pet sick, post it. Then sales will go down and they will stop making it. We need to force these companies to make a safe and healthy product.

    A lot of these companies producing pet food are not even in the pet food business. Nestle Purina is a people food/chocolate company. They only have a pet food line because it is extremely profitable. Their product is crap. Read the label. No one sells cheaper, crappier dog food than Walmart. But they do because it is very profitable. Read the label. See the common thread? It’s all about profits. They don’t care about your pet. Just keep buying their garbage.

    I posted this here before when I got my beagle puppy about 3 years ago after doing some research.

    Ingrediants you do not want to see on the label: NO grain, wheat, soy, corn, NO BY PRODUCTS!, corn glueton. The label should list at least 2 meats first.

    Good brands: Wellness, Wellness Core, Timberwolf Organics, Orijen, Go Natural, Artemis Maximal Dog, Blue Wilderness, Horizon Legacy, Instinct, Solid Gold Barking at the Moon, Taste of the Wild, Merick.

    Like you said Joe, to be sure, do your homework or just cook for your dog. And spread the word if something you feed your dog makes them sick. I want to know too. The manufacturers will wait until hundreds of beloved pets are dead before they will say anything.

    One treat I have right now is Canyon Creek Ranch Natural Duck Tenders. Should I throw it away? Is this like the Chicken Jerky treats?

  7. AND another thing that pisses me off so bad!!!! You know, these food companies can screw with my food, and make the containers smaller while slowly raising the prices so that you are getting less for more money, and I know that. But please leave my dog’s food alone!!!

    My last dog lived to be 16 years old. She was on a strick diet and I carefully measured what she ate. One thing she ate was one can of dog food (Science Diet, which is also crap!) each night for dinner (that I spoon fed her 🙂 ). Then suddenly the manufacturer makes the can smaller by about 2-3 bites. Do you think my dog noticed? You bet your sweet —— she noticed!! She would stand there looking at me when all the food was gone as if to say, “where’s the rest?” I felt so bad I had to open another can for her 2 -3 more freakin bites because of the stupid manufacturer!

    I called them yelling (talking very authoritively) and told them I would rather they just raise the price than cut the quantity and I would then decide if I wanted to continue buying their product. They just said they thought this would be easier on their customers. My dog didn’t think so!!

    They just make me so mad sometimes! It is my dog’s life they are playing with. Now a 20 pound bag of dog food is 18 pounds. Sh..!!!!!!!!

  8. Thanks Joe….it is shared. GOOOD Stuff.
    @ Winst – cool vid.
    @ Akemi – lol… Don’t tell Joe.

  9. Ha! That IS how I imagine Joe at a restaurant. (Just kidding, of course.)
    Well, minus the hat.

    That link about The Transporter is very interesting. I wonder if that show will ever come to air? That’s the first thing I’ve read about it for ages.

  10. Not a new avatar anymore. Something tells me Joe would’ve seen through the ruse if there were an impersonator.

  11. Forgot to say truffles looked so wonderful yesterday, way to go Akemi, you are really good at them.
    Happy Anniversary Das!
    @Winst, funny video, thanks for sharing.
    ANd Joe I really hate it that pet food is so unchecked by anyone, where is quality control.. I know, probably the same place it is for humans, non-exsistent. Such a shame, along with the pink slime goo. A friend of mine has some pet food issues, and changed her cats diet to more natural and the hair grew back. Makes me rethink what I eat. I guess I will just stick with chocolate, everyone says that is good for you. Hope the pups are feeling better

  12. @das: Happy Anniversary! I hope you did something fun this weekend.

    @Joe: Scary stuff. I’ll have to talk to my vet about dog food. My dog has been eating Purina One all her life and doing very well on it, but it may be time to change.

  13. Just for the record….to everyone…I shared that video because
    I thought that Joseph might get a slight kick out of watching it.

    I in no way intended for anyone to think that I might think that Joseph
    is or acts in anyway at all like that actor does in that video.
    The sharing of that video was *not* meant in that way at all…I swear…I promise.

