Thursday, May 22, 2008

Purina - Got Aflatoxin?

I tried to get answers to my previously posted questions regarding the aflatoxin contaminated mystery ingredient in livestock feeds recalled by Purina Mills. Specifically, I asked Purina:

1. Which ingredient it is they are talking about
2. Who the supplier is
3. What other companies might be facing the same problem (as indicated in Purina's own statement)
4. Was any of this ingredient used in other feeds, such as dog food.

The first response I received said basically that Ralston Purina (makers of dog and cat foods) sold the part of the company that makes livestock feeds to Purina Mills and we don't know nuffing about their recall. I was not satisfied with this response. (Shocking, I know.) So I wrote again, this time asking:

Do Ralston Purina (makers of dog and cat foods) and Purina Mills (makers of livestock feeds) share any ingredients, processing equipment, suppliers or storage facilities?

Clearly, this would be vital information with respect to trying to figure out if Purina's dog and cat foods are 100% safe from the aflatoxin mystery ingredient in the Purina livestock feeds. And in the absence of any official response from the company stating that in fact, the dog and cat foods are safe, I'm trying the long way around to find my answers. Alas, the response I received to that query was the old We-can't-tell-you-that's-proprietary-information line we all became so fond of hearing during the 2007 pet food recalls.

So while I hoped to report that yes, Purina is answering questions and reassuring consumers their dog and cat foods are safe from the aflatoxin ingredient, I can not do so. I can only hope that just because Purina appears to be dodging the issue and engaging in the kind of deceptive non-responses consumers got so tired of last year, the pet foods really are safe.


Anonymous said...

Good luck! Purina is as tight lipped as they come. My repeated attempts at getting info from them during the height of the recall last year got me pretty much the same type of response. I was told (more than once) that pet owners will find all they need to know on their website. Isn't that reassuring? Uhhh...right!

YesBiscuit! said...

I did receive a phone call from Purina this week but they only left a long distance number for me to call back. And I had previously stated I prefer e-mail communication anyway since that removes the possibility of misinterpreting or misremembering what was said in a phone conversation.
Purina knows the questions I want answered - they are in my blog and I've contacted them directly via e-mail and their website contact form more than once. If they would like to provide answers to those questions in writing so we are all 100% clear on their position, I would like to publish those answers, with their permission.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog and wanted to put my two cents in. About two months ago, I changed my precious 5yr old Maltese, Dorrie, to Purina ONE Chicken & Oat Meal Formula thinking it was better for her. I was DEAD wrong. She began to show early signs about 4 weeks ago - shivering as if cold, drinking a lot, throwing up, lethargy, and eventually stopped eating completely. I took her to the vet as soon as I realized she was shivering constantly. They did bloodwork but found nothing out of the ordinary. She continued to get worse, began to vomit and have diahrrea so I took her back to the vet. She had surgery to remove a "blockage" from her colon, continued to have bloody diahrrea and was transferred to a 24 hr emergency clinic and continued to have bloody diahrrea and vomiting. She also started having seizures after her first round of plasma (because her protein levels were critically low) she developed peripheral edema, acidosis, she had a high white blood cell count and a lot of fluid in her abdomen. After two days in the clinic, countless rounds of antibiotics and two plasma transfusions she passed away. It never occurred to me that her food could have been the cause of her illness. Neither my vet or the ER vet made that connection. I spoke to my vet yesterday and she said the "blockage" did not kill Dorrie, her chemistry levels suggested that she had ingested a toxin that caused her vital organs to fail. I did the research and found so many stories of the same type of situation my Dorrie had that were related to food that had aflatoxins from corn or corn products. I don't think I will get anywhere with Purina so I think I should call the FDA directly. I hope this post saves someone else from going through what I went through. My sweet baby has been gone for a week and a half and I miss her every second.

YesBiscuit! said...

Patricia - I'm very sorry for your loss. I hope that you will share your information with both the FDA and Purina - even if you don't think it will do much good. Also, if you have any of the food left, it could be tested for aflatoxin. Please keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, yesbiscuit. I actually did have a bag left. My vet found a lab to send it to and I will let you all know what the results are. Incidentally, I did call Purina. I was not angry when I made the call, I simply wanted to let them know of a possible problem. They were unconcerned and said their foods did not contain aflatoxins and had never been recalled for that reason. We'll see....