The Food and Drug Administration said the manufacturer, Sunshine Mills Inc., is recalling dog biscuits made with imported Chinese wheat gluten. Testing has revealed the wheat gluten, a protein source, was contaminated with melamine, used to make plastics and other industrial products.
Also Thursday, Menu Foods, a major manufacturer of brand- and private-label wet pet foods expanded its original recall to include a broader range of dates and varieties. Menu Foods was the first of at least six companies to recall the now more than 100 brands of pet foods and treats made with the contaminated ingredient.
The recall now covers "cuts and gravy"-style products made between Nov. 8 and March 6, Menu Foods said. Previously, it applied only to products made beginning Dec. 3. In addition, Menu Foods said it was expanding the recall to include more varieties, but no new brands.
The FDA knows of no other pet product companies planning recalls, agency officials told reporters.
"Other than that, I think, you know, the public should feel secure in purchasing pet foods that are not subject to the recall," Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, told reporters.
Sunshine, of Red Bay, Ala., sells pet foods and treats under its own brands as well as private labels sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kmart, Longs Drug Stores Corp. and Stater Bros. Markets. The recall included specific brands like Wal-Mart's Ol'Roy, as well as a portion of Sunshine's own Nurture, Lassie and Pet Life dog biscuit brands.
Previously, Menu Foods had recalled some wet-style dog foods it made for sale under the Stater Bros. and Ol'Roy brands as well.
Sunshine said there have been no reports of dog illnesses or deaths in connection with the recalled dog biscuits, which contain 1 percent or less wheat gluten by weight.
The FDA continues to focus on melamine as the suspected contaminant of the pet products, though Sundlof said it could be a marker for the presence of another, not yet known substance. Melamine previously was not believed to be toxic.
Late Thursday, the FDA said 21 pet food samples obtained from consumers tested positive for melamine.
The recall is one of the largest pet food recalls in history, Sundlof said. The FDA has received more than 12,000 complaints but has confirmed only about 15 pet deaths. Anecdotal reports suggest the tally is in the hundreds or low thousands.
Sunshine Mills said it would post a complete list of the recalled dog biscuits on its Web site, http://www.sunshinemills.com.
The FDA last week blocked wheat gluten imports from the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. in the eastern city of Xuzhou, saying they contained melamine. A Las Vegas importer, ChemNutra Inc., this week recalled all wheat gluten it had bought from the supplier and in turn distributed to pet food manufacturers.
Xuzhou Anying has said it is investigating the claims. Also Thursday, the FDA warned consumers not to give American Bullie A.B. Bull Pizzle Puppy Chews and Dog Chews to their pets. The FDA said salmonella could contaminate the dog treats, made and distributed by T.W. Enterprises of Ferndale, Wash.