    I happen to be one of the regular readers of Joseph’s blog that likes it very
    very much when he shares all of the images and comments about his
    interesting and intriguing food/meals.
    (…PLEASE keep it up all of your great work..and eating Mr. Mallozzi!)

    …..but I must add that I did release a rather odd sounding snort-like
    chuckle when I read what Akemi shared about the guy in the video
    acting like Joe

    I mean…Akemi most certainly would be one to know…about Joe.
    …and I am really left wondering about exactly what she might have meant
    with the sharing of those words.

    Akemi….always so cute…so observant…….and so..Akemi.

  14. Joe- this is a very worrying problem. I first became aware of the issues of questionable ingredients in pet food when there was a news story about the Kirkland Brand food sold at Costco came under fire (since that what we now used to buy). Further reading and research unearthed a much bigger problem. Between the poisons that are being put in pet food to the crap the Chinese were putting in infant formula, you can’t get away with just reading labels carefully. We, too,began making food for our own pets. When I read your blog entry today a horrible thought crossed my mind- Do you wonder if any of those suspicious ingredients- like the melamine and the other crap might have caused dear Max’s mouth/throat cancer or contributed to Jelly’s hip issues? These thoughts are, of course, horrific to consider even a little bit.

  15. @ Joe – Thanks for the info. It’s something I’m very concerned about. Right now I am feeding my indoor cat a food that comes from Asia, mainly because it’s the only thing she eats that doesn’t make her body smell (I think she was having a bad reaction to her old food – it gave her a terrible odor). Needless to say, I’m very concerned about pet food right now, but I will have to read it in more detail when I’m up to it. (Right now, I’m chillin’. 🙂 )

    @ Everyone – Thanks for the anniversary wishes!

  16. Asked my first Vet what food he recommended & he said Iams. Learned years later from reading on the web that Iams, Eukunuba & the other popular brands pay Vets to tell their customers to buy their particular brand. Another thing that as far as I know is true, is that years ago Eukunuba was caught putting saw dust in pet food and counted it towards ‘fiber’.

    Switched to Blue Buffalo and then they came out with the grain-free food, my dogs seemed to do pretty well with it, better than Iams which I swear was making them sick.

    Recently read about Castor & Pollux and bought a big bag at Whole Foods, I like the list of ingredients in it and it’s around $5.00 – almost $10.00 cheaper there than at PetCo or Petsmart. 🙂

    This site is very informative:

  17. @ Everyone, again – Sorry about that…accidentally hit the comment button before I was done. 😛 Anyway, thanks again! Alas, we haven’t done anything special this weekend. I paid bills – robbed Peter to pay Paul, and the mortgage, electric, insurance, phone, satellite…you get the idea. Not really sure what I’m gonna do once Peter peters out. 😛 I also cleaned the house. Mr. Das has been painting all day for one of his locksmith customers (he’s actually a good painter, so I have no idea why my living room hasn’t been painted in 16 years…now THAT would have been a nice anniversary present!).

    So today didn’t quite work out as planned (well, except fo the fantastic rugby I watched today, one of the best matches in ages…but that’s neither here nor there). Last week we did go away for a couple days (which was a sort of anniversary getaway), and next week we hope to go out to our favorite fine dining establishment for a nice dinner. Plus, there’s something I hope to be doing in May that is part of my anniversary gift, but I don’t want to talk about it until after the fact, in case things don’t work out. So it’s actually been a good anniversary, even if things are a bit spread out over a few weeks. AND my house is clean and my bills are paid! Woo!



  18. I remember as a kid giving my dogs the good expensive food stuff, then next day they refused to eat the cheaper regular stuff. I was like FML.

    As for regulation, if the FDA barely does its duty to humans, can we expect them to do it to consciousness-less citizens? or are they not citizens, i dont know.

    can you shed some light on this?:

    There was a show called FASTLANE, it had car chases almost in each episode. wiki said about it:

    “As the series was canceled at that point due to the high costs of each episode, there is no known resolution.

