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FDA expands Sportmix pet food recall after additional pet deaths reported

Recalled lots contain dangerously high levels of aflatoxin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has broadened a recall of Sportmix pet foods following reports of dozens of additional canine deaths.

Last week, the agency recalled certain lots of Sportmix pet food after finding that the pet food contained high levels of aflatoxin, which is toxic to pets. The agency said 28 dogs had died in connection to the product, and eight others became ill. 

On Tuesday, the FDA issued an updated advisory saying that 70 dogs have died and over 80 others have gotten sick after consuming Sportmix pet food. 

Sportmix products, which are manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods, were recalled on December 30. The manufacturer has now expanded the recall to include additional products that contain corn and were made in the same manufacturing facility. 

The affected products have an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022 and have "05" in the date or lot code.

Products contain high levels of aflatoxin

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus. It can grow on corn and other grains used to make pet food and potentially cause pets to die or become ill when consumed in high levels. 

FDA officials said symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes or gums due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. 

“In severe cases, this toxicity can be fatal. In some cases, pets may suffer liver damage but not show any symptoms,” according to the agency. 

The FDA recommends that owners of pets who have eaten the products involved in the recall contact their veterinarian even if they’re not showing symptoms, but especially if they are showing symptoms. 

“Pet owners should stop feeding their pets the recalled products listed below and consult their veterinarian, especially if the pet is showing signs of illness,” the FDA said in December. “The pet owner should remove the food and make sure no other animals have access to the recalled product.” 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has broadened a recall of Sportmix pet foods following reports of dozens of additional canine deaths.Last w...
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FDA warns pet owners of pet food containing dangerous toxin

To date, 28 dogs have died after consuming Sportmix pet food

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety advisory concerning pet food containing high levels of aflatoxin, which is toxic to pets. The agency said 28 dogs have died in connection to the pet food in question and eight others became ill. 

The FDA said it has found that certain lots of Sportmix products, manufactured by Midwestern Pet Foods, caused the canine deaths and illnesses. The company voluntarily recalled the products last week. 

The agency said it is still looking into whether more products contain high levels of aflatoxin. In total, nine lots of Sportmix products have so far been found to contain high levels of the toxin. 

“Case counts and the scope of this recall may expand as new information becomes available,” the FDA said in its announcement

What is aflatoxin? 

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, the FDA said. It can grow on corn and other grains used to make pet food. Consuming high levels of the toxin can cause pets to become ill or even die. 

FDA officials said symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (yellowish tint to the eyes or gums due to liver damage), and/or diarrhea. 

“In severe cases, this toxicity can be fatal. In some cases, pets may suffer liver damage but not show any symptoms,” according to the agency. 

To be safe, the FDA recommends that owners of pets who have eaten the products involved in the recall contact their veterinarian.  

“Pet owners should stop feeding their pets the recalled products listed below and consult their veterinarian, especially if the pet is showing signs of illness,” the FDA said. “The pet owner should remove the food and make sure no other animals have access to the recalled product.” 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety advisory concerning pet food containing high levels of aflatoxin, which is toxic to pets. The ag...
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Albright’s Raw Dog Food recalls Chicken Recipe For Dogs

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Albright’s Raw Dog Food of Fort Wayne, Ind., is recalling 67 cases of Chicken Recipe for Dogs.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

One animal illness has been repor ted. No human illnesses have been reported to date.

The recalled product is labeled Albright’s Raw Dog Food Chicken Recipe for Dogs and is packaged in 2 lbs chubs/rolls. Each chub/roll is printed with “Lot number C000185, Best By 19 May 2021.”

It was sold frozen through retail stores, mail order and direct delivery in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (260) 422-9440 Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm (EST).

Albright’s Raw Dog Food of Fort Wayne, Ind., is recalling 67 cases of Chicken Recipe for Dogs. The product may be contaminated with Salmonella. One a...
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Sunshine Mills expands dog food recall

The products may have elevated levels of aflatoxin

Sunshine Mills is expanding its earlier recall of dog food products that were made with corn that may contain aflatoxin at levels exceeding FDA guidelines.

The expansion includes corn-based pet food products produced between April 3, 2020, and April 5, 2020. aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold by-product from the growth of Aspergillus flavus and can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

A listed of the affected products sold in retail stores throughout the U.S. may be found here.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should discontinue using them return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Sunshine Mills customer service at (800) 705-2111 from 7AM to 4PM (CT) Monday through Friday, or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com.

Sunshine Mills is expanding its earlier recall of dog food products that were made with corn that may contain aflatoxin at levels exceeding FDA guidelines....
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Real Pet Food recalls Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe dog food

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Real Pet Food Company is recalling Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe dog food.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recalled product, which comes in a 4-lb bag, with lot code V 07 Feb 2022, was sold in retail stores nationally.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product stop feeding the product to their dogs, dispose of the product immediately, wash their hands, and sanitize affected surfaces.

Consumers may contact the company at (800) 467-5494 between 8 am and 10 pm (EST) for a refund or for additional information.

Real Pet Food Company is recalling Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe dog food. The product may be contaminated with Salmonella. The re...
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Sunshine Mills recalls dog food

The products may contain elevated levels of aflatoxin

Sunshine Mills is recalling three dog food products that may contain elevated levels of aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold by-product from the growth of Aspergillus flavus and can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities.

Symptoms of illness include sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, or diarrhea.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

A list of the recalled products, sold in retail stores nationally, may be found here.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should discontinue using them and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Sunshine Mills customer service at (800) 705-2111 from 7AM to 4PM (CT) Monday through Friday, or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com.

Sunshine Mills is recalling three dog food products that may contain elevated levels of aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold by-product fr...
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Sunshine Mills recalls Nature’s Menu dog food

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Sunshine Mills is recalling Nature’s Menu Super Premium Dog Food with a Blend of Real Chicken & Quail.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

No illnesses, injuries or complaints have been reported to date.

The recalled product, which come in a 3-pound bag with UPC codes 7015514363 and 7015514365, were sold in retail stores nationally and have the following lot codes:

  • TE1 20/April /2020, TE1 21/April/2020, TE1 22/April/2020, TE2 20/April /2020, TE2 21/April/2020,
  • TE2 22/April/2020, TE3 20/April/2020, TE3 21/April/2020, TE3 22/April/2020.
  • The product comes in a 13.5-pound bag with the following lot codes:
  • TB1 20/April /2020, TB1 21/April/2020, TB1 22/April/2020, TB2 20/April /2020, TB2 21/April/2020,
  • TB2 22/April/2020, TB3 20/April/2020, TB3 21/April/2020, TB3 22/April/2020.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should discontinue use and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers may contact Sunshine Mills customer service at (800) 705-2111 from 7AM to 4PM (CT) Monday through Friday, or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com.

Sunshine Mills is recalling Nature’s Menu Super Premium Dog Food with a Blend of Real Chicken & Quail. The product may be contaminated with Salmonella. ...
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Smucker recalls canned cat food

The product may contain elevated levels of choline chloride

The J. M. Smucker Company is recalling one lot of Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food.

Health concerns likely associated with elevated levels of choline chloride have been raised.

The company has received reports of adverse reactions.

The following product, most commonly sold in pet specialty retailers and online throughout the U.S., and Canada, are being recalled:

Product NameRetail UPC CodeLot CodeBest If Used By Date
Natural Balance® Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food
5.5 oz can
2363353227921780308 04 2021

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should stop feeding it to their cats and dispose of it.

Consumers with questions or who want to report adverse reactions may contact the company at (888) 569-6828, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (ET), or by email at info@naturalbalanceinc.com.

The J. M. Smucker Company is recalling one lot of Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Paté Formula canned cat food. Health concerns likely ass...
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IcelandicPlus recalls whole Capelin Fish Pet Treats

The product exceeds FDA fish size restrictions

IcelandicPlus of Ft. Washington, Pa., is recalling its Capelin Pet Treats.

Some of the fish have exceeded the FDA compliance guideline for fish larger than five inches. The agency has determined that salt-cured, dried, or fermented un-eviscerated fish larger than five inches have been linked to outbreaks of botulism poisoning in humans.

There are no reports of illnesses of dogs, cats or people in connection with Capelin.

The recalled product is packaged in a 2.5 ounce tube or a 1.5 or 2.5 ounce bag marked “Icelandic+ Capelin WHOLE FISH, PURE FISH TREATS FOR DOGS,” or “PURE FISH TREATS FOR CATS,” UPC CODES, 8 5485400775 9; 8 5485400711 7; and 8 5485400757 5. (lot numbers 02/2020 to 02/2022), and sold to consumers nationwide through independent pet specialty stores.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should return it to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (857) 246-9559. Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm (EST).

IcelandicPlus of Ft. Washington, Pa., is recalling its Capelin Pet Treats. Some of the fish have exceeded the FDA compliance guideline for fish larger t...
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FDA cautions against buying Performance Dog Raw Pet Food

A sample of the pet food tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials are warning pet owners not to buy Performance Dog frozen raw pet food produced on or after July 22, 2019. 

The agency said it collected two samples of raw pet food manufactured by Bravo Packing -- Performance Dog, as well as a beef variety -- during a routine inspection of the company’s manufacturing plant.

“The sample of Performance Dog raw pet food lot 072219 tested positive for Salmonella and L. mono,” the FDA said in a statement. “The sample of the beef raw pet food tested positive for Salmonella, but the product had not yet been distributed.” 

Should be discarded

The FDA recommends throwing away any Performance Dog products purchased on or after the date specified. All 2-pound and 5-pound plastic pouches of Performance Dog frozen dog food are involved in the recall.

The agency added that it’s concerned that consumers may still have these products in their possession since they’re sold and stored frozen. 

Although no pet or human illnesses have been reported, health officials said the product “represents a serious threat to human and animal health.” Symptoms of the infection include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite.

“People with symptoms of Salmonella or L. mono infection should consult their health care providers,” the FDA said. “Consult a veterinarian if your pet has symptoms of Salmonella or L. mono infection.” 

This isn’t the first time Bravo Packing has been forced to issue a recall. In September 2018, another sample of the Carney’s Point, N.J-based company’s pet food also tested positive for contamination. 

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials are warning pet owners not to buy Performance Dog frozen raw pet food produced on or after July 22, 2019....
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TDBBS recalls pig ear pet treats

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

TDBBS is recalling two pig ear pet treat products that may be contaminated with Salmonella.

No illnesses have been reported.

The following products, sold through Amazon.com and shipped to customers between April 22, 2019, and August 13, 2019, are being recalled:  

TDBBS, LLC USA Thick Pig Ear 8 PackTDBBS, LLC USA Thick Pig Ear 20 Pack
UPC: X001768PNBUPC: X000RBC5VF
Best By Date: 4/22/2021 Lot Code: 1129T1Best By Date: 4/22/2021 Lot Code: 1129T1
Best By Date: 6/06/2021 Lot Code: 1549T1Best By Date: 5/13/2021 Lot Code: 1339T1
Best By Date: 8/05/2021 Lot Code: 2179T1

All UPCs, Best By Dates and Lot Codes are located on the package back.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should dispose of them.

Consumers with questions may contact customer service at (877) 483-5853, Monday through Friday 9 – 5pm or by email at customerservice@tdbbsllc.com.

TDBBS is recalling two pig ear pet treat products that may be contaminated with Salmonella.No illnesses have been reported.The following products,...
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Brutus & Barnaby recalls Pig Ears Natural Treats for Dogs

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Brutus & Barnaby of Clearwater, Fla., is recalling all size variations of Pig Ears for Dogs.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recalled product, which comes in 8 count, 12 count, 25 count and 100 count packages labeled “Pig Ears 100% Natural Treats for Dogs” containing the company's trademarked logo, was sold nationwide by Amazon.com, Chewy.com, Brutusandbarnaby.com and the brick and mortar Natures Food Patch in Clearwater, Fla.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should destroy it and contact the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (800) 489-0970 Monday – Friday, 9am – 5 PM (EST).

Brutus & Barnaby of Clearwater, Fla., is recalling all size variations of Pig Ears for Dogs.The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.The rec...
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Texas Tripe recalls raw pet food

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes

Texas Tripe is recalling 35 lots for each of 23 varieties of raw pet food.

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes.

The following products and lot numbers sold frozen in 20-pound and 40-pound cases containing multiple plastic pouches, are being recalled:

  1. Texas Tripe Ground Turkey Necks: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  2. Texas Trip Chicken Tripe Complete: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  3. Texas Tripe Ground Chicken w/Bone: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  4. Texas Tripe Shepherd's Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  5. Texas Tripe Chicken/Pork/Salmon with Egg: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  6. Texas Tripe Chicken Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  7. Texas Tripe Green Tripe: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  8. Texas Tripe Phat Katz: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  9. Texas Tripe Senior Pro: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  10. Texas Tripe All-Star Bully Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  11. Texas Tripe Beef Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  12. Texas Tripe Duck-Rabbit: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  13. Texas Tripe Goat Tripe Complete: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  14. Texas Tripe Boneless Chicken Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  15. Texas Tripe Turkey Pork Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  16. Texas Tripe Beef Tripe and Ground Rabbit: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  17. Texas Tripe Boneless Beef Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  18. Texas Tripe Coarse Ground Beef with Bone: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  19. Texas Tripe Wolf Run Plus: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  20. Texas Tripe Turkey Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  21. Texas Tripe Pork Blend: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  22. Texas Tripe Beginners Choice: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182
  23. Texas Tripe Wolf Run: 19148, 19149, 19150, 19151, 19152, 19153, 19154, 19155, 19156, 19157, 19158, 19159, 19160, 19161, 19162, 19163, 19164, 19165, 19166, 19167, 19168, 19169, 19170, 19171, 19172, 19173, 19174, 19175, 19176, 19177, 19178, 19179, 19180, 19181, 19182

The recalled products were sold directly to consumers in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should stop feeding it to their pets and discard it in a secure container where other animals, including wildlife, cannot access it.

Consumers with questions may call (903) 674-8042

Texas Tripe is recalling 35 lots for each of 23 varieties of raw pet food.The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogene...
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Dog Goods USA recalls Chef Toby Pig Ears Treats

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

Dog Goods USA is recalling Chef Toby Pig Ears Treats.

The Food and Drug Administration , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State partners are investigating a suspected link between pig ear pet treats and human cases of salmonellosis.

No illnesses have been linked to the products to date.

The lot codes of the non-irradiated bulk and packaged pig ears branded Chef Toby Pig Ears are:

  • 428590, 278989, 087148, 224208, 1168723, 428590, 222999, 074599, 1124053, 226884, 578867, 224897, 1234750, 444525, 1106709, 215812, 230273, 224970, 585246, 327901, 052248, 210393, 217664, 331199, 225399, 867680, 050273, 881224, 424223, 225979, 431724, 226340, 880207, 334498

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may call (786) 401 -6533 ex:8000 from 9am through 5pm (EST).

Dog Goods USA is recalling Chef Toby Pig Ears Treats.The Food and Drug Administration , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State partne...
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Lennox Intl recalls Natural Pig Ears

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Lennox Intl of Edison N.J., is recalling Natural Pig Ears that may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The firm says it is aware of two cases in which pig ears caused dog illnesses.

The recalled product comes in an 8 PK branded pouch under UPC 742174 995163, 742174994166 or packaged individually shrinked wrapped under UPC 0385384810, and 742174P35107. UPC codes are on the front label of the package.

It was shipped to distributors and/or retail stores nationwide from May 1 – July 3, 2019.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product and have proper receipt may return to the place of purchase.

Consumers may contact the company at (800) 5388980 Monday – Friday from 9AM – 5 PM or by email at usaoffice@lennoxpets.com for refund and additional information.

Lennox Intl of Edison N.J., is recalling Natural Pig Ears that may be contaminated with Salmonella.The firm says it is aware of two cases in which pig...
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Pet Supplies Plus recalls bulk pig ear treats

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

Pet Supplies Plus is recalling bulk pig ear treats following the announcement that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating contaminated pig ear treats connected to Salmonella.

While 45 individuals in 13 states have been diagnosed with Salmonella-related illness, none are confirmed to be a result of purchasing pig ears from Pet Supplies Plus.

The recalled products, which are stocked in open bins, were distributed to Pet Supplies Plus stores in Alabama, Arkansas, California. Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should discontinue using and discard them.

Consumers with questions may call (734) 793- 6564 Monday though Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (EST) excluding holidays.

Pet Supplies Plus is recalling bulk pig ear treats following the announcement that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Contr...
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Central Aquatics recalls Aqueon Betta Food

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Central Aquatics of Franklin, Wis., is recalling 96 cases of Aqueon Betta Food.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Fish with Salmonella infections are not well documented and fish carrying salmonella typically do not show any signs of disease.

No illnesses have been reported to-date.

The recalled product is sold only in a 0.95-oz plastic jar with the expiration dates of EX04JUN22 and EX05JUN22, item number 100106051, UPC Code 0 15905 06051 6, and manufacturing dates of 06/04/2019 and 06/05, 2019.

It was shipped to Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania via distribution centers.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product may return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Central Aquatics at (888) 255-4527.

Central Aquatics of Franklin, Wis., is recalling 96 cases of Aqueon Betta Food.The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.Fish with Salmonella...
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Nestle Purina PetCare recalls Muse wet cat food Natural Chicken Recipe in Gravy

The product may contain pieces of rubber

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is recalling a limited amount of Muse wet cat food Natural Chicken Recipe in Gravy.

The product may contain pieces of rubber that are translucent yellow with a blue backing, which may present a potential choking hazard.

The are no reports to date of injury or illness to cats fed this product.

The following item, sold nationwide at pet specialty and e-commerce retailers, is being recalled:

UPC CodesBest byProduction Code
(*First 8 characters equal to)
38100 17199 (single three-ounce can)APR202080941162

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should discard it.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (800) 982-3885, 24/7.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is recalling a limited amount of Muse wet cat food Natural Chicken Recipe in Gravy.The product may contain pieces of rubb...
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Birdseed Food recalls Craft Granola Goldenola: Turmeric & Ginger

The product contains cashews, an allergen not declared on the label

Birdseed Food Co., of Bend, Ore., is recalling Craft Granola Goldenola: Turmeric & Ginger.

The product contains cashews, an allergen not declared on the label.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recalled product was sold from October 3, 2018 – February 7, 2019, in California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York Oregon and Pennsylvania at retail stores (https://www.birdseedfoodco.com/pages/where-to-find) and online at https://www.birdseedfoodco.com/collections/all, https://getintothebubble.com/, and https://www.farmtopeople.com/.

It comes in 3-oz., and 11-oz., yellow bags with all expiration dates and includes up to 061419.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product and are allergic to cashews should not consume it.

Consumers desiring a product replacement or further information, may contact Ashley at (541) 788-6352.

