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Lab Tests Find Painkiller in Samples of Pet Food

But tests don't find any melamine



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By Lisa Wade McCormick



September 7, 2007




• Consumer Complaints



• CANIDAE Denies Reports of Painkiller in its Pet Food

• Lab Tests Find Painkiller in Samples of Pet Food

• Purina Denies Claim on Bichon Frise Deaths

• FDA Blocks Nutro Pet Food Shipment from Entering U.S.

• FDA Testing Dog Treats Pulled from Wal-Mart Shelves

• Wal-Mart Finds Melamine in Chinese-Made Dog Treats

• Melamine-Related Pet Food Recall Went Unnoticed

• Wal-Mart Pulls Dog Treats Made in China

• Cat Owner Files Legal Action Against FDA in Pet Food Deaths

• Common Flame Retardant May Be Killing House Cats

• Kentucky Breeder Blames Purina for Her Dogs' Deaths

• Expert: Global Commerce Complicates Food Safety

• Newfoundland Breeders Despair After Deaths and Deformities


• More about Pet Food Recalls ...

A sample of pet food -- identified as CANIDAE dog food -- has tested positive for the painkiller acetaminophen, ConsumerAffairs.com has learned.


The findings are contained in a report issued by the ExperTox Inc. Analytical Laboratory earlier this week, which reveals its toxicologists detected acetaminophen in a sample of pet food listed as CANIDAE dog food.


We also confirmed the findings with the manager of the Deer Park, Texas, laboratory. “That is one of our reports,” Donna Coneley, lab manager, told us.


Coneley, however, said the sample arrived in a Ziploc bag and ExperTox cannot confirm the pet food is a CANIDAE product. The lab's customer, who was not identified because of a confidentiality agreement, identified the sample as CANIDAE pet food on ExperTox’s forms.


Coneley also confirmed the lab detected acetaminophen in the dog food, but she pointed out that the report doesn’t show the amount of painkiller found in the sample.

No melamine


ExperTox’s report also reveals its toxicologists did not detect cyanuric acid or melamine in the dog food tested.


Melamine is the chemical that triggered this year’s massive pet food recall. In March, Menu Foods recalled more than 60 million containers of dog and cat food the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said were tainted with melamine. That’s a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers. It is not allow in pet or human food.


Thousands of dogs and cats nationwide suffered kidney problems or died after eating the tainted food.


The FDA said it found melamine in the imported wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate used to make the pet food. FDA officials traced the source of that contamination to two now-defunct companies in China.

Acetaminophen found in other brands


This latest finding of acetaminophen in dog food comes less than four months after ExperTox discovered the painkiller in about a half a dozen samples of pet food it tested.


The lab did not disclose the brands of pet food that tested positive for acetaminophen in May because of a confidentiality agreement.


But ConsumerAffairs.com learned two of those samples were Menu Foods’ Pet Pride "Turkey and Giblets Dinner" and Pet Pride "Mixed Grill.”


Grieving cat owner Don Earl of Port Townsend, Washington, told us he paid ExperTox to analyze those brands of pet food. He said the samples tested were the same lots and styles of food that he fed his cat, Chuckles, before she died in January 2007 after eating the Pet Pride food.


ConsumerAffairs.com confirmed those samples of cat food tested positive for acetaminophen. They also tested positive for the chemical cyanuric acid -- commonly used in pool chlorination.


But the samples of Pet Pride did not reveal any melamine contamination.

Not surprised


That finding didn’t surprise Earl.


“Melamine has impressed me as being a red herring since day one,” said Earl, who recently asked a federal court to force the FDA to investigate other toxins -- besides melamine -- as the culprit behind the pet food recall.


“The substance has been the subject of credible scientific tests and studies for decades. Nothing supports the theory it could be lethal even in amounts 10 times the highest reported to be present in the food. As to why no one is finding other toxins in the food, the simple explanation is no one is looking for other toxins in the food.”

FDA disputed earlier reports


The FDA disputed ExperTox’s earlier findings of acetaminophen in the pet food, saying it didn’t detect the painkiller in a handful of samples it tested. But ConsumerAffairs.com learned the FDA couldn’t confirm it tested the same lots and brands of pet food in which ExperTox found the pain medication.


ExperTox told us it tested 100 to 150 samples of pet food -- and detected acetaminophen in five of those samples. The FDA tested just a few samples of pet food for the painkiller.


“It’s easier to say that we can’t confirm something by looking at a few samples than to really investigate and continue investigating until you know something for sure,” Coneley told us. “I think this might have been a quick way to get everyone off their (FDA) backs.”


Coneley said her lab is not required to report its latest findings of acetaminophen in the dog food to the FDA.


“The clients consistently have done that,” she said.


We contacted the FDA late Thursday about ExperTox’s latest findings. We also contacted CANIDAE Pet Food, but the company did not return our calls.


CANIDAE Pet Food, which is headquartered in San Luis Obispo, California, states on its Web site that all its products are safe and not part of this year’s massive recall.


“It appears from the latest news within our industry that all recalls were from protein concentrates imported from China,” the company’s Web site states. “CANIDAE does not use any protein concentrates, or grain fractions and we do not import any ingredients from China or overseas.


“All CANIDAE and FELIDAE ingredients are of U.S. origin . . . We pride ourselves on making only the highest quality, all natural pet foods using the finest ingredients available that meet or exceed the nutrient profiles as established by the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.”

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Disturbing, but the report says the Canidae in question came in in a ziploc baggie - which is a bizarre way to test any product. Anyone could take any dog food and put it in a baggie with some ground up Tylenol, and it would test positive. Also, there is no proof that it was Canidae - the lab is going on the word of the person who put the dog in a baggie.


I won't be switching based on just this report.



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Well, that's scary if true. My dogs eat Canidae Platinum part of the time, but right now they're eating their way through an order of Hare Today and Primal ground raw. I guess I feel better about that, but then again these foods have never been lab tested either.

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There was a similar thing out about Innova a month or two ago - Acetaminophen found in a ziplocked batch of Innova. I heard about this a week or two ago and went ahead and switched the one dog that was still on it (although he was not eating one of the supposedly contaminated bags). I'm just sort of waiting to see - not willing to have an outright panic until I hear something a little less hokeyish.

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I agree with Mary. It seems to me that someone wanted to hurt the sales of Canidae. What better way though? It's to fishy for me. Although if I was feeding it it would make me think. But I wouldn't really worry until an offical test on a new bag of it was done.

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Guest TheRuffMuttGang

I have heard two strange things about this case:


1) Two samples of food (ALS and Lamb&Rice) were mixed together for testing so they have no clue which food is contaminated, if it even is.




2) This lab, ExperTox, has been notorious for returning positive results when numerous other labs return negative results.


I feed Canidae and I am not stopping yet. I think I'll be holding out for more conclusive evidence.

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The fact that the sample was turned in to the lab in a ziploc bag is enough to make me doubt the credibility of the results.


Was it a new bag? Did someone have tylenol in it before putting dog food in it? How would you know?

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I feed some Canidae and raw. I had just bought a new bag the evening before I read this. I am pretty sure it's a load of crap, but have been hesitant, so have fed only raw for the past 2 days. My freezer is still full, and I pick up the new month's shipment of raw tomorrow, so I need to make room, anyway.


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I just got another bag, but won't actually need to open it for another week or so. Unless something else comes up to prove this true then I guess I will try not to worry. :rolleyes:


KelpieGirl, let us know if they say anything when you call.

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I see no reason to change my dogs' food with such inconclusive findings. Basically, I think it's a load of crap.



True and unfortunately it's only spread by rumors and conjecture.

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