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    Post: Killer in recalled pet food may be mold, FDA says

    Posted by s on 3/22/07


    Killer in recalled pet food may be mold, FDA says Bill
    Curtis By: Bill Curtis 2:07 PM Wednesday, March 21st, 2007
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    The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that five
    family pets had died as a result of eating contaminated
    food that is the subject of a national recall. A total of
    14 animals have died after eating the food, said Stephen F.
    Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine,
    which is part of the FDA. The agency said that included
    nine animals that died as a result of taste tests
    administered by the manufacturer, Menu Foods.

    Sundlof said that to his knowledge such tests were
    routinely administered to make sure that pets like the
    taste of the products.

    Sundlof said the agency had been flooded with calls, some
    reporting that pets died after eating. He said he believed
    that the official toll would increase.

    The agency says it does not know what contaminated the
    nearly 100 brands of wet food.

    It is focusing on wheat gluten, a filler that gives the
    cuts-and-gravy-type food in the recall its gelatinous

    Menu Foods, of Ontario, said the illnesses started with the
    introduction of a new supplier of wheat gluten to plants in
    Emporia, Kan., and Pennsauken, N.J. The FDA has not
    released the name of the supplier. Dry pet food does not
    use the gluten.

    "One of the things we're looking at is that toxins produced
    by mold potentially contaminated the wheat gluten," Sundlof
    said. He added that chemical contamination was also being

    Sundlof said the agency believed that the problem was
    confined to the recalled products and that other types and
    brands of food have not been affected.

    "The problem is limited to those products identified by
    Menu Foods in that recall," he said. Most of the
    contaminated lots originated at the Emporia plant, which is
    fully operational, Sundlof said.

    It never had an agency inspection before the recall, he
    said, as such plants are usually inspected only for cause.

    The New Jersey plant was inspected last year under the
    mad-cow-disease program because it produces feed for zoo

    The New York Times

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