Birdseed Food Co., of Bend, Ore., is recalling Craft Granola Goldenola: Turmeric & Ginger.The product contains cashews, an allergen not declared on the...
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Hill’s Pet Nutrition recalls canned dog food

The products may contain excessive levels of vitamin D

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is recalling canned dog food products that may have elevated levels of vitamin D.

Ingestion of elevated levels of vitamin D can lead to potential health issues with dogs exhibiting symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

In most cases, complete recovery is expected after discontinuation of feeding.

The following products, distributed through retail pet stores and veterinary clinics nationwide, are being recalled:

Product NameSKU NumberLot Code/Date Code
Hill's® Prescription Diet® c/d® Multicare Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 12.5oz3384102020T10
102020T25
Hill's® Prescription Diet® i/d® Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 12.5oz3389102020T04
102020T10
102020T19
102020T20
Hill's® Prescription Diet® i/d® Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 5.5oz3390102020T11
112020T23
122020T07
Hill's® Prescription Diet® z/d® Canine 5.5oz5403102020T17
112020T22
Hill's® Prescription Diet® g/d® Canine 13oz7006112020T19
112020T20
Hill's® Prescription Diet® i/d® Canine 13oz7008092020T30
102020T07
102020T11
112020T22
112020T23
Hill's® Prescription Diet® j/d® Canine 13oz7009112020T20
Hill's® Prescription Diet® k/d® Canine 13oz7010102020T10
102020T11
Hill's® Prescription Diet® w/d® Canine 13oz7017092020T30
102020T11
102020T12
Hill's® Prescription Diet® z/d® Canine 13oz7018102020T04
112020T22
Hill's® Prescription Diet® Metabolic + Mobility Canine Vegetable & Tuna Stew 12.5oz10086102020T05
102020T26
Hill's® Prescription Diet® w/d® Canine Vegetable & Chicken Stew 12.5oz10129102020T04
102020T21
Hill's® Prescription Diet® i/d® Low Fat Canine Rice, Vegetable & Chicken Stew 12.5oz10423102020T17
102020T19
112020T04
Hill's® Prescription Diet® Derm Defense® Canine Chicken & Vegetable Stew 12.5oz10509102020T05
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Small & Toy Breed Chicken & Barley Entrée Dog Food 5.8oz4969102020T18
Hill's® Science Diet® Puppy Chicken & Barley Entrée 13oz7036102020T12
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Chicken & Barley Entrée Dog Food 13oz7037102020T13
102020T14
112020T23
112020T24
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Turkey & Barley Dog Food 13oz7038102020T06
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Chicken & Beef Entrée Dog Food 13oz7040102020T13
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult Light with Liver Dog Food 13oz7048112020T19
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Chicken & Barley Entrée Dog Food 13oz7055092020T31
102020T13
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Beef & Barley Entrée Dog Food 13oz7056092020T31
112020T20
112020T24
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Turkey & Barley Entrée 13oz7057112020T19
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Healthy Cuisine Braised Beef, Carrots & Peas Stew dog food 12.5oz10452102020T14
102020T21
Hill's® Science Diet® Adult 7+ Youthful Vitality Chicken & Vegetable Stew dog food 12.5oz10763102020T04
102020T05
112020T11

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should discontinue feeding and dispose of them or return the unopened products to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Hill’s at (800) 445-5777 Monday-Friday from 9am – 5pm (CST), by email at contactus@hillspet.com or online at www.hillspet.com/productlist.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is recalling canned dog food products that may have elevated levels of vitamin D.Ingestion of elevated levels of vitamin D can lea...
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Abound Chicken and Brown Rice dog food recalled

The products may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D

King Soopers is recalling Abound Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe dog food produced by Sunshine Mills, Inc.

The products have the potential to contain an elevated level of Vitamin D, which may cause renal failure.

No reports of illness or injury have been reported to date.

The following products, sold in King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming, are being recalled:

ProductUPCBest by DatesSize

Abound Chicken and

Brown Rice Recipe Dog Food

11110-83556

11/1/18

11/16/18

4 LB

Abound Chicken and

Brown Rice Recipe Dog Food

11110-8357311/1/18

11/16/18
14 LB

Abound Chicken and

Brown Rice Recipe Dog Food

11110-8907611/1/18

11/16/18
24 LB

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should not allow their pet to consume them, and should return them to the store where purchased for a full refund or replacement.

Consumers with questions may contact Sunshine Mills. customer service at (800) 705-2111 from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. (CST) Monday through Friday, or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com.

King Soopers is recalling Abound Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe dog food produced by Sunshine Mills, Inc.The products have the potential to contain an ele...
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Columbia River recalls Cow Pie and Chicken & Vegetables fresh frozen meats for dogs and cats

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes

Columbia River Natural Pet Foods of Vancouver, Wash., is recalling 1,191 packages of Cow Pie and 82 packages of Chicken & Vegetables fresh frozen meats for dogs and cats.

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Cow Pie and Chicken & Vegetables are fresh frozen meat products intended to feed raw to dogs and cats. The Cow Pie product comes in frozen 2-lbs. purple and white plastic bags with the lot number found on an orange sticker. The Chicken & Vegetables product comes in frozen 2-lbs. turquoise and white plastic bags with Lot # 111518 found on an orange sticker.

Both products were distributed in Alaska, Oregon and Washington through retail stores and direct delivery.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should discontinue use of them and return them for a full refund or exchange by bringing the product in its original packaging to place of purchase.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (360) 834-6854 Monday – Friday from 8am-4pm (PST).

Columbia River Natural Pet Foods of Vancouver, Wash., is recalling 1,191 packages of Cow Pie and 82 packages of Chicken & Vegetables fresh frozen meats for...
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9Lives Protein Plus Wet, Canned Cat Food recalled

The product may contain low levels of Thiamine

The J.M. Smucker Company is recalling 9Lives Protein Plus wet, canned cat food.

The product may contain low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1).

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The following products, distributed to a variety of retailers nationwide, are being recalled:

Product NameUPC CodeProduct SizeBest if Used By Date
9Lives® Protein Plus® With Tuna & Chicken79100215494 pack of cans,
5.5 oz each
Mar. 27, 2020- Nov.14, 2020
9Lives® Protein Plus® With Tuna & Liver79100217484 pack of cans,
5.5 oz each
Apr. 17, 2020 - Sept.14, 2020

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should stop feeding them to their cats and dispose of them.

Consumers with questions or who would like to receive a refund or coupon for replacement product, should email the company by completing this form or calling (888) 569-6828, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM (ET).

The J.M. Smucker Company is recalling 9Lives Protein Plus wet, canned cat food.The product may contain low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1).No illne...
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ELM Pet Foods recalls dry dog food

The products may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D

ELM Pet Foods is recalling Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe dog food that may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D, which when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss.

The following items, with multiple UPC codes manufactured between February 25, 2018, and October 31, 2018, are being recalled:

  • 3lb ELM CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA RECIPE - UPC (0-70155-22507-8) TD2 26 FEB 2019; TE1 30 APR 2019; TD1 5 SEP 2019; TD2 5 SEP 2019
  • 28lb ELM CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA RECIPE - UPC (0-70155-22513-9) TB3 6 APR 2019; TA1 2 JULY 2019; TI1 2 JULY 2019
  • 40lb ELM K9 NATURALS CHICKEN RECIPE – UPC (0-70155-22522-9) TB3 14 Sep 2019; TA2 22 Sep 2019; TB2 11 Oct 2019

The recalled products were distributed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. NJ, DE, MD.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should stop feeding them, dispose of them or return them to the retailer for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact ELM Pet Foods at (800) 705-2111 8am-5pm (EST) Monday – Friday, or by email at customerservice@elmpetfoods.com.

ELM Pet Foods is recalling Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe dog food that may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D, which when consumed at very high levels,...
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ANF Pet recalls dry dog food

The product may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D

ANF is recalling select products of ANF Pet Lamb and Rice Dog Food.

The product may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D which, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling and weight loss.

The following products, sold in retail stores within Puerto Rico, are being recalled:

  • 3 Kg ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 9097231622 BB NOV 23 2019
  • 7.5 Kg ANF Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 9097203300 BB NOV 20 2019

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should stop feeding it and dispose of it or return it to the retailer for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact ANF customer service at (936) 560-5930 from 8AM – 5PM (CT) Monday through Friday, or by email at mwhite@anf.com.

ANF is recalling select products of ANF Pet Lamb and Rice Dog Food.The product may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D which, when consumed at very hi...
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Sunshine Mills recalls dry dog food

The products may have elevated levels of Vitamin D

Sunshine Mills is recalling Evolve Puppy, Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy and Triumph Chicken and Rice Dog Food.

The products may contain elevated levels of Vitamin D which, when consumed at very high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

The following products with a Best Buy Date Code of November 1, 2018, through November 8, 2019, on the back of each bag, are being recalled:

  • 14 LB Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-73657-00862-0
  • 28 LB Evolve Chicken & Rice Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-73657-00863-7
  • 40 LB Sportsman's Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-70155-10566-0
  • 40 LB Sportsman's Pride Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-70155-10564-0
  • 3.5 LB Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-73657-00873-6
  • 16 LB Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-73657-00874-3
  • 30 LB Triumph Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food Bag UPC 0-73657-00875-0

The recalled products were distributed in retail stores within the U.S., as well as some export distributors in Japan, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Israel, Canada and South Korea.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should dispose of them or return them to the retailer for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Sunshine Mills customer service at (800) 705-2111 from 7AM – 4PM (CT Monday through Friday, or by email at customer.service@sunshinemills.com.

Sunshine Mills is recalling Evolve Puppy, Sportsman’s Pride Large Breed Puppy and Triumph Chicken and Rice Dog Food.The products may contain elevated l...
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Natural Life Pet Products recall dry dog food

The product contains elevated levels of Vitamin D

Natural Life Pet Products is recalling Natural Life Chicken & Potato dry dog food.

The product contains elevated levels of Vitamin D.

The company has received complaints from three pet owners of vitamin D toxicity.

The following product, with a Best By Date code of December 4, 2019, through August 10, 2020, on the back or bottom of each bag, is being recalled:

  • 17.5 # Natural Life Chicken & Potato Dry Dog Food Bag UPC: 0-12344-08175-1

The recalled product was sold in retail stores in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and California.

What to do

Consumers should stop feeding the recalled product and dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Natural Life Pet Products at (888) 279-9420 from 8 AM to 5 PM (CST) Monday through Friday, or by email at consumerservices@nutrisca.com for more information.

Natural Life Pet Products is recalling Natural Life Chicken & Potato dry dog food.The product contains elevated levels of Vitamin D.The company has...
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Nutrisca recalls dry dog food

The products contain elevated levels of Vitamin D


Nutrisca of Saint Louis, Mo., is recalling one formula of Nutrisca dry dog food.

The products contain elevated levels of Vitamin D.

When consumed at very high levels, Vitamin D can lead to serious health issues in dogs including renal dysfunction.

The following products, with a Best By Date code of February 25, 2020, through September 13, 2020, on the back or bottom of the bag, are being recalled:

4 lbs Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog FoodBag UPC: 8-84244-12495-7
15 lbs Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog FoodBag UPC: 8-84244-12795-8
28 lbs Nutrisca® Chicken and Chickpea Dry Dog FoodBag UPC: 8-84244-12895-5

The recalled products were distributed to retail stores natiowide.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should stop feeding them and dispose of them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Nutrisca at (888) 279-9420 from 8 AM to 5 PM (CST) Monday through Friday, or by email at consumerservices@nutrisca.com for more information.

Natural Life Pet Products of Saint Louis, Mo., is recalling its Chicken & Potato dry dog food.The product contains elevated levels of Vitamin D.Whe...
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Bravo Packing recalls Performance Dog raw pet food

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Bravo Packing of Carneys Point, N.J., is recalling all Performance Dog products, a frozen raw pet food.

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

No human or animal illnesses have been reported to date.

The recalled products come frozen in 2-pound and 5-pound plastic sleeves with the manufacture date code 071418 printed on the boxes that contain the plastic sleeves, but not on the individual plastic sleeves.

Therefore, if the cardboard box has been discarded, there are no unique identification numbers on the individual sleeves that allow customers to determine that they possess the recalled products.

What to do

If customers purchased these product since July 14, 2018, and cannot determine whether it is affected by the recall, they should discard the product

Consumers with questions may contact Bravo Packing at (856) 299-1044 Monday – Friday from 6:00AM-2:00PM, and on Saturday from 4:00AM-9:00AM EST) or online at www.bravopacking.com.

Bravo Packing of Carneys Point, N.J., is recalling all Performance Dog products, a frozen raw pet food.The products may be contaminated with Salmonella...
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Radagast Pet Food expands cat food recall

The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

Radagast Pet Food of Portland, Ore., is expanding its earlier recall to include an additional quantity of Rad Cat Raw Diet across all varieties with Best By dates of 10/19/18 through 12/3/19.

The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

No pet or human illnesses caused by consumption of or exposure to the recalled products have been reported to date.

The following products, which were shipped to distributors in the U.S. and Canada between May 10, 2017, and August 9, 2018, are being recalled:

  • Rad Cat Raw Diet Grass-Fed Beef Recipe (1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
  • Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Chicken Recipe (1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
  • Rad Cat Raw Diet Pasture-Raised Lamb Recipe (1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
  • Rad Cat Raw Diet Natural Pork Recipe (1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
  • Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Turkey Recipe (1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)
  • Rad Cat Raw Diet Pasture-Raised Venison Recipe (1oz sample, 8oz, 16oz, 24oz)

The recall includes products starting with and including lot number 62763, through and including lot number 63101. The Lot Number and BB Date can be found on the bottom of each container.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should check the lot codes on their containers and return them to the specialty retailer where purchased for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Radagast Pet Food (877) 567-3001 Monday - Friday from 9:00am - 5:00pm (PT).

Radagast Pet Food of Portland, Ore., is expanding its earlier recall to include an additional quantity of Rad Cat Raw Diet across all varieties with Best B...
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G & C Raw recalls Pat's Cat Turkey, and Ground Lamb Pet Food

The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

G & C Raw of Versailles, Ohio, is recalling 30 1–lb. containers of Pat's Cat Turkey Cat Food and 40 2-lb. containers of Ground Lamb Dog Food.

The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Pat's Cat Turkey comes in 1-lb. clear plastic containers with the lot number WWPKTF051618. The Ground Lamb comes in a 2-lb. plastic container with the Lot number MFF022718. The Lot number codes are listed on the bottom right corner of the label.

The recalled products were distributed by G & C Raw through direct delivery in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should return them to G & C Raw, 225 N. West Street, Versailles, Ohio, for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at (937) 827 0010 or by email at gcrawdogfood@yahoo.com.

G & C Raw of Versailles, Ohio, is recalling 30 1–lb. containers of Pat's Cat Turkey Cat Food and 40 2-lb. containers of Ground Lamb Dog Food.The produc...
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Radagast Pet Food recalls Rad Cat Raw Diet cat food

The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes or Shiga Toxin

Radagast Pet Food of Portland, Ore., is recalling three lots of Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Chicken Recipe that maybe contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Also being recalled is one lot of Rad Cat Raw Diet Pasture-Raised Venison Recipe that may be contaminated with Shiga Toxin producing E. coli O121.

No pet or human illnesses have been reported.

The following three lots of Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Chicken Recipe, shipped to distributors nationwide in May and June 2018, are being recalled:

  • Lot Code 63057, Best By Date: 10/9/2019
  • Lot Code 63069, Best By Date: 10/23/2019*
  • Lot Code 63076, Best By Date: 10/31/2019*

(8-oz. UPC 8 51536 00103 6, 16-oz. UPC 8 51536 00104 3, 24-oz. UPC 8 51536 00105 0)

*These two lots were shipped to one distributor in Vancouver, BC, Canada in addition to U.S. distributors in May and June, 2018.

The following single lot of Rad Cat Raw Diet Pasture-Raised Venison Recipe, shipped to distributors nationwide only in May and June, is being recalled:

  • Lot Code 63063, Best By Date: 10/15/2019

(8-oz. UPC 8 51536 00121 0, 16-oz. UPC 8 51536 00122 7, 24-oz. UPC 8 51536 00123 4 and 1-oz. Samples)

What to do

Customers should check the lot codes printed on the bottom of the plastic containers and return any recalled products to the specialty retailer where purchased for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Radagast Pet Food at (503) 736-4649 Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm (PT) or online at www.RadFood.com.

Radagast Pet Food of Portland, Ore., is recalling three lots of Rad Cat Raw Diet Free-Range Chicken Recipe that maybe contaminated with Listeria monocytoge...
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Dave’s Pet Food recalls 95% Premium Beef Canned Dog Food

The product may contain elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone

Dave’s Pet Food of Agawam, Mass., is recalling a single lot of Dave’s Dog Food 95% premium beef cans that may contain elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone.

Dogs consuming high levels of beef thyroid hormone may exhibit symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, increased heart rate and restlessness.

The symptoms may stop when the consumption of these levels is discontinued.

The Food and Drug Administration analyzed the product after receiving a complaint that four dogs consuming it were found to have low Free T4 (fT4) and Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

The recalled product, sold in pet stores and ecommerce sites along the east coast of the U.S., involves a single batch (548 cases) of 13-oz., 95% premium beef dog food with a UPC # of 85038-11167 and a date code of 08/2020.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should stop feeding it to their dogs.

Consumers who have questions or would like a refund or coupon for replacement product, may call (888) 763-2738, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM (EST).

Dave’s Pet Food of Agawam, Mass., is recalling a single lot of Dave’s Dog Food 95% premium beef cans that may contain elevated levels of beef thyroid hormo...
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Merrick Pet Care recalls Good Buddy and Backcountry treats

The products may contain elevated levels of thyroid hormone

Merrick Pet Care of Amarillo, Texas, is recalling beef dog treats that may contain elevated levels of a naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone.

Dogs consuming high levels of beef thyroid hormone may exhibit increased thirst and urination, weight loss, increased heart rate and restlessness.

One consumer complained that dog’s health was temporarily affected while eating the recalled product, but improved after discontinuing consumption of the treat.

The following beef treat products, sold in the U.S. through pet specialty, grocery and online retailers, with limited distribution in Canada, are being recalled:

ItemUPCBest Before Date Range
Castor & Pollux Good Buddy Prime Patties Real Beef Recipe 4 oz.7808725108065/1/2017 - 9/1/2019
Castor & Pollux Good Buddy Sausage Cuts Real Beef Recipe 5 oz.7808725107455/1/2017 - 9/1/2019
Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Jerky 4.5 oz.0228087861605/1/2019 - 9/1/2019
Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Sausage Cuts 5 oz.0228087860475/1/2017 - 9/1/2019
Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Steak Patties 4 oz.0228087860785/1/2017 - 9/1/2019

The production codes are on the lower back of the treat bag.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products may contact the firm at 800-664-7387 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday, by email at customerservice@merrickpetcare.com, or online at www.merrickpetcare.com/customerrelations.

