Pet Food Recall- The
Tip of the Iceberg
I have very mixed feelings here. Of course, I am saddened by the death of the affected pets and the trauma this
has caused the owners. BUT, this is the absolute best thing that could happen TO the pet food companies. I could not
be more excited about the potential for seeing the much-needed changes in pet food manufacturing that may finally come about
as a result of this "scandal". This recall should serve as a HUGE warning shot being fired across all of our bows.
latest is that 14 pet deaths have been linked directly to the recalled foods, with 6 of them being cats that died in the studies
conducted by Menu Foods themselves to confirm that the food was the culprit. The mortality and morbidity rates have shown
that cats are more susceptible the effects of this food, which makes sense from a gluten standpoint since cats are a more
strict carnivores and would be less adapted to dealing with eating grains. The FDA, as of this date, still holds that they
do not know what the exact culprit is while the company itself has been quoted as saying that they believe it is the
wheat gluten acquired from a new supplier. They have replaced the gluten and gone back to manufacturing the recalled
foods according to one report that I read. So, if that's true, they must be pretty convinced that it's the wheat gluten.
wheat gluten CAN do this. Gluten, in sensitized individuals, can induce both chronic and acute kidney failure. The form of
kidney failure is typically what we call an IgA nephropathy, in which antibodies and immune complexes formed against the gluten
are deposited in the kidneys, which leads to damage and ultimately failure. Again, this can be chronic leading to persistent
blood (microscopic) and protein in the urine or it can be very acute.
In most of the cases of the "tainted" food deaths,
the pets had been eating these foods for months before succumbing to its effects. Many of you saw the emotion-charged interviews
on national news that dealt with owners who thought they were doing the right thing by feeding their pets these foods but
have now learned that "all of these months" they were poisoning their dogs.
First of all, is it a "tainted food"...one
that contains a poison or a toxin in the usual sense...OR is it one that simply has a gluten in it that is too powerful for
pet's (or human) consumption? I could easily believe that it is the latter and that they will find that this new source of
gluten came from some a GMO or hybrid wheat that IS too powerful for human consumption and that is why it was cheaper and
chosen to rpelace the company's old gluten.
It could be the old Starlink (CRY9C) corn story all over again. You remember
that one, right? This occurred in 2000 and Taco Bell became the poster child, as they had to recall taco shells suspected
of having this GMO corn that was intended only for animal feed. Of course, that story died quickly (like I am trying to keep
this one from doing) and the public never heard about the millions of dollars spent to rid our food supply of this transgenic
maize (GMO corn). They ended recalling over 350 brands of corn products in their attempt to clean this situation up. Who knows
whether they were really effective, as corn allergies in humans have risen as I certainly believe they have in pets.
concern was it may cause "allergic reactions". Well, if you call immune-mediated reactions like rheumatoid, lupus, and asthma
"allergic reactions" then that might be accurate.
This story should be sending shock waves through the public and veterinary
communities but the response thus far has been one that seems limited to being concerned in a way similar to an E. coli outbreak.
But if we KNEW beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the wheat gluten and if we KNEW what wheat gluten was capable of (like
we who study celiac disease know), then we should be seeing the bigger picture here: That is this just the tip of the iceberg
and that dogs and cats have been dying from this stuff all along and we have not known it. Then all it takes is for us to
wake up to the fact that dogs and cats should not be eating these grains to begin with, whether man has genetically modified
these foods to death or not (which they have).
The startling fact is that it is well-established that the lectins of
gluten (wheat, barley, rye), dairy products (e.g. casein, lactalbumin), soy and corn are ALL capable of inducing serious health
issues in those (sensitized) individuals consuming them. I am of the firm belief that these "big 4" are not healthy for anyone.
They are simply more harmful to some than others. As I have written many times, it is a matter of when they will cause
a problem much more than IF they will. That's why I lovingly call them the "four horsemen of the apocalypse". You are starting
to see why, right?
