UNION, N.J. (AP) - Pet owners were worried this weekend that the kibble in their cupboard may be deadly after the recall of millions of containers of dog and cat food sold at major retailers across North America.
Menu Foods, the Ontario-based company that produced the pet food, said Saturday it was recalling dog food sold under 46 brands and cat food sold under 37 brands including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba. The food was distributed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico by major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway.
An unknown number of cats and dogs had suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, the company said.
Many stores that sold the affected brands frantically pulled packages off shelves.
At a Petsmart store in Union, Silviene Grzybowski became worried when the four types of Iams products she buys for her cat, Smokey, had vanished from shelves. The cat was very sick and had not been eating for days, she said.
"The vet told us to buy her her favorite food, but I'm going to call the vet right now," Grzybowski said, looking at an announcement Petsmart had taped to shelves announcing the recall.
A complete list of the recalled products along with product codes, descriptions and production dates was available from the Menu Foods Web site - http://www.menufoods.com/recall - and consumers also could call (866) 463-6738.
Menu Foods' chief executive and president Paul Henderson told the Associated Press on Friday that the company was still trying to figure out what happened.
He said that the company had received an undisclosed number of owner complaints that dogs and cats were vomiting and suffering kidney failure after eating its products.
The recall covers the company's "cuts and gravy" style food, which consists of chunks of meat in gravy, sold in cans and small foil pouches from Dec. 3 to March 6.
In Omaha, Neb., Susan Balvanz said she sometimes feeds her five cats packets of sliced meat and gravy sold by Nutro Products, one of the brands affected.
"I've done so much research on pet food. It didn't surprise me but it scared me all the same," said Balvanz.
She said her 9-year-old cat, Boots, was especially fond of the food but seemed to have lost its appetite in the last few days.
At the Missouri Valley Veterinary Clinic in Bismarck, N.D., veterinarian Jacob Carlson has been referring worried pet owners to the Menu Foods web site.
"We've had a lot of calls," Carlson said, although none of his patients were sick.
The company said it makes pet food for 17 of the top 20 North American retailers. It is also a contract manufacturer for the top
branded pet food companies, including Procter & Gamble Co.
Associated Press writers Phyllis Mensing in Bismarck, N.D., and
Rebecca Santana in Trenton also contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
The company alerted the Food and Drug Administration, which already has inspectors in one of the two plants, Henderson said. The FDA was working to nail down brand names covered by the recall, agency spokesman Mike Herndon said.
Menu Foods is majority-owned by the Menu Foods Income Fund, based in Ontario, Canada.
Henderson said the recall would cost the company the Canadian equivalent of $26 million to $34 million.
Below are lists of specific brands recalled by Menu Foods, in addition to Procter & Gamble's recall of certain Iams and Eukanuba products. Menu Brands lists the brands on its Web site, www.menufoods.com, and advises consumers to call 1-866-895-2708 for more information.
Recalled cat foods
Americas Choice; Preferred Pets; Authority; Best Choice; Companion; Compliments; Demoulas Market Basket; Fine Feline Cat, Shep Dog; Food Lion; Foodtown; Giant Companion; Good n Meaty; Hannaford; Hill Country Fare; Hy-Vee; Key Food; Laura Lynn; Li'l Red; Loving Meals; Main Choice; Nutriplan; Nutro Max Gourmet Classics; Nutro Natural Choice; Paws; Presidents Choice; Price Chopper; Priority; Save-A-Lot; Schnucks; Sophistacat; Special Kitty; Springfield Pride; Sprout; Total Pet; My True Friend; Wegmans; Western Family; White Rose; and WinnDixie.
Recalled dog foods
America's Choice; Preferred Pets; Authority; Award; Best Choice; Big Bet; Big Red; Bloom; Bruiser; Cadillac; Companion; Demoulas Market Basket; Fine Feline Cat; Shep Dog; Food Lion; Giant Companion; Great Choice; Hannaford; Hill Country Fare; Hy-Vee; Key Food; Laura Lynn; Loving Meals; Main Choice; Mixables; Nutriplan; Nutro Max; Nutro Natural Choice; Nutro; Ol'Roy; Paws; Pet Essentials; Pet Pride; President's Choice; Price Chopper; Priority; Publix; Roche Bros; Save-A-Lot; Schnucks; Springsfield Pride; Sprout; Stater Bros; Total Pet; My True Friend; Western Family; White Rose; Winn Dixie and Your Pet.