Merrick Pet Care of Amarillo, Texas, is recalling beef dog treats that may contain elevated levels of a naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone.Dogs c...
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EuroCan Manufacturing recalls pig ears pet products

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

EuroCan Manufacturing is recalling individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags of Barnsdale Farms, HoundsTooth and Mac's Choice Pig Ears pet products.

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

No illnesses of any kind have been reported to date.

The pig ears, lot number 84, were distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled products should return them to the place of purchase for a refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (ET) at (888) 290-7606.

EuroCan Manufacturing is recalling individually shrink-wrapped, 6-pack, 12-pack and 25-pack bags of Barnsdale Farms, HoundsTooth and Mac's Choice Pig Ears...
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Wellpet recalls one canned topper product for dogs

The product may contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone

WellPet is recalling a limited amount of one canned topper product for dogs.

The product may contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.

The company has received no reports of any health problems to date.

The the following product, a mixer or topper is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only, is being recalled:

  • Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs – 13.2 oz, Best-By Dates of 02 FEB 19, 29 AUG 19 and 30 AUG 19, located on the bottom of the can.

The recalled product was distributed at pet specialty retailers throughout North America and online.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product may contact the company at 1-877-227-9587 or by email at wecare@wellpet.com. 

WellPet is recalling a limited amount of one canned topper product for dogs.The product may contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid...
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Blue Buffalo recalls dog food product

The product may contain elevated levels of naturally- occurring beef thyroid hormones

Blue Buffalo Company is recalling one production lot of BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs.

The product may contain elevated levels of naturally- occurring beef thyroid hormones. Dogs ingesting high levels of beef thyroid hormones may exhibit symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, increased heart rate and restlessness.

These symptoms may resolve when the use of the impacted food is discontinued. However, with prolonged consumption these symptoms may increase in severity and may include vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid or difficulty breathing.

There have been no reports of illness.

The following item is being recalled:

Product NameUPC CodeBest Buy Date

BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain 
Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet 
Food for Adult Dogs 12.5 oz can

840243101153

June 7, 2019

The recalled product was distributed nationally through pet specialty and on-line retailers.

What to do

Customers who purchased the recalled product should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Blue Buffalo at 866-201-9072 from 8 AM – 5 PM(ET) Monday through Friday, or by email at CustomerCare@bluebuffalo.com for more information.

Blue Buffalo Company is recalling one production lot of BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs.The product may c...
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Against the Grain Pet Food recalls products over pentobarbital concerns

The barbiturate can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or even induce a coma

Against the Grain Pet Food is initiating a recall for one lot of its "Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs" dog food. Company officials say that the product may be contaminated with pentobarbital.

Pentobarbital is a barbiturate that can cause several side effects for dogs who consume it, including drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea nystagmus (wherein the eyes move back and forth in a jerky manner), inability to stand, and coma. 

The product was manufactured and distributed in 2015 and has an expiration date of December, 2019. The lot number on affected products is 2415E01ATB12 and the second half of the universal product code (UPC) is 80001. These figures can be found on the back of the product label. 

What to do

There have been no complaints reported to Against the Grain about the product at this time. However, consumers in possession of recalled cans are urged not to feed it to the food to pets. 

The company recommends returning the product to the place of purchase. Consumers who do so will receive a full case of Against the Grain food for any inconvenience.

For more information, consumers can contact the company at 1-800-288-6796, Monday through Friday, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. CST.

Against the Grain Pet Food is initiating a recall for one lot of its "Against the Grain Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner for Dogs" dog food. Company officials...
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Northwest Farm Food Cooperative recalls frozen raw cat food

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Northwest Farm Food Cooperative of Burlington, Wash., is recalling frozen raw cat food.

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

No pet or consumer illnesses from this product have been reported to date.

The recalled product was sold from the company's facility in Burlington, Wash., in 50-lb. blocks and cases of six 10-lb. chubs packaged in a white plastic bag labeled “Cat Food.” They have the production code Jul12015B, which can be found on the outside of the case (box), and no UPC code.

Customers who purchased the recalled product should stop using it and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund, or dispose of it immediately.

Consumers with questions may call (360) 757-4225 Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (PST).

Northwest Farm Food Cooperative of Burlington, Wash., is recalling frozen raw cat food. The product may be contaminated with Salmonella. No pet or consum...
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Pet International Inc. Recalls Buster's 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat

Possible Salmonella health risk

Pet International of Miami, Florida is recalling 1500 units of 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals (i.e. dogs) eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

The 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat was distributed to retail stores in the following Cities: Conifer, and Lakewood in Colorado.

If you have this product, use gloves and put it in a double bag and throw it away as soon as possible. Do not touch the product in any way, and if you do, it’s recommended you must wash your hands immediately with an antibacterial soap.

The potentially affected product will pertain to a particular lot number, and are specific to a particular size of the pouch it’s sold in. Anyone having these products should verify the following:

Brand: Buster’s Natural Pet Supply,
Lot Code: 8501450,
Size: 6” Beef Trachea/ 12 Pack Plastic Pouch,
UPC Code: 8501450

No illnesses have been reported to date. We are still warning consumers that if any of the above information is on the package you have, do not feed it to any animals at all. It may be hazardous and should be disposed of immediately.

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and analyzed by FDA, obtained from Buster’s Natural Pet Supply in Conifer, CO. and found to be positive for Salmonella. The product sampled had a Buster’s Label on it, but was manufactured by Pet International. Buster’s Natural Pet Supply recalled the entire product from the two stores that the distributor sells it. The Pet International Inc. continues their investigation as to what caused the problem.

Consumers with any questions about the recall product may contact the company at by phone at (305) 591-3338 Monday through Friday 9:00am too 5:00pm EST or via e-mail at sergioh@petint.com.

Pet International of Miami, Florida is recalling 1500 units of 6” Beef Trachea Pet Treat because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella....
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Petco removes dog and cat treats from China -- first major chain to do so

The treats are suspected of being linked to pet illnesses and deaths

Petco, responding to a rash of unexplained illnesses in dogs and cats, says it has removed all China-made dog and cat treats from shelves at more than 1,300 retail stores nationwide, including Unleashed by Petco stores and online at Petco.com.

Walmart quietly pulled China-made treats from its shelves in 2007 following the well-publicized death of a two-year-old Chihuahua who died suddenly after eating Bestro chicken jerky strips. Walmart did not publicly comment on the action and did not commit to keeping Chinese treats off its shelves in the future.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been collecting and studying case reports of pet illnesses for years has still not pinned down the exact cause of the problems, although the agency said in May 2014 that it had confirmed the presence of a prohibited antiviral drug in treats containing chicken from China.

In its latest report, the FDA said it has combed through more than 4,800 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of them imported from China.

The reports include more than 1,000 canine deaths and involve a total of more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and three people. Some consumers reported illness in more than one pet.

While there's no guarantee that pet treats made in the U.S. or other non-Chinese venues are safe, many pet owners have vowed to stop buying treats from China.

“As a trusted partner for pet parents, we believe this is the right thing to do, and we’re proud to take this step in the best interest of pets,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “What we feed our pets matters, and this milestone supports the company’s steadfast commitment to putting our customers, partners, animals and the communities we serve first.”

The safety and health benefits of food and treats continue to be top concerns for pet owners, according to a recent survey.

The survey by Packaged Facts found that 55% of dog owners and 48% of cat owners agree that fear of pet food contamination and product safety is a key consideration for the pet foods they buy. The survey also found that 61% of dog owners and 50% of cat owners seek out food made in the U.S.

Petco, responding to a rash of unexplained illnesses in dogs and cats, says it has removed all China-made dog and cat treats from shelves at more than 1,30...
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Natura Pet recalls dry cat and ferret food

The products contain insufficient levels of vitamins and excess minerals

Natura Pet Products is recalling certain lots of dry cat and dry ferret food produced in its Fremont, Nebraska facility.

Due to a formulation error, the products contain insufficient levels of vitamins and excess minerals.

There have been no reports of animal health concerns to date,

The affected product and lot codes are:

PRODUCTSIZEUPCEXP DATELOT CODE
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food15.4 LB5148 54140002/19/20164300A700D2
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food2.2 LB5148 54140202/20/20164301A700A4
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food2.2 LB5148 54140202/20/20164301A700B4
EVO® Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food2.2 LB5148 54140202/20/20164301A700C4
EVO® Grain Free Ferret Food6.6 LB5148 54210102/19/20164300A700D3

The recalled products were were distributed through independent retailers in California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Canada, as well as online. No other Natura products are affected.

Consumers who purchased the product should discontinue feeding the product immediately and discard as normal household waste.

Consumers may contact Natura consumer relations at 1-855-206-8297, Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM EST.

Natura Pet Products is recalling certain lots of dry cat and dry ferret food produced in its Fremont, Nebraska facility. Due to a formulation error, the ...
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PEDIGREE expands recall of Adult Complete Nutrition dog food

The product may contain a foreign material

Mars Petcare is expanding its previous recallof PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products.

The product may contain a foreign material.

The initial recall, which affected 22 bags shipped to Dollar General in four states, has been expanded to include 55-pound bags of the product sold in Sam's Club in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Some of the affected production lot was originally said to be held in inventory but was instead released to consumers.

The company says it has received no reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product.

The lot codes indicated below should not be sold or consumed:

  • 55-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Sam's Club will have the lot code 432E1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/7/15. See below for a list of Sam's Club stores.
  • 15-pound bags of PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Dollar General stores will have the lot code 432C1KKM03 printed on the back of the bag near the UPC and a Best Before date of 8/5/15. See below for a list of Dollar General stores.
UPCDESCRIPTION
23100 10944PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 15 pound bags
23100 10731PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 55 pound bags

Affected 15-pound bags were sold between August 18 and August 30 at Dollar General stores in:

Arkansas

  • Perryville
  • Cabot

Louisiana

  • Baton Rouge
  • Calhoun
  • Hineston
  • Jonesville
  • Pineville
  • Slaughter

Mississippi

  • Magnolia
  • Vicksburg

Tennessee

  • Memphis

Sam's Club Affected 55-pound bags were sold between August 14 and August 30 at Sam's Club in:

Michigan

  • Comstock Park
  • Muskegon
  • Jackson
  • Roseville
  • Saginaw
  • Saginaw
  • Kokomo

Ohio

  • Dayton
  • Holland
  • Lima
Mars Petcare is expanding its previous recall of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products. The product may contain a foreign material. The...
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PEDIGREE Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dog food recalled

The product may contain a foreign material

Mars Petcare is recalling 22 bags of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products.

The product may contain a foreign material.

The company has not received any reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product.

The recalled bags, which were sold between August 18 and August 25 in 12 Dollar General stores in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, may contain small metal fragments, which could have entered the packages during the production process.

Consumers who have purchased affected product to discard the food or return it to the retailer for a full refund or exchange. We have not received any reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product. The lot codes indicated below should not be consumed.

Only 15-pound bags of the product with the production code shown below are included in this recall. Each product will have a lot code printed on the back of the bag near the UPC code that reads 432C1KKM03 and a Best Before date of 8/5/15.

UPCDESCRIPTION
23100 10944PEDIGREE® Brand Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food in 15 pound bags

The recalled product would have been sold in Dollar General Stores in these cities:

  • Arkansas:
    • Perryville
    • Cabot
  • Louisiana
    • Baton Rouge
    • Calhoun
    • Hineston
    • Jonesville
    • Pineville
    • Slaughter
  • Mississippi
    • Magnolia
    • Vicksburg
  • Tennessee
    • Memphis

 Pet owners who have questions about the recall may call 1-800-305-5206.

Mars Petcare is recalling 22 bags of PEDIGREE Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products. The product may contain a foreign material. The company h...
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Hearing scheduled on tainted pet treats from China

Ohio's Sen. Sherrod Brown has worked to remove tainted jerky treats from retailers' shelves

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently estimated that more than 1,000 dogs have died in circumstances that involved pet treats from China. But the agency said it still hadn't pinned down the exact cause of the deaths and illnesses.

That may well be but pet owners and their advocates have been demanding action, and tomorrow (Tuesday), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) will chair a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) to examine the safety of its meat processing.

The hearing, entitled “Pet Treats and Processed Chicken from China: Concerns for American Consumers and Pets,” will ask if China’s food safety regulation is effective. Brown has repeatedly urged the FDA to take quick action to protect consumers and pet owners following an increase in tainted pet treats from China connected to animal deaths and illnesses.

Recently, major pet stores have announced that they would stop selling dog and cat treats made in China following the animal deaths linked to Chinese food products. Food safety advocates have expressed alarm at new rules that could allow chickens raised in the United States to be shipped to China for processing before being returned to and sold in the U.S. 

Researchers are also exploring the connection between the domestic outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in China.

These developments highlight concerns over the effectiveness of China’s food safety regulation, the effectiveness of U.S. government regulation of imported foods from China, and the overall safety of such foods, according to a Brown staffer.

There's also the question of whether current labels are adequate in helping American consumers tell when food products contains ingredients from China.

The CECC is a bipartisan commission made up of Senators, House Members, and senior Administration officials. The Commission was created by Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China.

Following the deaths of 1,000 dogs linked to tainted pet treats from China, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will chair a hearing of the Congressional-Execut...
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Jerky treats implicated in 1,000 dog deaths, FDA reports

But the agency says it still hasn't been able to find a specific cause

For years, angry pet owners have accused jerky treats for causing their dogs' and cats' illness and deaths. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been collecting and studying case reports but says it still hasn't pinned down the exact cause of the problems, although it has confirmed the presence of a prohibited antiviral drug in treats containing chicken from China.

In its latest report, the FDA said it has combed through more than 4,800 complaints of illness in pets that ate chicken, duck, or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of them imported from China.

The reports include more than 1,000 canine deaths and involve a total of more than 5,600 dogs, 24 cats and three people. Some consumers reported illness in more than one pet.

The symptoms reported will sound familiar to anyone who's kept up with the problem: approximately 60 percent of the cases report gastrointestinal/liver disease, 30 percent kidney or urinary disease, with the remaining 10 percent of complaints including various other signs such as neurologic, dermatologic, and immunologic symptoms.

About 15 percent of the kidney or urinary cases also tested positive for Fanconi syndrome, a rare kidney disease that has been associated with this investigation.

Veterinarian reports

Besides reports from consumers, the FDA said it has received "many well-documented case reports" from veterinarians, the result of an October 2013 "Dear Veterinarian" letter the agency sent to vets nationwide.

Following up on the vets' reports, the FDA conducted 26 examinations of dead dogs. It found that half of them had causes of death that appeared to be related to consumption of jerky treats.

While the other 13 did not appear to be directly related, the FDA said "an association with consumption of jerky pet treats could not be ruled out."

Help from CDC

The FDA has also asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for help. Although it normally deals only with human illness, the CDC is assisting with a study of cases involving sick dogs compared with a control group of healthy dogs.

The goal is to compared the foods eaten by the sick dogs compared with that eaten by the healthy dogs and to determined whether sick dogs ate more jerky and other pet treats than healthy dogs.

The study is still underway. Results will be released when it's finished.

Drug testing

Adapting a testing methodology used by New York, the FDA said it has found low levels of the drug amantadine in some jerky samples containing chicken. Amantadine is an antiviral that is approved for use in humans but is prohibited in chickens.

The FDA said it "does not believe that amantadine contributed to the illnesses because the known side effects or adverse events associated with amantadine do not seem to correlate with the symptoms seen in the jerky pet treat-related cases."

But the agency said there should be no amantadine in jerky treats and said Chinese officials have "assured us that they will perform additional screening and will follow up with jerky pet treat manufacturers."

What to do

What's a pet owner to do? The most obvious is to avoid feeding jerky treats to pets. The FDA notes in its reports that jerky treats are not required for a balanced diet.

Animal lovers who want to give their pets an occasional treat or need to use treats for training purposes should talk to their veterinarians about which treats are best for their dog. As in humans, too many treats can lead to obesity and can crowd out healthier foods.

FDA is still collecting information. If your pet has become ill after eating jerky treats, you are encouraged to report it to FDA.

"While FDA does not necessarily respond to every individual complaint submitted, each report is valuable and becomes part of the body of knowledge that helps to inform our investigation," the agency said.

For years, angry pet owners have accused jerky treats for causing their dogs' and cats' illness and deaths. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has...
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Bravo recalls dog and cat foods

The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

Bravo is recalling select lots and product(s) of Bravo Pet Food.

The products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The company has received a limited number of reports of dogs experiencing nausea and diarrhea that may be associated with these specific products.

There have been no reports of human illness as a result of these products.

The recalled product was distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (best used by date) printed on the side of the plastic tube or on a label on the box.

The recalled products are as follows:

1) These products are being recalled because they may have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes:

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand)
All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes
Product Numbers: 52-102, 52-105, 52-110 
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand)
All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes 
Product Numbers: 52-102, 52-105, 52-110 
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

2) These products are being recalled out of an abundance of caution because while they did not test positive for pathogens, they were manufactured in the same manufacturing facility or on the same day as products that did test positive:

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand)
All 2lb., 5lb., and 10lb. tubes 
Product Numbers: 42-102, 42-105, 42-110
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BASIC FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand)
2lb. tubes 
Product Number: 42-202 
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! BEEF & BEEF HEART FOR DOGS AND CATS (Made in New Zealand)
5lb. tubes 
Product Number: 53-130
Best Used By Date: 10/10/15 or earlier

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! 100% PURE & NATURAL PREMIUM GRASS-FED BUFFALO FOR DOGS AND CATS (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT)
NET WT 2LBS (32 OZ) .91KG (Tubes)
Product Number: 72-222 
Best Used By Date: 1/7/16

PRODUCT: BRAVO! TURKEY BALANCE FORMULA (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT)
NET WT 2 LBS (32 OZ) .09KG, Chub (tube)
Product Number: 31-402 
Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

NET WT 5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube) 
Product Number: 31-405
Best Used By Dates: 1/7/16 and 2/11/16

PRODUCT: RAW FOOD DIET BRAVO! LAMB BLEND FOR DOGS AND CATS (Manufactured by: Bravo! Manchester, CT)
5 LBS (80 OZ) 2.3KG, Chub (tube)
Product Number: 42-105
Best Used By Date: 2/11/16

Pet owners who have the affected product should dispose of this product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle). They can return to the store where purchased and submit the Product Recall Claim Form available on the Bravo website www.bravopetfoods.com for a full refund or store credit.

Consumers may contact Bravo toll free at (866) 922-9222.

Bravo is recalling select lots and product(s) of Bravo Pet Food. The products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The comp...
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Purina recalls poultry feeds

The products may have lower-than-expected vitamin and trace mineral levels

The Purina Animal Nutrition feed plant in Portland, Ore., is recalling certain poultry feeds due to the potential for lower-than-expected vitamin and trace mineral levels.

Inadequate vitamin and trace mineral levels can result in health problems, including mortality, in poultry.

No customer complaints have been received to date.