But why do these proteins wait to cause problems? That is a great question and one that keeps people
from seeing the truth about these harmful glycoproteins/lectins. The fact is that the onset of the lectin-related disorder-
whether it be rheumatoid arthritis, type-one diabetes, lupus, etc- is usually preceded by a secondary event, such as viral
or bacterial infection. Other things such as vaccines can act as triggers as well. As a result, there is a rather sudden influx
and attachment of these inflammatory proteins to various cells in the body ushering in what we often refer to as "autoimmune"
disorders. Of course, I hate that term because it implies an immune system that has gone haywire, attacking the body for no
reason. No! Our body and immune systems never makes that kind of mistake. These things happen for a reason and these
food proteins are ofetn the culprit. Viruses also play a role (described on my Website).
All one needs to do is study
celiac disease (gluten intolerance) to see how all of this works and appreciate the health implications that accompany this
extremely common condition. And it does occur in dogs and cats. That has become painfully obvious over the past 7 years I
have been studying this. The Irish setter is the only known breed to suffer from gluten intolerance but it is clear that gluten
is affecting many, many or our breeds or dogs and cats. And why wouldn't it? It is affecting us and we have had millennia
to adapt to eating wheat. The pets have only been eating wheat-based pet foods for about 20 years now.
This leads to
the final point (other than the fact that many of you are up in arms about so many of your "quality pet foods" being made
by one big company in Canada): Are your pet foods "scientifically" made like you think? I used to think so. Hey, I used to
parrot back what I was taught that the pet food companies spend millions of dollars and years of intense research coming up
with balanced and nutritious foods. I used to warn people not to add any table food so that they did not upset this "balance".
I was one of their biggest fans...patsies.
But then I woke up and wrote "Gluten Intolerance and Your Pet". Why are
we feeding dogs and cats wheat, barley, soy, and corn (and now dairy products...again...after removing them all 20 years ago).
I'll tell you why. It is because of one of two things: The manufacturers of pet food either don't have a clue as to what they
are doing OR they know better and are doing the wrong thing anyway. I'll let the reader decide but if I were in the pet food
industry, I'd rather claim ignorance.
If the research and development departments of these companies that are starting
to use dairy products again in their foods TRULY think that lactose is the culprit (rather than the lectins of casein, lactalbumin,
etc), then the executives in charge need to fire the entire lot of them and start afresh. If they really don't know what gluten
can do to the kidneys, joints, intestinal tracts, brains and other organs of our beloved pets, then they all need to go back
to school or find another line of work.
DO NOT let this story die. It does not matter whether they ever tell us that
wheat gluten caused these problems. The fact is that it CAN...and does...and that it has no place in pet food. The
gluten found in the non-recalled dry food versions of these foods is only incrementally better, causing subclinical issues
that shorten our pet's lives.
Do you really want to know why the average dog's life is 12 years and that of the cat
is 13 years (in the USA) when the former can live to be nearly thirty and the latter to 40? Look no further than what's in
their bowl. In a study that was done in Europe, those pets that were fed table scraps lived an average of 3 years longer than
those fed commercial diets alone. Why? Highly processed foods cannot possible contain all of the essential nutrients found
in fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. And if our veterinarians can't understand that, then they too need a refresher
The combination of these foods being woefully deficient in nutrients and the fact that they are downright HARMFUL
is an abomination. It is time to change this. Let this recall story be a warning sign but please do not let it die.
hope this helps,
I got an Email from the Executive Director of the local TV station on which I
appeared last Wednesday. It discusses the newest finding of the aminopterin. Whodathunkit? I have been doing some
reading about it and this is a powerful thing. But, I still question whether that it is the whole story.
The latest news (3:30PM) was that aminopterin was found, which is a rat poison
that is not approved in the USA. Here is the Wikipedia link to this drug: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aminopterin . As you will see, it has been used (intentionally) as a chemotherapy agent in treating children with leukemia and its use
is once again being explored. This begs the questions of "Just how much would be required to intoxicate an animal?", "Just
how much was in the food?", and "Why didn't more animals become intoxicated if this was the culprit?"
Here is another interesting link:
http://iaspub.epa.gov:80/srs/srs_proc_qry.navigate?P_SUB_ID=1792. It's intersting that aminopterin is a derivative of L-glutamic acid (glutamate), with the kidneys being one of the organs
that convert glutamate to glutamine (as does the liver). Wheat gluten is extremely rich in glutamate. Could the combination
be the real culprit? Could this amount of glutamate induce lethal degrees of oxidative injury to nephrons? Hmmm...
