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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Animal Liberation
Petco, PetSmart sell rancid Petag formula
January 2010 the FDA found Petag responsible for manufacturing rancid baby formula. The formula killed cats, dogs, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, bobcats and cheetahs. Petco and PetSmart were notified of the FDA findings. The manufacturer Petag responded by falsely stating that the FDA found their products to be "fine." Petco and PetSmart just took Petag's word for it and continue to sell the rancid formula that is killing babies.
Last summer animal rescuers noticed that their newborn animals fed Petag formulas Esbilac and KMR were getting diarrhea and dying. One rescuer Animal Advocates sent a sterile sample to a lab for analysis. The results showed that the product contained less protein and fat than the label stated. It also contained massive amounts of fiber and the heavy metal copper. Animal Advocates made a complaint to the FDA September 2009.
The FDA finished their investigation January 2010 and found the manufacturer Petag was responsible for the problems with the formula that killed babies. The FDA report is posted in the Animal Advocates website along with lab results and other findings. http://www.animaladvocates.us/petagesbilac.htm
The COO of Petag Darlene Frudakis responded by lying. She stated that a "fringe animal activist" group had filed a "spurious" FDA complaint. She stated that the FDA investigation found the formulas to be "fine." Petco and PetSmart just took Darlene at her word and asked for no verification. They continue to sell the product even though they carry other lines of puppy and kitten formula such as Just Born and Nutri-Vet. The Petag formulas Esbilac and KMR continue to kill babies.
When the problems with the formula surfaced last year the company posted a brief note on their website admitting there was a problem with their formula.
"Recently, a limited number of KMR powder users have experienced product producing an off odor. Normally, the product exhibits a faint "milky" smell. It has been determined that some packaged KMR powder may have been exposed to excessive heat outside the manufacturing process. Do not use the product if it has an off odor."
After a few days Petag removed that notice and put up a new notice at petag.com. The new notice states that the consumer must inspect the formula before they use it. If the color is off or if it smells rancid, it should not be used. The company states that the formula is fine but it may get overheated in transit and become rancid because it has no preservatives. The product is vacuum sealed. The bacteria is of course in the can before it leaves the factory.
Some rescuers have bought ten cans in a row and every can was rancid. One rescuer opened every can in a Petco store and they were all rancid. Even though the company finally admitted that all lots are affected, they refuse to recall their product. The rancid formula is still on store shelves.
Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates stated "I'm shocked that Petag is just flat out lying about their products and the FDA report. The report clearly states the manufacturer was found responsible for the problems with the formula. I spoke with the FDA and they told me they can't force any company to recall their products, even if it causes death. Petag is shamefully unethical. I will never buy any of their products ever again."
Meanwhile Darlene Frudakis was interviewed about the KMR problems. In one online interview she admitted that the formula was bad. She said "the formula will just give kittens diarrhea." The interviewer Sunny Aris of 575 Magazine replied "but diarrhea can kill a kitten." Sunny Aris asked Darlene how will she tell consumers about the problems with the product. Darlene replied with "I'll get back to you on that" but never did. The full interview can be heard here.
A few days ago 13Wham did an article about KMR killing kittens in New York. Petag admitted that the rancid KMR is still on pet store shelves.
A spokesperson from the company said "You kind of use common sense, I think, if it's something that you know is not right. You return it and get something new. It's kind of common sense,” the spokesperson says. Petag is now blaming the consumer for not testing the formula before using it. Most people do not realize they must smell the formula. There is no mention of testing the formula on the package.
Other groups have been investigating the formula including eWildAgain. http://www.ewildagain.org/Nutrition/Esbilac%20Manufacturing%20Changes.htm The company responded by stating only a "handful of wildlife rehabbers" complained about the formula. They said all of the rehabbers that complained are just "spreading ridiculous rumors and lies on the internet." These same rehabbers had been loyally recommending Petag products for many years before the problems arose. The company went on to say that their formulas are not to be used for wildlife even though they had photos of wildlife on the label until just last year. They still have photos of endangered pandas drinking the formula on their website.
The FDA has reopened their investigation into all Petag formulas. If anyone had problems with the formula, please contact your local FDA office to file a complaint. http://www.fda.gov