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Author Topic: Pet Food Recall Forum in RI  (Read 4911 times)
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Carol
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« on: September 13, 2007, 12:08:08 PM »

On Tuesday night (9/18/07) there is a public forum regarding the pet food recall here in little RI.  I am posting this in case some of you may be from southern New England and want to go.  The panelists are a RI internal medicine vet (who is my own vet who took care of my 2 ARF cats) and Dr Lisa Freeman from Tufts who is a vet nutritionist too.  Also someone from Cornell who used to work for Tyson foods and handled recalls.  This is meant to be informative to the public (my vet does not promote any commercial brand) in what to watch out for, what happened to the kidneys, and what is good to feed.  The second half is a question and answer period too.  I think this is a good yet small step in the right direction in getting the public informed.  I'll update after the meeting and if anyone has a question they would like me to ask, let me know!
If there are any New Englanders who need more info---search "RI Pet Food Recall Forum"  and you'll get the info and directions!
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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

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Carol
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2007, 04:30:14 AM »

My husband and I went to the meeting and I was disappointed that there was a very small turnout.  But I still did learn a few things.  Most of what was talked about from the first speaker, regarding the recall timeline I knew as I have been involved so closely since day one and also here at Itchmo.  I still don't know why the news did not come out on March 6 when MF changed the wheat gluten as they thought that might be suspect --- but it seems that the recall was handled as a human food recall was handled as they are required to follow certain steps.  It is not just as easy to say we have a problem (although I don't know how morally any company can do this) The food testing was not done due to the complaints but just happened to be part of the regular feeding trial schedule coincidentally.  Dr. Freeman provided info on the best way to decide what commercial food to use and provided the website for guidance for home cookers---www.acvn.org  She said it is important that the pet food company should have 1.)full time nutritionists on their staff, not called in for consultations 2.) research and development departments 3.) have their OWN plants manufacture the foods and 4.) have internal QC and accountability.  She also warned about pet food labels and said that some claims that pet food cans say such as organic-human grade-holistic--have no legal meaning so they have no accountability in that claim.  The only definition for pet food labeling is Natural.  She described what needed to be on the label-legally---the feeding directions, type of animal, name and address of manufacturer (which I think is not done with the MF products that were recalled as I never saw MF on any of the recalled labels) The other thing important she said was to make sure that the food labels says it is AAFCO with actual feeding trials---she said feeding trials has to be mentioned as being done.---Not "are formulated according to AAFCO"......   The vet Dr Serra gave a very basic explanantion of how the kidneys work and then what the mixture of melamine and cyranuric acid looked like by slides and how it obstructed the kidneys and showed the pix of my cats--we sent both one when Smudge crashed and then from the other day to demonstrate how bad ARF is.  Dr Serra says that the cats were in what is now called "MARF"-melamine associated renal failure to differentiate other renal failures.  He went over the symptoms to look for but stressed how difficult it is as kidney disease is so prevalent that it is very important to give vets all the little details.  He said that there are still questions for long-term affects and he is aware of decreased mentation in these recovered animals (as with my two still) and it is too early to know what to expect as this is new territory.  My two cats were his only MARF cats but he knows that based on seeing mine that many vets and pet owners decided to euthanize as these animals were so debilitated---if Jesssica had not improved so quickly he would not have given Smudge a chance- (so for that I guess I'm glad they both got sick)    Dr. Kirchofer spoke mostly of human food recalls and alot he said was over my head but what I took away was that it is not as easy as just announcing "we think somethig is wrong" as there are strict protocols to follow.  IMO it is this that must be changed so the delay that we are all screaming about never happens again.  One of the audience members (mostly senior citizens who were not aware of the recall) asked about why her OJ is different and says it is made in another country---she kind of got the panel to COOL and said that we do not know where are ingredients come from!  I wish there was more to this but I don't think it was marketed to the "right" public.  I wish it had been held at the URI Health Center as they have pre-vet program.  This was done as a courtesy for RI Pet Week and I do appreciate their time.  It just reiterates what I am afraid of ---that not enough people care about this!!!  If I can remember any thing else, I'll post it.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 04:40:49 AM by Carol » Logged

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JustMe
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2007, 05:57:18 AM »

Hi Carol,

I'm glad you got something out of the seminar.  So, we have a name to put on it now....MARF. 

I'm concerned about the organic labeling as I do feed some supposedly organic food with the USDA symbol on them.  This is confusing.  Sounds like they can use any words they feel like using on pet food labels. 

Early on my vet told me he had euthanized a few young cats that had gone into ARF.  This was pre-recall, late last year.  In retrospect, he wondered if it was the now named MARF.

We have to remember that a lot of people don't opt for extensive testing and hospital stays and treatments due to financial constraints, etc.  So, those numbers will never be known.  I'm positive the majority people are still ignorant of problems with pet food and human food.  Ignorance is bliss.
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straybaby
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2007, 07:11:34 AM »


I'm concerned about the organic labeling as I do feed some supposedly organic food with the USDA symbol on them.  This is confusing.  Sounds like they can use any words they feel like using on pet food labels. 


the pfi has no standards for organic, but to have the usda label on it, it must meet the human usda guidelines is my understanding. so instead of getting ingredients from who knows where, what goes into organic labeled pet food would come from usda organic raised/labeled ingredients and must be processed according to the organic standards.
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Carol
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2007, 07:36:51 AM »

If I remember right pet food labels are not treated the same way as human food labels per Dr.Freeman that is why she warned against claims other than Natural---which is the only with actual legal meaning -translation it could say anything on the label and does not have to be "true" except for Natural!  Kinda scary huh???
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straybaby
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2007, 08:23:19 AM »

but they can't display the USDA organic seal unless they are certified.