Either way, gluten is not something we should be feeding pets, especially the
carnivorous cat. Gluten sensitivity CAN cause chronic and acute renal failure (IgA nephropathy). That much the FDA
had wrong in their statements.
Email to MSNBC
My name is John B. Symes, DVM, otherwise known as "DogtorJ" on the Internet.
I have been studying the effects of gluten on people and pets for the past 7 years following my personal diagnosis of celiac
The fact is that wheat gluten CAN cause kidney failure all on its own and with
the relatively small number of deaths that have occurred, the gluten IS the most likely culprit. Wheat gluten can cause an
IgA nephropathy that can either result in chronic or acute kidney failure.There does not have to be another toxin involved.
In fact, mold toxins primarily affect the liver and the amount of other toxins that could be present would have to be much
higher to cause kidney damage. And if they were that high, many more individuals would be affected.
So, they are right in pointing the finger at the gluten but very wrong in saying
that wheat gluten cannot cause kidney failure.
I hope this helps,
John B. Symes, D.V.M. ("Dogtor J")
Read- "Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn OR How We Won the Battle of Helm's Deep"
Is the Pet Food Industry in the Business of Population Control?
By Dogtor J.
Does that question seem like a totally absurd notion? Is it possible that
the manufacturers of our pet's food are so out of touch with the animal's nutritional requirements that they make their
formulary blunders by accident ? After studying the effects of gluten, dairy, soy, and corn on the health of people
and their pets for the past seven years and reading what researchers have know for years, I have come to the conclusion that
there is something seriously wrong in Mudville.
After this incredible pet food recall story, any pet owner with a functional
brain has to be questioning why we feed dogs and cats the way we do. Notice that I did not include veterinarians in that last
sentence. I am afraid that we have been too thoroughly programmed to look at this situation with the eyes of a child. And
once again, I cannot throw stones here but simply make a point. When asked what to feed, I used to parrot back but
we have all been led to believe: "Just stick with a good, name brand of pet food and stay away from the generic brands, especially
those that spell it 'Dog Fude'. Haha. And, do not add table food to your pet's commercial diets because that will
simply unbalance the formula that the pet food manufacturers have worked soooo hard to get right over their years and years
of research and manufacturing." Oh, how I hang my head in shame now that I know differently.
I have this discussion with countless clients over the past 28 years of practice.
It has only been the last seven that I have been awake to the reality of just how unscientifically these foods are formulated
and produced. All one has to do is look at the ingredient list and compare it to what we know these pets would
consume in the wild. It helps to know the history of what man has done to the grains and other ingredients that make them
even more unnatural and harmful.
All of the grains are man-made, man-raised crops that we have cultivated for
human consumption starting very early in our agricultural history. People love to point out that man ate wheat and drank milk
in Biblical times so these things must be good and healthy. Even well-intentioned, Scripture-oriented books make this statement.
But they leave out two very key points: The wheat we consume now is no longer "God's wheat" and the milk we drink
is no longer "God's milk". The original wheat was "pure in its generations" (no hybrids) and contained 1-2% gluten. This was
changed forever by our Northern Germanic ancestors in the mid 400's A.D. when they blended two other plants to "God's wheat",
creating a hybrid and one that contained much more gluten...so much more that they were stricken with "coeliac disease" (gluten
intolerance). This is historical fact. It is that new wheat, which we term "common wheat", that became the ancestor of today's
wheat, which now contains as much as 55% gluten, a far cry from the 1-2% found in original wheat. Plus, our wheat
is no longer pure in its generations, as it has become a mutant blend of multiple plants that man has continued to manipulate,
especially in the recent past.
The parallel to the wheat story is "the tale of two milks". The milk they drank
in Biblical days was goat's milk. Remember: They were tending their flocks by night, not their herds. Cattle (oxen)
were relegated to doing work and providing meat. It was not until the middle of the second millennium that man went into the dairy industry utilizing cow's milk. Goat milk...the universal
foster milk...has 0-2% casein, gluten's evil twin and a troublesome glycoprotein that has also been tied to
numerous immune-mediated disorders. Cow milk has a whopping 80-86% casein, the protein that Borden uses to make Elmer's glue.