The products were distributed to retailers in Oregon and Washington.

The products and lot numbers involved in the recall are:

Formula No.Item Mo.UPC CodeProduct NameLot No.
54190001381804273029559PURINA GAME BIRD STARTENA CRUMBLE 50 LB4APR08RIV3
4APR09RIV2
510M0010736749394513269DEL’S POULTRY LAYER PELLET 50 LB4APR09RIV3
510T0010737749394513276DEL’S LAYER CRUMBLE 50 LB4APR08RIV1
60220015219883576010792HOME GROWN LAYER 16% CRUMBLE 50 LB4APR08RIV3
61R30052070804273038728PURINA LAYENA SUNFRESH RECIPE PELLET 40 LB4APR08RIV2
61X30057261804273029542PURINA START & GROW SUNFRESH CRUMBLES 25 LB4APR09RIV2
61V30057262804273029559PURINA START & GROW SUNFRESH MP 0.0125% MEDICATED 50 LB4APR07RIV3
4APR10RIV1
61Y30057265804273029573PURINA START & GROW SUNFRESH MP 0.0125% MEDICATED CRUMBLES 25 LB4APR08RIV2
61Z30057277804273029634PURINA LAYENA SUNFRESH RECIPE PELLET 25 LB4APR10RIV1
L55M5052155883576003237ALBERS BROILER STARTER/FINISHER CRUMBLES 50 LB4APR09RIV1
L55N5052156883576003251ALBERS CHICK STARTER/GROWER 18% AMP MEDICATED CRUMBLES 50 LB4APR09RIV2

The recalled products were packaged in typical brand-specific feed bags. Lot numbers are printed on the sewing strip of each bag. Lot numbers are interpreted as follows:

  • Example 4APR09RIV1: 4=Year / APR=Month / 09=Day of Month / RIV=Plant Code / 1=Shift code.

The problem was discovered during the investigation of an ingredient inventory discrepancy.

Retailers have been contacted and instructed to immediately withdraw from sale the recalled product and notify customers who purchased the product. Customers should discontinue feeding the product immediately. Customers who purchased this product should return remaining bags to their retailer.

Consumers may contact Purina customer service at 1-800-245-5333, Monday through Friday 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM PDT.  

The Purina Animal Nutrition feed plant in Portland, Ore., is recalling certain poultry feeds due to the potential for lower-than-expected vitamin and trace...
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Abady brand cat food recalled

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

The Robert Abady Dog Food Co., of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is recalling its 2-lb, 5-lb and 15-lb boxes of "Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats.”

The product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The recalled product, distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders, comes in a 2-lb, 5-lb and 15-lb, corrugated boxes with plastic liners marked with lot # 14029/21 stamped on the right side top of the box.

Production has been suspended wpending an investigation into the source of the problem.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled product should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-845-473-1900, Monday – Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm, ET.

The Robert Abady Dog Food Co., of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is recalling its 2-lb, 5-lb and 15-lb boxes of "Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula fo...
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New York breaks up puppy-flipping ring

Fast-buck artists bought puppies online, then posed as breeders and resold them

We've all heard of investors who "flip" houses. But puppies? Yes, it's true: New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has tightened the leash on two individuals who bought puppies online, treated them shabbily, then posed as breeders and resold them online.

In one case, the Attorney General’s office reached an agreement with an individual in the Syracuse area who bought puppies on Craigslist, kept them in poor conditions without access to a veterinarian, and resold them illegally.

In another, the office obtained a court order against an individual in Buffalo who posed as a puppy breeder, when in fact the puppies she sold were purchased online, malnourished, and sold to consumers who reported fleas, filth, and near-death health conditions among the pets.

Both pet flippers have been permanently barred from selling animals or becoming licensed pet dealers.  

“Today’s developments are a win-win. By shutting down operations where animals are being illegally sold, we can help ensure that consumers are purchasing healthy pets, while protecting the animals themselves from those who break the law to turn a profit,” said Schneiderman. “In holding these individuals accountable, we are sending the message that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Flipping free dogs

Those who flip dogs not only purchase the dogs, but also flip dogs they have received at no cost. Obtaining a dog at little or no cost and then spending a minimal amount (if anything) on the dog’s care quickly maximizes the return. Current pet owners should be aware of this when considering giving up their pet, and should always go through an authorized facility, such as a local SPCA or shelter. 

Puppy flipper Stephanie Arcara bought puppies advertised on Craigslist and then sold them to unsuspecting customers in the Buffalo area. Arcara, who was not a licensed pet dealer, kept the puppies in her home, where they were poorly cared for.  According to one consumer, the puppy she purchased from Arcara was covered in feces and urine, had patches of hair missing on its body and was very thin. Another reported that a puppy he purchased from Arcara was dehydrated and suffered from constant seizures, while others reported that puppies sold by Arcara had worms, fleas and bladder infections. One puppy even died shortly after Arcara sold it.

Arcara illegally sold dozens of puppies to unsuspecting consumers, usually by advertising on Craigslist. She misrepresented herself to consumers as a breeder of the puppies when, in fact, she had purchased them on Craigslist. Arcara also misrepresented the breed of the puppies she sold, sometimes claiming they were purebreds when they were not, and told consumers that the puppies had been dewormed and were current on their shots, which was also not the case. 

Carissa Seaman, of Cleveland, NY, bought animals, or obtained them for free, from Craigslist and the trading post of a local radio station. She would then re-sell the dogs to other consumers for more money than she paid for them – flipping the dogs and pocketing the difference. In just one year, Seaman sold over two dozen dogs.

Seaman, who is not a licensed pet dealer, kept the dogs in her home, but cared for them poorly. None of the dogs sold by Seaman received veterinarian care.  In July of 2013, she offered to sell a five week old St. Bernard puppy that had fleas and flea feces on its skin to two undercover AG investigators. Another seven month old fawn pug for sale had two patches of fur missing from his back revealing raw and irritated skin.  

We've all heard of investors who "flip" houses. But puppies? Yes, it's true: New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has tightened the lease on...
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Why a pet might not make a good Christmas present

"How much is that doggie in the window?" is not the question you should be asking

The puppy under the tree with a huge bow around its neck makes for a great Christmas card but it might not be such a good idea in reality. Taking on a pet requires some careful thought that should be removed from the emotion of the holiday season, experts caution.

Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, writing in her Healthy Pets blog, say she isn't a big fan of giving pets as holiday gifts. 

“Gifting a family member or friend with a 10- to 20-year commitment to a live animal is not something one should do on impulse,” she writes.

People often don't think about the future – at least not the extended future -- when they think about bringing home a pet. The idea that the animal will be with them for years doesn't sink in until later. Before making such a long term decision, there are a number of questions that should be posed and answered honestly.

Questions to ask

For example, how much time each day can you and other family members commit to your pet? There are work and school schedules to consider and the needs of some animals are greater than others. With ample food, water and a clean litter box, a cat can be quite self-sufficient for occasional lengthy periods of time. A dog, on the other hand, is going to need regular outdoor time.

Some dogs are going to need more attention than others, so you have to know something about the breed you are taking on as a companion. Large energetic breeds are going to need at least a couple of walks each day.

Even if you feel you can't make that kind of commitment, remember that small dogs and cats are still going to require plenty of attention.

Like a baby without a diaper

Then there is the age consideration. Puppies are cute but are similar to bringing home a baby, but a baby that runs through the house without a diaper, chewing on everything. Puppies have to be house-broken but in the best of circumstances, accidents are going to happen in the process.

Families often consider their finances before deciding when to have children and doing the same for pets may be viewed as advisable, because having a dog or cat brings with it financial responsibilities.

In addition to upfront costs like adoption fees, there are other factors that raise the cost of a pet. Large dogs consume large quantities of food. Some breeds will need professional grooming services more often. And for particularly spirited puppies and kittens, obedience training might be needed.

Add up the costs

Before bringing home a pet, be sure to look into all the costs associated with that pet, including costs that could come later in the animals life.

If the pet is for a child, how do you know the child is really that interested? Is the child old enough and willing to take on responsibility? If not, an adult in the household will need to step in and do it.

Giving a pet to an adult friend as a gift is even dicier. You may know your own children and are there to provide back up. Not so with the case of a friend living in another household. And while you may think you know your friend very well, the choice of a pet is a very personal decision, best left to the individual themselves.

If you have children who want a dog, cat or other pet for Christmas, a better gift might be a collar, leash, scratching post or other pet paraphernalia, in anticipation of selecting a pet after the holidays. And when selecting a pet, it goes without saying that choosing an animal from a shelter makes the gift much more special, both for the recipient and the animal who gets a new home.

The puppy under the tree with a huge bow around its neck makes for a great Christmas card but it might not be such a good idea in reality. Taking on a pet ...
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Bailey’s Choice expands recall of dog treats in Georgia

The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

An earlier recall of Bailey’s Choice dog treats is being expanded to include the following products:

  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 2 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 3 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Breast Treat, lot # “Jun 4 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 15 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jul 8 2013”
  • 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jul 11 2013”
  • 100% Teriyaki Chicken Treats, lot # 132881

The products, which were sold in Georgia, may be contaminated with Salmonella. To date, no illnesses have been reported.

The earlier recall was for packages of chicken treats in various sizes marked with lot number #132881 and expiration date Feb. 2014, along with five-ounce bags of chicken jerky with a lot number of “Jun 5 2013.”

Consumers should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions should contact Bailey’s Choice at 770-881-0526 or thomdo4570@gmail.com.

An earlier recall of Bailey’s Choice dog treats is being expanded to include the following products: 100% Chicken Treat, lot # “Jun 2 2013” 100% Chicken ...
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New FDA guidelines for animal feed

Surprisingly, these basic guidelines aren't already the law

The Food and Drug Administration, as part of its Food Safety and Modernization Act, has proposed new safety guidelines for animal food. But for the average consumer, the most surprising thing about this announcement might be the fact that the proposed new guidelines aren’t already the law.

The FDA itself concedes that it is only now "proposing preventive measures to protect all animal foods from disease-causing bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants."

The propsed new rules affect both pet food and the feed that is given to livestock. 

“Unlike safeguards already in place to protect human foods, there are currently no regulations governing the safe production of most animal foods. There is no type of hazard analysis. This rule would change all that,” says Daniel McChesney, Ph.D., director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

McChesney notes that human and animal health are intertwined. People can get sick when pet food is contaminated by disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella. When such food is handled by pet owners and placed on kitchen surfaces, the bacteria can spread to foods consumed by their family.

And if an animal has eaten feed contaminated with a chemical like dioxin and then enters the food supply, consumers could likewise absorb the chemical, putting their health at risk.

By helping to prevent the contamination of animal foods, the proposed rule protects pets and people alike, he says.

Jerky treats

Earlier this week, we reported that the FDA is asking for pet owners to help them figure out exactly why, since 2007, hundreds of American dogs and cats have died after eating presumably tainted beef jerky treats. Only last month could we report that the FDA would require pet food labels to list any artificial colorings included among its ingredients.

In one of the most infamous examples of pet food contamination, dogs and cats across the country were sickened and killed in 2007 when melamine, a chemical used to make plastic, was added to pet food ingredients imported from China. 

The requirements proposed in both the animal and import rules are designed to help prevent that from happening again, McChesney says.

Humane Society approves

The Humane Society of the United States is applauding the FDA's action, noting the thousands of pets sickened by jerky treats and contaminated dog food in recent years.

“As the recent shock over the deaths of hundreds of pets who consumed imported jerky treats illustrates, there is an urgent need for stronger regulations protecting the safety of our pet food and treat supply," CEO Wayne Pacelle said. "Pets reside in 68 percent of U.S. households and are cherished members of our families who deserve high-quality, safe, nutritious food and treats.

"We urge the FDA to continue investigating the cause of the pet food deaths, and encourage pet owners who suspect their pets may have consumed contaminated products to report their case to the FDA’s consumer reporting system,” Pacelle said.

Even if you’ve never owned an animal in your life the regulations are still likely to affect you because, as McChesney told NBC, “We have been pushing feed safety for a number of years. It’s not, ‘Oh, we’re just making food for animals.’ They’re the first part of the food chain. We're a part of the overall food industry.”

The proposed new rules will be open for public comment for 120 days. If put into law, they would apply to all domestic and imported animal feed, as well as the raw ingredients used to make it.

The Food and Drug Administration, as part of its Food Safety and Modernization Act, has proposed new safety guidelines for animal food. But for the average...
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FDA can't track down source of pet poisonings, asks for public's help

The agency wants to hear from consumers whose pets became ill

Everyone has a pet theory or two about what is making America's dogs and cats sick after they eat jerky treats but no one has managed to conclusively prove any of those theories.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration admits it is stumped and is asking for help from pet owners. It already has reports of jerky treat-related illnesses involving 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. since 2007. At least 580 of them died.

Now the FDA says it would like to hear from any pet owner whose animal became sick or died after eating jerky treats.

"This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we've encountered," says CVM Director Bernadette Dunham, DVM, Ph.D. "Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it." Dunham says the FDA has conducted more than 1,200 tests, visited pet treat manufacturers in China and talked with experts of all kinds without nailing down the source of the problem. 

"Our fervent hope as animal lovers," says Dunham, "is that we will soon find the cause of—and put a stop to—these illnesses."

Made in China

Most of the jerky treats implicated in the illnesses have been made in China and the FDA notes that by law, manufacturers of pet foods are not required to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.

A number of jerky pet treat products were removed from the market in January 2013 after a New York State lab reported finding evidence of up to six drugs in certain jerky pet treats made in China. The FDA says the drug levels were very low and claims it's unlikely that they caused the illnesses, but the agency concedes that it noted a decrease in reports of jerky-suspected illnesses after the products were removed from the market. FDA believes that the number of reports may have declined simply because fewer jerky treats were available.

What to do

The agency is publishing a fact sheet that it will send to veterinarians, asking them to use it to alert consumers to the problem and to provide instructions on reporting pet illnesses

The fact sheet also points out that the treats are not essential to a balanced diet.  Many pet owners bake their own treats. Others use pieces of the pet's regular kibble as a treat. If you do provide jerky treats and your pet becomes sick, stop the treats immediately, consider seeing your veterinarian, and save any remaining treats and the packaging for possible testing.

Be careful handling the treats. Humans are also susceptible to some of the conditions transmitted by pet food.

What next?

More than 1,200 jerky pet treat samples have been tested since 2011 for a variety of chemical and microbiological contaminants, from antibiotics to metals, pesticides and Salmonella. DNA testing has also been conducted, along with tests for nutritional composition, the FDA said.

In addition to continuing to test jerky pet treat samples within FDA labs, the agency is working with the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), an FDA-coordinated network of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories across the U.S. and Canada. (A summary of the tests is available on Vet-LIRN's webpage.)

Inspections of the facilities in China that manufacture jerky products associated with some of the highest numbers of pet illness reports did not identify the cause of illness. However, they did identify additional paths of investigation, such as the supply chain of some ingredients in the treats.

Although FDA inspectors have found no evidence identifying the cause of the spate of illnesses, they did find that one firm used falsified receiving documents for glycerin, a jerky ingredient. Chinese authorities informed FDA that they had seized products at the firm and suspended its exports.

To identify the root cause of this problem, FDA is meeting regularly with regulators in China to share findings. The agency also plans to host Chinese scientists at its veterinary research facility to increase scientific cooperation.

Everyone has a pet theory or two about what is making America's dogs and cats sick after they eat jerky treats but no one has managed to conclusively prove...
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Class action against Purina dog treats handed a setback

Plaintiffs say Yam Good chicken treats killed their dogs

A class action charging that Nestle Purina's Yam Good chicken treats killed the plaintiffs' dogs has suffered a setback. A federal judge in Illinois ruled that the consumer protection laws of the plaintiffs' home states take precedence.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman also dismissed most of the allegations against Walmart, Costco, Target, BJs, CVS, Walgreens, Pet Supplies and other retailers who sold the treats, Courthouse News Service reported.

The jerky treats are made in China by Waggin' Train, a Nestle Purina company. Chinese chicken has been blamed for numerous cases of death and illness in dogs. Until recently, Chinese chicken could not be imported into the U.S. for human consumption but the USDA recently announced that four Chinese chicken plants would be allowed to import their products and would not have to label them as originating in China. 

Yam Good

Consumers rate Purina Pet Foods

In the Yam Good case, lead plaintiff Dennis Adkins says he bought Yam Good dog treats from WalMart in March 2012 for his 9-year-old Pomeranian, Cleopatra. 

"Between March 13, 2012 and March 15, 2012, Mr. Adkins gave one of the treats to Cleopatra daily, which he chopped into two to three pieces," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Adkins made no other changes in her diet."

"Immediately thereafter, Cleopatra became sick and, on March 26, 2012, died of kidney failure."

"Mr. Adkins owns another nine year old Pomeranian, named Pharaoh," the complaint continues. "Mr. Adkins did not feed any of the 'Yam Good' treats to him. Pharaoh did not become ill."

Other class members made similar claims, but Judge Gettleman said their cases should be heard in the states where they reside. 

"In the instant case, 19 out of 21 plaintiffs allege that they reside in states other than Illinois and that they purchased the chicken jerky treats and fed them to their pets in their home states. With the exception of the two plaintiffs who reside in Illinois, the complaint alleges no other facts tying any of defendants' alleged misconduct or the plaintiffs' alleged injuries to Illinois," the judge said.

A class action charging that Nestle Purina's Yam Good chicken treats killed the plaintiffs' dogs has suffered a setback. A federal judge in Illinois ruled ...
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FDA coloring regulations finally apply to pet food

Labels don't list all the ingredients, making it hard to track down problems

If you’re a pet owner, being a responsible, informed consumer is arguably more difficult for you than it is for other Americans, because the labeling requirements for pet food are downright lax compared to the requirements applied to food for human consumption.

For example: not until 2011 did the FDA rule that color additives should be listed on the labels of pet food and animal feed, and even then, companies aren’t expected to be in full compliance until this November. On Sept. 26 the FDA released some guidelines intended to help business owners comply with these new regulations.

On another note, we often hear from readers who say that various brands of pet food made their animals sick — with almost every brand on the market generating its share of complaints. It's hard not to wonder if at least some of these animals’ health problems might be due to allergic reactions — after all, even if you know your pet is allergic to a particular additive, that won’t help you or your pet if you don’t know which foods contain those additives. And, of course, it’s a lot harder to diagnose a food allergy when you don’t know exactly what you (or your pet) have been eating.

Change of ingredients

Consumers rate Pedigree Pet Foods

Jeff G. from Franklin., North Carolina, wondered if a change of ingredients might explain why his dogs suddenly developed an inability to handle Pedigree-brand foods. As he told us, “We have 8 dogs. Various sizes and breeds…all fed Pedigree Healthy Digestion canned food for years. Two weeks ago our longhair Dachshund threw up a lot, and then the diarrhea started. Same time frame, our 13-year-old basset hound became unable to control her diarrhea and became disoriented …  When we took them to the vet for examination they of course don't feed Pedigree, so they switched brands for the time they were staying. … Since then we have thrown away the Pedigree foods and have started using the same brand food as the vet. No issues. All is quiet again.

