March 23, 2007

Pet Food Poisoning Source: Chinese Wheat

ABC News;

ABC News has learned that investigators have determined that a rodent-killing chemical is the toxin in the tainted pet food that has killed several animals.

A source close to the investigation tells ABC News that the rodenticide, which the source says is illegal to use in the United States, was on wheat that was imported from China and used by Menu Foods in nearly 100 brands of dog and cat food.

A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon by experts in Albany, N.Y., where scientists at the state's food laboratory made the discovery a week after a massive recall of 60 million cans and pouches was issued.

The chemical is called aminopterin.

Menu Foods is located in Emporia, Kansas.

Posted by Kate at March 23, 2007 11:53 AM


That's the heart of the Great plains wheat belt !!

If they want to import, the Canadian prairies are a hell of a lot closer.

Is Mo Strong into wheat also, or just autos, such as the Cherry Automotive Company ??

Posted by: B, Hoax Aware at March 23, 2007 12:07 PM

Menu Foods is an income trust headquartered in Streetsville Ont. It has 4 factories - 3 of which are in the U.S. As I understand it (being a dog owner) 2 of the U.S plants are under scrutiny.

Posted by: MikeW at March 23, 2007 12:08 PM

Does Paul Martin haul wheat in his CSL ships?

Posted by: George at March 23, 2007 12:13 PM

I smell a rat.

Posted by: Aaron at March 23, 2007 12:17 PM

An income trust! I knew it!

We tax your trust, you kill our pets. Devious.

Seriously, though -- this is scary as heck for those pet owners who fed their pets this stuff. (Un)luckily for me, my cat has to be on a special diet that means I'm paying in the neighborhood of $80/month for the furbag.

Posted by: Yukon Gold at March 23, 2007 12:18 PM

Is the rat poison put in the holds of the ships or is it used in China and sent with the wheat from the elevators.

where does the rest of this wheat end up- oil for food distribution .

Posted by: cal2 at March 23, 2007 12:27 PM

I believe that this report is erroneous.
The toxin found in the pet foods is not the synthetic compound aminopterin ( which by the way is a cancer drug ) but rather aphlotoxin which is produced by moulds on grains.
In Canada this grain would be detected and destroyed in China there is no such thing as safe food or crop inspection.

If the grain products had been designated as destined for food here it would have been detected and quarantined. The pet food industry has no such safeguards.
In addition there is a history of aphlotoxin tainted pet foods n the US.

The situation that makes it possible to import grain or wheat products from overseas more cheaply than at home is a whole other issue....and domestic grain subsidies in the USA are part of it!

Posted by: OMMAG at March 23, 2007 12:35 PM

Sorry that's Aflatoxin !!

Posted by: OMMAG at March 23, 2007 12:37 PM

I wonder if now would be a good time to buy stock or if it would be smarter to wait until the 1st wave of lawsuits has beeen settled? Actually if this goes to a class action suit in some place like say Mississippi - this firm will be bankrupt in no time.

Posted by: Blazingcatfur at March 23, 2007 12:37 PM

That's what I was thinking about today, too Blazer....

I have no special information on the toxin - just quoting ABC. I'm sure there'll be updates.

Posted by: Kate at March 23, 2007 12:45 PM

A 60 Million class-action lawsuit has already been filed. In what jurisdiction, I'm not sure.

Posted by: Rattfuc at March 23, 2007 12:45 PM

I'm thinking of at the moment of all those ecstatic pet owners who HATED their pain in the ass animals and are now petless and guiltless.

Posted by: brian lemon at March 23, 2007 1:02 PM

In a shocking development - Tony Merchant Law group has filed the Class Action suit:

Posted by: korch at March 23, 2007 1:10 PM

Not that I am constitutional scholar, but I bet that there aren't any articles talking about cats and dogs in the US Constitution. So pet food may come with such disclaimers as your software programs which can wipe out your cyberpet without a peep. I wouldn't be surprised to find that pets are not legal subjects. Case in point: if you hit a small animal (even a pet) on the road by accident, there is absolutely no legal responsability. I guess this is the true hidden connection between this blog's Gestalt :) and the chosen blurb.

