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Area sees effects of pet food recall

April E. Clark and Heidi RiceGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Roaring Fork Valley grocery and pet stores are following safety protocol, pulling recalled dog and cat food cans and pouches from local shelves.”It did get publicized very quickly. There were so many brands, it got confusing,” said Laurie Raymond, co-owner of High Tails Dog & Cat Outfitters in West Glenwood. “It is such a confusing situation.”By Tuesday, more than 60 million cans of Menu Foods-manufactured dog and cat food had been recalled across the nation. The Ontario-based company is a private-label, contract manufacturer of wet pet-food products sold by supermarkets, mass merchandisers, pet specialty retailers and wholesalers.At least 10 pet deaths in the U.S. have been reported, including a cat named Sprocket in Evergreen, who died of kidney failure. The estimate includes animals that died during Menu Foods’ testing that began Feb. 27. According to reports, a federal investigation is focusing on wheat gluten as the likely source of contamination, said Stephen F. Sundlof, the Food and Drug Administration’s top veterinarian.The ingredient, a protein source, is commonly used as filler.”It is such a shame when this happens,” Raymond said. “I’ve heard it was from wheat gluten, which can be a cheap protein additive. That’s why I try to carry products from companies who make their own food or have incredibly anal quality control.”High-quality brand names such as Iams, Eukanuba and Science Diet are included on the recall list of products. A complete list can be accessed at http://www.menufoods.com/recall, and information can be obtained by calling (866) 895-2708. The recall was limited to cuts-and-gravy-style pet food in cans and pouches manufactured at two of Menu Food’s U.S. facilities.”None of the things we carry were on the list,” Raymond said.

On Friday – when Menu Foods issued a precautionary recall – Safeway stores started to pull their supply of dog and cat foods on the list.”Our first concern when we took action on Friday was our customers and pets,” Safeway spokeswoman Kris Staaf said. “We got the message Friday, and we voluntarily recalled the food.”City Market stores also began pulling pet food cans and pouches off the shelves when they first received word of the recall on Friday.”We had our first (recall notification) on the 16th, but had four more (brands) on the 19th,” said Keith Cloninger, City Market store manager in Rifle. “The list keeps maturing to include more things. But we have been very diligent about checking these things.”The pet foods at the center of the recall were manufactured between Dec. 3, 2006, and March 6, 2007. Cloninger stressed that people with questions about their pet food are encouraged to bring the product into the store, and store employees will check to see if it is on the recall list.”If you have a question, come by the store,” he said. “We have the resources and the information to help.”City Market, which is headquartered in Grand Junction, is owned by the Kroger Co.While the recalled pet food has been pulled from City Market’s shelves, Cloninger said what remains is safe as far as they know.”We have pagers, and (the company) pages us as soon as they hear of a recall,” Cloninger said. “Our company takes this very seriously.”Heidi Vosbeck, a veterinary technician at All Dogs and Cats Veterinary Hospital in Glenwood Springs, said her office received a couple of calls from concerned owners inquiring about the recalled items on the list. All Dogs and Cats pulled a few cans of wet cat food they typically sell.”We’d rather have people call than not,” Vosbeck said. “We want people to be more aware of the cans and pouches. It’s good to be careful.” The Associated Press contributed to the reportContact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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