“Now here's the weird thing. My daughter in another state told me that tonight her boxer has thrown up and had been dealing with diarrhea earlier this week. She was feeding the same Pedigree Healthy Digestion food! I asked her to contact our vet to get on the right track.

“Did something change? I know pet food companies alter formulas all the time but all of this coupled with the sheer number of very recent complaints are enough to steer me clear of Pedigree products forever.”

Amy R. of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, also wondered if an ingredient change might be to blame for her pet’s sudden digestive problems—although in her case, it was Hills Science Diet food, not Pedigree.

“My two cats have been eating the Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat dry food formula for over 4 years (and ate the Kitten formula before that). Both starting throwing up from the ‘new and improved formula’ ... They're both almost 5 and I can count on one hand the number of times she has ever been sick. The other one throws up some monster hairballs, but usually every few months at the most. Now, he has been throwing up for a week. On Sunday, he threw up five times; twice with food in it and three times just liquid. After a few good days, I came home tonight, fed them their dinner, and within 20 minutes, he threw it all up. That's been the pattern: within 30 minutes of eating this stuff, he throws it up.” 

Different brands, similar pattern

Amanda J. of Burleson, Texas, told a similar story about Blue Buffalo pet food: “Our family friend's vet recently went to a vet conference and she said there were many vets bringing up concerns about this brand. They said they had seen animals with pancreatitis, severe intestinal problems, and hair falling out. ... I switched my cats and dog over as soon as I heard this. The cats were losing lots of hair and my terrier was constantly gassy and bloated and her hair was so brittle, it was coming out in handfuls. After one week off BB, every animal was back to normal. ... All I know is something needs to be done about this. We need to be educated consumers when it comes to pet food.”

Mark S. of Bordentown, New Jersey told us another story: “We have been feeding our 3-year-old cat Blue Buffalo cat food since we adopted him three years ago. Over the past week our cat has started experiencing difficulty urinating and stopped eating. When he began to leave clear spots on the floor, we realized something was terribly wrong. We rushed him to our local vet and described to her our experiences. The first question she asked was if we were feeding him Blue Buffalo cat food. We said yes, we have been since we adopted him. She informed us that our cat is the second she saw this week with urinary and kidney damage due to Blue Buffalo cat food.”

Consumers rate Blue Buffalo Pet Foods

So Jeff’s veterinarian warns patients away from Pedigree food, Amanda and Mark both know vets who avoid Blue Buffalo, Amy and other pet owners who wrote us swear never to use Science Diet again — it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that whatever brand of pet food you can name, we’ve got a file full of complaints from readers who insist it sickened their pets: Iams, Purina, Beneful, Nutro, 9 Lives and more.

Maybe those readers all were unlucky enough to buy a bad batch, maybe their pets ate something else that made them sick — or maybe the pets are allergic to an ingredient their owners don’t even know they’re eating. We have no pat, easy answer for how to solve this problem, or even to figure out exactly what the problem is — but letting pet owners know exactly what they’re feeding their animals is bound to be a good start.

You can't avoid allergens if you don't know they're there...
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Better understanding pet food contamination

Expert says Salmonella can occur between the factory and the food bowl

Pet food recalls seem to be on the increase. A number of brands from different manufacturers have been recalled this year because of a risk of foodborne illness, primarily Salmonella.

Consumers who complain that a particular brand of pet food has sickened their dog or cat may have acquired a small quantity of contaminated product, or even contaminated it themselves, according to Dr. Mian Riaz, director of Texas A&M's Food Protein R&D Center. Recent recalls, he says, have come in spite of what are mostly strict precautions.

“The pet food manufacturers buy their ingredients based on the understanding that they are toxin-free,” Riaz said. “But in the truck one grain might be contaminated with a toxin and that one grain has the ability to spread the toxin throughout the whole truck.”

Sometimes the ingredients are fine but get contaminated once they arrive at the plant. During one small part of the manufacturing process, for example, the ingredients might come in contact with a contaminated piece of equipment, such as a mixer. The entire batch is then compromised.

Common bacteria

Salmonella is a bacteria that is a common cause of food poisoning in humans. In the U.S. there have been a number of recent Salmonella poisonings that have killed of sickened the human population, such as the widespread 2007 contamination of peanuts. In addition to harming humans this bacteria can take a deadly toll on animals.

In recent years manufacturers have stepped up internal controls to keep outbreaks to a minimum, including product tests.

“They are responsible for that and most of them do test, not every single batch but I'm sure they do it internally,” Riaz said. “If I'm running a chart I have a print-out showing I hit my required temperatures and I can prove that.”

Temperature is important because heat at a certain level will kill Salmonella and render it harmless. By ensuring that pet food ingredients are subjected to the required level of heat during the process, manufacturers are better able to control toxins and reduce the instances of food poisoning.

Post-production contamination

But once the product leaves the factory the manufacturer loses control, and it turns out that some of the contamination – perhaps a lot – occurs after the finished product is shipped out.

“If you go to the grocery store most of the dog food is stored at a controlled and proper temperature,” Riaz said. “If you buy a large supply at one time, you need to make sure you also store it properly when you get home. Read the instructions on the back. It will tell you exactly how you should store it.”

In some respects, pet food is a lot like people food. The container should be properly closed after use and stored in a cool, dry place not subject to humidity. Pet food, like people food, is subject to spoilage.

While manufacturers have a responsibility to prevent contamination of pet food before it leaves the factory, Riaz suggests consumers also have a responsibility to make sure the food is free of toxins once it is in the home. It's very possible, he says, that consumers themselves are responsible for some of the salmonella poisonings that have been reported.

Consumer responsibility

“It's definitely true,” he said. “Let me give you an example. Sometimes it is the children in the household who feed the dog. Their hands have been everywhere and can be covered with germs. Those germs can then get on the food.”

Just as you wash your hands before preparing food for people, Riaz says consumers should have clean hands when they handle their pet's food. It's a two-way street. After handling pet food you should wash your hands. If there is salmonella on the pet food, that prevents its spread elsewhere.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to tell if pet food is contaminated. However, extreme cases may be visible to a keen eye.

“Some of the toxin can be identifiable,” Riaz said. “It might be a green fungus that forms on it if the food is not properly stored. If it's very humid and not properly stored you could see a lot of fungus grow on it. Obviously you don't want to feed that to your pet.”

Another way to avoid coming in contact with contaminated food is to carefully inspect the package. In the store if you see a bag that is damaged or has a small tear, its contents could easily be contaminated. Not only should you not buy it, you should bring it to the attention of store managers so they can remove it from the shelves.

Pet food recalls seem to be on the increase. A number of brands from different manufacturers have been recalled this year because of a risk of foodborne il...
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Milo's Kitchen treats poisoned dogs, class action charges

Chicken from China blamed for dogs' illness, deaths

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit that charges Del Monte subsidiary Milo's Kitchen produced chicken jerky treats that poisoned and killed dogs, a claim also leveled in many ConsumerAffairs postings.

"I just had to put my beautiful Shayna down from kidney failure, and am so irate to find out that it could have been my fault feeding her something that I thought was natural and from a company I thought was trustworthy," Leslie of Davie, Fla., said in a June 2012 posting.

Del Monte recalled the "home-style" dog treats in January after the New York State Department of Agriculture found trace amounts of antibiotics in several lots of chicken jerky treats.

The lawsuit, however, concerns a more wide-ranging problem -- one that the Food and Drug Administration warned pet owners about back in 2008 and on several occasions since then. In February, the FDA said it had received reports of 360 dogs dying and 2,200 becoming ill after eating jerky treats.

Chinese chickens

Many of the suspect treats are made with chicken from China, which is not approved for human consumption but can be legally fed to pets. 

Consumers rate Del Monte Pet Foods

In the lawsuit, Lisa Mazur says that her healthy seven-year-old dog, Riley Rae, suffered kidney failure and had to be euthanized after eating the Milo's Kitchen treats, and she charges that despite the FDA warnings, Del Monte did not recall the treats or put warnings on the packages, Courthouse News Servicereported.

"Defendants intentionally concealed known facts concerning the safety of their dog treats in order to increase or maintain sales," Mazur said in the complaint.

Del Monte is one of a dozen manufacturers in a $24 million settlementin 2011 for wet pet food contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid. The company also faces other law suits from pet owners.

The company moved to have the case dismissed in September 2012 but U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly recommended that the case proceed and U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon adopted Kelly's recommendation.

 Del Monte subsidiary Milo's Kitchen cannot dismiss claims that its Chinese chicken jerky treats poisoned and killed dogs, a federal judge ruled. ...
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Bravo! Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats recalled

The raw food product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Bravo! is voluntarily recalling its 2 lb tubes of Bravo! Raw Food Diet Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats, product code: 21-102, batch ID code 6 14 12, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

The recall involves 2 lb. Bravo! Chicken Blend frozen raw diet tubes (chubs) made on June 14, 2012 only; no other products or sizes are involved. The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets.

This batch tested negative by a third party independent laboratory prior to release for distribution to consumers, however routine testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture of product collected from a single retail location tested positive for presence of salmonella. While the testing discrepancy is unclear, Bravo said that it was issuing the recall "in an abundance of caution."

The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with this product.

The recalled product is distributed nationwide to distributors, retail stores, internet retailers and directly to consumers, and can be identified by the batch ID code 6 14 12 located on the white hang tag attached to the bottom of the plastic film tube.

Pet owners should return unopened frozen tubes of food to the store where purchased for a full refund. Pet owners should dispose of opened tubes of product in a safe manner (example, a securely covered trash receptacle) and return the washed plastic batch ID tag to the store where purchased for a full refund.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Bravo! is voluntarily recalling its 2 lb tubes of Bravo! Raw Food Diet Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats, product code: 21-102, batch ID code 6 14 12, becaus...
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Turducken Canine Recipe patties recalled

The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

Steve’s Real Food of Murray, UT, is recalling its 5-lb. bags of "Turducken Canine Diet -- 8-oz. patties due to potential contamination of Salmonella.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and have these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The recalled Turducken Canine Diet -- 8-oz Patties in a 5-lb. bag were distributed from October 2012, to January 2013, in retail stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, California, Minnesota and Tennessee.

Production of the product has been suspended while the company and the FDA continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.

The product comes in 5 lb. green and cream colored biodegradable film bags with lot number 209-10-27-13 with an expiration date of October 27, 2013.

Consumers who have purchased 5-lb. bags of Steve’s Real Food Turducken Canine Recipe are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions should contact the company at 801-540-8481 or gary@stevesrealfood.com Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm MST.

Steve’s Real Food of Murray, UT, is recalling its 5-lb. bags of "Turducken Canine Diet -- 8-oz. patties due to potential contamination of Salmonella. Pet...
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Purina defends Beneful, but will dog owners bite?

Veterinarian insists there is no scientific evidence food was the cause of any of the reported illnesses

Purina is defending Beneful dog food from consumers' allegations that it made their dogs ill. But whether consumers accept the explanation remains to be seen.

"We have reviewed our consumer contacts and are confident there are no product quality or safety issues with Beneful, and consumers can continue to feed Beneful with complete confidence," Beneful spokesman Keith Schopp said in a statement to ConsumerAffairs. "Purina’s quality control procedures are among the strictest—if not the strictest—in the industry, and our products are formulated by professional pet nutritionists and veterinarians."

Schopp was responding to complaints posted on ConsumerAffairs and elsewhere by pet owners who say their dogs became ill or died after eating Beneful.

While no one has been able to definitively determine whether or not Beneful or any other substance was responsible for the incidents portrayed in the consumer postings, that hasn't stopped pet owners, bloggers, reporters and others from speculating heatedly about the controversy, a process that veterinarians say doesn't accomplish much.

"These statements are not backed by any scientific studies, and the conditions described in the postings are amongst the most common conditions seen in everyday veterinary practice," said Dr. Stephen Ettinger after reviewing many of the posted consumer reports.

Ettinger, a Cornell graduate who has been a practicing veterinarian for 40 years, is a Nestlé Purina Fellow in Veterinary Medicine but is not a Purina employee. He is the editor and a contributing author of the Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, a book used throughout the world by veterinary students and clinicians for peer-reviewed information on veterinary medicine, including nutritional aspects of medicine.

"When a pet is sick, pet owners often look first to the pet’s food as the cause. However, it is rare that their food is responsible for the illness," Ettinger said in an article published by DVM360.com, a trade publication for veterinarians.

"I’ve read through many of the current comments regarding Beneful and believe they do not provide any evidenced-based rationale for making such claims," Ettinger said. "[F]rom these internet descriptions, it seems possible that these animals were ill to begin with and thus the diet (Beneful or otherwise) likely had nothing to do with the illness."

"I do agree that ANY abnormalities noted by pet owners should be brought to the attention of their veterinarian, and any concerns with a particular product should immediately be brought to the attention of the manufacturer so that information can be collected and products appropriately monitored," Ettinger said. "The veterinarian and the pet owner then can decide whether to contact the FDA, as well. To date there has been no evidence that Beneful has caused any problems when fed to dogs."

Sincere but misguided?

While Purina and Ettinger seek to assure pet owners and veterinarians that there is no scientific evidence to tie Beneful to pet illnesses, others have gone after the pet owners themselves, accusing them of fabricating the complaints. Some have criticized ConsumerAffairs and other sites for posting the complaints. One blogger even suggested we made up the complaints.

We placed calls to several consumers whose complaints were recently published on our site, to verify that they had submitted the complaint and that they considered them truthful.

"Maxxie left us this morning," said Liz Korfin of North Miami Beach in her ConsumerAffairs posting. "We had the pleasure of 12 AMAZING years with an incredible doggie."

We telephoned Ms. Korfin, whose dog Max is pictured here, and got her permission to use her last name. Consumer reviews are posted to our site using just the consumer's first name but we collect additional information that is not normally published. Several of the consumers we talked to gave their permission to use their full names. Some, like Korfin, also supplied photos of their dogs to lend credibility to their postings.

"I can't say it was 100% Beneful that caused the problem but why won't someone help us -- help us figure out why all the dogs are dying?" Korfin said.  

We next contacted Katherine Hudson of Palm Harbor, Fla., who confirmed her posting, in which she said that she read complaints posted here by others when her dog began showing signs of illness and switched her to homemade food.

"I have no doubt that you saved my dog's life," Hudson said, referring to consumers who had posted their experiences on ConsumerAffairs. Hudson was less complimentary about Purina. She said Purina offered to reimburse her for some of her expenses when she called their corporate office.  

"I told them that wasn't necessary. I wasn't contacting them for money, I was giving them a heads-up," she said. Hudson also filed a report with the FDA and had heard nothing in response when we spoke on Feb. 26.

Tell the FDA?

Some who have criticized consumers for posting their complaints on sites like ours have said they should instead file a report with the FDA.

One consumer, Nina of Berrien Springs, Mich., took that advice to heart. She not only posted to ConsumerAffairs about the problems her dog Kopper had with Beneful, she also decided to file a complaint with the FDA, hoping to get some action beyond just posting her complaint publicly.

"It took me over three hours and multiple attempts to get the complaint submitted -- VERY frustrating -- so that is possibly why there's not many complaints filed," Nina said. 

Then there's Samantha Hyatt of Moore, Okla., who submitted her posting Feb. 26.  Her Westie died after exhibiting many of the symptoms described by others. 

"Yes, of course you can use my name," she said. "I want to share my experience in the hopes that we can save pets!"

Others we spoke with included Samantha Kellstrom of New Hampshire, who said her dog has been improving on a hamburger and rice diet, and Patty Hogan of Hopatcong, N.J., who said she has just passed the $500 mark in veterinary expenses but is beginning to see some improvement in her dog.

Vets get blamed

Pet owners who bundle up their sick dog and rush to their veterinarian are often dismayed to find that the vet has heard nothing about problems with Beneful. Veterinarians respond that this is because there has been no evidence of problems with Beneful products.

A review by ConsumerAffairs of the alerts sent to veterinarians by the FDA and professional organizations found nothing regarding Beneful.  

"Nothing had been provided through any of the professional channels about problems with Beneful," said Marie Steele, a Ph.D. candidate who has spent $650 so far on her ailing dog. "The vet hadn't heard a thing about it."

"My 3-year-old French Bulldog became sick two weeks ago. I took her to the vet that morning and they found her ALC Liver score was high," said Shannon Smith of Medford, Ore. "The vet keeps asking me, 'What could she be getting into?'"

Shannon told us her dog is kept inside except for short periods of time in a fenced yard, leading her to suspect that the food is the culprit.

It's not surprising the FDA has no information on it, said Steele, who said filing an online complaint with the FDA was nearly impossible because of the level of detail the online form asked for and the inability to save the form and come back to complete it later.

Timeline

Whatever is happening, if anything, it started about a year ago on Feb. 28, 2012. That's when we received the first complaint about Beneful. A total of 182 complaints were sbumitted in 2012. In the first 56 days of 2013, 275 were submitted. 

The geographic distribution of the complaints is not as uniform as one might expect. This chart shows the top 15 states for Beneful complaints to ConsumerAffairs:

Not surprisingly, most of the complaints come from the most populous states but there are far fewer complaints from California, New York, New Jersey and other megastates than would typically be the case in a nationally distributed product.

With a sample size of fewer than 500 complaints, however, it's not really possible to draw any meaningful conclusions. 

Purina's assurances

"We stand by the quality and safety of Beneful dog food," spokesman Schopp insisted. He listed these quality control measures that are applied to all Beneful products:

  • Suppliers of ingredients for Purina products must meet our stringent standards for ingredient specifications, product safety, sanitation and manufacturing practices.
  • We closely monitor and control each step of the pet food production process, from raw ingredients through finished goods.  We have a comprehensive food safety program, which is specifically designed to prevent food quality or safety issues from occurring in the first place.  HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) plans and preventative controls are a standard best practice not only for pet foods, but also for human foods, and the U.S. FDA will soon require these types of preventative controls. 
  • Additionally, we conduct physical inspections and analysis of finished products to ensure they meet our quality assurance specifications.
  • We carefully monitor and review all information provided to us by consumers and can confidently state that there are no product issues with Beneful.

What to do

What should consumers do if their pet falls ill? The first step is to contact their veterinarian and take the animal in for examination as soon as possible.

If food is suspected, save all packaging and keep a sample of the food itself. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling pet food.

The consumer or, preferably, the vet can file a report with the FDA if food or snacks are thought to be responsible. The online report form is long and complicated and many consumers find it difficult to complete, so it may be a task best left to the vet.  

Schopp said consumers should also call the manufacturer of the pet food if a problem is suspected. 

