LawFuel – US Class Action News – As lawsuits against Menu Foods for th…

LawFuel – US Class Action News – As lawsuits against Menu Foods for the pet food contamination issue continues, lawyers say that proving damages in a class action situation could be difficult as pet owners have to trace harm done back to the company.

On March 16, Menu Foods issued a recall of 42 brands of cuts and gravy style dog and cat food. The recall since then has been widened to nearly 100 brands of wet food involving at least 60 million cans.

The pet food business is massive, over $14 billion in 2005 in the United States, according to the Pet Food Institute.

Further, the actual cause of the pet deaths is more confused. On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said recalled pet foods contained melamine, a chemical used to make plastics, but that its tests failed to confirm the presence of a rat poison, aminopterin, reported by the New York State Food Laboratory. The FDA said it also found melamine in wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the wet-style products. Still, it was not immediately clear whether the melamine was the culprit in the deaths.

The FDA confirmed that the chemical melamine was present in samples of the recalled pet food, as well as in crystal form in the urine and kidney tissue of dead cats.

Melamine is used to make plastic kitchen utensils and other products and is a contaminant and byproduct of some pesticides.

The chemical was found in concentrations of as high as 6.6 percent in wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the pet food, according to the FDA. The wheat gluten was provided to Menu Foods from a new unnamed U.S. supplier, which sourced the ingredient in China.

The news came a week after laboratory tests found aminopterin, a rat poison used outside the United States, in samples of the recalled pet food.

Menu Foods’ Chief Executive is obviously angry that an outside source has “adulterated” their product. Meanwhile, other pet food companies are taking action.

Nestle Purina PetCare Co. said Saturday it was recalling all sizes and varieties of its Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy wet dog food with specific date codes. Purina said a limited amount of the food contained a contaminated wheat gluten from China.

On Saturday, Del Monte Pet Products announced it was voluntarily recalling some of its dog and cat treats with certain date codes. The affected brands are Jerky Treats Beef Flavor Dog Snacks, Gravy Train Beef Sticks Dog Snacks and Pounce Meaty Morsels Moist Chicken Flavor Cat Treats. The company said two other products sold under private labels also are affected: Ol’ Roy Beef Flavor Jerky Strips Dog Treats and Ol’ Roy Beef Flavor Snack Stick Dog Treats.

Del Monte said it was recalling the food after learning that the wheat gluten supplied to it from a Chinese plant contained melamine.

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