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Author Topic: A look back at the Itchmo Blog, March, 2007  (Read 6733 times)
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JustMe
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My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010


« on: March 16, 2009, 05:22:40 AM »

I'm going to be posting some of the pages from Ben and Emily's blog here.  If you go to the link, you should still be able to read the comments.  Warning:  lots of spam comments there on the blog. 

Please feel free to discuss the Itchmo Blog pages at this link.

http://itchmoforums.com/pet-food-recall-memorial/discussion-itchmo-blog-2007-pet-food-recalls-t7851.0.html;msg113511#msg113511

http://www.itchmo.com/go/tagged/pet-food-product-recall/page/36

March 19, 2007
Menu Foods Pet Food Recall Update #4
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 12:44 am
According to pet parents at the Dogster dog blog, Menu Foods has changed the list of affected foods since it posted it on Saturday, leaving questions as to what wet foods have been affected. We visited All The Best Pet Care’s Queen Anne location today and one store employee told us that they removed all Nutro-branded wet foods regardless of the date of manufacture just to be safe — seems like a smart move to us. They also offered many alternatives to the wet foods.

On the cat food side, Menu Foods has added Eukanuba and Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts Cans since the original list was posted (We kept a copy). On the dog food side, they added Eukanuba, Iams, Mighty Dog Pouch (A Purina brand), Nutro Ultra, Ol’Roy Canada and removed Key Food. It’s amazing that more than 10 days after switching suppliers due to this issue, Menu Foods could not supply a complete list of affected brands.

Also, the lack of a cause or source of the contaminate seems to be hampering medical treatment. And the hotlines don’t seem to be of real help, as one parent wrote:

After calling the Menu Foods Recall hotline I have this to report: They are only “Taking Messages for Menu Foods” and cross-referencing the “list” Menu Foods provided them.

We’ve been reading reactions from pet parents who have been taking their sick pets to vets and many feel that they understand mistakes happen, but Menu Foods’ reaction has been too slow and too little. Litigation may be a foregone conclusion to some pet parents. One parent wrote to us and said:

I’m not generally a big fan of litigation, but in this case, I can’t say I feel any sympathy for Menu… At this point, it’s not the fact that the food was tainted that gets me. Accidents happen, things get contaminated. I can accept that, I can understand it, I can forgive it. It’s the delay that I’m not okay with.

The revised recall list is posted after the jump.

If all this bad news is getting you down, don’t worry, we continue to cover this news as well as our regular fun stuff on Monday morning. (more…)

Comments (2)
March 18, 2007
Now Covering All Pet-Related Recalls
Filed under: Cats, Other Pets, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 3:24 pm
Itchmo is now covering all pet food and toy recalls across the US. You will find all recall-related news under the Safety tag.

Comments (0)
Analysis of Menu Foods Pet Food Recall
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 2:27 am

UPDATE 2: (Monday 3pm Pacific) Director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine estimates that this recall affects 1% of all US pet food supply. Divide the 1% sold over three months and our estimate sounds plausible.

UPDATE: Many news outlets are reporting that the suspect food was sold until March 6th. We’ve read enough reports (including GK’s) to believe that the food was being sold days afterwards since the recall was not announced until the 16th. The March 6th date seems to be the last manufacturing date. GK, Our thought are with you and your cat.

The manufacturer Menu Foods of Ontario, Canada, suspects a new supplier they used as a possible cause. It’s alarming to us to the recall was not announced until 10 days after they switched away from this supplier on March 6th because of the suspected problem — bolded in the quote from the Press Release (PDF) below.

Shortly after receipt of the first complaint, the Fund initiated a substantial battery of technical tests, conducted by both internal and external specialists, but has failed to identify any issues with the products in question. The Fund has, however, discovered that timing of the production associated with these complaints, coincides with the introduction of an ingredient from a new supplier. The Fund stopped using this ingredient shortly after this discovery and production since then has been undertaken using ingredients from another source.