Posted by: Ziggy at March 23, 2007 1:14 PM

Holy smokes- Menu foods Units up 26% AFTER discovery of toxin source! Damn I shoulda bought!

Posted by: Blazingcatfur at March 23, 2007 1:22 PM

the chemical is in fact aminopterin. it's an antimetabolite, so i guess that it could be harmful.

Posted by: Larry at March 23, 2007 1:33 PM

"In China there is no such thing as safe food or crop inspection" And there is in Canada? Our 'food inspection' involves mopping up after the thing has been discovered due to illness and death, big news reports on how many cattle, birds or whatever are being destroyed--nothing more nothing less.Remember the ecoli outbreaks across Canada in restaurants? Restaurants and meat packers are 'inspected by our inspectors--if we are so well guarded by these make work projects why are there any outbreaks of anything?
Our food 'inspection' is no beter than our actions over SARS--pamphlets printed and fever sensing devices--in the middle of winter through winter coats--just show, nothing else.
My cattle feed store here has been ordered to put cardboard up between stocked salt blocks--now I feel so safe--cardboard is protecting us! Blessed be cardboard--cheaper than tinfoil, and thicker than printed pamphlets!

Posted by: George at March 23, 2007 1:37 PM

"wheat that was imported from China "

we had to take a toy gun back to dollarama,
after the local papers notified us of a recall,
which involved the chinese factory using
contaminated soil as ballast in the handle
of the gun.

one way to remediate your polluted country.

buy chinese anything at your peril.


Posted by: neo at March 23, 2007 1:58 PM

Menu Foods also has a production facility at the HQ in Streetsville. I know because I worked there - very briefly - about 5 years ago.

Posted by: Michael Westcott at March 23, 2007 2:23 PM

I have a small lap dog and because it eats only small amounts I decided to buy a high quality (expensive) dog food. That is until I saw the price of a small bag was $14 and I said hold it......The large packages of stewing beef and a family pack of ground beef in my shopping cart were about the same price and there was more of it than the bag of dog food. Guess what my dog eats?? Then I began to pay attention to the ingredient labels on the dog food packages....corm meal , soy meal, bone meal , animal fat 9% by volume , wheat flour etc.

I still buy the high quality dog food but add lots of extra "table scraps" of beef , chicken , eggs, oatmeal, macaroni and it is cheaper. It is amazing how the marketers have convinced us to buy their brand of dog food when in reality it is ground up animal offal mixed with pit run grain. If you have a cat (sorry Kate) and buy tinned cat food at $1.39 a tin ... check out the canned tuna section of the grocery store , often it is priced 30% lower than the pet food. My outside yard dog and cats are also known to eat Small Dead Animals on occasion (sorry again Kate) ha....!!!

Posted by: Arnie Madsen at March 23, 2007 2:45 PM

...I hate to use the word "sick", but seriously I'm sick of EVERYTHING coming from China.

First off, what's wrong with Canadian wheat?

Secondly (I posted this earlier in the year) the wife went to SAFEWAY to buy some Pacific Salmon, Tuna, and other food stuffs. Plus garlic cloves.

Believe it or not, the Salmon was from CHINA, the Tuna was caught off the coast of Japan but packaged in CHINA...

...and get this - the GARLIC CLOVES were a product guessed it...CHINA.


Oh wait, my wife's shampoo...

For now.

Posted by: tomax7 at March 23, 2007 2:52 PM

Thanks for the tip, Kate. Now we know what brand to look for if our wives send us out for cat food.

Posted by: Kevin Jaeger at March 23, 2007 4:15 PM

They make pet food out of inedible stuff and spice it with MSG, that tricks brain into thinking that food tastes good. Food industry does the same on humans. Genocide in action.