"We take all comments from consumers seriously.  We encourage any consumer with a question or comment about one of our products to call and speak with us directly at the toll free number on every package," he said.

And, while critics may question the usefulness of consumer sites, filing an online report helps make other consumers aware of issues that may affect them. Even if it turns out that some consumers may reach the wrong conclusion in their postings, sparking a public discussion helps raise awareness of the importance of monitoring pets' health -- and it's worth noting that there have been cases of contaminated pet food and snacks that have come to light through online postings. 

 A few weeks ago, we wrote about a rash of complaints from pet owners blaming Beneful for the illness and, sometimes, death of their dogs.  A...
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Neighbors raise a stink over pig ear plant implicated in numerous recalls

Dog treat plant's smells offend neighbors' sensibilities, its products enrage pet owners

Dog owners have been raising a stink over some of the pet treats produced by Kasel Industries and now the company's West Denver neighbors are getting into the act as well.

The problem is the place stinks, according to more than 150 complaints the city has received in recent years. 

"Caller left message regarding terrible odor. Said he was 'throwing up'," was a typical complaint recorded last year, according to Westword, a community news site.

Pet owners outside the Denver area may not care what the place smells like but many of them are irate about products Kasel has recalled in recent years, products like:

  • Boots & Barkley pigs ears;
  • Nature's Deli chicken jerky dog treats; and
  • American Variety Pack treats, recalled today along with all other products made at the plant from April 20, 2012, thru September 19, 2012.

The recalls involve possible Salmonella contamination of the treats. This is particularly galling to pet owners who seek out pet food and treats made in the United States, hoping to avoid the dangers associated with products containing ingredients from China.

"I better start seeing this crap pulled from shelves at Petsmart... fat chance," said ConsumerAffairs reader Merri Krishnan in a Facebook posting after a batch of pig ears were recalled. 

But as Merri said, fat chance. Kasel is still operating, its products can be found in most pet stores and the neighbors are still beefing, despite the recalls and the efforts of the Food and Drug Administration and the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which have both found Salmonella in some of the company's products.

A citation

The city of Denver finally got into the act, responding last year to the neighbor's complaints. It issued an odor citation to Kasel, citing a section of Denver's air pollution ordinance and informed the plant's owner, Ray Kasel, that the fine would be $500.

Now you might say that $500 is a small price to pay for making West Denver smell like a rendering plant but Ray Kasel didn't take kindly to the citation. He filed an appeal, saying the neighbors were untrustworthy and claiming the wind was blowing the stench the other way on the days the neighbors complained.

The hearing officer was not impressed and the appeal was denied. So Kasel did what any respectable pig ear entrepreneur would do. He sued the city in federal court, claiming it was conspiring against him, harassing him and violating his constitutional property rights. He also sued various city officials and some of the complaining neighbors.

Leaving aside the legal niceties, Kasel appears to be arguing that it's not his fault that dead animals smell bad and that the nature of the neighborhood has changed since he went into business in 1986.

The West Denver neighborhood -- which for some reason is called RiNo -- was for decades an industrial area. Kasel's neighbors include a sausage factory, a company that cleans septic tanks and a corned beef plant, according to Westword. 

Probably none of these folks would say they should be run out of town just because some vacant industrial buildings have been turned into condos occupied by hipsters, artists and others not habituated to barnyard aromas.

As for pet owners looking for red-blooded American dog treats, our advice is to stick with baked snacks. Leave the pig ears out of it.

Dog owners have been raising a stink over some of the pet treats produced by Kasel Industries and now the company's West Denver neighbors are getting into ...
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Another Recall of Kasel Industries Dog Treats Because of Salmonella Fears

This time, Kasel is recalling Boots & Barkley pig ears and variety pack dog treats sold at Target

It was just a few weeks ago that FDA inspectors found Salmonella bacteria in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats at Kasel Associated Industries of Denver during a routine sampling inspection. In September, the company recalled Boots & Barkley beef bully sticks. 

Now the Colorado Department Of Agriculture says a routine sampling finds that  Boots & Barkley pigs ears and variety treats made at the Kasel plant contained the Salmonella bacteria.

The company says it has "ceased distribution of any lots that have possible contamination of the bacteria." No other products made by Kasel Associated Industries are included in the recall of the 12 count packages of Roasted Pig Ears and the 32oz Variety Pack Dog Treats.

The recalled products were sold at Target stores.

The recalled Roasted Pig Ears and Variety Pack Dog Treats were distributed nationwide through Target retail stores in August 2012. The Roasted Pig Ears product comes in a clear plastic bag containing 12 pig ears marked with UPC bar code 647263899158. The Variety Pack product also comes in a clear plastic bag weighing 32oz and marked with UPC bar code 490830400086. 

The company did not furnish any photos of the recalled products, as is customary in such cases. Located at 3315 Walnut Street in Denver, Kasel Industries maintains a low profile. 

The company's website says it started its business in 1986, "to serve the refrigeration and boiler needs of the local food processing industry." It does not mention pet food and describes itself as a manufacturer of industrial refrigeration and boiler systems as well as "new slicing equipment, primarily for the meat processing industry."

Long history

There's nothing new about this, of course. Pets have been dying of poisoned food and snacks for years and, in many cases, their owners have been infected as well. The pet food companies argue that there is no definitive diagnosis in many cases but angry pet owners say that even when they send a sample of the suspect food to the manufacturer, nothing is done.

The FDA, long lambasted by critics for being lax in policing pet and human food supplies, insists it is looking into the problem, although the agency recently took the unusual step of posting a commentary questioning the seriousness of the problem. 

Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA echoed the pet food manufacturers as she wrote that it is often difficult to pin down the cause of a specific pet's malady. She urged consumers to report their pets' illnesses to the FDA but critics were not encouraged.

Earlier this year, the FDA insisted it has been "unable to determine a definitive cause of reported dog illnesses or a direct link to chicken jerky products" and said that "extensive chemical and microbial testing ... has not uncovered a contaminant or cause of illness from any chicken jerky treat."

The FDA does note that jerky and other snacks "should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities."  

Sarah Alexander, the education and outreach director of Food & Water Watch, a Ralph Nader-founded consumer organization, says the FDA "has a poor track record of ensuring the safety of food from China for people and pets."

"Despite the flood of reports of dogs dying from imported dog treats going back as far as 2007, the FDA has done nothing to fix the problem," Alexander said in a recent email to the organization's supporters.

More about Pets & Pet Food

Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO is voluntarily recalling its BOOTS & BARKLEY ROASTED AMERICAN PIG EARS AND BOOTS & BARKLEY AMERICAN VARIE...
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FDA Finds Salmonella in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats

Contaminated treats found at company's Denver plant

FDA investigators found Salmonella bacteria in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats at Kasel Associated Industries of Denver during a routine sampling inspection, the agency said today.

Once notified of the results, the company recalled and ceased distribution of its product.

The product comes in a clear plastic bag with the Nature's Deli logo containing 2.5 lbs chicken jerky marked with UPC bar code 647263800208. Kasel Industries is recalling lot number BEST BY 091913 DEN because this lot code tested positive through analysis by the FDA.

The FDA said the incident is unrelated to jerky pet treats from China that are associated with reports of illness in dogs and cats. 

Since 2007, there have been increasing numbers of illnesses in pets associated with the consumption of jerky pet treats. The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky (treats, tenders, and strips), but others include duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.

The FDA said it has received approximately 2,200 reports of pet illnesses which may be related to consumption of the jerky treats. The majority of the complaints involve dogs, but cats also have been affected.

Over the past 18 months the reports have contained information on 360 canine deaths and one feline death. There does not appear to be a geographic pattern to the case reports. Cases have been reported from all 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces in the past 18 months.

ConsumerAffairs has also received thousands of reports of pet illnesses attributed by owners to food and treats. In the vast majority of cases, no definitive diagnosis is made.

Consumers rate Nutro Pet Foods

"It has only been a couple of days since I have purchased a new bag of Nutro senior dog food," Tiffany of Austin, TX, posted on ConsumerAffairs earier this week. "My dog has diarrhea and has vomited. I actually feel somewhat lucky that I came across this site. As of today, he is no longer eating Nutro brand foods."

Although the FDA said it has been actively investigating the reports of illnesses, no definitive cause has been determined.

"The ongoing global investigation is complex, multifaceted and includes a wide variety of experts at the FDA including toxicologists, epidemiologists, veterinary researchers, forensic chemists, microbiologists, field investigators and senior agency officials," the agency said in a statement. 

86 million pounds

In the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in importation of pet food from China. Human consumption of poultry in China largely consists of dark meat, leaving a large amount of light meat poultry products available for export.

From 2003, when China first approached the USDA about poultry exports, to 2011, the volume of pet food exports (regulated by the FDA) to the United States from China has grown 85-fold.

It is estimated that nearly 86 million pounds of pet food came from China in 2011. Pet treats, including jerky pet treats are currently considered the fastest growing segment in the pet food market. 

FDA said it is "concerned about any food found to contain Salmonella and will post information for the public on any new bacterial outbreak that has the potential to sicken animals and humans who handle potentially contaminated products." The agency cautions consumers to thoroughly wash their hands after having contact with pet products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella may have some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Consumers exhibiting these symptoms should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

Read more about pets

FDA investigators found Salmonella bacteria in Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats at Kasel Associated Industries of Denver during a rou...
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Nature's Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats Recalled

The product poses a possible salmonella health risk

Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO, is recalling its Nature's Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats product because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian.

The recalled Chicken Jerky Dog Treats were distributed to 57 Sam's Club locations in CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MO, MT, NE, OK, SD, UT and WY.

The product comes in a clear plastic bag with the Nature's Deli logo containing 2.5 lbs. chicken jerky marked with UPC bar code 647263800208. Kasel Industries is recalling lot number BEST BY 091913 DEN because this lot code tested positive through analysis by the FDA.

No illnesses have been reported to date in animals or humans in connection with this product.

The company has ceased distribution of any lots that have possible contamination of the bacteria. No other products made by Kasel Associated Industries are included in the recall of 2.5 lbs. packages of Chicken Jerky Dog Treats.

Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Anyone with questions may contact Kasel Associated Industries at (800) 218-4417 Monday thru Friday from 7am to 5pm MDT.

Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO, is recalling its Nature's Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats product because it may be contaminated with Salmonella. ...
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Breeder's Choice Recalls AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog

The products contain a risk of Salmonella to pets and humans handling the product

Breeder’s Choice Pet Food is recalling a single manufacturing batch of Breeder's Choice AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula due to possible contamination with Salmonella. 

The product affected by this recall is identified below and has the following "Best Before" dates: 

Product Code/SKU/ Material #UPC CodeSizeProduct Name/DescriptionBest Before Code (day/month/yr)
10000650740 5290702043 826 lb.AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula28 Aug 2013
29 Aug 2013
30 Aug 2013

Product and product lots that do not appear on the list above are not subject to this recall. 

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. 

Healthy people exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. 

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. 

No human or pet illnesses have been reported to-date. 

The recall notification is being issued based on a single manufacturing batch wherein a sample with the "Best Before" dates of August 28, 29 and 30, 2012 had a positive result for salmonella. The AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula product was originally manufactured on August 29, 2012, and distributed on August 30 and 31, 2012. Salmonella testing was conducted by Silliker, Inc. (Southern California Laboratory). 

Recalled products were distributed to retailers and distributors in California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Virginia and Washington. 

Consumers who have purchased the AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula product with the above-referenced "Best Before" dates are urged to contact Breeder's Choice Customer Service representatives. 

A letter and instructions have been forwarded to all Breeder’s Choice Pet Food customers. Breeder’s Choice Customer Service representatives and company veterinarians are responding to inquires through the 1-866-500-6286 phone number and will answer any questions regarding pets that have been fed the product. 

Breeder’s Choice Pet Food is recalling a single manufacturing batch of Breeder's Choice AvoDerm Natural Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Adult Dog Formula due to pos...
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Sick As a Dog -- It's Not Just Cantaloupes, Dog Food Is Blamed for Many Illnesses

Critics say FDA has "a poor track record" of assuring the safety of food, human and otherwise

ConsumerAffairs readers are long accustomed to stories like this one, from Jill of Lawrence, Kan.: "I picked up a bag of Nutro Max Senior to try for my aging collie. At first, I didn't see any problems, but she became progressively sick[er], throwing up at least once a day and becoming lethargic. The only thing that had changed in her life was her food.

"I stopped giving the collie this apparently toxic food, bought her familiar Science Diet, and all is well again. Shame on dog food manufacturers for not learning from the lessons of the past! We will never buy Nutro Max again."

Case closed?

Bernadette Dunham

There's no question that contaminated pet food can make pets sick, as a long history of recalls and pet illnesses and deaths indicates. But are consumers too quick to blame the food when their pet falls ill? Some veterinarians think so, including Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA).

The FDA has been in the middle of countless disputes over whether a pet food is to blame for animal illnesses, but in a recent FDA blog posting, Dunham says it is often difficult to pin down the cause of a specific pet's malady.

She offers these suggestions to pet owners:

1. Contact your veterinarian right away if your pet gets sick. Be ready to describe the symptoms and keep track of how soon after your pet's last meal or snack they occurred.

2. Always keep the original label or packaging of whatever you are feeding your pets. If you buy a large bag of feed and scoop it into a smaller container, be sure to save the original. The FDA needs not only the brand name but the lot number and other information that is only available from the label.

3. Report the incident to the FDA, either at its website or by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your state. Contact information is available online

Of course, none of this does much good for someone whose beloved pet is in extremis. It's already too late for them.

"Purina SmartBlend Lamb and Rice killed my dog," said Lisa of Wichita, Kan. She said her one of her dogs became ill and was undergoing treatment when her second dog began refusing to eat. 

"The vet came out again, gave more meds and he was doing better. That night, he died," Lisa said. "I called Purina after I began researching and found that many other dogs became sick and/or died while on this food. Of course, I heard the, 'This is the first time we have ever heard of it.' They promised to reimburse my vet fees. I am still waiting. I even sent them a sample of the food. I called not too long ago and they closed my case."

Critics: FDA is lax

Consumers rate Nutro Pet Foods

The FDA is with you all the way, Dunham assures us but not everyone agrees. Sarah Alexander, the education and outreach director of Food & Water Watch, a Ralph Nader-founded consumer organization, says the FDA "has a poor track record of ensuring the safety of food from China for people and pets."

"Despite the flood of reports of dogs dying from imported dog treats going back as far as 2007, the FDA has done nothing to fix the problem," Alexander said in a recent email to the organization's supporters.

Alexander quotes a pet owner named Rita, who experienced problems similar to those so familiar to ConsumerAffairs readers: "Heidi was a happy and healthy 8-year-old German Shepherd on May 23, 2012 when I gave her just two chicken jerky dog treats as a 'special' treat. Within two days she became ill, vomiting and diarrhea and lethargy, refusing all food but drinking water excessively. On Memorial Day, May 28, 2012, Heidi died a horrific death in my arms. The void her passing has left in my life is almost unbearable. I live alone and Heidi was my constant companion, my loyal friend, my fierce protector."

The FDA regulates the import of pet food and processed human food, but Alexander and other critics contend the agency has done too little to stop contaminated food from China from being sold in the U.S.

"This isn't the first time that tainted pet food from China has harmed our pets," Alexander noted. "Just a few years ago thousands of pets became sick and died after eating pet food contaminated with melamine, and right now there are more than 60 human food products that are banned from being imported from China because of unsafe substances, including milk products contaminated with melamine."

Alexander notes that the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed by Congress last year has not yet been implemented. And just as critics say the Obama Administration's failure to adopt the rules in a timely manner is responsible for the current outbreak of salmonella contamination in cantaloupes, it is also being blamed for the failure to adequately regulate pet food. 

President Obama signed the bill into law in January 2011 and final standards were supposed to have been enacted within 12 months. But 19 months later, the standards are in limbo, awaiting final action by -- who else? -- the FDA.
Everyday ConsumerAffairs hears stories like this one, from Jill of Lawrence, Kan.: "I picked up a bag of Nutro Max Senior to try for my aging collie. ...
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Complaints Mount About Pet Treats From China

Suit against Purina gains class-action status

Pet food maker Nestle Purina now faces a class-action suit by pet owners in eight states who say the company's jerky treats killed or sickened their pets.

Yet the product remains on store shelves and NBC News reports the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is unable to pinpoint a contaminant that could be causing the problem.

The original lawsuit was filed back in April by an Illinois pet owner. Six other pet owners have now joined it and are also suing the retail stores that carry the product, Walmart, Costco and Target.

Complaints

Consumers writing to ConsumerAffairs continue to report adverse results when they feed Waggin' Train treats to their pets.

“I began to notice things just weren't right with her,” Dennis, of Bellport, NY, wrote about his pug in a ConsumerAffairs post. “She had become lethargic, had loose bowel movements, and seemed to drink a lot more water than usual. When she started to not want to eat her food, I knew something was wrong. I cook everything she eats, and give her no store bought dog food, so the Wagg'n Train treats were the only thing she was given besides freshly prepared foods.”

Steve, of Franklin Park, NJ, reports he had purchased Waggin' Treats for years and that his dogs loved them. But last month, his Westie suddenly got sick after eating them and died.

“My regular vet ran several logical tests – but came up clueless as to what was causing his lethargy, lack of eating, and vomiting,” Steve wrote. “He thought it was colitis – so we tried antibiotics. That made my “Max” feel no better – even worse. He was then tested for Addison’s Disease. Nope – that was not it, as well.”

Common link?

Both Steve and Dennis noted that they prepared their dog's food themselves, which might suggest the animals has particularly sensitive digestive systems. Whether that's a possible contributing factor is unknown.

Since last November the FDA has been cautioning pet owners about chicken jerky products for dogs. The FDA notes that it has seen an increase in the number of complaints about the products, but as yet it does not know why.

“FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination,” the FDA says on its site. “If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours.”

The FDA says the illnesses may not be associated with the jerky treats and that it continues to investigate the origin of the animals' sickness.

Pet food maker Nestle Purina now faces a class-action suit by pet owners in eight states who say the company's jerky treats killed or sickened their pets....
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Diamond Pet Food Expands Its Dog Food Recall

Adds Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food to recall

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a recall to include its Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 due to potential exposure to Salmonella. No illnesses have been reported.

The product was distributed in the following states:  Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Further distribution through other pet food channels may have occurred. 

Pet owners may call toll-free at 1-866-918-8756, Monday through Sunday, 8 am – 6 pm EST. 

The product is Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula. Only samples, 6 pound and 18 pound bag sizes are affected.

