2007_03_travisscale.JPGThe good news is that the FDA didn't find rat poison (aka aminopterin) in pet food samples from Menu Foods, which is what NY State authorities found last week. The bad - very bad - news is that traces of melamine were found in the pet food, and apparently melamine-contaminated wheat gluten was also sent to a dry food manufacturer. From the AP:

Cornell University scientists also found melamine — used to produce plastic kitchen wares and used in Asia as a fertilizer — in the urine of sick cats, as well as in the kidney of one cat that died after eating the company’s wet food...

New York officials have detected melamine in the recalled food as well. Yet New York remained confident in its aminopterin finding, said Patrick Hooker, commissioner of the New York state Department of Agriculture and Markets. Hooker added that neither aminopterin nor melamine should be in pet food, but that it was unclear why the latter substance would be poisonous to the cats in which it was found.

“While we have no doubt that melamine is present in the recalled pet food, there is not enough known data on the mammalian toxicity levels of melamine to conclude it could cause illness and deaths in cats. With little existing data, many questions still remain as to the connection between the illnesses and what has caused them,” Hooker said.

PoopCity notes

that the FDA's director of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Stephen Sundlof said the association "between melamine found in the deceased cats and the food they ate is 'undeniable.'" But the FDA isn't confirming that there are more deaths beyond the 15 reported weeks ago.

Pet Connection has helpful tips if you have a diseased pet, and Howl911 is also keeping tabs on the situation. There is also a Pet Food Recall Gallery of pets that have passed away (some good links here for online help with grief and recovery).