The Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell and the New York State Food Laboratory have identified Aminopterin as the contaminant in the "cuts and gravy" style food made by Menu Foods – the main component of most major wet pet food brands. Aminopterins are used as a rat poison, and are prohibited in the United States and much of Europe. The contamination is thought to have originated from tainted wheat gluten imported from China. Menu as yet have not confirmed the source of the toxin but has confirmed that the dates of the contaminated food did coincide with the integration of a new supply of one particular pet food component which they have subsequently stopped using.
More than 60 million cans and pouches of pet food made from materials manufactured by Menu Foods Income Fund have been recalled – affecting more than 100 major brands including popular labels sold at Wal-Mart, Kroger and other large retailers. Affected animals have been suffering from kidney failure – acute cases have been affecting pets who were already unwell or very young or old; and chronic cases which do not result in immediate death have been reported in previously healthy adult pets.
The symptoms of acute failure appear very quickly and include symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, refusal to eat and increased drinking/urination. Chronic failure has similar symptoms but because it develops much more slowly the symptoms tend to be less severe and easier to miss. Both forms can however be fatal if left untreated. Many pet owners who have fed their pets the recalled brands of food are taking there pets to the vets for blood and urine tests. Menu Foods claims that it will provide compensation for medical bills of affected pets where such expenses can be identified to be as a direct result of the food contamination. Further information can be found below.