    Each episode cost the two studios making it (Warner Bros. and Fox) $2.6 million. The show’s hallmarks—unconventional cinematography, pyrotechnics, guest appearances, licensed soundtracks, supercars and other exotic vehicles—were the root cause of the exorbitant production costs. The show was canceled because of these high production costs and the ratings drop it suffered from being moved from Wednesday nights to Friday nights.”

  19. Thank you so much for posting this.
    I was careful even before the recall, but now am religious. Merlin gets nothing but Blue products now and at 12 still plays like a puppy and according to the vet is in amazingly good health.
    Dogs ARE humans with 4 feet and a speech impediment !

  20. Wow….the government pays our farmers not to farm then purchase from China. This kind of news is hard to take.

    My daughter took me to a breeder who cooked for his dogs daily. I remember thinking how strange. That was back in November. They just received the puppy in March. His dogs do look amazing. I’ve sent your blog to my daughter and son-in-law.

    It really is sad to think about….but I’ll bet our food has problems too that we will only find out later. That has always been the pattern. Autism numbers have reached abnormally high numbers here in Utah. Seems its talk about frequently on TV. The sad part about high numbers is that is just about the only way to move the wheel in science.

    I remember when Ivon Bartok was talking about the movie Food, Inc. I rented it…but then could not make myself watch it. Have you seen it?

  21. I’m with you Joe I’m going to start cooking my own dog food hell it will probably save me alot of money.

  22. Happy Anniversary @das!

    We’ve always fed our dogs Eukanuba. I have to do more than a 1 hour round trip to get a 15kg bag under $100. Lasts 3 weeks when you have a dog the size of Ralph. Times when I haven’t been able to get there we notice an instant change in the dogs’ coats and temperament when fed anything from the supermarket. I now cook them rice and pasta with some chicken when we’re out of Eukanuba.

    My Brother’s kelpie had a dull brown coat when he adopted her. 2 months on Eukanuba and her coat colour became even and she’s now a glow of red in the sun.

    Not sure what the write ups say about the product but there’s been more than 1 vet comment about the bone strength it’s given my kelpie and the stamina it seems to give to such a big dog like Ralph.

    Cost and convenience play a big role in people’s dog food choices, hell, cost and convenience affect adults and their kids’ food choices too. I think it’s not just dog food that has issues, but animals don’t vote, so their owners have to speak up to get it heard. With an entire nation fighting over whether the want to help fund their fellow citizens health care, I feel animals’ rights may be down on the list.

  23. It doesn’t surprise me that something like this has happened, after all this is the country that then had a huge scandal (the same sort of thing as I recall) with their human baby milk formula. They put stuff in there that really doesn’t belong.

    Unscrupulous big companies often pull this sort of thing to maximise profits. The BSE beef scandal occurred because big business (and farmers) decided it was a good idea to feed cows ground up bits of dead animal in their feed as it was cheap. As it turned out it wasn’t a good idea feeding these herbivores ground up brains – they got ill and this got passed on.

    If Canada and America are anything like the UK at the moment where costs are being cut in all branches of government its also not surprising that the food agencies would concentrate on keeping humans safe.

    I didn’t give my cats too many treats, not really bought ones, they just tended to get some proper fish fillet now and again when it was on offer. I guess this was a good thing …..

  24. One of the few reasons I love living in Germany. We have high quality control and health control on all kinds of food that comes through our borders. Not saying it’s perfect, but it’s much harder to buy “crap” here.

    I never had a pet larger than a rat or guinea pig so I never had any needs to cook for my pets, but I heard from dog owners, that their dogs have difficulties with the store products thus they go to the butcher and buy everything themselves and cook dog food as well. Although they admitted it can be quite time consuming. They also had max. two dogs.

    I have no real advice on my end to this topic, just hope you won’t have any more problems and that you can rely on your store products in the future. Good luck!