Q. Can pet food make an organic claim if it is not certified by a USDA accredited agency? 
 
A.  Products that only indicate organic ingredients in the ingredient listing of the product, but not
on the principal display panel may be marketed without certification. Products that are not certified
cannot display the USDA organic seal, or name or seal of a certification agency. Products that
contain less than 70% organic ingredients cannot be certified as organic, but they may list the
organic ingredients in the ingredient listing.  State officials charged with reviewing pet food labels
under state laws may ask manufacturers to provide documentation of certification for ingredients
described as organic when the product is not certified. 
 
Q. Can a company name use the word “organic” and market a product that is not certified
organic? Example: “Betty’s Organic Lifestyle” markets a product called “Premium Natural
Dog Food” 
 
A.   Yes, the USDA does not regulate company names. However the USDA has stated they will
monitor the use of the term “organic” in company names, and work with the Federal Trade
Commission to take action against misuse of the term.

http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/TaskForces/PFTFAppendixLabels091206.pdf

(page 4)

that said, we should all monitor PFI claims and do some reporting if we think they are stretching the "truth in advertising" or making false claims about the food. some of the PF commercials make my head explode.
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Carol
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 12:29:55 PM »

Regarding Don Earl and the organic info I got, I was told last night that pet food labels are not regulated the same as human food with claims of organic, holistic etc and that only Natural had a legal meaning in all 50 states.  She said all the pet food companies in the world could put anything they wanted on the label without a problem as it is not regulated (except the claim Natural) She said it is all about marketing to the pet owner and the owner should not look at the front of the label--but go right to the back to read the label that is regulated to have certain things as I said earlier. She did not say anything about USDA certified organic. I have not research this any further as I don't know where to begin and the vet nutritionist from Tufts appeared right on the ball with current regulations.  As far as my vet calling my cats MARF cats, they did not have kidney biopsies but based on the brand and dates of food that they were fed exclusively had tested positive for melamine and cyranuric acid, they were completely in line with the acute renal failure reported by the ACVIM. My second cat had multiple blood and urine tests and did not show the "usual poisons or crystals" tested for . The MARF crystals that Dr Serra showed were shown inside the kidney tubules with complete obstruction of the tubules with an inflammatory reaction around them, with just about complete obstruction from in and out.  I don't know what crystals pix Don sent but I also was told that all the materials found (melamine and cyranuric acid and "aminopterin") by themself were not very toxic but the melamine and cyranuric acid became toxic together by obstruction by crystals of the renal system which was the reason for the illness of ARF.  I fortunately have a great vet whose speciality is kidneys (internal medicine) and he was treating both my cats prior to and on March 16th .  The slides that we were shown last night were presented at the meeting of the National Internal Med Vet Society and I don't know if there is any way to find out if the slides Don mentions were involved. As far as liver trouble, my younger cat had good liver lab work at the beginning of her MARF but as time went on and she did not eat, her amylase and lipase were very abnormal and my vet says that renal failure as it goes on can affect the liver.  I guess as with human medicine, nothing can be proven 100% but what I got out of last night was that it did make sense --the timing of the illness, the new supplier of the wheat gluten, wheat gluten testing positive for melamine and sick animals with melamine in their urine and food---but I'm sure there may be other things going on that need to be investigated.  For example, the new problem with the jerky treats----this makes me think that MARF is only one a possibly many problems now!   Fortunately I have 17 packets of food bought at the same time from the same lots as the food that sickened my cats and it has been safe in the freezer since March 21, despite MF and Walmart saying to throw it out or take it back (for my 27 cents a bag refund--LOL)  My vet said absolutely do not throw out the food or take it back---keep it for I may need to prove what "stuff" is in it!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 12:42:17 PM by Carol » Logged

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

United we stand     Divided we fall....
Carol
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 01:59:13 PM »

http://www.fda.gov/cvm/petlabel.htm

I don't know if this will help or just confuse us all more.   I just don't who to believe anymore......
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JJ
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 06:07:23 PM »

Carol sounds like you have a wonderful vet who knows from where he or she speaks. Advising you to keep the food when others said to throw it out. Too bad more are not like that and better informed but hopefully they will be now with the amount of pets who are ill because of all the substances that should not be in the food in the first place.
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Carol
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2007, 10:52:08 AM »

I posted a pix of Smudge that was after 8 days of IV' in the hospital---this will explain why I have become loo-loo and am making as big a fuss as I can in RI so this won't happen to anybody else's furkids!

(Posting the pix was thanks to carolo as I did not have a clue---not too old to teach an old dog -49 til december-new tricks!) Grin


(I posted pix at Suggestions/Help )
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 12:45:54 PM by Carol » Logged

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

United we stand     Divided we fall....
5CatMom
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2007, 11:39:27 AM »

Carol,

Thanks for the info about the meeting.  Have you had any of your saved food tested?

5CatMom
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Carol
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2007, 12:42:35 PM »

5catmom---Not yet as finances are tight --as you may remember that we were in the middle of treating Harry (our golden) for cancer and sort of depleted our emergency funds and then the cats got sick and my daughter is in college and my niece just got married (I raised her ) so 2007 has been a quite expensive year!  I do plan on getting some of it tested but don't know what lab to use as RI does not have a lab able to testing pet food.  It would be good if I could use two different ones...I'm not involved in litigation now so the testing would be just for our benefit to know exactly what was in that special gravy!!!  I think it's safe in the freezer??
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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

United we stand     Divided we fall....
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