BREAKING: Tainted Rice Gluten Now Linked To Expanded Recall

Hours after a Food and Drug Administration spokesperson denied that the already massive pet food recall would be expanded to include products containing rice and corn gluten, Natural Balance has confirmed that it has found melamine in its rice gluten, and is now recommending that customers avoid all of its products containing this ingredient.

Melamine-tainted wheat gluten, imported from China, had previously been blamed for what has grown to become largest pet food recall in U.S. history, with over 39,000 dogs and cats sickened or killed. Natural Balance says that the contaminated rice gluten was produced by a U.S. company, raising further questions as to the broader safety of the food supply.

Earlier today, after receiving a tip from an industry insider that products containing tainted rice and corn gluten were about to be recalled, I contacted an FDA Public Affairs officer for confirmation, and received a quick and firm response:

From: Castro, Veronica
Sent: Tue 4/17/2007 12:37 PM
To: David Goldstein
Subject: RE: From FDA

Rice gluten and corn gluten are not being recalled. The latest information we have is on our website. It is up to date.

Then again, this was the same spokesperson who emailed me that she had no information about a previous recall… six days after it was issued. I can only conclude that the FDA is keeping its Office of Public Affairs as much in the dark as it is keeping the public.

I have received no confirmation that tainted corn gluten is also suspect, but at this point I have no reason to doubt my original source. Given this new information and past experience, I personally will not serve my pets — or my family — any product containing wheat, rice or corn gluten until the FDA and the industry have proven to me that their products are safe to eat.


  1. 1


    Is there a reason why HA is so concerned about dog food, but you haven’t mentioned that Dems in the Washington Legislature finally managed to push through a Simple Majority amendment for school funding?

    I mean, I love dogs. But not as much as I love schools.

  2. 2

    robin spews:


    the melamine’s probably in your food too! Unlike fema’s fda, I do care what’s in my dog and cat food.

  3. 3

    Robin Luethe spews:

    And do I understand correctly that melamine falsely give a higher reading in protein tests?

  4. 5

    David spews:

    Melamine gives a higher nitrogen reading, which is what they use to test for protein content.

  5. 7

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    It continues to be really damn frustrating that the FDA still has no handle on how this stuff is getting into these products. Now a US producer has been affected too…seems not as likely that this has simply been bad Chinese oversight on QC, though that is definitely an issue. They may almost have to be looking at contaminated shipping containers now, even though, as you wrote, the original wheat gluten was, what…(I’m looking but can’t find the post now) some quite amazing percentage of melamine (6% I can”t remember, but it would have have to have been visible in the product).

    So how did the product come from China? Was it in bags already, or was it bagged here? Who did the bagging, who did the transporting, and from where to where?

  6. 8

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Okay, I’m not dreaming. Elsewhere on the net, it said the highest samples were as high as 6.6 percent melamine.

    What is the common denominator between the Chinese wheat gluten and US rice gluten, though. Again, I really have to ask about the distribution system, and how these products got from place to place.

  7. 9

    robin spews:

    7.) the wheat gluten was bagged in China. CNN filmed it bagged in warehouse in China. So the melamine was probably put in there. FDA vet said they found up to 6.6% of melamine in the wheat gluten, which is more than some accident.

  8. 10

    proud leftist spews:

    Actually, lawyers are not enough. As the late, great Warren Zevon said: “Send lawyers, guns, and money.” We need guerrilla action on all fronts. The corporate crap plainly disobeys boundaries.

  9. 11

    robin spews:

    It was the FDA head vet Sundlof, who came up with the speculation that the Melamine was put in for purpose, to up the nitrogen/protein thus low grade wheat gluten worth more. Maybe that theory just sounds better than the alternative.

  10. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Stick to locally grown, organically fertilized, public park grass and you’ll be fine.

  11. 13


    Well, Natural Balance Pet Foods expanded their recall today (4/17) from the one they did yesterday, to now include all of their Venison pet food/treat products since they found melamine in them. And these products do not use wheat gluten, BUT Natural Balance said they’ve recently been adding rice protein concentrate, so….