    Best wishes from the windy and sunny Bremen,

    It was my second try

    :——-> ))


  26. Looks like our pets are becoming the canary in the coal mine in regard to food. More and more, governments seem to be in business to protect big corporations and not the consumer. Maybe it’s time we all join the Joe Mallozzi Corporation. Who wants to be Treasurer?


  27. Mr. M, did you watch the documentary “Food, Inc.”? It’s not just pets that get horrible food. Humans get really bad food, too.

    If I had a dog, I would try as much as I can to supply him/her with real food, that is, organic produce and meats. I suppose it would require some time to be constantly preparing food, but I believe it’s totally worth it. And there are a few benefits to using whole foods. The most important one being, a pet in stunning good health.

  28. After the 2007 pet food scare I did some reasearch and we settled on Nutro Natural Choice pet food for our dog, but after reading this, I took a look at their website and while it APPEARS that none of their ingredients come from China, it’s hard to know for sure with all the smoke and mirrors that corporations sometimes play.
    Also, after reading Wheat Belly, I’ve seriously cut back on gluten in my own diet, and the more I read, the more I’d be happy to eay only locally grown and raised foods.

  29. Deni: They did recall Feline M/D a few years back. One of my cats is on it now and he is doing fine. I’ve been watching him for symptoms, just in case.

    You are right on the money about pet food Mr. M.! I think it’s been happening for a lot longer than anyone knows. I remember one my cats being on a very expensive Rx diet and having all kinds of odd symptoms. I switched her to a high quality store brand and she greatly improved. This was about 20 years ago. I remember telling my Vet co-workers about this and they scoffed at the very idea that something was off about the food.

    Society, has a whole, doesn’t consider animal rights an important issue. I could give you tons of examples but that would take us in a completely new direction of rants.

    Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Das!

  30. Joe, please show me where this is on FDA:
    >>> Still, that hasn’t stopped the FDA from linking three products to the recent problems: Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky, Canyon Creek Ranch Chicken Jerky and Milo’s Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats, the first two made by the Nestle Purina Pet Care Company and the latter made by the Del Monte Corporation.<<<
    The FDA has emphatically stated that NO COMPANY/BRAND is linked. I have been on the FDA site repeatedly every month and found no such statement.

    I quit Chinese made treats a year ago, because I always side with caution. But I hate seeing brands named when the truth is that for most of the reported cases, even the dogs' own vets state that other issues, such as over feeding, might be the culprit. Do I personally THINK there is an issue? Yes. But I don't like things being given as facts when they are not. Millions of dogs eat Chinese made pet foods and treats and few have issues.

    Second, hello.. glad you are learning what we have discussed for nearly 15 yrs– that the pet food industry sucks. For nearly 15 years I have chosen to feed my dogs both raw and premium foods only, paying in the early days nearly triple the cost of other foods, now closer to double as the costs have come down. Yearly lists such as Whole Dog Foods and The Dog Food Comparison List helps people to find which use human grade quality ingredients, avoid crap like corn (which dogs don't process but is cheap and because it has nutrients they can CLAIM the food has it even though they can't utilize it) and are good for your dogs.

    There are many USA made foods such as Salmon Ears and that offer safe treats. In reality, both are as cheap as the brands you listed so there is no reason for your dogs to give up treats. 🙂

    And Narelle, Eukanuba is crap. Sorry, it is. Adding enough fat to give your dogs a better coat doesn't make the food good. Is it as bad as Ole Roy– no. But it is so far from a really GOOD food. Well read Whole Dog Journal and check out comparisons on the Dober link. Make informed choices.

    If your dog is SICK and needs an Rx food, many of the makers of food I wouldn't feed (such as Hill Science Diet, Purina and yes, Eukanuba, etc) are the only game in town, and they do a great service to provide foods that few buy but when you need specifics, they have it. But for the general dog, I want human grade ingredients and better quality than you are going to get with stuff like Eukanba.

