Stories today on the FDA’s statement yesterday that the agency expects the number of deaths to rise.

From the LA Times (and other papers, but catmanager found it here first):

Owners who believe that their animals were sickened by the recalled foods should hold on to documentation such as food labels and information from their veterinarians, said Menu Foods spokeswoman Sarah Tuite.

“Somebody will take responsibility for that,” she said. “I don’t know yet in what form or what way.”

The New York Times hasn’t much more to share but does interview several veterinarians and pet owners:

Marcella Nelson of Mattapoisett, Mass., changed her cat’s food to Iams after a checkup on Feb. 5 where kidney function was tested and was found to be normal. A week later, the cat became lethargic and would not eat, and a test on Feb. 20 showed that it was suffering from kidney failure and had to be euthanized. Ms. Nelson, who did not throw out the food, said the product numbers matched those in the recall.

The Washington Post offers a quotation catmanager hadn’t read before:

[T]he agency is not sure that only pet food was contaminated. “Right now we don’t think people are at risk,” Sundlof said.

This seems at odds with the agency’s claim that the suspected supplier of wheat gluten (the currently suspected culprit) supplied only pet-food manufacturers. Probably the FDA is just being cautious because they do not know for certain what the tainted ingredient is or which company supplied it. Still, this bears watching, and I hope the FDA is able to soon say with confidence that people are not at risk.

The Toronto Star finds plenty of evidence to contradict Menu CEO Paul Henderson’s claim that “there had been no complaints from Canadians” about pets sickened by Menu-manufactured foods. Handling of the pet food crisis at the federal level seems to have been haphazard:

There is no government regulatory body in charge of pet food standards in Canada.

Suzanne Lavictoire, director of member services and communication for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said the industry is self-regulating.

Agriculture Canada referred calls to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which referred in turn to the vets’ group.

Another Toronto Star story assesses the financial impact on Menu Foods.

Another Toronto-based paper, the Globe and Mail finds more evidence of Canadian animals presumably sickened by recalled foods. The Globe’s financial-section story on Menu quotes one analyst who urges investors to buy Menu stock (the recent sell-off by investors makes for a great buy opportunity!) and one who is less sanguine about the company’s future (too uncertain).