Four Children Die Linked to a Commonly Used Pet Food Fumigant
In a lawsuit brought against Mars Petcare we learned about a commonly used fumigant used on food/pet food ingredients – aluminum phosphide. This same fumigant was recently responsible for the deaths of four children. How dangerous is aluminum phosphide to our pets?
In Amarillo Texas on New Years Day 2017, someone used a chemical fumigant (aluminum phosphide) under a house. Four children in that house died the next day. “When Aluminum Phosphide is mixed with water or any moisture, it produces a toxic Phosphine gas, which is what took the lives of these occupants. One resident of the east Amarillo home was trying to kill mice and placed the pesticide underneath their home, then applied water. They were already getting an odor and they were trying to suppress the vapors.”
Aluminum phosphide is directly linked to pet food (and human food). Thanks to bits and pieces learned from a lawsuit filed against Mars Petcare, we know that aluminum phosphide is commonly used to fumigate pet food ingredients. The 2012 lawsuit claimed phoshine gases “were allowed to accumulate and disburse into the Mars plant at unsafe levels.”
An anonymous employee of the pet food plant stated “We know there was stuff coming in that was fumigated and was not listed as being fumigated that went straight into making pet food.” In other words, this anonymous employee claimed that a deadly fumigate was added directly into the pet food.
A statement made by Mars Petcare to KOAM TV seems to confirm that it is common practice for aluminum phosphide to be added into pet food. Julie Lawless (interesting last name) of Mars Petcare provided KOAM TV with a statement, declaring “Our products are tested by various state and federal agencies for phosphine.”
Why would Mars Petcare products (food and treats) be tested by state and federal agencies for phosphine?
I can only think of one reason…my guess is that it is common practice for Mars Petcare and other pet food manufacturers to fumigate pet food ingredients with aluminum phosphide. State and federal agencies know that some of these fumigates end up in the pet food and they test for toxic levels.
This is beyond concerning.
How many times have you or someone you know opened up a new bag of pet food reporting it had an odd smell? Is that odd smell a fumigate that was added directly into the pet food – sealed up in the bag? Do we need to wear a hazmat suit each time we open a new bag of pet food to protect us from a toxic gas? Is your pet going to be exposed to a toxic gas while consuming the food?
What we don’t know about the manufacturing of pet food is concerning. What we don’t know about the fumigation of ingredients and the effects of those fumigants on our pets (and the employees making the pet food) is quite concerning. Until it is public information – what fumigants are used, if it is common practice for some of the fumigants to go into the pet food, the results from the pet foods those state and federal agencies tested – how can veterinarians even treat a pet that become ill?
Come clean Big Pet Food…tell us everything. We deserve to know.
I will be asking state authorities and FDA about this issue at the upcoming AAFCO meeting. If I learn more, it will be provided to all. Until we learn more, I would encourage consumers that open a bag or can of pet food that has an off smell to seal the bag/can and remove it from your home. Report the off odor to FDA (you can do that by clicking here) and to your State Department of Agriculture (you can find your state authority by clicking here). Ask them to test the pet food for phosphine and ask for a copy of the results.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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