FDA Testing Reveals Chemical, But No Rat Poison, In Recalled Pet Food


Friday, March 30th 2007, 10:37 am
By: News On 6


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal testing of recalled pet foods turned up a chemical used to make plastics but failed to confirm the presence of a cancer drug also used as rat poison. The recall expanded Friday to include the first dry pet food.

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it found melamine in samples of the Menu Foods pet food involved in the original recall and in imported wheat gluten used as an ingredient in the company's wet-style products. Cornell University scientists also found melamine in the urine of sick cats, as well as in the kidney of one cat that died after eating some of the recalled food.

FDA was working to rule out the possibility that the contaminated wheat gluten could have made it into any human food. However, melamine is toxic only in high doses, experts said, leaving its role in the pet deaths unclear.

The melamine finding came a week after scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory identified a cancer drug and rat poison called aminopterin as the likely culprit in the pet food. But the FDA said it could not confirm that finding, nor have researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey when they looked at tissue samples taken from dead cats. And experts at the University of Guelph detected aminopterin in some samples of the recalled pet food, but only in the parts per billion or trillion range.

``Biologically, that means nothing. It wouldn't do anything,'' said Grant Maxie, a veterinary pathologist at the Canadian university. ``This is a puzzle.''

Meanwhile, New York officials stuck to their aminopterin finding and pointed out that it was unlikely that melamine could have poisoned any of the animals thought to have died after eating the contaminated pet food. Melamine is used to make plastic kitchen ware and is used as a fertilizer in Asia.