Bloomington, Indiana


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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Rat Poison found in Recalled Pet Food

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The Indiana Department of Agriculture announced on Friday that rat poison found in pet food that was recalled by Menu Foods last week. A spokeswoman said they could not identify the exact chemical or source beyond stating it was rodent poison.

Menu Foods has confirmed 16 deaths (15 cats and 1 dog) along with many reports of kidney failure, resulting from the affected pet foods. The pet deaths led to a recall of over 60 million cans and pouches of pet food produced by the company, sold through out North America under 95 different brand names.

The recall involved “cuts and gravy” lines of pet foods and did not include dry pet food, according to a press release by Menu Foods.

State Officials would not elaborate on how the rat poison got into Menu Foods now recalled pet food, but there are no criminal investigations at this time.

Scientists at the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell and at the New York State Food Laboratory tested three cat food samples provided by Menu Foods and found the toxin aminopterin in two of them. Hooker said they would test individual components of the pet food as well. The early test results were released to give veterinarians a better idea of how to treat sick animals.

“Any amount of this product is too much in food,” Hooker said.

Aminopterin, also used as a cancer drug, is highly toxic in high doses. It inhibits the growth of malignant cells and suppresses the immune system.

In dogs and cats, it can cause kidney failure, according to Donald Smith, dean of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Food and Drug Administration has said the investigation into the pet deaths was focusing on wheat gluten in the pet food. Wheat gluten itself would not cause kidney failure, but the common ingredient could have been contaminated, the FDA said.