Source AP ©

Thirty South African dogs die from pet food

A contaminated ingredient imported from China have become the reason for the 30 dog’s deaths in South Africa, country's veterinarian association said Friday.

Similar problems have been experienced in the United States. In South Africa, a range of dog and cat dry pet food products has been recalled after they were found to contain corn gluten contaminated with a toxic chemical, melamine, used in making plastics and other industrial processes.

The withdrawal has caused panic among thousands of pet owners here and follows the massive recall in the United States of more than 100 brands of cat and dog foods contaminated with the same chemical.

Petri Vogel from the South African Veterinary Association said 30 dogs had died across the country in the last two weeks after eating the contaminated food. She said the animals had died of renal failure.

"We are not expecting further deaths. The problem is under control," she said.

The makers of Vets Choice and Royal Canin pet foods said in a statement Thursday that the contaminated corn gluten was delivered to South Africa by a third party supplier and originated from China.

"We at Royal Canin want to express our support and condolences for pet owners whose pets may have fallen ill or passed away as a result of eating our food. We know this situations causes suffering for pets and concern for pet owners and our customers as it has for our entire Royal Canin team," the company said in a statement.

Last week the company recalled the products, manufactured in its Johannesburg plant between March 8 and April 11 and sold in South Africa and Namibia, after investigating reports that pets were falling ill.

It has said it will compensate pet owners for the loss of their animals.

Vogel said it was likely that there was a link between the contaminated products in the U.S. and South Africa.

In the U.S., melamine has been found in both wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China.

Massive recalls in the U.S. began in March after the deaths of 16 pets. U.S. officials have not provided updated numbers of pet deaths or injuries due to the contaminated pet food.