Connoisseurs of the Baroque in the North American food system are surely slavering over the “pet food” scandal, but I have yet to see anybody commenting on the remarkable scale and concentration revealed. Here’s a bit of the San Jose Mercury News coverage:
The recall now covers dog food sold throughout North America under 51 brands and cat food sold under 40 brands, including Iams, Nutro and Eukanuba. The food was sold under both store and major brand labels at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway and other large retailers. The recall covers the company’s “cuts and gravy” style food, which consists of chunks of meat in gravy, sold in cans and small foil pouches, from Dec. 3 to March 6…
So the North American market seems to run on what’s basically commodity pet food, despite the differences in labelling and price… and the Canadian Menu Foods seems to be a pretty big player. Here’s how investcom.com summarizes:
Menu Foods Income Fund is a limited purpose trust established to hold approx. 51% of the partnership units of Menu Foods L. P., which will, in turn, acquire all the securities and assets of Menu Foods Ltd. Menu is a leading North American manufacturer of private-label wet pet food products, selling its products to supermarket retailers, mass merchandisers, pet specialty retailers and other retail and wholesale outlets. Menu currently produces more than 800 million containers of wet pet food per year and is focused on the manufacture and sale of premium private-label wet pet food products.
I saw a news story this morning suggesting that the Problem was thought to be in the wheat gluten used as a “filler”, and snopes.com says that a Menu Foods spokesperson
…said that recalled products were made using wheat gluten purchased from a new supplier, a change that coincided with the onset of complaints about pet illnesses. Since discovering the problem, the company no longer uses that supplier and has instead turned to another source for its wheat gluten (but it is not yet known whether that ingredient was related to the reported pet illnesses).
I have yet to see a story about Senior Citizens made ill by eating pet food paté, but I’ll bet there will be one sometime soon…