The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now confirms that consumers suspect dry pet food for the illness or death of their pets. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is holding a news conference today to call on the FDA to expand the pet food recall to include all dry food varieties. Consumer complaints are believed to warrant this recall until the suspect dry pet food products are tested for safety, according to PETA.
PETA will also explain its call for an investigation into Iams showing reports that indicate Menu Foods, Iams’ manufacturer, may have known about the pet food contamination as early as February 20. The recall did not go into effect until March 16.
Pet Food Institute (PFI) President, Duane Ekedahl, issued a statement in response to PETA’s demand for a recall of all dry pet food. “Any call at this time for a recall of dry pet food is clearly irresponsible.”
Ninety-nine (99) percent of pet food is not involved in the recall and remains on store shelves, according to Ekedahl, who states, “Consumers may purchase the pet food on store shelves with confidence.”
PETA maintains that “Iams has a history of causing animal suffering,” referring to 2002-03 undercover investigation of an animal-testing laboratory contracted by Iams. A PETA investigator documented “that terrified animals were confined to cramped, unsanitary cages in dilapidated rooms; that dogs had chunks of muscle cut from their thighs; and other acts of cruelty. The investigator also documented that at least 27 dogs were deliberately killed.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed many of PETA’s findings and the ensuing investigation resulted in the issue of 40 violations of the Animal Welfare Act. PETA will show video footage of its investigation at the news conference.
It is plausible that the video contents and supportive data presented at the news conference will further illicit pressure on the FDA to investigate Iams as well as issue a dry pet food recall. Thus far the FDA is not convinced that such a recall is needed. Resistance is strong from the Pet Food Institute (PFI), who since 1958 has been the voice of U.S. pet food manufacturers.
PFI is the pet food industry’s public education and media relations resource, representative before the U.S. Congress, state and federal agencies, and represents the manufacturers of 97 percent of all dog and cat food produced in the U.S.
“Nearly a month elapsed between the first reports of illness and death from contaminated products and the recall-time during which countless cats and dogs may have been sickened and died,” says PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. “We’re calling on Iams and other companies not to gamble with animals’ lives and to recall all dry food products that are the subject of complaints immediately.”
Ekedahl maintains, “Neither state nor federal regulators have found any evidence whatsoever to support a recall of dry pet food products. In fact, the evidence indicates that the efforts of the pet food industry, the FDA and state regulators have stopped the distribution of pet food believed to be contaminated.”
Menu Foods has recalled 60 million cans of cat and dog food after animals started dying of kidney failure. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-866-895-2708. Consumers who wish to report adverse actions or other problems can do so on the FDA Web site,(http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html) to contact the FDA complaint coordinator in their state.
Pet Food Institute (http://www.petfoodinstitute.org/)