Updated: Feb 16, 2019
J.M. Smuckers is at it again and this time they have contaminated some of their dog treats with thyroid hormones, which can cause hyperthyroidism in your pet. In this article, we'll cover which contaminated products have been recalled, how to tell if your dog is affected by these contaminated treats, what are your next steps, the current state of our pet food industry, and Teka, the 'Make-A-Wish' dog.
Market Withdrawal vs. Recall
In a previous article I wrote, I thought it was important to outline how the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) defines the difference between a Market Withdrawal and a Recall. The FDA defines a "market withdrawal" as a removal or correction of a distributed product which involves a minor violation that would not be subject to legal action by the FDA or which involves no violation. This is unlike an FDA "recall" which involves the removal or correction of a marketed product that the FDA considers to be in violation of the laws it administers and against which the agency would initiate legal action.
Milo's Kitchen doesn't meet the grade
The first thing to note is that the recall is only for certain product lot numbers and can also be found on the FDA's site.
- Milo’s Kitchen Steak Grillers / Steak Grillers Recipe with Angus Steak, 10-oz bag
Best if used by 4/26/2019
UPC 0 7910052776 2
- Milo’s Kitchen Steak Grillers/Steak Grillers Recipe with Angus Steak, 18-oz bag
Best if used by 11/15/2018 and 4/26/2019
UPC 0 7910051822 7 (for both dates)
- Milo’s Kitchen Steak Grillers / Steak Grillers Recipe with Angus Steak, 22-oz bag
Best if used by 4/26/2019
UPC 0 7910051823 4
- Milo’s Kitchen Grilled Burger Bites with Sweet Potato and Bacon, 15-oz bag
Best if used by 11/19/2018
UPC 0 7910052126 5
Last February, the FDA released an alert to pet owners that J.M. Smuckers (who recently acquired Big Heart Pet Brands) was withdrawing specific products off of market shelves. About a few weeks later, the FDA considered the company's action as a recall. Click here to see which products were affected in February's recall. Over a month later, Smuckers recalls another product line of theirs!
Action & Observation
If any of the recalled products are on your shelves, do not feed them to your pet. Save as much documentation as you can (i.e. receipts, photos, etc.) and use that information to obtain a refund or a coupon for a replacement product. The company contact is: Phone: 1-888-569-6767, Monday - Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST Email: via their website's form Company Site: https://www.miloskitchen.com/info
The company has come out on Facebook with an apology: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmiloskitchen%2Fposts%2F1537249679657246&width=500
If you believe your pet has consumed a product that was recalled for the presence of thyroid hormones, make sure to monitor their symptoms, such as:
Increased thirst and urination
Increased heart rate and restlessness
These symptoms may resolve over time, as long as your pet is no longer eating the recalled products. On the flip side, continual consumption of the recalled products containing thyroid hormones may increase the severity of the symptoms and may have added effects, such as:
Rapid or labored breathing
Either way, you must always consult your veterinarian if you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms and determine the best course of action.
The Precedence is Ignored
At what point do we need to hold this company more liable for the oversights and damages that have occurred under their watch?
2015: An article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) came to a conclusion that meat-based commercial dog food, containing thyroid tissue, was the likely source of elevated thyroid hormone levels in a study of 14 dogs.
2017: In March, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine alerted vets to a set of illnesses associated with elevated beef thyroid hormone levels in certain WellPet and Blue Buffalo canned dog food products, after three dogs in separate households showed signs of hyperthyroidism, a disease that is rare in dogs and usually triggered by thyroid cancer. In the cases for the three dogs, extensive testing showed elevated thyroid hormones in the blood; however thyroid cancer was ruled out. Interviews with the dogs’ owners showed that all three dogs were fed either one or both of "BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs" or "Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs".
The FDA implicated that the dog food from both companies, WellPet and Blue Buffalo, most likely contained animal gullets (or laryngeal muscle tissue), where the thyroid gland was not fully removed. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits thyroid glands and laryngeal muscle tissue in food for human consumption. Currently, the USDA will permit the use of gullets in pet food and treats; however if the thyroid glands are not completely removed from the gullet, leaving no laryngeal muscle tissue behind, the gullets will have elevated levels of thyroid hormones that gets passed down to your furry friend.
Teka the Make-A-Wish dog
In an article from King5 news, they covered a story in Edmonds, WA, about a girl by the name of Karina Eide who was blessed with the opportunity to have her wish granted by the Make-A-Wish organization. Some kids choose Disneyland, other choose John Cena, but all Karina ever wanted was a little puppy that she named 'Teka'. Unfortunately, Karina's battle with cancer ended in 2014, and Teka became an extension of Karina's legacy. Karina's mother, Fernette, cherished Teka and took on the responsibility to take good care of her daughter's Make-A-Wish dog.
In the earlier months of 2017, Teka got sick and Fernette was very concerned about the health of her daughter's dog. "She was barely getting up. She wasn’t running around. Her activity level was low and it clearly looked like she could die that weekend," Fernette said. "It looked like she was poisoned with something, is the thing." Teka exhibited telltale signs of hyperthyroidism. "She would just sit there and drink and drink and drink," Fernette said.
The lab reports from Teka showed abnormally elevated levels of thyroid hormones and Fernette submitted a report to the FDA. After an interview, she submitted the open and unopened bags of the Milo's Kitchen dog treats that Teka had consumed. After the recall came out, the lot number matched. Thankfully, Teka has made a recovery but when will another pet food company's lack of due diligence strike another innocent pet?