Production Code & Best Before Date            
DSL0801, 20-Oct.-2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 and packaged on Oct. 20, 2011) DSL0801, 26-Aug-2012        
DSL0801, 27-Sept- 2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 and packaged on Sept. 27, 2011)
DSL0801, 18-Oct- 2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011 and packaged on Oct. 18, 2011)
DSL0801, (Samples)

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a recall to include its Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food manufactured on Aug. 26,...
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Pet Food Recalls Spread

Canidae, Wellpet, Natural Balance recall some batches of dry dog food

Add Canidae, Wellpet, Natural Balance and Apex to the list of pet food manufacturers recalling dry pet food because of Salmonella contamination. Diamond Pet Foods recalled its Puppy Formula and Chicken Soup flavors last week.  

The recalls follow the discovery of Salmonella at Diamond Pet Food's Gaston, South Carolina facility. Diamond earlier recalled several of its dry dog foods and federal officials said at least 14 people have been infected with Salmonella, apparently after coming into contact with the contaminated pet food.

It's the same South Carolina plant that a few years ago produced Nutra Nuggets and other dog foods contaminated with aflatoxin, a mold, which was blamed for the death of dozens of dogs. In 2008, Diamond agreed to a $3.1 million settlement to compensate dog owners.

It often comes as a surprise to consumers to learn that their trusted brand of pet food is manufactured, at least partly, at the same plant as other brands. Manufacturers keep costs down by outsourcing at least part of their production process, adding proprietary flavorings or ingredients to differentiate their products from the competition.

The recalls are a major embarrassment for companies that promote their products as being more "natural" than their competitors.

Peace of mind

"As a pet parent myself, I know how important peace of mind is when it comes to the health of our pets, and that is why we require that all of our products undergo testing forSalmonella, among other things," said Tim Callahan, chief executive officer of WellPet, the maker of Wellness products. "All of these lots tested negative prior to being released for sale. We are voluntarily taking this additional step to further safeguard our dogs and to put our customers’ minds at ease."

Callahan said the majority of Wellness natural products for pets are produced in WellPet's own facility in Mishawaka, Indiana, and he said WellPet "no longer purchases any products from Diamond Pet Foods."

On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food, the CDC said. A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility has also yielded Salmonella.

Public health investigators identified recent cases of human illness matching the Salmonella Infantis strain found in the unopened bag of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Seven of ten reported contact with a dog in the week before becoming ill.

More illnesses are likely to be discovered in the coming weeks as records are collected and analyzed from health departments around the country.

Danger to humans

If you're a pet owner, health officials say it's important to be careful handling pet food and pet dishes.  You should wash your hands thoroughly after handling pet food.  Pet food and feeding dishes should be kept out of the reach of children.  Dishes should be washed often and thoroughly.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

Add Canidae, Wellpet and Natural Balance to the list of pet food manufacturers recalling dry pet food because of Salmonella contamination.The recalls fol...
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Canidae Recalls Dry Pet Food

May be contaminated with Salmonella

Canidae Pet Foods announced today that it is issuing a voluntary recall of certain dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011, and January 31, 2012 at the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, South Carolina plant.

Although there have been no animal or human illnesses related to Canidae Pet Food, and the product has not tested positive for Salmonella, the company has voluntarily initiated this recall out of caution to ensure the health and safety of consumers and their pets.

The below list of product with production codes that must have both a number “3” in the 9th position AND an “X” in the 10th or 11th position with best before dates of December 9, 2012, through January 31, 2013 which are being recalled.

  • Canidae Dog, All Life Stages
  • Canidae Dog, Chicken Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Lamb Meal & Rice
  • Canidae Dog, Platinum

Following is an example of how to read the production code and best before date:

The recall affects only products distributed in the following Eastern U.S. states which were manufactured at the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, South Carolina plant. Further distribution to other pet food channels may occur:

Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee

Canidae Pet Foods apologizes for any potential issues this may have caused pet owners and their pets.

Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like a replacement product or a refund, may contact Canidae Pet Foods via a toll free call at 1-800-398-1600, Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm PST. Consumers may also go to canidae.com for more information. The company is working with distributors and retailers to ensure all products affected by this voluntary recall are removed from shelves.

Canidae Pet Foods announced today that it is issuing a voluntary recall of certain dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011, and January...
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WellPet Recalls Dry Dog Food

May be contaminated with Salmonella

WellPet LLC announced a voluntary recall of one recipe of Wellness® dry dog food after being notified by Diamond Pet Foods regarding the presence of Salmonella in Diamond’s Gaston, South Carolina facility.

The products involved in this voluntary recall are:

Wellness Complete Health® Super5Mix® Large Breed Puppy, 15 lb. and 30 lb. bags and 5 oz. sample bags with best by dates of JAN 9 2013 through JAN 11 2013.

Best by dates (lot codes) can be found on the back of the bag in the bottom right-hand corner.

No other WellPet recipes, sizes or brands of food are impacted by this voluntary recall

All Wellness products are tested for Salmonella and all lots tested negative prior to shipping to customers. The company is voluntarily recalling the select products below. This voluntary recall is being done out of an abundance of caution as these products were produced at the facility that has been linked to recent recalls of Diamond brand foods due to the threat of Salmonella.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Individuals handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. People who believe they may have been exposed to Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who are more likely to be affected by Salmonella include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS and people receiving treatment for cancer.

"As a pet parent myself, I know how important peace of mind is when it comes to the health of our pets, and that is why we require that all of our products undergo testing forSalmonella, among other things," said Tim Callahan, chief executive officer of WellPet, the maker of Wellness® products. "All of these lots tested negative prior to being released for sale. We are voluntarily taking this additional step to further safeguard our dogs and to put our customers’ minds at ease."

The majority of Wellness natural products for pets are produced in WellPet's own modern state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Mishawaka, Indiana. WellPet no longer purchases any products from Diamond Pet Foods.

Pet owners who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, would like replacement product or have additional questions, may call us at (877) 227-9587 (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM through 6:00 PM Eastern time and Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM Eastern time).

WellPet LLC announced a voluntary recall of one recipe of Wellness® dry dog food after being notified by Diamond Pet Foods regarding the presence of&nb...
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Diamond Pet Food Linked to Samonella Outbreak in Humans

All of the contaminated food is from a single Diamond plant in South Carolina

Federal officials say at least 14 people have been infected with Salmonella Infantis, apparently from contact with dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods.

Public health investigators say they used DNA "fingerprints" to identify the strain of Salmonella, matching several of the cases with dry pet food produced at a Diamond plant in South Carolina. Illness in humans has been reported in nine states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The illnesses began between October 8, 2011 and April 22, 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ill persons range in age from less than one year old to 82 years old. Seventy-seven percent of patients are female. Among the 9 patients with available information, five were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. The CDC cautioned that there may be cases that have not been reported, including any illness that occurred after April 1.

Lamb meal

On April 2, 2012, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food, which had been collected March 14, 2012, during routine retail testing of dry pet food, the CDC said.

Public health investigators identified recent cases of human illness matching the Salmonella Infantis strain found in the unopened bag of dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. In interviews, ill persons answered questions about contact with animals and foods consumed during the week before becoming ill. Seven of ten reported contact with a dog in the week before becoming ill.

Of five ill persons who could recall the type of dog food with which they had contact, four identified dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods that may have been produced at a single facility in South Carolina.

As part of this outbreak investigation, Ohio public health and agriculture officials collected and tested dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis was isolated from an opened bag of Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food collected from the home of an ill person, and an unopened bag of the product collected from a retail store.

A sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by FDA during an inspection at the South Carolina production facility has also yielded Salmonella.

The investigation is continuing to determine if other brands of dry dog food produced at this facility may be linked to human illnesses. 

Federal officials say at least 14 people have been infected with Salmonella Infantis. apparently from contact with dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foo...
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Diamond Expands Recall to Include Puppy Formula Dry Dog Food

Sampling found Salmonella in the dog food

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a voluntary recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food. The company took this precautionary measure because sampling revealed Salmonella in the product. No dog illnesses have been reported.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

People infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Only the Diamond Puppy Formula products meeting the following descriptions are recalled:

DescriptionSizeProduction CodeBest By Date
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0401B22XJW      6-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0401A21XAW     6-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0101C31XME      11-Jan-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 40 lb.                DPP0401B21XDJ       7-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 20 lb.                DPP0401B22XJW      6-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 20 lb.                DPP0101C31XME      11-Jan-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 20 lb.                DPP0101C31XRB       11-Jan-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 8 lb.                  DPP0401B2XALW      7-Apr-2013
Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food                 6 oz. samples DPP0401

The recalled Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food was manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods in Gaston, S.C., and distributed in the following 12 states:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

The product may have been further distributed to additional states through pet food channels. The company is working directly with distributors and retailers that carry these products to remove them as quickly as possible from the supply chain. Diamond Pet Foods apologizes for any potential issues this may cause pet owners and their dogs. 

Pet owners, who are unsure if the product they purchased is included in the recall, or who would like replacement product or a refund, may contact Diamond Pet Foods at800-442-0402, 8 am – 6 pm EST, Monday through Friday, or visit www.diamondpetrecall.com.

Diamond Pet Foods is expanding a voluntary recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food. The company took this precautionary measure because sampli...
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Pet Owners Should Be Aware of Salmonella Threats

Foodborne illnesses affect pets a lot more than you think

The news that Diamond Pet Foods is recalling its Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food because it may be contaminated with salmonella should be a reminder for pet owners. Salmonella and foodborne illnesses can affect your pets, just like humans.

In the case of Diamond, the company said it has received no reports of people or animals getting sick. But it notes that pets who do get salmonella may have decreased appetite, fever, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Those symptoms are often cited by consumers describing their pets after eating a variety of commercial pet foods.

"Just got a female English bulldog about two weeks ago," Brandi, of Canon, Ga., wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. "After a week she started gasping and vomiting , then my male started. The only thing that has changed was the food that I recently bought."

It may not be what you think

When consumers report these often life-threatening ailments to their pets, they assume that there is some ingredient in the dog food that is causing the illness. Other consumers report feeding their pets the same brand with no ill effect. In many cases, the problem may not be the food itself, but simply that it has become contaminated with salmonella or some other bacteria.

“The problem of salmonella in pet foods and pet treats, even in pet supplements like vitamins, is something people should be aware of,” Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh, a veterinary epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., told the New York Times last August.

Last fall the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began a stepped-up program of testing pet food samples for salmonella, mainly to prevent exposure to humans who handle the food. But pet owners are arguing more should be done to protect food given to animals.

Pay attention to recalls

The Humane Society says pet owners should remain vigilant about pet food recalls, when they occur, such as the one just announced by Diamond. The company has recalled:

  • 6-pound bag with the production code DLR0101D3XALW and best before Jan. 4, 2013;
  • 20-pound bag with the production code DLR0101C31XAG and best before Jan. 3, 2013;
  • 40-pound bag with the production code DLR0101C31XMF and best before Jan. 3, 2013;
  • 40-pound bag with the production code DLR0101C31XAG and best before Jan. 3, 2013;
  • 40-pound bag with the production code DLR0101D32XMS and best before Jan. 4, 2013.

 If your pet's food or treats are recalled, the Humane Society says you should immediately stop feeding the product to your pet. Recalled products may be returned to the store where they were purchased for a full refund or thrown away in a secure area not accessible to animals. If you have questions about recalled food or treats or require additional information contact the company that manufactures the product.

If your pet may have consumed a recalled product, consult your veterinarian, even if your pet does not appear to have any symptoms. If your pet has become ill or died because of a recalled food or treat, please you should report it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your state.

The news that Diamond Pet Foods is recalling its Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food because it may be contaminated with salmonella should be a ...
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Dog Owners Blame Jerky Treats for Their Pets' Health Problems

Animals, like people, need a well-balanced and nutritious diet

Any dog owner will tell you that dogs will eat just about anything. But that doesn't mean they should.  It's up to dog owners to be sure they're feeding their furry friends a balanced, healthy diet. 

Just like humans, dogs shouldn't gorge themselves on treats and snacks at the expense of healtheir fare. 

Snacks are often blamed, fairly or not, for canine health problems. One brand that's currently taking heat from dog owners is Waggin Train, which makes chicken jerky and other snack products.

"After wondering why our dog was getting so sick, I started hearing about the Waggin Train Jerky Treats. I checked in her box of different treats and discovered that I have an almost empty bag of Waggin Train Jerky Tenders!" said Lucinda of Strasburg, Va., in one of many similar  ConsumerAffairs postings. "I am so upset and broken hearted because my dog is dying! ... Our sweet girl is dying because of this poison!"

Waggin' Train insists its snacks are "made of premium chicken breast fillets" and says the "high-protein, low-fat treats are slow-cooked to seal in the natural flavors for a healthy and wholesome snack."

FDA indecisive

But if the snacks are so healthy, why are dogs getting so sick? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been studying the situation for years and still has not reached a conclusion.

The agency says it has been "unable to determine a definitive cause of reported dog illnesses or a direct link to chicken jerky products" and says that "extensive chemical and microbial testing ... has not uncovered a contaminant or cause of illness from any chicken jerky treat, including Waggin' Train treats."

The FDA does note that jerky and other snacks "should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be fed occasionally in small quantities."  

"It breaks my heart to know I was giving treats to my dog that killed him," said Vivian of Macomb, MI, who said her four-year-old Golden Retriever died after being fed Waggin Train treats.  "I took him to vet and liver enzymes were off the chart."

Unsympathetic

Many pet owners who've written to ConsumerAffairs have complained that Waggin' Train was unsympathetic to their complaints.

"I gave my Shih Tzu a Waggin Train' Big Blast Treat yesterday and this morning she was very sick. She trembled and cried for over an hour. When I called the complaint hotline, they acted like it was no big deal," said Marsha of Adrian, MI. 

Besides making sure their pets are eating a healthy and well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise, dog owners might want to scan the reviews about various pet foods in the ConsumerAffairs Pet Care section, where it quickly becomes obvious that some pet food companies are more responsive to consumer concerns than others.

More responsive

Tiffany of Marblehead, Ohio, recently complained that her dog had refused to eat her Natural Balance food. She complained to Natural Balance, which refunded her money and suggested she try another bag.

"I did receive an email from a representative at Natural Balance asking me to contact her, and did so today. The representative was very pleasant," Tiffany said. "She feels that my dog has decided she doesn't like this food any longer. She said no significant changes have taken place with the Natural Balance formula, and that she has not had any other complaints. She is mailing me a voucher of one of the different formulas to try, and we will try it."

A cat owner, David of Optional, Ohio, posted a ConsumerAffairs complaint saying his cats had gotten sick eating Natural Balance. 

"Natural Balance voluntarily contacted me to understand my issue. We discussed the situation and settled on the fact that the bag of food may have been expired as they had not had other complaints about any batches of the salmon formula being bad. I was impressed with the way they handled the issue. I'm now using Natural Balance again," David said.

Shirley of Rhinelander, WI said that after her complaint was posted, Natural Balance contacted her and sent her a voucher for another bag of dog food.
"They also sent a label to have the food shipped back to the company that I purchased for testing. They told me they would share the results when they had them," Shirley said. "The person I talked with was very pleasant and called and talked with my vet. She then called me back with inconclusive reports and said my vet could not pin it on the dog food that was making my Hannah sick."
Any dog owner will tell you that dogs will eat just about anything. But that doesn't mean they should.  It's up to dog owners to be sure they're feedi...
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Dog Power Dog Food Recalled

High aflatoxin levels detected

Advanced Animal Nutrition has announced a voluntary recall of its dry Dog Power Dog Food due to aflatoxin levels that were detected above the acceptable limit. The affected products were manufactured between Jan. 4, 2011, and Nov. 18, 2011.

No illnesses have been reported in association with these products to date, and no other Advanced Animal Nutrition pet food products are involved in this recall. Affected products are:

  • DOG POWER ADULT MAINTENANCE FORMULA 21-12 Dog Food, 50 pound bags
  • DOG POWER HUNTERS FORMULA 27-14 Dog Food, 50 pound bags
  • DOG POWER HI-PRO PERFORMANCE FORMULA 26-18 Dog Food, 50 pound bags

The recall only applies to the above products with the following Packaging Date Codes (lot numbers):  K0004 through K1322.

The affected dry dog food products were distributed in the following states – Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana.  Retailers have already been instructed to remove the affected brands and products from store shelves.

Consumers are urged to return affected products – whether in opened or unopened packages – to their place of purchase for a full refund.  For more information, contact 866-648-7646.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold byproduct.  Pets that have consumed any of the above recalled products and exhibit symptoms of illness including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, or diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian.

Advanced Animal Nutrition has announced a voluntary recall of its dry Dog Power Dog Food due to aflatoxin levels that were detected abo...
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Pet Food Seen as Human Salmonella Risk

FDA steps up testing of pet food and treats

You don't want Spike getting salmonella from his dog food -- and you most certainly don't want to get it yourself.  Yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it's increasingly concerned about humans getting sick from exposure to contaminated pet food.

The agency says it is increasing its inspections of dry pet food and pet treats from distributors, wholesalers and retailers.  There've been numerous recalls of pet food tainted by salmonella and other contaminants in recent years.

While humans usually get salmonella poisoning by eating contaminated food, it's also possible to pick up the disease by handling contaminated pet food.  In January 2006, at least 70 people were sickened by selmonella-tainted pet food from a Pennsylvania plant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says pet owners should be sure to wash their hands after feeding their pets.  

What to do

Here are some more pointers from the CDC:

Purchase Tip

  • Purchase products (canned or bagged) with no visible signs of damage to the packaging, such as dents, tears, or discolorations.

Preparation Tips

  • Washing hands is the most important step to prevent illness. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with water and soap right after handling pet food and treats, and especially before preparing, serving or eating food, drinks or preparing baby bottles
  • Preferably, people should feed their pet in areas other than the kitchen.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes and scooping utensils with soap and hot water regularly. Avoid washing these items in the kitchen sink or bathtubs to prevent cross-contamination. In households where there is no alternative, the sink area should be adequately sanitized after these items have been cleaned and removed.
  • Infants should not be bathed in kitchen sinks because of the risk of cross-contamination.
  • Do not use the pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil – use a clean, dedicated scoop, spoon, or cup.

Storage Tips

  • Pet food should not be handled or stored in areas where food for humans is prepared.
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded or closed.
  • Promptly refrigerate or discard unused, leftover wet pet food and containers (e.g., cans, pouches). Refrigerating foods quickly prevents the growth of most harmful bacteria. Refrigerators should be set at 40 degrees F. The accuracy of the setting should be checked occasionally with a refrigerator thermometer.
  • Dry pet food and pet treats should be stored in a cool, dry place under 80 degrees F.

Follow these simple guidelines to prevent getting a Salmonella infection from your pet:

  • After contact with animals, their food, or their environments, wash your hands well with soap and running water.
  • Clean up after your pet. If you have a cat, scoop the litter box daily and dispose of the stool in a tightly sealed plastic bag. If you have a dog, clean up the stool while on walks or from the yard daily and dispose of the stool in a tightly sealed plastic bag.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age should not be allowed to touch or eat pet food, treats, or supplements and should be kept away from pet feeding areas. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely than others to put their fingers or other items into their mouths.
You don't want Spike getting salmonella from his dog food -- and you most certainly don't want to get it yourself.  Yet the Food and Drug Administrati...
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Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food Recalled

May be contaminated with Salmonella

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is recalling a limited number of 3.5- and 7-pound bags of its Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food from a single production run and shipped to customers in 12 states in December 2010. 