Lactose is not the culprit in milk. It is the various proteins it contains- including alpha s-1 casein, alpha lactalbumin
and beta lactalbumin- that do the harm to cells and stimulate the (appropriate) immune responses. I will leave it up
to the reader to decide who started the lactose myth. Understand that goat milk has plenty of lactose and all mammals
can be successfully raised on goat milk provided they have not already developed a serious intolerance to the
myriad of proteins in cow's milk.
Corn is a very interesting story. Did you know that corn is the only grain that
is not self-propagating? Wheat, for example, produces seeds that will fall and produce more wheat. Corn must be planted
by man in order to grow and if left alone, it would cease to exist. It was cultivated in Mesoamerica in the millennia B.C.
and went through many changes during its domestication. In other words, man had his hands in the making of corn right
from the start. The interesting thing is that wherever this new grain was introduced, pellagra (niacin deficiency) broke out.
Many texts will say that it is because the niacin was "locked" inside the corn making this essential vitamin unavailable
for absorption, which appears to be true. But, the common characteristic of the "big 4"...gluten (wheat, barley, rye), casein,
soy and corn...is their ability to damage the villi of the intestine (duodenum) where many essential nutrients including
niacin are absorbed. So, was the pellagra due to the unavailable niacin in the corn or due to the fact that the corn
blocked the absorption of niacin from the remainder of their diet? Just how much of this new corn were they eating? Was there
no other source of dietary niacin? The fact is that corn proteins can block the absorption of calcium, iron, iodine,
B complex (including niacin), C, and numerous trace minerals (e.g. zinc, boron, magnesium, manganese) in the same fashion
that gluten, casein, and soy can in susceptible individuals.
Soy was the Asian's mistake. After examining the serious effects of
soy on human health, I can say that with all confidence. Wheat was the Northern Germanic's blunder, cow milk consumption was
the Anglo-Saxon's error, corn was the Mesoamerican's wrongful creation, and soy was the Asian's serious mistake.
They should have never removed soy from the ground, where it was used in crop rotation as a way to fix nitrogen in the soil.
I'm certain that one fine day, someone asked why this crop could not be eaten. They quickly learned that it had
to be processed to be consumed safely, including soaking and fermentation, the latter being the key. If one were to read the
rigorous process that soy must undergo to render it safe to consume, I dare say that the majority would ask
"What is the point???". But even after that process is completed, the finished product contains more potentially harmful proteins
and estrogens than all others. It is fully capable of inducing villous atrophy of the duodenum and known to
be a powerful factor in the development of thyroid disease and estrogen-related disorders. Soy milk has 16-22,
000 times more phytoestrogens than mother's milk. The effect on the developing child is both potentially devastating and well-documented.
All of the "big 4" are used to make industrial adhesives, but soy is used to make super glue. Yes, they put your
car together with soy-based super glues.
Now, I must ask the reader- Is a little ol' veterinarian from Alabama really
the only one who understands all of this stuff or do the research and development departments of the pet and human food
giants know most of what I just wrote? Are the people responsible for making the decisions concerning your pet's
nutrition blissfully ignorant about how unnatural these man-made, man-raised crops are for your dog and cat or are
they making bad decisions in the face of what they know to be true and good? To be honest, I sometimes wrestle with
which is actually worse...ignorance or greed. I always decide that greed is worse because, after all, it is
the "root of all evil". But the ignorance in the face of available knowledge is really frightening. It implies that all of
the other undesirable human traits are in play- laziness, apathy, deception, self-centeredness, etc. At least the greedy
are motivated. If they could be motivated for good, we would really have something. So, we can easily see it is the combination
of these two...ignorance and greed...that reduce the world to something very short of ideal.
