The Kansas City Star has compiled an information sheet about the Menu Foods recall that includes this interesting tidbit (as far as I can tell, this information is exclusive to the Star):

Menu Foods, according to one veterinary toxicologist, was working on some experimental products when it did some testing and found that the food sickened or killed some animals. The company reportedly traced the problem back several weeks to when it started using a new wheat component. The company immediately stopped using that new wheat source, which it used in high concentration in the experimental food. To be safe it recalled every other brand that might contain the new wheat gluten, even in tiny quantities.

This would seem to contradict earlier FDA reports that the problem was revealed during routine quarterly taste tests of Menu’s foods. If the Star’s information is correct (catmanager would like to know: who is the toxicologist? how does s/he have knowledge of the situation? is s/he just speculating?) and the high death rate from the food trial was related to the higher than normal concentration of wheat gluten in an experimental food, then it might be reasonable to extrapolate from that and conclude that we won’t be seeing a 14–20 percent mortality rate among pets who’ve eaten the contaminated food that doesn’t contain such high levels.

That won’t be any consolation for those pet owners whose pets have died or become ill. But it offers at least a thin ray of hope.