  12. 14

    Valley spews:

    This is pushing me into the Twilight Zone. I switched all my critters from a major brand corn gluten type dry food a month ago since most stopped eating it. Even thought the recalls were for wheat gluten I was getting nervous. Now I see I am correct! Now I hold my breath that some wacko doesn’t get into my present companies storage and poison it! This food has no gluten of any sort.Luckily they get home cooked “canned”- none of that stinking dead stuff in the cans for my critters! btw- dog and cat people are some of the most understanding and compassionate folks ever!

  13. 15

    Frank Fellatio spews:

    FUCKING CHINKS!!! Cant those assholes stop ripping everyone off???? smile to your face and then stab you in the back as soon as they can

    selling cut rate knock off products and tricking people into thinking they are real… then later having the product burn up (in many cases literally) seems to be their way (check recalls on all the chinese crap products)

    I stopped buying anything made in china.. it is crap and always breaks prematurely….hell I’ve been ripped off by chinese store owners in town as well…

    They are also big on raping the environment (killing off endangered animals for some stupid chink medicine) spewing massive ammounts of polution

    I can trust Japanese and most other Asians.. why to the chinese have to be such cheap and greedy back stabbing bastards.



  14. 16


    Poor taste aside, Mr. Fellatio (above) just might have something… in that hitting the Chinese in the pocket book is probably the only thing that is likely to get their attention. Obviously, an across the board boycott isn’t going to work for anybody, but cutting off imports of Chinese-grown food products seems appropriate.

    It’s a good thing that, unlike the Chinese, our own government puts safety ahead of profit. Oh, wait…

  15. 17

    robin spews:

    Right now I’m doing half raw and half Canidae for the dog and half Felidae for the cats. I just hope the Canidae and Felidae are okay.

  16. 18


    I do not trust pet or human products with wheat, rice or corn gluten. If our food supply is not safe, our water supply has been proven not safe,our airports are not safe, our country is not safe, our schools are not safe… what are we paying high taxes for? Who is protecting us?

  17. 19


    Frank (at 1:10 AM)?

    I would suggest switching to decaf. And you might want to try talking to some actual Chinese people, in an effort to deal with that rather blatant prejudice.

    Remember that for every unscrupulous Chinese businessperson or government official, there has also been an unscrupulous US businessperson that chose to go with a cheaper, untested product, and an unscrupulous US government official that did not properly inspect and verify products coming into this country.

  18. 20

    Not a horses ass spews:

    Will Goldy, the Horses Ass, vow not to drive his pets or his family in the family minivan until the government and auto industry prove that automobiles are completely safe and not responsible for 40,000 annual deaths in the U.S.?

    Does anyone ranting about this recall have a lick of brains?

  19. 21

    Rev. Ann Garland spews:

    When this Country puts God back in its schools, government and families we will see the country grow strong in every area.

    Attacks on our pets is just the beginning.

    God help us all.

  20. 22

    Chris spews:

    Our cat just mysteriously died of kidney failure and happened to be eating one of the rice gluten products–a hypoallergenic food, ironically. Royal Canin is not on the FDA list of recalled foods, but they have done a voluntary recall–which has not been publicized.

    The FDA still lists just over a dozen “confirmed” cases, but our vet alone had 2, and unofficial reports are in the thousands of dogs and cats. God knows what constitutes proof enough for the FDA, which is in bed with Big Ag anyway.

    Now we’re discovering the pet food may have entered the food supply through pigs, and may be being used for infant formula, energy bars, etc.

    Why is this not on the front page? And why are farmers being paid not to grow the very grains that we are importing from elsewhere? What the hell are we doing importing WHEAT gluten, for god’s sake? America, importing wheat products? The world’s flipping breadbasket? We’re doing it because other countries are cheaper and don’t have controls over inconvenient things like, say, the introduction of melamine into the pet AND human food supply.

    Screw all you free-market capitalists, I say. I have a beloved dead cat to stuff in your selfish pie-hole.