After all is said and done, we are left with questions like "Why do
we feed carnivores all of these grains?"; "Why are cats fed dry foods when they are so unlike
what they would eat in nature?"; and "Why are the average ages of dogs only 12 years and cats only 13 years
in the USA when they have been known to live 30 and 40 years respectively?" "Don't the pet food makers know
better than to make these diets with such harmful ingredients?" "Are they ignorant or greedy...or something else?" I've
even been asked by thinking clients "Could these food companies be in cahoots with veterinarians so that the pets
stay sick and the vets who are pushing these foods make more money?" Or another- "Are the pet food makers and the pharmaceutical
companies working hand-in-hand to keep each other in business?" Others, including veterinarians, realize that the
pet food companies (and pharmaceutical companies) are often responsible for the continuing education of vets and ask how that
figures into the grand scheme of things. These are ALL great questions.
Related questions that are often asked of me are "Why don't more people know
what you just told me?" and "Why doesn't my doctor talk to me this way?" Of course, I can write for hours offering answers
to these and many other questions. But I would like to leave them with the reader to think about a while.
But, how will the public find the answers to these questions and our
initial query found in the title of this piece? Quite simply, they will find them on the Internet and by talking with others.
Thank God (literally) for the Internet. Sure, the World Wide Web is a mixed blessing. It is a home for the spider
and trap for an unsuspecting victim. But the vast majority of what I have written on my ever-expanding Website can
be confirmed by doing creative Internet searches. I am constantly amazed at what can be found in such a short period
of time using a simple search. All we need is an idea and it can be turned into an afternoon, a week, or a lifelong quest. My
mission has been to discover truth and make it available to those who need it. Certainly, I do believe that I have had Divine
guidance in much of my journey, something Else that is available to anyone who desires It. But the first step is to wake
up and see the startling fact that there is something seriously wrong in Mudville.
This awakening can be quite unsettling but well-worth the process. We must put
our minds in gear and apply our common sense. When we do this, the first thing that happens is the flooding of our thoughts
with questions. That is a good thing. Then come the answers. They are out there. But, the deeper we
go into the rabbit hole, the harder the questions... and, frequently, the more disturbing the answers. It can be a painful
process but one that is absolutely necessary. A solid spiritual base is an invaluable asset because the ultimate answer to
why things have gone so wrong lies in what is in the hearts of men.
Where are the hearts of those who produce the foods we and our pets
John B. Symes, D.V.M. ("Dogtor J")
Read- "Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn OR How We Won the Battle of Helm's Deep"
Letter to a Pet Food Manufacturer
Thanks for the reply. I know it is difficult to try to please all of those people
who want to give you advice about your business. But (you knew there was a "but" coming ,right? LOL), the starting point is
making sure that there are no harmful ingredients in the food and then trying to make the food nutritionally complete
and superior to other products. Elementary but rarely accomplished.
I have been a veterinarian for almost 30 years. I have been "awake" for only
the last 7. Most of my colleagues are still sound asleep as are those who are in the R and D departments of the biggest
pet food companies on this earth, obviously. I have awakened to an incredibly bad dream. I now no longer try
to figure out who is greedy and who is simply ignorant (unknowing). It is usually a mixture of the two. But
the degree of the apparent ignorance is very frightening.
No matter how we come at the current pet food formulations, the end result is
that they are made very wrong. If we simply want to use logic and draw on what these pets would normally eat in nature,
then we would toss out all of the gluten grains (wheat, barley, rye), dairy, soy and corn. These are all totally unnatural
for dogs and cats. But so are rice and potatoes. If we want to come at the formulations more scientifically, then we
see that the foods are loaded with the KNOWN top food allergens, which are wheat, dairy, soy and corn. If we want
to look at the top foods that cause food intolerance and villous atrophy of the duodenum, the classic lesion of celiac
disease, then we see the same "big 4" once again. No matter how we approach it, it's the same 4 guys.
The hard part is getting over the misconceptions and deceptions of the past.
These deceptions include "Milk is nature's perfect food", "Lactose is the culprit in milk", "We need to eat more fiber
in the form of whole wheat", and "Soy is a health food". All of these are wrong and have been scientifically proven to be
the exact opposite. Milk and soy are two of the absolute worst things that can be put into the human or pet's body.
