Tainted pet food still on shelves, FDA says

Contaminated pet food is still being sold at some
stores, U.S. health officials warned on Thursday after checking hundreds of
retail outlets.

The Food and Drug
Administration said it had inspected about 400 stores nationwide and still found
some dog and cat food products affected by last month’s recall by Canada-based
pet food maker Menu Foods Income Fund and other manufacturers.

“FDA believes most companies have removed the
recalled product; however, some have not,” the agency said in a
statement.

The announcement comes two
days after Menu Foods expanded its recall to include more types of cat food.
Last week it also widened its alert to include products with earlier production
dates as well as dozens of more
varieties.

Initially, the company
recalled 60 million cans and pouches of wet pet food sold under various brands
including Procter & Gamble Co.’s Iams and Eukanuba as well as store brands
sold at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Safeway
Inc..

A number of other companies
including Colgate-Palmolive Co.’s Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc., Nestle SA’s Purina
PetCare Co. and Del Monte Pet Products have also recalled certain
products.

FDA officials have said the
affected foods contained wheat gluten contaminated with melamine, an industrial
chemical used in plastics and fertilizer. But the agency is still investigating
what caused the confirmed death of 16 cats and dogs. About 12,000 pets have been
reported ill.

The ingredient was shipped
by China-based Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. to
ChemNutra Inc. of Las Vegas, which then sold it to Menu Foods and other makers,
according to the FDA. The Chinese company has denied
involvement.

“FDA’s priority is to make
sure that cats and dogs have safe food to eat,” Dr. Stephen Sundlof, head of
FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in the
statement.

Sundlof is scheduled to appear
before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee later on Thursday to discuss the pet
food scare.

Sen. Richard Durbin (news,
bio, voting record), the Illinois Democrat who announced the hearing, has said
he wants the FDA to work with U.S. states to improve manufacturing inspections
as well as create a new database for veterinarians and pet owners to report
concerns.

Representative for Menu Foods
will not appear before lawmakers. Senators had invited Menu Foods to testify at
the hearing, according to congressional staff, but the company instead asked to
be represented by the Pet Food Institute, an industry group.


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Posted: 04/12/2007 at 10:47 AM
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Posted: 04/12/2007 at 10:47 AM
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