Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The recall in China of an imported pet food that has reportedly sickened and killed dozens of dogs is raising many questions about the unregulated pet food industry.

Dozens of dogs are believed to have died due to aflatoxin poisoning after eating a U.S. brand pet food, Optima Puppy Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food.   Unlike the 2007 massive pet food recall, which was blamed on melamine imported from China, this pet food recall is being blamed on quality control.

The "US-made" food was reportedly sitting in an overheated warehouse past its time limit due to logistics and restrictions during the Beijing Olympics.

CNN reported this week that Natural Pet Corporation, which is the distributor for Optima dog food from Australia, has ordered a recall.

A local Chinese paper reported that the food wasn't authorized to be imported from Australia.

Import records show the food came from Australian-based Doane International Pet Products. The food is made by U.S-based Doane Pet Care, in Nashville, TN.  Its web site doesn't mention the recall. Doane Pet Care is owned by Mars, Inc,, which makes the Sheba, Cesar, Pedigree brands, among others. In Novmeber, 2008, Mars recalled pet food that was tainted with Salmonella. Mars makes no mention of the Chinese recall, either.  

Sound familiar?  The largely unregulated pet food industry was responsible in 2007, for the recall of over 150 brands of foods after sickening an killing thousands of dogs and cats.   Pet owners and veterinarians alike were surprised to find that so many foods - from gourmet to grocery brands - were made by the same manufacturer, Menu Foods, in Canada.

Whether the recalls are blamed on quality control or tainted products, isn't this a big wake up call to feed our pets foods made with locally grown products? 

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