Okay, so let me get this straight. After switching to a new supplier, Menu Foods got complaints, started testing and switched the suspect supplier on March 6th, but didn’t recall the products until 10 days later?

Why did they wait this long? They also released the news on Friday afternoon when Internet and media traffic was winding down, limiting the reach of their warning. We’re curious as to how this turns out in the pet community. The next number we’re interested in is the average settlement amount per pet where the pet ingested harmful food. The company is estimating that the recall will cost $26 to $34 million.

To calculate the impact of this recall, we put our heads together here at itchmo and tried to size up the magnitude of this recall. We’re estimating that roughly 1/2 million pets were affected from this recall of 60 million cans or pouches of pet food (our math is after the jump). Out of 90 million cats and 74 million dogs (source), that’s an impact of 0.3% of all pets or about 179,000 households.

To put that into perspective, the entire city of Atlanta has 179,000 households (equivalent to about 4/5th of Seattle). This is huge.

Check our math. Let us know if you think our math can be verified or corrected.

It’s also interesting to note, that the Menu Foods Web site has been reduced to the homepage and the recall page. As you can follow from this link, there is far more information if you dig a little. Hey, Menu Foods, it makes you seem like you’re hiding from your customers. Now we know why their site was down on Friday night as the news broke.

(more…)

Comments (63)
March 17, 2007
Pet Food Recall
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 12:23 pm


UPDATE 3 (Sunday 11am): Menu Foods has expanded the number of lines to call to two; (866) 463-6738 and (866) 895-270. However, both lines were busy most of Saturday. If your pet behaves abnormally after eating this food, please go see a vet.

UPDATE 2 (Saturday 10am): All recalled brands posted: Cat food, Dog food. We have posted a copy of the brands under recall after the jump in case the recall site goes down again.

UPDATE (Friday 11pm): From Forbes.com: “P&G announced Friday the recall of specific 3 oz., 5.5 oz., 6 oz. and 13.2 oz. canned and 3 oz. and 5.3 oz. foil pouch cat and dog wet food products made by Menu Foods but sold under the Iams and Eukanuba brands. The recalled products bear the code dates of 6339 through 7073 followed by the plant code 4197, P&G said.”

ORIGINAL POST: Pet food sold under several different store brand names at Wal-Mart, PetSmart, Safeway, Kroger and other stores have been recalled because they have been attributed in 10 pet deaths and others have suffered kidney failure. Specific details are not yet available, but here’s what you need to look for:

Cat and dog food
Wet foods (chunks of meat in gravy) sold in cans or pouches
Sold under Safeway Priority, Iams, and Eukanuba brands (possibly more)
Sold at Wal-Mart, PetSmart, Safeway, Kroger, Vons, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Dominick’s, Carr’s, Genuardi’s and other major retailers
Sold between Dec. 3 and March 6 throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico
The name of the food producer is Menu Foods. Their Web site is down as of this post, but if you have questions, you can call (866) 463-6738.

Currently, the source of the problem has not been uncovered, and the FDA is looking into it. This recall may be one of the widest in recent memory.

An unknown number of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, Menu Foods said in announcing the North American recall. Product testing has not revealed a link explaining the reported cases of illness and death, the company said.

The company said it manufacturers for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers. It is also a contract manufacturer for the top branded pet food companies, including Procter & Gamble Co.

Henderson said the company received an undisclosed number of owner complaints of vomiting and kidney failure in dogs and cats after they had been fed its products. It has tested its products but not found a cause for the sickness.

We will notify you when more information becomes available.

(more…)

Comments (6)
February 21, 2007
Wild Kitty Cat Food Salmonella Warning
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Portland, Seattle, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 4:19 pm

Wild Kitty Cat Food, sold in Washington, Oregon and other areas, have been deemed by the FDA to be unsafe. FDA tests of the company’s “Chicken and Clam Recipe” found salmonella bacteri which can cause sickness and even death in pets and humans. The FDA warned consumers “not to purchase, or use, Wild Kitty Cat Food due to the presence of salmonella.” Wild Kitty products are sold frozen in plastic tubs. If you handled the food, it would be wise to wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap.

« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 06:54:23 AM by JustMe » Logged

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
JustMe
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2009, 05:52:43 AM »

March 19, 2007

http://www.itchmo.com/go/tagged/pet-food-product-recall/page/35

Menu Foods’ Financial Situation Summary
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners — Ben Huh @ 9:16 pm
The financial situation for Menu Foods (and its parent company) is spelled out in this article. In a nutshell (all dollars Canadian):

The trust scraped out a profit of $6.4 million for all of 2006 on sales of $356.2 million, after a 2005 loss of $54.7 million.

The recall came as the trust, which has not paid distributions to investors since December 2005, was showing signs of health after being hit hard by rising costs and the strong Canadian dollar.

The median estimate for the cost of the recall (USD $30 million) would have been roughly six times their 2006 profits (USD $5.4 million).

Comments (2)
Menu Foods FDA Report Contradicts Canadian Paper
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 8:21 pm
Thanks to Nikki at Howl911 for the tip. We’re continuing to put the pieces of this puzzle together, one at a time.

According to some media outlets, Menu Foods states that they reported the potential problem with their food on February 20.

Menu Foods told the FDA it received the first complaints of kidney failure and deaths among cats and dogs from pet owners on Feb. 20. It began new tests on Feb. 27.

Another article reports that the initial concern were being reported to the company as early as December, which would correspond with the accelerated speed of mortality in acute kidney failures and the manufacturing date of the product. Menu Foods reported their first lab animal death on March 2nd, a mere 3 days after initiating the test on February 27th.

Starting in December, concerns began filtering back to the company through toll-free customer lines about the “cuts and gravy” style pet food.

We don’t know how The Chronicle got the information about the news starting in December, but if both media sources are reporting accurately, Menu Foods provided inaccurate and potentially misleading data to the FDA. Whether it is intentional or not, we don’t know. But the media reports indicate that the date Menu Foods gave the FDA was far later than when it potentially first found out about the problem.

The question on many people’s minds is “why did Menu Food wait almost 3 months to start testing their product?”

Comments (20)
Mortality Rate from Menu Foods Toxin Anywhere from 14% to 25%
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 7:55 pm
Update (3/20 6:30pm Pacific):  A pet parent on dogster.com reports that the FDA has received more than 1,000 reports of pet deaths. Thanks Howl911.

Original Post: So we were shocked to learn that the recall was announced 10-days after Menu Foods switched out their suspect supplier. Now, Reuters is reporting that “Menu Foods received the first of six complaints about kidney failure in pets on February 20.” It then waited 7 days to start its own testing, which they performed on 40-50 live cats and dogs. One cat died just 3 days later on March 2nd. The suspect supplier was pulled on March 6th.

The assertion that the first reports came in on February 20th is diputed by a Canadian newspaper and us.

It turns out that of the 10 pet deaths reported in the initial recall, 7 or more pets were in the test group, and Menu Foods waited 14 days to issue the recall after having conclusive evidence, not the 10 days we originally thought.

The FDA said at least seven, and perhaps all, of the 10 deaths, were linked to this tasting trial. Those trial-related deaths were out of a larger group of between 40 and 50 animals who were fed the product.

That’s a mortality rate of between 14% and 25%.

So let’s take that rate and apply that to the number crunching we did earlier. We estimated that about 533,000 pets potentially could have consumed this food. Which means that 74,000 pets could potentially die or be sickened. We’re hoping that early prevention by pet parents reduced the number (as the lab mortality rate is attributed to untreated pets) and that more packs of this food went unsold than our original estimate.

Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, told reporters he expected more pet deaths as the investigation continues.

This is going to be an enormous number of reported deaths and staggering unreported deaths. I hope we’re wrong. I pray that we’re wrong, so very wrong, about our estimates.

