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Melamine found in pet food, FDA news conf 3/30
By Karen Roebuck
Friday, March 30, 2007
U.S. Food and Drug Administration testing found a chemical commonly used in
plastics, but no rat poison, in the recalled pet food that has killed and
sickened cats and dogs nationwide, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review learned
Testing by the FDA and at least one lab independent of the agency found
melamine, a chemical used in plastics and household textiles, in samples of
the recalled pet food and in one of its ingredients -- wheat gluten -- said
an FDA official and another source close to the investigation. Neither
wanted to be identified prior to the FDA's formal announcement this morning.
Whether melamine is the source of the animal illness is unclear, they said.
The National Toxicology Program of the Department of Health and Human
Services reports on its Web site, however, that melamine in rats caused loss
of weight, marked reduction of food consumption and high mortality -- the
same symptoms pet owners have witnessed in cats and dogs that ate the
Because of a lack of scientific data, it is unclear what level of melamine
would be harmful to cats and dogs, the sources said. An unknown number of
cats and dogs nationwide have died or become ill with kidney failure
Ontario, Canada-based Menu Foods recalled 60 million cans and pouches of
"cuts and gravy" style cat and dog food it produced under 95 brand names
after consumer complaints and seven animals died in the company's own tests.
New York state officials said March 23 their tests indicated the pet food
was contaminated with aminopterin, which is used as rat poison in other
countries and is found in chemotherapy drugs in the United States.
Neither the FDA nor the independent lab tests found aminopterin. The agency
is expected to announce its findings at a news conference at 10 a.m. today
but is not commenting on New York's findings or that lab's methodology.
The FDA has not determined how melamine got into the pet food. Melamine is
used as a fertilizer in Asia and has several commercial and industrial uses.
The FDA has received 8,000 complaints regarding the recalled food and is
testing hundreds of customer-submitted samples.
take out the dog before replying
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