Yet Another Pet Food Recall – Ridiculous!

Mars Petcare US Announces Extension of Voluntary Recall

Franklin, Tennessee (November 25, 2008) —Today, Mars Petcare US announced an extension of a previously announced voluntary recall of dry cat and dog food products manufactured at its Allentown, Pennsylvania facility with “Best By” dates between August 11, 2009 – October 3, 2009. The pet food is being voluntarily recalled because of potential contamination with Salmonella. This voluntary recall affects product sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club, ShopRite Supermarkets, and Wal-mart locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, and, if there is cross contamination caused by handling of the pet food, in people as well, especially children, the aged, and people with compromised immune systems. Healthy people potentially infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. On rare occasions, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Animals can be carriers with no visible symptoms and potentially infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

This action is an extension of the voluntary recall issued on October 27, 2008 of all sizes of SPECIAL KITTY® Gourmet Blend dry cat food produced at the Allentown facility on August 11, 2008. We recently learned that an additional sample of SPECIAL KITTY® made on September 25, 2008 at the Allentown facility tested positive for Salmonella. There have been no reported cases of human or pet illness caused by Salmonella associated with products produced at this facility. Mars Petcare US is taking an additional precautionary action to protect pets and their owners by extending the October 27, 2008 voluntary recall to include all dry pet food product produced at the facility with “Best By” dates between August 11, 2009 and October 3, 2009.

Recalled Pet Food

The dry cat and dog food listed below are made at our Allentown facility and sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club, ShopRite Supermarkets, and Wal-mart locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia.

All code dates, regardless of brand, are listed in a similar format as noted below:
Consumers should look for “50” as the first two digits of the second line.
Best By AUG 15 09 (Sample)
50 1445 1

PRODUCT NAME

UPC CODE

Berkley & Jensen Bistro Blend Premium Cat Food 21.6#

00000 20052

Berkley & Jensen Small Bites & Bones Dog Food 52#

00000 14958

Ol’ Roy Puppy Complete Premium Dog Food 4#

81131 79078

Ol’ Roy Puppy Complete Premium Dog Food 20#

81131 79080

Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 4#

81131 17550

Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 4.4#

81131 69377

Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 8#

05388 67144

Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 20#

81131 17549

Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 22#

05388 60342

Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 44.1#

81131 17551

Ol’ Roy Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 50#

78742 01022

Ol’ Roy High Performance Premium Dog Food 20#

05388 60345

Ol’ Roy High Performance Premium Dog Food 50#

78742 05815

Ol’ Roy Meaty Chunks & Gravy Premium Dog Food 22#

81131 69630

Ol’ Roy Meaty Chunks & Gravy Premium Dog Food 50#

81131 69631

ShopRite Crunchy Bites, Bones and Healthy Squares Dog Food 20#

41190 04521

Special Kitty Original Premium Cat Food 3.5#

81131 17557

Special Kitty Original Premium Cat Food 7#

81131 17562

Special Kitty Original Premium Cat Food 18#

81131 17559

Special Kitty Gourmet Blend Premium Cat Food 3.5#

81131 17546

Special Kitty Gourmet Blend Premium Cat Food 7#

81131 17547

Special Kitty Gourmet Blend Premium Cat Food 18#

81131 17548

Special Kitty Kitten Premium Cat Food 3.5#

81131 17553

Special Kitty Kitten Premium Cat Food 7#

81131 17554

In an effort to prevent the transmission of Salmonella from pets to family members and care givers, the FDA recommends that everyone follow appropriate pet food handling guidelines when feeding their pets. A list of safe pet food handling tips can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/petfoodtips080307.html

Pet owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-877-568-4463 or visit www.petcare.mars.com.

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How To Read Pet Food Labels — Part 4

Feeding Directions

Feeding directions guide pet owners on the amount of food that is recommended to feed their pets. However, these recommendations are based on the average dog or cat and may not be suitable for every pet. Actual amounts that your pet should consumer vary between species, breed, temperament and activity level. The most accurate way to determine how much to feed your pet would be to look at the calorie statement. The calorie statement tells the amount of calories in a suggested serving of the food. You can use this as a rough guide in determining the amount of food your pet can consume.

To find out the proper amount to feed your pet, your best bet is to work closely with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can more accurately determine the amount of food your pet should be eating each day. He may also recommend a feeding pattern such as twice-daily or free feeding.