Comments (7)
Menu Foods’ Exclusive Contract with Iams’ Until 2013
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 5:31 pm
EXCLUSIVE TO ITCHMO: We dug up some buried documents on the Menu Foods Web site, particularly financial reports that outline an exclusive 10-year contract to supply Iams’ with their wet pet food started in 2003. In plain English, Iams’ will only sell Menu Foods’ wet pet foods as its own until 2013.

On October 31, 2003, Menu completed its acquisition of P&G/Iams’ production facility in North Sioux City, South Dakota. The Fund acquired inventory and property, plant and equipment and assumed all the employees of that facility. Concurrent with the acquisition, the Fund entered into an agreement to supply, on an exclusive basis, all of P&G/Iams’ canned wet pet food requirements in the United States and Canada.

The supply contract (the “Contract”) consists of an exclusive agreement to supply all the canned wet pet food requirements for Proctor & Gamble/Iams (”P&G/Iams”) in the United States and Canada. The Contract is carried at cost less accumulated amortization. Amortization, which is charged to cost of sales, is computed over the estimated term of the Contract, which is ten years.

When this recall escapes the collective minds of the public, Menu Foods will continue to make and sell its wet pet foods under the Iams’ brand.

On another note, we were surprised to find a Menu Foods code of ethics document that states:

We are committed to full and honest communications with our customers about Menu’s products and services

Customers are an essential element of our success. Their trust in us must be justified. Care should be taken not to make promises that Menu cannot keep.

No employee shall make false or misleading statements about Menu Foods’ products and services – not in promotional material, personal sales calls with customers or in any of our communications with customers.

Customers are entitled to candid and thorough explanations of the terms and conditions of sale and any guarantees or warranties.

So far, we have not been impressed with their “candid and thorough explanations”.

Comments (27)
Opinion: Menu Foods’ Latest PR is Offensive
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Websites About Cats & Dogs — Ben Huh @ 4:16 pm
This is our two cents. We would love to hear from you about your thoughts in our comments. We just read the latest press release from Menu Foods which looks entirely designed to recover their fallen stock price. The entire press release is after the jump.

Here’s what I find so offensive:

The press release trumps Menu Food’s “Enhanced Website and Call Center”. We have been documenting the changes to www.menufoods.com and other than the addition of a handful of new brands under recall, there has been very little additional information posted on the site. In fact, the biggest and most noticeable change has been the posting of the press release touting their enhanced site. In our opinion, there has been no enhancements to the site regarding structure or functionality that could be reasonably construed to help the site become more user-friendly. In fact, Menu Foods did not even post the last updated datestamp on their recalled brands list. Even after repeated updates, the date on the recall brand lists are still marked March 16th — which is a day before the recall lists actually went live. Clicking on 2 of the best known brands (Eukanuba or Iams) lists only a link to the respective brand’s homepage — not even the specific recall page.
Their claim of an enhanced call center is difficult to be independently verified and the release provides zero facts, figures, or even hints at how the call center has been “enhanced”.
Lastly, is this news important enough to be the very first corporate announcement since the recall? It contains nothing more than a pat on their backs. The most significant impact this press release can have is on the stock price of Menu Foods. We would love a response from Menu Foods on this site to show us that there is a substantive benefit for the affected customers to this release. In fact, a Menu Foods spokesperson told the New York Times that the company will compensate parents of pets that died. There has been no clarification since that article, nor have they specified any procedures to follow.
Full press release after the jump.

(more…)

Comments (5)
Menu Foods Class Action Being Organized
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Websites About Cats & Dogs — Ben Huh @ 3:32 pm
On Yahoo! 34 people have already joined a group (free membership required) in order to start filing for a class action lawsuit against Menu Foods. (Via Howl911) The site lists some very practical tips if you intend to pursue any claim against Menu Foods (or any pet food recall for that matter):

If your pet has died, try to do the following:
- Save the food package
- Save your receipt from where you purchased the food
- Save any vet bills
- Save any burial bills
- Find a picture from when your pet was alive
- Take a picture of your deceased pet
- Journal the loss of your pet (pain & suffering)
I know that some of the requests above are odd. But we need to hold Menu Foods accountable for their actions.