Posted by: Aaron at March 23, 2007 4:48 PM

Cheap Chinese imports. Good for something, but not for eating.

Although, I think they might now qualify for some of your "cat credits", Kate.

Posted by: Peter Jay at March 23, 2007 5:05 PM

Taxpayers give farmers subsidies and monopolies but wheat is imported from China? Why?

Posted by: philanthropist at March 23, 2007 9:18 PM

If the wheat came from China thats good maybe there will be a wake up call for Canada. We do not need to import wheat from China. The company that the bottom line is the only way, is going the way of the Dodo bird. Save pennies cost Millions some times more than not. Not much quality control there. That does beg the question what other products coming into Canada are tainted but not deadly now.

Posted by: Ken E. Roberts at March 23, 2007 9:40 PM

Make me wonder if any of that wheat could possibly enter the human food chain???

Posted by: rositta at March 23, 2007 9:47 PM


that statement gives a whole new meaning to the term "chinese junk"

Posted by: GYM at March 23, 2007 9:48 PM

No surprise. Chinese herbal medicines have toxic heavy metals and have caused deaths in the US. We have a scandal ongoing here in Florida where grouper, a regional culinary icon, is turning out to be in too many restaurants imported Chinese farm raised catfish loaded with bacteria and bad stuff.

The Chinese have no standards protecting the public health like we do. I put nothing in my mouth imported from China.

The Chinese hate dogs, treat them like rodents, they eat them, no surprise that the food was laced with rat poison. Call me racist, but, I like having a functioning liver and immune system, the Chinese can keep their food to themselves.

Posted by: penny at March 23, 2007 10:03 PM

If anyone saw BNN TV (Squeeze Play) this evening, they had a guy from Bonner Communications who basically said that Menu Foods has been doing a piss-poor job of handling the crisis communications part of this issue. Look for it on repeats this weekend. His point was that children and seniors are very attached to their pets (not to mention the rest of us) and the impact of this issue will be widespread. I can only imagine someone like Kate who is both attached to animals and makes a living from healthy, prize-winning and well fed dogs. Look at their stock price!

Posted by: Andy at March 23, 2007 10:26 PM

not sure if this has been mentioned but it's not dry food we are talking about here, only canned food.

Posted by: kelly at March 23, 2007 10:31 PM

Hey Kelly

I think we would want to avoid ALL stuff made by Menu Foods! Our cat sure won't be exposed to any of it. I guess this is an argument to buy the food recommended by the vets, regardless of price.

Posted by: Andy at March 23, 2007 10:50 PM

OK, it was probably China, but why not have some fun considering some alternatives.

Posted by: Steve Janke at March 23, 2007 10:57 PM

Here's the most recent:

The head of an Ontario-based pet food company said Friday he has no idea how rat poison got into its products, but denied his company was negligent.

The Menu Foods recall covers pet foods sold throughout North America under the Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba labels. In Canada, the recall also covers Loblaws President's Choice brand, as well as the house brands for Dominion, Sobeys and other supermarket chains.

Sounds like a lot of pet food to me. Like, all the major food (for people) stores. Here's the link:

Posted by: Andy at March 23, 2007 10:59 PM

How do you find out all the brand names made by Menu Foods? I would like to avoid anything to do with that company! And how do you know what the vet recommends is any safer?

Posted by: Jacque at March 23, 2007 11:05 PM

John Gibson went on for about an hour and a half today about how Canadian leftists are killing American pets. Not one word about China.
Weird as hell...

