Late yesterday afternoon, Royal Canin USA of St. Charles, Mo., recalled some of its dry dog and cat foods after finding melamine in its rice protein concentrate.
Although Royal said it had not heard of any pets becoming sick from its products, it was recalling the following products as a precaution after finding melamine, the toxic ingredient suspecting in the killing of potentially hundreds of pets across the United States, in its food.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet
Canine Early Cardiac EC 22™ (dog)
Canine Skin Support SS21™ (dog)
Feline Hypoallergenic HP23™ (cat)
Royal Canin Sensible Choice
(all dog food items)
Chicken Meal & Rice Formula Senior
Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Puppy
Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Adult
Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Senior
Rice & Catfish Meal Formula Adult
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet is available only in veterinary clinics, but the Sensible Choice diet is sold in pet stores nationwide.
No other Royal diets are affected by this recall, and all products with an expiration date of April 19, 2008, were not made with the tainted rice protein concentrate, it said.
Royal Canin also said it will no longer use any Chinese suppliers for its vegetable proteins.
FDA Investigation Continues
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced that rice protein concentrate contaminated with the chemical melamine was imported from China and distributed to five pet food companies by San Francisco-based Wilbur-Ellis.
The FDA declined to name the five companies, but Natural Balance of Pacoima, Calif., Blue Buffalo of Wilton, Conn., and Royal Canin have recalled pet food products containing contaminated rice protein concentrate.
The Natural Balance products were made by a California Diamond Pet Food plant that received a shipment of the rice protein from Wilbur-Ellis, according to Natural Balance. No other Diamond products contain rice protein concentrate, Jim Fallon, a Diamond spokesperson said.
On Wednesday, Wilbur-Ellis recalled all of the 155 metric tons of Chinese rice protein concentrate it had shipped to pet food manufacturers from its Oregon feed division. The company said those pet food manufacturers’ were located in Utah, New York, Kansas and two in Missouri.
Both Diamond and Royal Canin are based in Missouri.
The FDA is still awaiting approval from China to inspect the two Chinese plants suspected of supplying melamine-contaminated wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate to the United States, said Stephen Sundlof, DVM, the FDA’s top vet.
Michael Rogers, director of the FDA’s division of field investigations, said he fully expects the Chinese government to comply.
Yesterday, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois who recently called a Senate hearing to investigate the pet food recall, sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador to the United States urging his country to allow the U.S. inspectors access to the plants.
Melamine-contaminated pet food is suspected of causing renal failure and related illnesses in pets during the last few months. If your pet exhibits any of these signs – diarrhea, excess urination or water intake, lethargy or vomiting – seek veterinarian advice immediately.
Veterinarians and pet owners who believe a pet’s illness is related to the recall, should save any uneaten portions of the food provided to the animal and report the situation to the FDA’s state coordinator, which can be accessed at http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html.
Some, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, question if melamine, an agent used in the making of plastic dishware in the United States and as a fertilizer in China, is actually making the pets sick.
“Until the U. S. Food and Drug Administration has conclusively identified all the contaminants in the affected pet food, where they came from, and which products they were used in, we cannot consider this crisis over,” said Steven Hansen, DVM, DABVT, the manager of the humane society’s poison control center. “Further, the actual link between the adverse effects of melamine and the illnesses or deaths of so many pets around the country is still not clear and, as a result, what exactly is sickening and killing our pets is still a mystery.”
Yesterday the FDA said it was possible that melamine was added to the rice protein concentrate in order to “artificially increase protein content.” It plans to further investigate this theory if it is allowed into China.