NEW YORK, April 20, 2007As rumors of the spread of contamination in pet foodspossibly intentionalhave been confirmed by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced new recommendations for pet parents looking for advice on what to feed their pets. These can be found at www.aspca.org/recall, where the organization is also maintaining an updated list of recalled products in real time.
“While we cannot comment on whether this contamination was intentional or accidental, this latest development in the recall crisis is extremely significant,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, a board-certified toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, who manages the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), located in its Midwest Office in Urbana, Ill.
“We now clearly have at least two contaminated ingredients used in pet food manufactured in the U.S., shipped from at least two suppliers in China, over an extended period of time.
“Until such time that the FDA has conclusively identified ALL sources and destinations of the contaminated ingredientsas well as the actual link between the adverse effects of melamine and melamine-related products and the illnesses or deaths of so many pets around the countrywe are far from sounding the all-clear, and need to safeguard our pets’ lives vigilantly.”
Dr. Louise Murray, director of medicine at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital (BMAH) in New York City, agrees. “As new products are recalled, some containing a completely different ingredient than we were earlier warned about, there is obviously great confusion in the public space about what is and is not safe for you to feed your pet. We hope these guidelines will be helpful to pet parents and veterinarians alike.”
The ASPCA recommends the following:
- Based on information made public by the FDA this week, the ASPCA recommends that you should not feed your pet any foods containing wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate. There are several high quality foods available that do not contain these ingredients, so please ask your veterinarian for an alternative recommendation.
- Given that the source of contamination has thus far been identified as coming from outside the U.S., you may also wish to check with your pet food manufacturer as to the country of origin of any protein concentrates they use to formulate their products.
- Visit the ASPCA Pet Food Recall Resource Center regularly for updatesand if you suspect at any time that your pet has ingested food that may be contaminatedplease call your veterinarian immediately. Inspect your pet’s food label closely for any ingredients that may be on, or added to, the list of contaminated ingredients, and if you are in doubt, call the manufacturer for further clarification.
- Continue to be alert for early signs of a problem that may be recall-related, such as excessive thirst, decreased appetite, or vomiting, and take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. “This is especially important, even if your pet’s food is not among those that have currently been recalled,” said Dr. Murray. “An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cureand in this case, could be life-saving.”
- Finally, if you think your pet is critically ill and you cannot reach your veterinarian immediately, please call the APCC for emergency advice (a $60 fee applies). The APCC hotline is staffed 24/7 by board-certified veterinary toxicologists, certified veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants.
The ASPCA also provides the following information to pet parents (these and more are listed at www.aspca.org/recall):
- The FDA’s resource site on the pet food recall is at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has a wealth of resources at http://www.avma.org/aa/menufoodsrecall/default.asp.