Make at Home Pet Treats

I was browsing around for something to make for dinner and found this interesting recipes for homemade pet treats. I thought I would post them and get your opinions. Have you ever made homemade treats for your pets? Share your recipes and experiences!

Tuna Kitty Treats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
1/2 can tuna, in oil or 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable or cod liver oil
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup water
  1. In large bowl, mash the tuna (or chicken). Add the flour and powdered milk, mixing well. Stir in the water, oil and egg, mixing well. Mixture will be sticky.
  2. Shape mixture into 1/2-inch sized balls. Place on greased baking sheets. Press balls to flatten.
  3. Bake at 350*F (175*C) for 10 minutes. Remove treats from oven; let sit 5 minutes and then turn treats over and bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Store in an air tight container in refrigerator.


Cheddar Cheese Dog Cookies
Recipe submitted by Diana Hatfield – Bixby.

8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup margarine
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk
  1. Cream the cheese and margarine together using an electric mixer. Add the egg and garlic, beating mixture well. Stir in the flour, wheat germ, salt and milk, mixing well. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.
  2. Roll dough out onto a floured work surface to 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375*F (190*C) for 15 to 18 minutes.

How to Read Pet Food Labels — Part 3

Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis & Nutritional Adequacy Statement

According to the FDA, “At minimum, a pet food label must state guarantees for the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.” These guaratees are only for feeding that follows the package directions.

These percentages also make it hard to compare dry food and wet food. We food has a much higher water content, usually about 75%, while dry food has a water content of around 10%. Because of the higher water content, the percentages in the wet food are lower than those of the dry food, which makes comparing the two much harder. Basically, the only comparison that you can do is in the water content.

Ok, here’s where the math comes in….the FDA gives this information to help you compare the contents of both dry and wet pet food.

The percentage of dry matter of the product is equal to 100% minus the percentage of moisture guaranteed on the label. A dry food is approximately 88-90% dry matter, while a canned food is only about 22-25% dry matter. To convert a nutrient guarantee to a dry matter basis, the percent guarantee should be divided by the percentage of the dry matter, then multiplied by 100. For example, a canned food guarantees 8% crude protein and 75% moisture (or 25% dry matter), while a dry food contains 27% crude protein and 10% moisture (or 90% dry matter). Which has more protein, the dry or canned? Calculating the dry matter protein of both, the canned contains 32% crude protein on a dry matter basis (8/25 X 100 = 32), while the dry has only 30% on a dry matter basis (27/90 X 100 = 30). Thus, although it looks like the dry has a lot more protein, when the water is counted out, the canned actually has a little more. An easier way is to remember that the amount of dry matter in the dry food is about four times the amount in a canned product. To compare guarantees between a dry and canned food, multiply the guarantees for the canned food times four first.

When looking at wet food, remember that it can contain up to 78% or more water, depending on the type of food. So if it contains 78% water, that only leaves 22% left for nutrients, meat, etc.

Nutritional Adequacy Statement

The nutrition adequacy statement basically says that this type of food is approved to be a sole nutrition provider, which means, your pet can use this food as its main diet source. This statement will also tell you which life stage that it is approved for, such as kitten/puppy or senior formula.

Stay tuned for feeding directions and more…

How To Read Pet Food Labels — Part 2

Dog Food

The net quantity statement tells you how much product is in the container. When looking for a pet food a cost-per-ounce or per-pound comparison is always important. Check the labels carefully, a 40-lb bag may actually only have 35 lbs of food if the food has been “puffed up.” The bag holds the same volume, but might not actually contain the amount of food it says.

Look for the manufacturer’s name and address, the label should at least include a state and zip code. Some manufacturers include a toll-free number or a web address for consumer inquiries.

Next check out the ingredient list. Everything that makes up the pet food will be listed. The first items listed are what predominately makes up the food or is the main ingredient. Usually the first thing listed is a meat or corn or something similar. Lower down the list you start seeing all of those complex names, which are usually vitamins and minerals. The last things listed are usually artificial colors, stabilizers and preservatives.

