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Open Secret: Giant USA Corporations Poison Pets

By Tom Lonsdale, May 2007

The following article is reprinted from Tom Lonsdale's newsletter "The Raw Meaty Bones Newsletter", with permission. It represents Tom Lonsdale's own views and not necessarily those of K9joy.

First some background information:

On March 16, 2007 junk pet-food manufacturer Menu Foods issued a press release:

Menu Foods Income Fund Announces Precautionary Dog and Cat Food Recall

Attention Business/Financial Editors

Menu Foods Income Fund (the "Fund") (TSX:MEW.UN) today announced the precautionary recall of a portion of the dog and cat food it manufactured between December 3, 2006 and March 6, 2007. The recall is limited to "cuts and gravy" style pet food in cans and pouches manufactured at two of the Fund's United States facilities. These products are both manufactured and sold under private-label and are contract-manufactured for some national brands.

As a result of the Recall we gained a peek into the contract- manufacturing practices of several junk pet-food companies including Mars, Nestlé, Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble. Far from offering premium products it appears they simply affix different (misleading or false) labels to substantially the same toxic brew from the same manufacturing vats. By March 23 the ABC News reported that aminopterin, a rat poison, may have been the toxic agent responsible for the cases of acute kidney disease.

Melamine is now the contaminant suspected of triggering the acute kidney disease outbreak as is reported at the Pet Connection website:

More than 5,500 pet-food products, house brands and name brands alike, are now on the FDA's recall list. The first recall was the largest, of more than 60 million containers of "cuts and gravy" canned or pouched food that turned out to have wheat gluten tainted with melamine, which is used in the manufacture of plastic countertops, cleaning agents, glue and fertilizer. Those products were all made by Menu Foods, under almost 100 different brand names.

The New York Times has been following the story and on April 30, 2007 carried the banner headline:


ZHANGQIU, China, April 28 - As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.

For years, producers of animal feed all over China have secretly supplemented their feed with the substance, called melamine, a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests, even though it does not provide any nutritional benefits, according to melamine scrap traders and agricultural workers here.

"Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed," said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. "I don't know if there's a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says `don't do it,' so everyone's doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren't they? If there's no accident, there won't be any regulation."

Melamine is at the center of a recall of 60 million packages of pet food, after the chemical was found in wheat gluten linked this month to the deaths of at least 16 pets and the illness of possibly thousands of pets in the United States.

Of greater concern...

If we follow the NYT line of reasoning, and alas many people will, then the lawless Chinese are the culprits and the American manufacturers are innocent victims. But not so fast: For sure adulteration of any foodstuff should be condemned and, hopefully, if those responsible can be found they will receive appropriate penalties.

Of much greater concern is that this current, albeit, significant issue should serve as a distraction, as a smoke-screen to the main game; that the junk pet-food manufacturers should once again turn adversity into advantage; that they should continue to cheat the public whilst killing a majority of the world's pets, sometimes quickly but mostly slowly as a result of diet-induced chronic kidney disease, cancer and a host of other painful diseases.

Mass deception of such magnitude depends on other individuals and institutions that are either part of the scam or turning a blind eye. In this regard we can identify the organized veterinary profession, so- called animal welfare bodies, Food and Drug Administration and numerous commentators who, either passively or actively, stay mute.

The NYT remark: 'But, by using the melamine additive, the feed seller makes a heftier profit because melamine scrap is much cheaper than soy, wheat or corn protein.' They don't, however, mention the open secret that soy, wheat, or corn protein has little or no place in a carnivore's diet. The junk pet food companies know that; the vets know that, but they also know that vegetable protein is cheaper and returns a bigger profit than protein of animal origin.

As one pet food manufacturer commented about turning cheap waste products into pet food: 'Give me a tyre, an old leather shoe and a quart of oil and I can meet the specifications for the NRC diet.'

Vet Bill Miller puts it another way:

It's all about Least-Cost Formulation, using some fairly sophisticated algorithms (based on a technique called Linear programming) which allow a least-cost (actually maximum-profit) ration to be formulated from a wide variety of ingredients (some of which are pretty unconventional for carnivores). The 'constraints' are things that get printed on the label e.g. Crude Protein, Fat, and Fibre. How you get there and what gets included are 'open season'. This is how low-quality wheat gluten, which is a by-product of some other manufacturing process, gets included.

Of course the companies are aware that by keeping their costs down they impose a massive cost burden on pet owners who first pay for the harmful products and then endure the emotional and financial costs of their pets' veterinary treatment. Pets obliged to consume these products slowly, sometimes quickly, pay with their lives.

These days there's a 389 page peer-reviewed book, Raw Meaty Bones: Promote Health, which tells the whole sorry story of graft and corruption in the junk pet food/veterinary/faux animal welfare alliance:

What will it take?

Since 2002, the New York Times along with many other USA media institutions have been informed by letter and email about the junk pet- food scandal. Editors and journalists have hard copies of Raw Meaty Bones and, if not, can read the book for free at

What, I wonder, will it take to get them to take notice and inform their vulnerable and dependent readership?

From 1993 to 1995 I corresponded with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On February 1, 1995 I wrote:

Please advise as to the FDA's current attitude to the now wide- spread confirmed and suspected adverse consequences of feeding carnivores on chemically and physically unnatural products.

It is my impression that manufacturers are generally aware that their products are associated with periodontal and a range of degenerative diseases in carnivores. They do, nonetheless, advertise their products as being 'complete and balanced' and generally beneficial for health and longevity. This appears to be deliberate deception.

Does the FDA agree that this conduct represents deliberate deception?

Does the FDA have a policy towards such conduct in the marketplace?

Please advise the FDA's attitude to the misappropriation and use of the word 'food' without qualification in the labelling of artificial products designed for consumption by small domestic carnivores.

What, I wonder, will it take to get the FDA to take notice and take action in accordance with their responsibilities? Will they perform the function they are paid for, or will they continue to 'run interference' on behalf of the junk pet food industry/veterinary/faux animal welfare alliance?

The Raw Meaty Bones Newsletter is published by:

Tom Lonsdale
Rivetco P/L
PO Box 6096
Windsor Delivery Centre
NSW 2756
Phone: +61 2 4574 0537
Fax: +61 2 4578 1384

You might also be interested in Mogens Eliasen's comments to the scandal:

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