Photo: © exrorro reproduced under creative commons license
Melamine in cat food and indeed any pet food was a major concern in 2007, when, in the USA, there was a massive pet food recall. Many thousands of cats and dogs suffered fatal kidney disease as a consequence of eating pet food tainted with melamine. The source of poisoning was, it seems, in the gravy added to the pet food. The gravy contained gluten to thicken it, which in turn contained the melamine. Melamine added protein to the food but it is used for the manufacture of a wide range of products and is poisonous when eaten. To use melamine in cat food to make it cheaper to manufacture was a scandalous act of gross negligence.
It seems that the source of the melamine tainted food is China, where there is poor governmental regulation. This has come to haunt the Chinese government as baby milk manufacturers subsequently put melamine in their product. This understandably had far reaching consequences with large numbers of Chinese children suffering kidney failure; reduced to dialysis for the rest of their lives.
Read about a poisoned cat (not with melamine as far as I know).
I received an email that originally came from a person unknown to me. It talked about melamine poisoning and therefore relates to melamine in cat food. He/she asked in the text of the email to “share this information with friends“. I consider that all people who keep cats as my friends, actual or potential. Accordingly, the contents of the email is reproduced here. I have only removed a few pictures to lighten this file so that it loads more quickly and added some notes……….Make sure you look at the end – very interesting – perhaps this a way to tell where things are made.
This page mainly informs pet food suppliers/manufacturers in the West who use ingredients made in China or other countries. Melamine in cat food is still a possibility and will be in the future. Cat Food Recall List
The following is a near verbatim transcript (additional text is in italics). The English is good but the writer’s first language is not, it seems, English:-
…….The China milk poisoning incidents makes everyone afraid to look at the daily news report. Everyday, the reports are changing. No one can clearly tell us what to eat and not to eat.
1. What really is poisoned milk?
It is the milk powder mixed with ‘MELAMINE’
What is Melamine use for? It is an industrial chemical
Use in the production of melawares.
It is also used in home decoration. ‘ US resistant board’
Do you understand? Melamine is use in I industrial production & it cannot be eaten.
2. Why is Melamine added in milk powder?
The most important nutrient in milk is protein. And Melamine has the same protein that contains ‘NITROGEN’
Adding Melamine in milk reduces milk content and it is cheaper than milk so it lowers capitalization. It can give the business man more profit! (note: Melamine in cat food is added for the same reason – profit margins are greater as manufacturing costs are lower)
Below is Melamine; doesn’t it look like milk? It doesn’t have any smell, so cannot be detected. (As a result melamine in cat food does not change the taste)
3. When was it discovered?
- Year 2007, US cats and dogs died suddenly, they found that pet food from China contains Melamine. (This is the section that refers to melamine in cat food).
- Starting 2008, In China , an abnormal increase in infant cases of kidney stones.
- August 2008 China Sanlu Milk Powder tested with Melamine
- Sept. 2008, New Zealand gov’t ask China to check this problem
- Sept. 21, 2008, lots of food products in Taiwan tested with Melamine
4.What happens when Melamine is digested?
When there is melamine in cat food the melamine remains inside the kidney. It forms into stones blocking the tubes. Pain will be eminent and person cannot urinate. Kidney will then swell. (the same applies to cats).
Although surgery can remove the stones, but it will cause irreversible kidney damage. It can lead to loss of kidney function and will require kidney dialysis or lead to death because of uremia.
What is dialysis? In fact, it should be called ‘blood washing’; it is filtering all of the body’s blood into the machine and then go back to the body.
The whole process takes 4 hours and it is necessary to dialysis once for every 3 days for the rest of your life. A small hole is required in the arm to insert the sub-dialysis catheter. Why is it more serious in babies? Because the kidney is very small and they drink a lot of milk powder. China currently has 13,000 infants hospitalized
It does not matter how much melamine is ingested by a cat or a human. The important point is ‘It cannot be EATEN!’
5.What are the foods to be avoided?
Foods that contain dairy products should be avoided. (note these are it seems food for people but melamine in cat food will need to be monitored by the pet food suppliers)
Remember: Foods with creamer or milk should be avoided.
6.Which companies are affected?
Hereunder are the companies affected with Melamine.
7.What do we do next?
For people: Avoid the above foods for at least six months. If you have snack bar, restaurant or coffee shops, stop selling dairy products for the meantime. If you have infants at home, change to mother’s milk or find other substitutes.
Finally, share this information with friends so they will understand the risk of milk poisoning. People in the cat fancy and those who keep cats should at least be aware of the possibility and reasons why there is melamine in cat food.
The whole world is scared of China made ‘black hearted goods’. Can you differentiate which one is made in the USA , Philippines , Taiwan or China ? Let me tell you how… The first 3 digits of the barcode is the country code wherein the product was made.
Sample all barcodes that start with 690.691.692 until 695 are all MADE IN CHINA. 471 is Made in Taiwan
This is our human right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves. Be vigilant about melamine in cat food, please.
Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products “made in China”, so they don’t show from which country it is made.
However, you may now refer to the barcode, remember if the first 3 digits is 690-695 then it is Made in China .
00 ~ 13 USA & CANADA
30 ~ 37 FRANCE
40 ~ 44 GERMANY
49 ~ JAPAN
50 ~ UK
57 ~ Denmark
64 ~ Finland bar-code-melamine.jpg
76 ~ Switzerland and Lienchtenstein
628 ~ Saudi-Arabien
629 ~ United Arab Emirates
740 ~ 745 – Central America
All 480 Codes are Made in the Philippines.
Please inform your family and friends for them to be aware. We need to be vigilant for the possibility of melamine in cat food and human food well into the future.
Update 23rd Jan. 2009: This melamine in cat food scandal is one in a series that has come out of Chinese manufacturing. Lets not forget too that baby milk was also tainted causing the death of 6 infants and many thousands injured with kidney damage requiring dialysis – a complete tragedy. The company producing the baby milk in now rightly bust and the chairwoman has on conviction been sentenced to imprisonment for life. The two people who produced the melamine (some of which I presume tainted cat food) have been given the death sentence. The Chinese authorities covered things up during the Olympics. An earlier baby food scxandal in China concerned the manufacture of baby food with no nutritional value; babies starved. It seems that some Chinese put little value on the vulnerable, babies and companion animals.
Update 3rd April 2009: See a Cat Food Recall List prepared by the FDA (US Drug and Food Administration). The perpetrators, Chinese exporters and American importers are being brought to justice.
Did you find this article useful and interesting? Can it be improved? Please tell me in a comment. I am always keen to improve the site for animal welfare and reader enjoyment.