One Pet Owner’s Pet Food Recall Odyssey 2007 – 2009
A touching real life true story how the 2007 pet food recalled changed one pet owners life. This is a reminder for all of us to continue to work diligently to improve pet food safety.
From Ann – in her own words…
Beginning with Christmas December 2006, this grandmother of three and owner of three then healthy cats, ages 10, 15, and 16, embarked on a two year odyssey regarding consumer food safety awareness in how inadequate our FDA laws are. In December 2006 I purchased XMas gifts from a big-box pet food specialty store for my four-legged pet family members, about six pouches of cat food and one can of cat pet treats, not their usual daily pet food. These “gift” foods were fed about one pouch and a few treats each weekly over the course of the next month.
In January 2007 my 10 year old cat was taken to the vet’s office because she displayed symptoms of being hard to arouse and weight loss, among others. The vet diagnosed kidney failure, and placed this cat on IV fluids for two days in an attempt to save her life. That attempt failed, and after the longest and shortest two days of my life, the cat had to be euthanized.
Meanwhile, my 15 and 16 year old cats were diagnosed with urinary tract infections, and after two weeks of antibiotic treatment, kidney failure. “Was this contagious?,” I pleaded with my vet. “No,” she said, “not possible.” But neither of us had a clue as to what conceivably could be going on here.
Then came March 16, 2007, and the announcement of the massive pet food recalls by Menu Foods Income Fund. And then I knew what had happened here to my three cats, as their Christmas treats were recalled, as were over 60 million containers of commercial pet food for the next several months, March through the summer of 2007.
My 15 and 16 year old surviving cats, with lesser appetities than my 10 year old, now had a terminal chronic disease, kidney failure, but were treatable and could survive for some period of years with intense treatment at home and frequent veterinary care. Thus began the two year period of nightmare proportions which continues to this day to allow my two pet cats to continue to survive with declining quality of life, but life still. Those familiar with the veterinary care of pet chronic renal disease know of the subcutaneous fluids, medications for high blood pressure, acid blockers, and phosphorous blockers needed to maintain pets with chronic kidney disease, the daily worry when new symptoms appear, and the very frequent visits to the vet’s office. The total economic costs, while not important in exact detail, over the last two years would have allowed me to purchase a new small car and have been a monthly financial hardship very much like a second mortgage payment. My grandchildren don’t want pets “sick like grandma’s.”
Also over this same two year period from March of 2007 to April of 2009, I have explored the regulation of consumer food safety by the FDA, and particularly the regulation by AAFCO, CVM, and FDA of commercial pet food and its more than questionable human food chain waste ingredients.
All this could have perhaps been avoided if Menu Foods Income Fund had been required to announce its knowledge of dying pets in December 2006, but Menu Foods was not required to do so by any existing FDA regulation and the FDA has no mandatory food recall authority except over baby formula.
The existing FDA food safety laws favor so-called business stakeholders over U.S. consumer food safety and must be updated and changed in view of the numerous contaminated food recalls involving Salmonella, E-coli, aflatoxins, in meats, fresh vegetables, infant formula, and now nuts that have occured in the United States in 2007, 2008, and 2009,
In December 2007 I was gifted with the birth of a grandson. This grandson had birth defects which resulted in his being put on a baby food supplement that contains the highest amount of melamine contamination of any baby food allowed in the United States. Each and every day I wonder what the long term effects of melamine are going to ultimately be on my grandson, and my FDA cannot tell me because the FDA is not funded at a sufficient level to do the necessary scientific studies.
Too many American consumers get ill and die from food-borne illness in the United States. By updated Associated Press estimate using the 1996 CDC formula, in 2009 those numbers are 87 million illnesses and 5,700 directly related deaths. The tainted food being supplied to consumers has to be better regulated by a revamped and updated federal food safety agency that gives its first priority to consumer food safety, human and pet.
My thanks to Ann for sharing her heartbreaking story. She also shared news that her Grandson is doing well at this time. I’m sure I can speak for everyone that we wish Ann’s entire family the best.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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