UNION, N.J. Pet owners were worried yesterday that the pet food in their cupboards could be deadly after millions of containers of dog and cat food sold at major retailers across North America were recalled.
Menu Foods, the Ontario-based company that produced the pet food, said yesterday it was recalling dog food sold under 48 brands and cat food sold under 40 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.
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.
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, Ms. 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. The company also designated two phone numbers for information (866) 463-6738 and (866) 895-2708.
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.
Sarah Tuite, a Menu Food company spokesman, has said the recalled products were made using wheat gluten purchased from a new supplier, which has since been dropped for another source. Wheat gluten is a source of protein.
Food and Drug Administration spokesman Julie Zawisza said it is still too early to determine what could have affected the food. Ms. Zawisza added that even if wheat gluten is the source, it doesn t necessarily mean the wheat gluten per se. It could be another substance associated with the wheat gluten.