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Mold in dry pet food blamed for dog illness

() - March 24, 2004 - 12:00am
Foods Philippines Inc. said yesterday that toxins produced by mold at its dry pet food factory in Thailand were the most likely cause of a recent increase in renal illness in dogs in Taiwan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

"We sincerely apologize to our customers and express our regret for any distress or anxiety this may have caused," said Calvin Schmidt, general manager for Southeast Asia. "We encourage customers with any concerns to contact us. We will listen to them individually and do our best to resolve any issues they may have in a fair and equitable manner."

"We are committed to pet health and to the quality and safety of all our products, and are taking all necessary steps to prevent this from ever happening again," Schmidt added.

A panel of animal health experts, including veterinary medicine specialists from the United States, Europe and Asia, conducted a thorough review of all available information before concluding that toxins were the most likely cause of the problem. The toxins were produced by mold found in an auxiliary bulk storage system for rice and corn at the factory in Thailand.

The factory is expanding its testing of raw materials and finished dry pet food products and will remove the auxiliary bulk storage system.

The company suspended production of Pedigree dry dog food and other dry pet foods at the plant in early March after receiving reports of increased renal illness in dogs. Most of the reported cases were in Taiwan.

As a precaution, the company also voluntarily recalled all dry pet food made at the Thailand factory, which supplies 10 countries in Asia. Although the precautionary recall included dry cat food, consumers and veterinarians have reported no increase in unusual cat illnesses in Asia.

No other pet food products produced or sold anywhere else were involved.

New dry pet food products will be on store shelves in the affected markets within a month. Each replacement package will carry a red-and-white sticker on the front identifying it as new supply.

Dr. Duncan Hall, Master Foods regional scientific affairs manager, said many experts and government authorities assisted in the investigation. "We appreciate all the help veterinarians, other scientists and government agencies have given us and welcome their continued input," he said.

Consumers should visit www.pedigreeinfo.com for a list of all dry pet food products covered by the recall, discard any unused product or return it for a refund. They should not feed the recalled products to their pets and should consult a veterinarian about any pet health concerns.

For additional information, customers can either visit the website or call the company’s consumer hotline at (02) 888-6060 or toll-free number at 1-8001-888-8002 for provincial calls, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

CALVIN SCHMIDT DR. DUNCAN HALL DRY EUROPE AND ASIA FOOD FOODS PHILIPPINES INC MASTER FOODS PET SOUTH KOREA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA SOUTHEAST ASIA
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