The site is not being managed by an attorney at the moment, but is seeking to do so.

The Yahoo! Group seems to focus only in the case of death of your pet, but I believe any substantial pain suffered by you and your pet that resulted in a financial loss would also qualify for class action. If your intent is to punish the manufacturer for their behavior, a class action that consists of deaths and injuries could cast a wider net and inflict higher financial damages.

Comments (36)
Comparison to The Other Deadly Pet Food Recall
Filed under: Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 9:20 am
Some of you may remember the Diamond Pet Foods recall that happened in December of 2005. That recall made the news headlines because more than two dozen dogs and cats had died when the recall was announced. From what we can gather from that incident, the aflatoxin contamination was first reported by a vet on December 16, 2005, the toxin was confirmed on December 20th, and a safety warning was announced the same day, followed by a recall on the 21st. The last tally we could get was at least 100 dog deaths and 1 cat death. The part that made us remember this recall was the family-owned company making an impassioned plea to “do right” by their customers.

“It’s going to take some time to take care of all these customers, and we’re going to do it,” said the company’s chief operating officer, Mark Brinkmann.

Diamond has promised to reimburse pet owners for vet bills and other costs associated with the aflatoxin poisoning, which officials now believe may include pets in Europe and other areas outside the country where the food is distributed.

By all accounts, Diamond Pet Foods is a well-respected company with a reputation for quality. They seemed to have done a better job of informing their customers and pledged to better in the future. Here’s an excellent recap of the incident from Slate. However, trying to do right and getting it done right seems to be tremendously difficult as the MSNBC article shows. And most importantly, it doesn’t begin to erase the suffering experienced by both the pet and the parent.

So far, Menu Foods seems to lack the compassion exhibited by Diamond Pet Foods. We feel that Diamond treated our pets like they were our family members (which, of course, they are), but Menu Foods seems to be taking the cover your behind tact — and failing at it. We hope that Menu Foods will improve their communications and be more responsive, open, and honest with us, but only time will tell.

As of Monday morning, The New York Times is reporting that Menu Foods is offering compensation, although the Menu Foods site does not say anything about compensation or the compensation documentation process.

Ms. Tuite added that Menu Foods would compensate owners of pets that died, although she declined to say what the compensation would be. Pet owners who want to make a claim must mail documentation of their use of the affected products to the address on the company’s Web site, she said.

Comments (0)
Where to Send In Your Menu Foods Complaint
Filed under: Dogs, Cats, Pet Food Recalls & Safety, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, Products & Services for Cats & Dogs, Websites About Cats & Dogs, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners, Veterinary/Medical — Ben Huh @ 8:16 am
If suspect that your cat or dog has been sickened by one of the Menu Foods’ recalled products, please contact the FDA through the local state office found on this page.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 06:12:16 AM by JustMe » Logged

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
JustMe
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Hero Member
*****
Posts: 10510


My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010


« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2009, 11:30:01 AM »

Amazingly, people are still posting comments on the Itchmo Blog.

Here is an update posted on 08/25/2009 about Gaby the dog.  Warning, disturbing story, but a happy life for Gaby.

http://www.itchmo.com/dog-survives-euthanasia-attempt-and-four-days-in-freezer-at-animal-shelter-4036#comment-258801
Logged

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
mgt
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Posts: 560

I will see you soon my little boy! Momma loves you


« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2009, 11:44:58 AM »

wow, I didn't realize..  awe, good for little Gabby, oops, I mean Miracle...  Wink  Even a blood donor, the heart of an animal never ceases to amaze me!!!!!!!  No matter what it has been put through...  we can learn more from them than they could ever learn from us.
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lesliek
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Trooper,Remy & Fragile


« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2009, 01:03:02 PM »

Its wonderful to hear how well Gaby/Miracle is doing. I hope Vicky joins the forums to keep us updated.I guess I should check the blog more often,I had no idea there were recent posts there.
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"the world's most inept extortionist"
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