Melamine from Chinese Wheat Gluten Cause of Petfood Contamination

Hill's Pet Nutrition withdraws Prescription Diet m/d catfood - the first dry food to be withdrawn
March 31, 2007

Melamine from Chinese Wheat Gluten Cause of Petfood Contamination

Melamine has been identified as the cause of the pet illnesses and deaths associated with a wide range of recently recalled petfoods. A week ago, scientists cited Aminopterin as the toxin responsible for kidney failure and death in a number of cats and dogs.

Menu Foods, Inc., a private-label pet food manufacturer based in Streetsville, Ontario, Canada, recallied all its "cuts and gravy" style dog and cat food produced at its facility in Emporia, Kansas between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007. The products are sold in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Paul Henderson, President and CEO of Menu Foods,said in a press conference today that  other scientists were unable to find the toxin  in their pet food, or in any of the component ingredients.

"It was also brought to our attention that some veterinary experts held the view that aminopterin was inconsistent with what was being observed in dogs and cats", he said.

Henderson said melamine was found in the wheat gluten from a new supplier in the United States, who sourced this wheat gluten in China. "The pet food that we have manufactured after March 6 is safe and healthy", he added.
With all of the quality standards, how did this happen?  "Quite simply, one supplier’s product was adulterated with a material that is not part of any known screening procedure for wheat gluten.  The important point today is that the source of the adulteration has been identified and removed from our system", Henderson told journalists..  

"Needless to say, we have a great deal of interest in finding out why we were supplied with this kind of product. This is a subject of very great interest to us and our lawyers and you can expect that we will be following up. For litigation purposes, we cannot elaborate at this time".

Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. is voluntarily recalling Prescription Diet m/d Feline dry food from the market. Hill's is taking this precautionary action because during a two-month period in early 2007, wheat gluten for this product was provided by a company that also supplied wheat gluten to Menu Foods. U.S. Food and Drug Administration tests of wheat gluten samples from this period show the presence of a small amount of melamine. Prescription Diet m/d Feline Dry represents less than one half of one percent of all Hill's products.

This is the only product Hill's currently sells in the United States that contains wheat gluten from any supplier. No other Hill's Prescription Diet® or Science Diet® products are affected by this voluntary recall. Hill's Science Diet Savory Cuts Feline canned cat foods, manufactured by Menu Foods, were previously withdrawn from the market as a precaution. Together with this earlier withdrawal, less than 1% of all Hill's products have been affected.


Related story:
Aminopterin Identified as Poison in recalled Cat and Dog Food