One of the biggest food recalls ever actually had to do with the stuff we give our furry friends -- pet food was at the center of the problem in this case. And unlike most other recalls on our list, this one didn't have to do with the outbreak of a bacterial disease. Rather, it's believed an industrial chemical known as melamine contaminated the wheat-gluten in the food. When the chemical enters an animal's system, it can cause kidney failure and possibly death. The melamine-contaminated wheat-gluten is thought to have come from a Chinese supplier.
In 2007, after the deaths of 14 cats and dogs were linked to their products, Menu Foods started a recall of about 60 million cans and packages of pet food [source: Reuters]. However, it wasn't able to prevent thousands more animal sicknesses and deaths [source: Barboza].
Menu Foods had to dish out about $42 million dollars to pay for the recall, not including lost sales [source: Henderson]. By 2009, after the company reached a $24-million settlement, affected pet-owners were able to receive damages due to veterinary bills [source: Jones]. This was in addition to the $8 million already paid out to affected consumers [source: Schneider].