Posted by: Knight of Good Mr. Iron Man at March 23, 2007 11:18 PM

Hey Jacque,

Here's a list:

Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
Best Choice
Demoulas Market Basket
Fine Feline Cat
Food Lion
Giant Companion
Hill Country Fare
Laura Lynn
Li'l Red
Loving Meals
Meijer's Main Choice
Nutro Max Gourmet Classics
Nutro Natural Choice
Pet Pride
Presidents Choice
Price Chopper
Priority US
Save-A-Lot Special Blend
Science Diet Feline Savory Cuts Cans
Special Kitty Canada
Special Kitty US
Springfield Prize
Stop & Shop Companion
Tops Companion
Weis Total Pet
Western Family US
White Rose
Winn Dixie

Americas Choice, Preferred Pets
Best Choice
Big Bet
Big Red
Demoulas Market Basket
Food Lion
Giant Companion
Great Choice
Hill Country Fare
Laura Lynn
Loving Meals
Meijers Main Choice
Mighty Dog Pouch
Nutro Max
Nutro Natural Choice
Nutro Ultra
Ol'Roy Canada
Ol'Roy US
Pet Essentials
Pet Pride - Good n Meaty
Presidents Choice
Price Chopper
Priority Canada
Priority US
Roche Brothers
Save-A-Lot Choice Morsels
Shep Dog
Springsfield Prize
Stater Brothers
Stop & Shop Companion
Tops Companion
Wegmans Bruiser
Weis Total Pet
Western Family US
White Rose
Winn Dixie
Your Pet

Good enough?

A link?:

Kind of long list, eh?

Posted by: Andy at March 23, 2007 11:28 PM

And all this time while there were always some crack-pots that try to feed their house pets on the same crazy veggie diets they do

Posted by: spurwing plover at March 23, 2007 11:53 PM

Okay, I know I probably shouldn't say it but there's some room for outlandish suppositions here. Now this is pure unadulterated speculation on my part, however, the source of the grain could potentially become very controversial in this case. It was mentioned in the comments section of some previous Canadian Wheat Board articles here that the CWB is known to sell wheat cheaply to "favoured" customers. These favoured customers are then thought to be selling the wheat again at the proper world market value for a handsome profit. It sounds remarkable to me that China would have any wheat to sell at all (I doubt that they are self sufficient) and if it did, then it was of the type "not fit for human consumption" because it's been sitting on the shelf, so to speak, for a while to long. So, ridiculous as it may seem, there might be a made in Canada angle to this. At least, I hope not. Maybe we'll never know. But, possibly you could say, were it true, that that crazy Schwarze Tulpe guy kindah' mentioned that once in passing.

Posted by: Schwarze Tulpe at March 24, 2007 12:33 AM

Not to shill for any pet food company but in answer to what's safe and nutritious, may I suggest checking out 'California Natural'?
We buy both their lamb-rice kibble and canned lamb dog food products, and swear by them!
Check out their ingredients, and what's NOT in their products.

Posted by: DaninVan at March 24, 2007 2:01 AM

Andy, Thanks for the list, but what I really want is to know what other foods they make, not just the ones on recall. What do they make that they are not mentioning, (that are not being recalled)? I don't want to ever buy anything they make again! How dare they wait from the first week in February, when they became aware of a problem, until 6 weeks later to inform pet owners? And how did they start their investigation? I understand that's where the first confirmed deaths of animals came from, their testing. What did they do, feed them and wait to see if they died? Make the animals suffer for their stupidity! And how many could have been saved if they had spoken up that first week in February? The law should make the brilliant people who came up with that plan eat the food themselves!!!

Posted by: Jacque at March 24, 2007 2:04 AM

Chinese wheat began shipping just a few years ago. Note the article below states that it took longer to ship wheat for humans because the inspection requirements are more difficult. I go out of my way to avoid any foodstuff from China because there is no acountability in that corrupt nation, yet Chinese food was put into pet food labeled "made in USA". Made in USA means it was canned here, or packaged here, but does not mean the contents are USA. I expect China to dump their worst products into animal feed. I avoid most canned mushrooms which are clearly labeled "product of China". So are most brands of Mandarin oranges. I never thought Chinese product was going into my pet food. My cats got sick and I dont know their prognosis. If you want to read about Chinese food scandals look up the Epoch Times web site and search their archives. It will open your eyes

