[alert type=”notice”]Please note that none of the current recalled foods are sold at NOVA Cat Clinic.[/alert]

Latest food recall

Bravo cat food for Listeria contamination. See FDA List for details regarding product numbers, sizes and places it was sold.

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Food Recalls in 2014

Melamine – A New Toxin

A new toxin Melamine has been found in recalled foods.

The following is an FAQ on this contaminant:

What is melamine used for?
Melamine monomers can be polymerized into melamine resins and then crosslinked with formaldehyde to form thermosetting plastic laminates, the most common of which is Formica. It is used in plastic utensils. It is also used as a flame retardant and a non-protein nitrogen source (fertilizer), when combined with appropriate microorganisms that can metabolize the compound into urea or ammonia.
Is melamine toxic?
As far as we can ascertain, melamine is minimally toxic. In acute toxicity trials in rats and mice, LD50 was >3g/kg. Intravenous injections (0.3mM/kg) and acute oral administration of melamine (125mg/kg) to cats failed to induce any toxicity (Lipschitz & Stokey, 1944, J Pharm & Exp Ther). In chronic dosing studies, rats developed cystic calculi (bladder stones) and consequent carcinomas of the bladder after 6 months of administration. There is virtually no mention of nephrotoxicity in the published literature. It is considered a mild ecological toxin, and generally safe in a work environment (inhalation and dermal or mucosal contact).
Is melamine present in the affected foods?
Yes. Studies have confirmed that melamine is present in the affected foods. It is not present in other foods tested. It is present in the gluten used in the manufacture of the affected foods.
Is it present in high concentrations in the affected foods?
Melamine was present at about a 1-3% concentration in the gluten used in the manufacture of affected foods. Therefore it is present in a 0.01-0.2% (10mg – 200mg/100g food) concentration in affected foods.
How does this translate into dietary toxicity?
If extrapolated from toxicity studies in rats (and assuming cats have the same acute toxicity doses as rats), cats would need to consume about 4kg of food per day to approach the rat LD50. Thus, we are skeptical of the ability for melamine to produce toxicity that is being reported.
Can melamine act as a marker for affected individuals?
We believe so. Since it appears to be present only in the contaminated foods, and is relatively easily detected in urine and kidneys of affected animals, melamine may be a reasonable marker of exposure to affected diets. This may help rule out dietary causes of acute renal failure. However, more information is needed to determine the validity of this hypothesis.
How can melamine be detected?
Currently, melamine is detected by mass spectrometry. The University of California, Davis is now offering this test.