  31. Btw, I am all for people who have the commitment to making their own dog food, but be careful. Dogs need a balance beyond just throwing in some meat and veggies. In fact veggies need to be pretty much pulverized for them to actually use. The longest standing veterinary approved books come from Donald Strombeck (UCDavis veterinary nutritionist expert). If I knew where my copies of the 2 books I have were buried, I’d send them to you but by the time I find them you could order, read and well, be back visiting Japan.

  32. You won’t find the information on the FDA site for the same reason they underreported the number of pet deaths that led to the 2007 recall. Business interests take priority over animal safety. See link below.

  33. @Tam Dixon: I didn’t know about that recall, but I don’t feed my ferals Science Diet, either! Elway’s having horrible seizures today and I’m alone because Mr.Deni’s working, but yesterday I asked my vet about the prescription diets and she said she has a lot to say about them and she’ll call me when she’s back in town, so I’ll let you know what she says. She’s very interested and well-versed in animal nutrition, and I’d love to know what vets really think. She doesn’t work for my regular vet any more (and we’re moving to where she is right after all this, at least for the seizures), so I think she feels more comfortable talking about it now. Doesn’t sound good,though.

    And @Joe, NO SHIT, this dog food thing is all politics. The vets that don’t work for themselves are stuck selling the stuff for the main vet or choever owns the veterinary hospital/clinic (and there’s a HUGE profit there), and I’m sure they would catch all sorts of shit for saying anything different. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a vet’s office that didn’t sell Hills Science Diet.

    Prayers for my baby Elway would be very appreciated, too, he’s having a really bad day. xoxo

  34. Deni: So sorry about Elway! Sending prayers. We hear so much about Elway, can you post a picture?

    I was very shocked to see a Hills Rx food on the recall list. That’s one reason why I remember it. Plus, I always wondered if their other product made my cat sick years before. We were so naïve then because we thought Hills was above that kind of thing.

    When I worked at the Vet clinic, I did all the buying for the hospital. We didn’t get big discounts or incentives on selling Hills Rx diets. Granted, this was years ago and things might have changed. The Vets only prescribed it for certain conditions. That Rx food literally saved or prolonged lives with certain health issues. It was revolutionary. They had S/D that would dissolve kidney stones in dogs/cats. They had low protein diets for kidney failure patients. I/D food was a good transition food for dogs recovering with the parvo virus or pancreatitis. Very expensive food and it seemed like top quality. Hence, my shock they had the recall on M/D.

  35. 😳 S/D dissolved small “Bladder Stones”. The larger stones still would get surgical removal but S/D saves a lot of pets from that procedure.

  36. @ Das and Mr. Das Happy anniversary
    @ Deni – thoughts and prayers for Elway and crossing fingers

    I cannot find Punisher. Not sure if I should be relieved or upset….LOL.

    Seems like any/every country may try to push off stuf their gov’t does not want for their people to other countries. Can’t remember when/where I read/saw this but I think US passes off drugs to third world countries that the FDA won’t approve for US use as well as some (human consumption) food stuff.

    Politics, power, yada yada….sigh.

  37. @Tam Dixon: Yeah, EVERYBODY hears a lot about Elway, but I have a lot say about this wonderful boy! Heh, he’s so cute. 🙂

    Elway has a sensitive tummy, so he’s always eaten i/d only. I’ve never had a problem with it (knock on wood), but it isn’t cheap!

  38. Deni: Ok, that last one of Elway is my favorite! He is a cutie pie.

    My 19th anniversary is April 10th. Kiddo is going out of town for a band trip on the 13th, so hubby and I are going to spend a day in downtown Memphis. There is a bakery I wanted to try there.

  39. I don’t want to sound negative, but…. With 19,000 federal public servants about to be laid off by Stephen Harper, I doubt if the CFIA will be able to add pet food inspection to their workload. They just don’t have the resources to do it (WRT either labour or money). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t call your MP, just that Harper really couldn’t care less.

