Sonoma Index Tribune

We found out yesterday we had another really nice write-up in another local newspaper, the Sonoma Index-Tribune. Thanks very much to the IT, we appreciate the plug!



repost: FDA Confirms Probe of NUTRO Pet Food Deaths, Illnesses

Menu Foods earlier revealed it was the target of a federal probe

By Lisa Wade McCormick
Copyright 2009 © All Rights Reserved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that the agency is investigating NUTRO pet food, following a series of unexplained illnesses and deaths. Consumers have been complaining for more than two years that their pets have become ill after eating NUTRO products; many have recovered when they were switched to other foods. The company has steadfastly denied that its food is to blame.
Until now, the FDA has been mum about whether it was actively investigating the company. Today, the FDA’s Division of Freedom of Information confirmed the agency has an ongoing investigation into NUTRO — and said that investigation could be criminal or civil in nature. The office did not elaborate on the nature or focus of that investigation.
The investigation came to light when the FDA denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by ConsumerAffairs.com seeking a list of complaints and lab results the agency has collected regarding NUTRO pet food. The agency denied the request and said that releasing the information could hamper “prospective or ongoing” action by law enforcement.
“The document(s) constitute record(s) compiled for law enforcement purposes, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings,” wrote the FDA’s George A. Strait, Jr., assistant commissioner for public affairs.
Another pet food company, Menu Foods, said in a recent financial filing that the FDA had commenced a criminal investigation to determine whether Menu violated the Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act. The company noted that “additional actions or investigations may arise in the future.” It did not mention any other pet food companies. Menu last year settled a $24 million lawsuit that grew from the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

NUTRO, which has extensive international operations, was acquired in 2007 by Mars, Inc., the privately-held Virginia-based food products company. Mars was fined a record €4.5 million (about US$5.8 million) last year by the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) for not observing the required waiting period before closing the transaction. Mars had been by far the leading provider of cat and dog food in Germany prior to the merger.

Under pressure from the German regulators, Mars divested NUTRO's Austrian and German businesses.


O'Mama Report

Some juicy tidbits from April's O'Mama Report:

The White House Garden Goes Green It is official: Michelle Obama's garden at the White House will be an organic one. The garden will serve as both a source of the Obama family's food and as an educational tool, says the First Lady, who anticipates family involvement in its upkeep.

Obama Celebrates with Organic Spirit Organic wines are making their way into homes across the country, including the White House. At its first black tie event under the Obama Administration, the White House hosted members of the National Governors Association, to whom it served an assortment of organic wines.

Organic Gets a Boost in Washington The appointment of Kathleen Merrigan as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture is good news for organic, according to Sam Hurst of Gourmet magazine. Author of the groundbreaking Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which established the stringent standards that have come to define the organic system, Merrigan has been hailed as "the moving force behind the development of federal organic standards" and is seen as a solid choice to represent the organic perspective in the U.S. government. Gourmet

Seed Sales Blossoming
 Recent changes in the economy have led to drops in sales across the board, but not underground, according to a recent report released by the National Gardening Association. The report found that seed sales are on the rise, thanks to a 19 percent increase in the number of households planning to grow their own food in 2009. Read more

Digging In: Getting Started on Your Organic Garden As with any project, one of the hardest parts of planting an organic garden is getting started. Yet this doesn't have to be the case. By following just the few simple steps listed here you can get your organic garden off the ground and ready for a successful gardening season. 

A Taste of Spring

Bake this cake for your neighborhood dogs and celebrate the coming of spring and Earth Day:

Ma Snax Superior Treats Carrot Calendula Earth Day Cake for Dogs

Makes one 8” cake or 6 or more cupcakes

1 cup organic whole wheat flour

1 cup organic unbleached wheat flour

3 medium carrots, grated

2 cage free organic eggs

3 ounce canola oil

3 ounce raw honey

2 ounce unsulphered molasses

2 tablespoons crushed dried calendula flowers

1 tablespoon carob powder

1 tablespoon organic flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon organic ground ginger

Combine dry ingredients, set aside.

Mix eggs, carrots, honey, molasses, canola oil in bowl of electric mixer.Add combined dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.

Place batter in prepared cake pan or paper lined cupcake pan.

Bake at 325º for 18 to 25 minutes or until set. Cool.

Decorating suggestions: ice with organic peanut butter mixed with honey or organic cream cheese/yogurt mixed with honey.

Note: cake freezes well.

Serve to lucky dogs!


Ma Snax in the news

Thanks to Pet Product News for including us in the April Product Spotlight on natural treats. 
We love the trade mags.

Highlighted Store for April: Sonoma Dog Camp

Our monthly featured retailer is also the very first store that bought our humble snax way back in the day; Sonoma Dog Camp.
Their located at 1061 Broadway in beautiful Sonoma [across from the high school]. 
They run an excellent day care and overnight facility and their retail store is full of the best pet products around. We think they're great. They sell our treats in bulk and packages. SDC telephone; 707.935.3645
When you're in wine country be sure and stop by. You can pick up a great gift for your dog or your dog-sitter back home!


itch itch scratch, itch some more

For those of you who suffer from seasonal or chronic allergies I truly feel for ya. 
BUT, our dear Penny is suffering more right now than ever with allergic symptoms/reactions. Her poor belly and actually her whole body is just going crazy! We've tried everything. 
Poor dear, she is so obviously in pain. We can only hope that our attempts at controlling or alleviating her discomfort will work and allow her to relax and calm her. 
She's doing her best. She's amazing.

Happy Easter/Passover to all. 
-Ma Snax.