There are a couple of ingredients that you might want to watch out for though. According to the FDA:

If scientific data are presented that show a health risk to animals of an ingredient or additive, CVM can act to prohibit or modify its use in pet food. For example, propylene glycol was used as a humectant in soft-moist pet foods, which helps retain water and gives these products their unique texture and taste. It was affirmed Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use in human and animal food before the advent of soft-moist foods. It was known for some time that propylene glycol caused Heinz Body formation in the red blood cells of cats (small clumps of proteins seen in the cells when viewed under the microscope), but it could not be shown to cause overt anemia or other clinical effects. However, recent reports in the veterinary literature of scientifically sound studies have shown that propylene glycol reduces the red blood cell survival time, renders red blood cells more susceptible to oxidative damage, and has other adverse effects in cats consuming the substance at levels found in soft-moist food. In light of this new data, CVM amended the regulations to expressly prohibit the use of propylene glycol in cat foods.

Another pet food additive of some controversy is ethoxyquin, which was approved as a food additive over thirty-five years ago for use as an antioxidant chemical preservative in animal feeds. Approximately ten years ago, CVM began receiving reports from dog owners attributing the presence of ethoxyquin in the dog food with a myriad of adverse effects, such as allergic reactions, skin problems, major organ failure, behavior problems, and cancer. However, there was a paucity of available scientific data to support these contentions, or to show other adverse effects in dogs at levels approved for use in dog foods. More recent studies by the manufacturer of ethoxyquin showed a dose-dependent accumulation of a hemoglobin-related pigment in the liver, as well as increases in the levels of liver-related enzymes in the blood. Although these changes are due to ethoxyquin in the diet, the pigment is not made from ethoxyquin itself, and the health significance of these findings is unknown. More information on the utility of ethoxyquin is still needed in order for CVM to amend the maximum allowable level to below that which would cause these effects, but which still would be useful in preserving the food. While studies are being conducted to ascertain a more accurate minimum effective level of ethoxyquin in dog foods, CVM has asked the pet food industry to voluntarily lower the maximum level of use of ethoxyquin in dog foods from 150 ppm (0.015%) to 75 ppm. Regardless, most pet foods that contained ethoxyquin never exceeded the lower amount, even before this recommended change.

Stay tuned for the Guaranteed Analysis….

How to Read Pet Food Labels — Part 1

So what exactly do all those numbers on your pet food label mean? How do you know how much chicken, beef, etc is in your pet’s food? We will help you to understand all of this.

According to the FDA, “pet food labeling is regulated at two levels. The Federal regulations, enforced by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), establish standards applicable for all animal feeds: proper identification of product, net quantity statement, manufacturer’s address, and proper listing of ingredients. Some States also enforce their own labeling regulations. Many of these have adopted the model pet food regulations established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These regulations are more specific in nature, covering aspects of labeling such as the product name, the guaranteed analysis, the nutritional adequacy statement, feeding directions, and calorie statements.”

The product name is the first part of the label that most people see when shopping for pet food. This is usually what gets people to purchase the food, so it is enhanced with frilly words such as dinner, chicken dinner, etc. The ingredients that get people to choose one food over another are usually highlighted here.

In order for pet food to use a meat in the name of the food, such as Tuna Cat Food or Beef for Dogs, the food must contain 95% of this meat. This 95% does not include the water for processing or other added ingredients. Since this ingredient must be 95% of the food, this should be the first ingredient listed on the ingredients list. This rule only applies to meat ingredients as the food cannot be composed of 95% vegetables, etc.

The 25% rule applies to “dinners.” If the food contains 25%, but less than 95% of the named ingredient, then there must be the description “dinner” added to the name, such as Beef Dinner for Dogs. Many descriptors other than “dinner” are used, however. “Platter,” “entree,” “nuggets” and “formula” are just a few examples. Because, in this example, only one-quarter of the product must be beef, it would most likely be found third or fourth on the ingredient list. Since the primary ingredient is not always the named ingredient, and may in fact be an ingredient that is not desired, the ingredient list should always be checked before purchase.

If more than one ingredient is included in a “dinner” name, they must total 25% and be listed in the same order as found on the ingredient list. Each named ingredient must be at least 3% of the total, too. Therefore, “Chicken n’ Fish Dinner Cat Food” must have 25% chicken and fish combined, and at least 3% fish. Also, unlike the “95%” rule, this rule applies to all ingredients, whether of animal origin or not. For example, a “Lamb and Rice Formula for Cats” would be an acceptable name as long as the amounts of lamb and rice combined totaled 25%.

Stay tuned until next time when we discuss the Net Quantity Statement…