Posted by: 3mwem at March 24, 2007 11:32 AM

poisonous vermicelli

17 year old rice sold as new

poison pork

my favorite: don't eat the fish,
or pig,
or chicken

my favorite because last year hundreds of pounds of chicken was seized in my area that had been illegally imported from China by a supplier to Chinese restaurants locally

Posted by: e wem at March 24, 2007 11:59 AM

I don't want to 'hog' the blog, but one more article I found trying to verify illegal chicken imports to my locale:

"Officials stressed there is no evidence the poultry seized in Troy was infected with avian flu.....
...[ ] ...
No samples for testing were taken, so officials don't know if the food was infected. Federal officials said it is standard procedure to destroy seized food without testing it."

This is why I don't want imported food

Posted by: e wem at March 24, 2007 12:08 PM

Anyone know much about Actr1um? in the GTA.

They spell it with a 1 for the i and I can only buy it at Wall Mart.

Actrium Lamb and Rice cleared up an itchy skin condition and my dog looks great once again. Seems like a very good dog food.

I*ll never go near any Purina product again. Their *Lamb and Rice* is full of corn probably. Caused an itchy skin, fur loss on my dog*s back.

I buy 24 flats of Pedigree canned food. Not mentioned in the 100 *Menu Foods* sub-brand users list.

I never leave food in a dish all day for our dog Max. I alternate small feedings of kibbles and water and a half can of Pedigree. Max is full of life, healthy coat, and not an ounce over-weight. = TG

Posted by: TonyGuitar at March 24, 2007 2:19 PM

I don't beleive it was wheat the grain, but rather wheat gluten. I am not aware of any factory in Western Canada - let alone Saskatchwan, producing this product. Given the number of flour mills in the west (ha ha - thanks Crow and freight rates).

Posted by: MikeW at March 24, 2007 2:27 PM

FYI'll be addressing some of these comments in a later post. A reality check, if you will.

Posted by: Kate at March 24, 2007 4:32 PM

From :
On March 23, the New York State Agriculture Commissioner and Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine announced that scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified Aminopterin as a toxin present in recalled pet food samples supplied by the Fund. The Food Laboratory received the pet food samples from a toxicologist at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University, where testing has been underway to try to determine the cause of renal failure in dogs and cats. At Cornell's request, the Food Laboratory tested the samples for poisons and toxins, and identified Aminopterin in the pet food samples.

And from :
Medical Dictionary
One entry found for aminopterin.
Main Entry: am·i·nop·ter·in
Pronunciation: secondarystressam-schwa-primarystressnäp-tschwa-rschwan
Function: noun
: a derivative C19H20N8O5 of glutamic acid that is a folic acid antagonist and has been used as a rodenticide and antileukemic agent

Posted by: 2oonhed at March 25, 2007 12:26 AM

As for Tony Merchant filing a lawsuit on behalf of pet owners – it would make my skin crawl.

This is an excerpt from a Leader-Post story called “Senator suing SGI” by Barb Pacholik Published Thursday, April 06, 2006:

In 1996, Tony Merchant was on a routine flight to North Battleford with his Siberian husky on board when the landing gear on his chartered plane malfunctioned. The quick-thinking lawyer managed to eventually free the gear, and the pilot safely landed the plane.
Afterwards, Merchant then told the media he travels with his dog as an emergency precaution.
"My theory is ... you sleep with the dog for the first couple of days, and then eat him on the third and fourth day," he told the Leader-Post.

Posted by: Randy at March 25, 2007 12:34 AM

A woman in Ottawa got ill from eating the cat food. Apparently, she was trying to teach her cat how yummy the food was.
Smart cat...he wasn't going to eat that tainted crap.

Posted by: el gordo at March 25, 2007 11:31 PM