They are not among the top allergens for no reason. The lectins of the "big 4" have been tied to every immune mediated
disease known to man and animals. Casein, particularly alpha s-1 casein, is one of the worst and has been associated
with asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes, lupus and more. Cottage cheese contains these potentially harmful casein
glycoproteins. Granted, it is low in lactose but lactose is not the culprit in dairy. It is just a little 'ol sugar that
worsens digestive problems, like part of an early warning system. Take out the lactose and we can comfortably consume
these ugly proteins for a while longer before we get the next set of warnings. And we really don't want to experience what
they are warning us of, do we?
I would love to support your efforts to create and sell a high quality diet by
being able to recommend it to my clients. But I have sworn off all of the "big 4" myself and cannot recommend them to
anyone, human or pet, after what I have learned in the past 7 years, at least not as a staple in the diet. The good news/bad
news about dog food is that it is uniform. Every bite is the same. If the diet is a good one, then that is a very advantageous
trait. If the diet is a "bad" one (one that contains an ingredient that the body does not get along with), that is a very bad
thing. Once we understand how lectins ( http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html ) work and the harm they do, then we can easily see that less of them is not the answer. They must be completely restricted. Non-compliance
is the single biggest reason why elimination diets do not work when they fail. I tell people to think "peanut allergy". We
must be strict.
I have no reason to be meddling in your business other than to see you succeed
at what you clearly want to do in the first place: Create the best pet food out there. I would LOVE for you to do
it, so I can recommend your food. There are soooo few out there doing it right. The market is still yours, Scott. Go for it!!!
I hope this helps,
John B. Symes, D.V.M. ("Dogtor J")www.dogtorj.net
Read- "Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn OR How We Won the Battle of Helm's Deep"
What to Feed, What to Feed???
That's a great question...quite involved, but a good question. We should feed the pet as close
to a natural diet as possible. "As possible" means 1) As close to what we understand "natural" to be; 2) As close to natural
as we can afford; and 3) As close to natural as fits with our own pet philosophy and what we are willing to do.
vast majority of pet owners are not going to do more than feed something out of a can or a bag. Sad but true. (Remember: The
vast majority of pet owners are not on a forum like this seeking information about how to best feed their pet). It has been
like pulling teeth just to get my hospital clients to go to the pet shop for food rather than the grocery store, the latter
having no dry foods that meet my criteria of eliminating all gluten, dairy, soy and corn.
So, you have those owners
who will seek out the best commercial food but stop there. Then you have those who will occasionally add some table food while
others will do some home-cooking on a regular basis to supplement the base diet of commercial foods. At the other end of the
spectrum, you have "the elite" who try to make the diet perfect and natural in every way. That is a very small group.
do each of us fit into this spectrum? It has been shown that those pets that get table food in addition to their commercial
diet live longer (contrary to what most vets...including me...have said all of their lives). It should not surprise us to
find this to be true when we think about the value of fresh meats/eggs, veggies and fruits.
The answer to "What to
feed?" then becomes this- Feed a food that is not harmful and as nutritionally complete as possible. My goal for the past
7 years has been to eliminate the harmful ingredients alone and watch what happens. Miracles have happened by elimination
all gluten (wheat, barley, rye), dairy, soy and corn. These are very harmful to large numbers of pets and people. Dogs and
cats are clearly gluten intolerant just as large numbers of people are.
We are now focusing on making the diet as nutritionally
complete as possible by adding fresh sources of protein (meats, eggs) and fresh sources of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients
in the form of veggies and fruits. Lastly, we should be using select supplements that cannot be provided by the above, such
as omega three fatty acids, or things that the individual seems to need specifically such as glucosamine for its joints or
kelp for its thyroids.
Again, my site has a list of "clean" dog foods that contain none of the "big 4". The bottom
line of this pet food recall at this point is that the new wheat gluten additive was the source of problems, so foods without
wheat gluten...which should be avoided anyway...are safe to feed. BUT, stay tuned. This story is not over yet.
hope this helps,
John B.Symes, DVM (aka "Dogtorj")
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truth about the origins of what we call "disease" as well as discover the natural solutions for these conditions.
We do have our health's destiny in our own hands more than we've ever
imagined, certainly more than most have ever been told. Think naturally and the answer will come.
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