  40. Joe, great article. Thanks for all the work you put into it!

    Friends who are breeder/owners on the Samoyed list-servs were galvanized when this nightmare happened–and remain actively researching to this day, like yourself. (And other animal/breed clubs, too.) Everything people here have mentioned they did as well. Especially using grain-free foods if buying commercially. Will have to dig in my archives for their recommendations.

    Others dropped the commercial food entirely and began cooking and/or feeding human grade food for their pets. Tam was right. Balancing nutritional needs will take some input, which her list-serv mentions could provide.

    There is a Bones-and-Raw-Food movement for feeding pets that people swear by. Yes, the correct acronym in B.A.R.F. 🙂 Some folks have made terrific friends with the butchers at their local groceries. They can hold back the big (read “safe”) bones for your dogs on certain days. Dogs can still get the joy of chewing on them and get the marrow out. ***The bones must always be raw, so they don’t splinter and present a choking hazard.*** (They’re kept in the freezer until din-din time.)

    This site has a great FAQs page for Bones and Raw Food newcomers:

    Happy Anniversary Week, Das & Mr. Das!

    Deni, praying for Elway! How old is your baby/”nincompooper?”

    Pls. forgive any typos!

  41. Oops! Forgot one VERY important thing.

    During her last year, when my doggie girl was declining and off her food, I had to start feeding her cooked chicken and rice, drained & rinsed hamburger and rice, and non-sweetened oatmeal for brekkies, with her Metacam. Even so, there is a risk of pancreatitis when feeding people food to dogs instead of commercial dog food. At the very end, her blood tests showed pancreatic levels off the chart. The vet literally had not seen anything like it in his 40 years of practice.

    Forgot to say this is why it’s important to check out the nutritional requirement sites Tam suggested.

    Also, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your vet for guidelines on going home-cooked, and periodically checking pancreatic values as well.

  42. The FDA does not care about BPA or mercury in our food products. If they don’t care about humans, the food supply for animals do not hold much hope. If you have the time and can spare the money, making your own dog food is probably the best route, but be sure you add some of the things they need that they won’t get from straight human food.

    I hope the pups are feeling better today.

  43. The problem is the old saying — statistics don’t lie but statisticians do. You have to understand that the number of priority one sounds damning, but when you know that those 3 brands make up the MASSIVE sells, you understand that the issue is pretty evenly spread over ALL brands, not any in particular when you factor in amt sold percentage.

  44. I don’t trust the FDA, they say sodium benzoate is safe. Hah!

    My cats throw up Friskies Indoor so fast I might as well just toss it on the floor. They’re on Iams weight control and Hairball, and the little old lady cats get wet food and some Senior hairball. I’d not try to cook for cats, I barely cook for myself!

    Random thought: There’s a dog food plant here in town, right by the rails. Pigeons love the place, scooping up the grain which falls from the rail cars. I think they manufacture AttaBoy there. Before they got the scrubbers on the stacks, you could smell hot dog food all over town on production days. Best Mexican place in town is right across the street. When they got successful, they opened other restaurants in less “shady” neighborhoods.

  45. Joe,
    When I last posted you replied in that I concluded that I could share this article. Share I did. This includes giving her a copy of this post. She has internet service but limits it to mainly reading email. The night I called her my aunt answered the phone to say my mom made a run to the Vet because her dog was sick and the office would close shortly. While the little thing was quaking and running a fever the vet asked her what treats she had been giving him. She gave the name (I have forgotten at this time) which was a chicken jerky which the vet asked if it was made in China. It did come from there. With a proper dose of anti-biotic, the little boy was springing in his step as normal. My sister came by afterwards the said her dog, which is good friends with my mom’s was also feeling off his norm. And my mom shared your post with her. And, this morning my mom was talking to her boyfriend (my father has long since passed on) had he said his dog was not acting as before. She spend some time talking to him about your post as well. I know this is all anecdotal evidence; but I think when the vet ask my mom about the jerky treats then reading your post, it really put things in perspective.

    I personally believe that an educated, well informed, and motivated consumer is the best course of action.

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