This is being done because some bags of the product have been found to be contaminated with Salmonella.  Only Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food with both the “Best By” date and the production code shown are included in this voluntary recall : 

Product Name

Bag size

“Best By” Date &Production Code*

Bag UPC Code

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+

3.5 lb.

   MAY 2012  03341084

17800 01885

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+  

3.5 lb.

MAY 2012  03351084

17800 01885

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+

7 lb.    

MAY 2012  03341084

17800 01887

Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+  

7 lb.    

   MAY 2012  03351084

17800 01887

*”Best By” Date and Production Code are found on the back or bottom of the bag.

The product was distributed to customers located in California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin, who may have further distributed the product to other states.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company became aware of the contamination as a result of samples that had been collected in several retail stores.

No additional Purina cat or dog products are involved in this voluntary recall.  No other Purina ONE brand products are involved.   Only Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ brand products which match the “Best By” dates and production code above are included in this recall.

Consumers who have purchased Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food products with these specific “Best By” Date and Production Codes should discontinue feeding the product and discard it.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the product, and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products.  People handling contaminated dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.  Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for the following symptoms:  nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.  Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms.  Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.  If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.  Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.  If you pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For further information or to obtain a product refund, please call NPPC toll-free at 1-800-982-6559 or visit www.purina.com.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company is recalling a limited number of 3.5- and 7-pound bags of its Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food from a singl...
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Purina Recalls Dry Cat Food in Three States

Cat Chow, Friskies Grillers may be contaminated with Salmonella

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (NPPC) is voluntarily recalling approximately 870 bags of dry cat food shipped to Colorado, Idaho and Oregon. This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Only the following products with both the "Best By" date and production codes shown are included in this voluntary recall:  

Product NameBag Size"Best By" Date & Production Code*Bag UPC Code
Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Foot6.3 lb.AUG 2012 10331083 1317800 11320
Friskies Grillers Blend Dry Cat Food3.15 lb.AUG 2012 10381083 0650000 08450
Friskies Grillers Blend Dry Cat Food16 lb.AUG 2012 10381083 0650000 57578

 *"Best By" Date and Production Code is found on the back or bottom of the bag.

The bags of dry cat food in this recall were distributed in error in February, 2011 to a small number of customers in Colorado, Idaho and Oregon, which may have further distributed the product to other Western states. There have been no consumer complaints and no reports of illness.

No additional Purina cat or dog products are involved. Only products which match the "Best By" date and production codes above are involved.

Consumers who have purchased any of these dry cat food products with these "Best By" Dates and Production Codes should discard it.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the product and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products. People handling contaminated dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For further information or to obtain a product refund, please call NPPC toll-free at 1-800-982-6559 weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time, or visit www.purina.com.

Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (NPPC) is voluntarily recalling approximately 870 bags of dry cat food shipped to Colorado, Idaho and Oregon. This is ...
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Jr. Texas Taffy Pet Treats Recalled

Possible Salmonella contamination feared

Merrick Pet Care, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas is recalling the Jr. Texas Taffy pet treat (ITEM # 27077, UPC # 02280827077, All Lots up to and including 10364) because they have the potential to be contaminated withSalmonella.  Merrick Pet Care has made the decision to recall all Jr. Texas Taffy pet treats in the abundance of caution. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products.

People handling the treats can become infected withSalmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products.  Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle. 

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers immediately.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

TheJr. Texas Taffy was shipped to distributors and retailers throughout the US.  These individuals have been notified and have activated their recall procedures.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Consumers who have purchased the Jr. Texas Taffy are urged to return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-664-7387 M-F 8:00am – 5:00pm CST.

Jr. Texas Taffy Pet Treats Recalled. Possible Salmonella contamination feared....
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Woman Says Friskies Killed Her Cat

Similar accounts found online

A Florida woman is blaming Friskies cat food for the death of her beloved Smokey.

Kim Herget, of New Port Richey, told local news affiliate WTSP that after feeding her five-year-old cat, Smokey, Friskies  for several days, the animal fell ill. When Herget took him to the vet, he was diagnosed with acute kidney failure and put to sleep.

Cause and effect?

Herget had switched to Friskies from a different cat food. Her vet was unable to determine whether the food had caused Smokey's illness, and the cat was so sick that he couldn't draw enough blood to run additional tests. A medical chart prepared by the vet said the only difference before and after the kidney failure was the cat's change in diet.

Friskies was the subject of a class-action lawsuit several years ago. While Herget says she was aware of the suit, she assumed that the litigation had spurred parent company Purina to fix any remaining problems with the food.

But Herget started looking around on the Internet and soon found accounts of similar experiences from other cat owners. Many of those accounts included a switch to Friskies followed by throwing up, hair loss, and, in some cases, death -- all symptoms that Herget says Smokey experienced.

Pet food woes

While the cause of Smokey's death is still unclear -- and probably will remain so -- it raises old questions about the safety of pet food in general. In March 2007, Menu Foods recalled 53 brands of dog food and 42 brands of cat food after tests showed  the foods caused kidney failure. Many of the brands were found to be infected with rodent poisoning, a revelation that then-CEO Paul Henderson was unable to explain.

A number of lawsuits concerning that recall, which were eventually consolidated in a New Jersey federal court, were settled in late 2008.

A separate lawsuit targeted Canidae, after a number of consumers said their pets became sick after eating that brand of food. Canidae dismissed a lab report from 2007 showing that the food contained acetaminophen, a type of painkiller.

Importance of due diligence

Herget's experience also highlights the need for thorough research before making the decision to switch your cat or dog food. Consumer websites like ConsumerAffairs.com have both good and bad reviews of many brands of pet food, and let you know which behaviors following a switch are normal and which ones are not.

None of this is much comfort to Herget, who told WTSP that she cries herself to sleep on a regular basis. WTSP said that for Herget, as for many pet owners, “pets are not just animals, they are part of the family.”

Woman Says Friskies Killed Her CatFinds similar accounts online...
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Feds Probe Reports of Dog Deaths, Illnesses From Pork Bone Treats

Missouri company says it is "proud" of its products, refuses to compensate pet owners


A Missouri pet products company is under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amid reports that scores of dogs have became seriously ill or died after eating the manufacturers treats. The company at the heart of the probe is Dynamic Pet Products of Washington, Mo., an FDA spokesman told ConsumerAffairs.com today.

FDA is aware of the issue and is looking into it, according to a statement the spokesman sent us. We take very seriously any potential harm to pets from products regulated under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and encourage consumers to report their concerns to the FDA. If warranted we will take appropriate action and notify the public.

ConsumerAffairs.com has received several complaints about one of the company's treats -- Real Ham Bones. Pet owners say the 8 hickory smoked pork femur bones -- sold as treats -- have splintered and caused their dogs to become violently ill or even die.

My dog ate the bone and died, said pet owner Christina N. of Collierville, Tennessee. The company denied my claim for vet bills. They said I chose to give my dog the bone. This was a very, very painful death for Buddy. Many dogs have died from this product. I had a necropsy done and still they claim it wasn't their product.

A Texas pet owner also blamed the death of her dog on the companys chew bones: I purchased the pet treat for my dog and it killed him, said Kriss L. of Richardson, Texas. Words cannot express my grief.

Not a dime

An Indiana pet owner told us her dog had to undergo surgery after chewing one of Dynamics Real Ham Bones. The dogs health problems, she said, surfaced ten minutes after it started chomping on the treat.

I noticed it had broken apart, so I took it away from her (and) a short time later she was gravely ill, trying to vomit but couldnt, said Patti S. She couldnt even drink water.

Patti rushed her dog to the vet. They took X-rays and said she had splinters of the bone in her intestines and she had to go through surgery. Thank God I have a great vet because she is the reason my dog is still alive.

Patti called Dynamic Pet Products about her dogs experience. The company referred her case to its insurance carrier, which denied Pattis claim.

They would not pay a dime, she said. They (said) they were not at fault. They said I was for not monitoring my dog closely enough.

A New Jersey pet owner also told us her dogs became sick after eating one of Dynamics chew bones: On March 2, I bought two Real Ham Bones for my two Bulldogs, said Nadine of Woodstown, New Jersey. That night, one Bulldog threw up 5 times.

Nadines vet ordered X-rays on the dog, but they did not reveal any blockage. The vet, however, blamed the chew bone for the dogs gastric problems, she said.

This is day three (and) she has not moved her bowels yet and (we) will have to have another trip to the vet.

What about Nadines other Bulldog? She is moving her bowels, but they are full of bone, she said.

Similar problems

Another pet owner told us her dog experienced similar problems after gnawing on one Dynamics chew bones.

I bought a Real Ham Bone made by Dynamic and a few hours later my dog was throwing up and yelping when he had a bowel movement, said Maureen G. of Gladstone, Missouri. I decided to Google the product and found out this has happened to a lot of pets.

This product needs to be taken off the shelf, she added. How many dogs have to die first? Luckily, my dog will be okay. I bought it for him thinking that it would be safe and unfortunately the product isn't.

ConsumerAffairs.com contacted Dynamic Pet Products today about the FDAs investigation and the complaints weve received about its chew bones. The company did not return our call.

Dynamics Web site states the Real Ham Bones are not recommended for aggressive chewers. As with all natural bones, we recommend supervision during eating, the Web site points out. The companys Web site also states that its proud of its track record and reputation.

Dynamic has not pulled any of its chew bones or treats off the market and pet owners are likely to still find them on store shelves.

The FDA said pet owners can report any health problems their dogs experience with Dynamic Pet Products chew bones or treats to the agencys Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their region.

Feds Probe Reports of Dog Deaths, Illnesses From Pork Bone Treats...
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Salmonella Concerns Prompt Recall of Dog Treats

No reports of illnesses have been linked to the product


Fears of salmonella contamination have triggered a recall of nearly 75,000 dog treats by the The Hartz Mountain Corporation.

The New Jersey-based pet products company over the weekend voluntarily pulled one lot of its Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs off store shelves, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.

The recall is limited to the eight-ounce bags of the beef treats that have the lot code BZ0969101E and the UPC number of 32700-11519.

Hartz imported the treats from Brazilian supplier Bertin S.A. According to the FDA, Bertin tested the products before shipping them to the United States and did not detect any signs of the bacterium that can cause food poisoning.

Random sample testing by the FDA, however, uncovered the presence of salmonella in the dog treats, the federal agency said.

No ill effects

Hartz is "aggressively investigating the source of the problem," the FDA said. Although the company has not received any reports of illnesses -- in dogs or humans -- linked to the treats, it is pulling the products from all retail stores and distribution centers, the FDA said.

The agency warned that pet owners can become infected if they handle any salmonella-tainted products, especially if they don't wash their hands after touching them.

Salmonella cause serious infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems, the FDA said. Symptoms of salmonella infections in dogs and humans include fever, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. People or dogs experiencing those symptoms should immediately seek medical attention, the FDA said.

The agency also warned that infected -- but otherwise healthy -- pets can spread salmonella to other animals or people.

Dog owners who have any of the recalled treats should immediately throw them away, the FDA said. For more information about this action or how to obtain a refund, pet owners can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414.



Salmonella Concerns Prompt Recall of Dog Treats...
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P&G Recalls Limited Number of Iams Cat Food Bags

The affected bags were sold only in Colorado


Salmonella concerns have prompted Procter & Gamble to pull a limited number of bags of cat food off store shelves.

P&G Sunday recalled a small number of Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care dry cat food bags, which were recently sold in one or two Loveland, Colorado, stores.

The company said the cat food has the potential to be tainted with salmonella, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. P&G, however, said it has not received any reports of illnesses linked to the pet food.

The recall is limited to Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care cat food sold in blue 6.8-pound bags, with a code date of 02304173 (B1-B6), and a UPC number of 1901403921.

P&G has worked with its retailers to remove the affected product from stores in the area, the company said. P&G believes that only three bags may have been purchased recently by consumers in the area. Yet, as a precautionary measure, the company is initiating this retrieval.

Pet owners who purchased the recalled cat food should discard it and contact P&G at 800-862-3332 for a replacement product.

Sundays action is the latest in a string of salmonella-related recalls the Cincinnati-based pet food maker has issued this summer.

In July, the company pulled two lots of its Iams Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal dry food off the market because of possible salmonella contamination. Less than two weeks later, the company expanded that recall to include some of its Iams and Eukanuba dry dog and cat food products.

P&G said it has not received any reports of illnesses linked to those recalled products, which were sold in veterinary clinics and specialty pet stores in the United States and Canada.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, warned pet owners they can become infected with salmonella if they handle any the recalled foods especially if they dont wash their hands after touching surfaces exposed to the products.

Symptoms of salmonella infections in healthy people include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever, the FDA said. In rare cases, salmonella can cause arterial infections, arthritis, muscle pain, and other serious health problems.

Pets with salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain, the FDA said. If the infections are not treated, pets can become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

The FDA also warned that infected -- but otherwise healthy -- pets can spread salmonella to other animals or people.

Consumers with dogs or cats that ate the recalled food should contact their veterinarians if their pets experience any of these symptoms, the FDA said.

P&G Recalls Limited Number of Iams Cat Food Bags...
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Merrick Pet Care Recalls Texas Hold'Em Dog Treats

Firm warns of possible salmonella contamination

A Texas pet food company is again expanding its recall of beef-flavored dog treats because of continued concerns about salmonella contamination.

Merrick Pet Care, Inc. on Monday announced it's widening the companys July recall to include all lots of 10 ounce Beet Filet Squares and Texas HoldEms treats, saying the products have the potential to be tainted with the bacterium that causes food poisoning.

This is the third time in recent weeks the Amarillo-based company has issued a recall involving various lot numbers of the treats, which were shipped to distributors and retailers nationwide.

In July, Merrick pulled 86 cases of its beef filet squares off the market after a sample analyzed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested positive for salmonella. Earlier this month, the company pulled another 83 cases of those treats -- and the Texas HoldEms treats -- off store shelves. On Monday, Merrick recalled all lots of the treats sold in 10 ounce plastic bags because of ongoing concerns about salmonella contamination.

The company, however, said it has not received any reports of illnesses linked to the recalled treats.

Salmonella poses a health risk to animals and people who handle products tainted with the bacterium, the FDA said.

Salmonella poses a health risk to animals and people who handle the products tainted with the bacterium, the FDA said.

People can become infected with salmonella if they do not thoroughly wash their hands after touching contaminated products or any surfaces exposed to them.

Symptoms of salmonella infections in people include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever, the FDA said. In rare cases, salmonella can cause arterial infections, arthritis, muscle pain, and other serious health problems. People who experience these symptoms after handling salmonella-tainted products should contact their physicians.

Pets with salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets may only experience decreased appetites, fever, and abdominal pain.

Pet owners with dogs that experience any of these symptoms after eating the recalled treats should contact their veterinarians, the FDA said.

The agency also warned that infected but otherwise healthy pets can spread salmonella to animals and humans.

Consumers who purchased the recalled treats can return them to the store for a full refund, the company said. For more information about this action, contact Merrick at 1-800-664-7387.



Merrick Pet Care Recalls Texas Hold'Em Dog Treats...
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Pet Owner Finds Dead Frog in Canned Dog Food

'Brown clump' in Pedigree can turns out to be a dead amphibian


An Illinois pet owner made what she calls a disgusting discovery when she recently opened a can of Pedigree dog food. Inside the can of chicken with gravy food Dianne T. says she found a dead frog.

It was the most disgusting thing, she told ConsumerAffairs.com. I almost hurled and I have a strong stomach.

Dianne says she often splits a can of wet food between her four dogs two Blue Merle Collies, an Old English Sheepdog, and her ailing moms Shih Tzu.

When I opened up this can on Thursday night I saw a brown clump in the food, the Frankfort, Illinois, pet owner says. I was like what is that? I flipped it over and it was a dead frog.

I walked over to the kitchen sink because I thought I was going to throw up, she adds. It was gross. I had to call my son and he said, Oh my God its a frog, its a frog.

Dianne called the company that makes the food, Mars Petcare US, to report the dead frog food.

And what got me mad is they offered me coupons for more dog food. I told them I dont want your coupons. Why would I want to give my dogs more of this food? I will never buy or feed Pedigree canned food again, Dianne adds. I wont even donate what I have left to a shelter.

The frog-tainted can was part of a case of Pedigree Choice Cuts in gravy food that Dianne purchased in early August from Sams Club. It has a best by date of 4/25/12 and the manufacturers number is 017c1kkcf.

Half the cans were chicken and half were beef, Dianne says. And my dogs have been eating other cans from this same case.

Dianne is now worried that her dogs -- or someone elses -- could become sick from any Pedigree food made at the same time as the can with the dead amphibian.

My big concern is whats going into this food, she says. Whats going into this food that people are feeding their pets? Obviously, its not chicken. Theres a frog in that food a whole dead frog. And if theres a frog in there, what else is in the food?

Dianne says she doesnt know what type of frog is in the food or if its poisonous.

Are there toxins in that frog? she asks. Everything I read about poisonous frogs said they keep their toxins in them after they after die. Does that mean the toxins were spread through Lord knows how many cans when the food was processed? What else could the frog have contaminated?

Mild symptoms

Dianne immediately contacted her veterinarian after she discovered the dead frog in her dogs food.

I asked him what could happen if the dogs ate from a can that contained a dead frog, she says. And he said they could have diarrhea, vomiting, and neurological problems.

In the past few days, Dianne says her healthy, active dogs have experienced some mild signs of those problems.

My dogs have had some loose bowels, says Dianne, who is now feeding them cooked rice and chicken. And my older collie suddenly turned up lame on Tuesday. She didnt want to get up and was holding up her back paw. My vet couldnt find anything wrong, but said to bring her back on Saturday. It may be a pinched nerve and she is getting better.

Mars customer service representative, however, told Dianne the dead frog did not pose any health risks to her dogs.

She said they cant get any diseases from this because the food is cooked in the can so its sterile. But what kind of quality control is going on when a dead frog is in the food? That frog had to be in the food when they prepared it.

ConsumerAffairs.com contacted Mars about the frog-tainted dog food and the company told us its investigating Diannes unlikely claim.

At Mars Petcare US, quality and food safety is our top priority, the company said in a statement ConsumerAffairs.com received Friday evening. While its highly improbable that this could occur, were taking it very seriously and launching a full-scale investigation into this consumers claim.

Mars added: We are sending a third-party to the consumers home today to collect the frog and deliver it directly to an independent lab for testing. Its important to note that canned pet food is cooked at high temperatures and processed on high speed equipment, making it very unlikely that a frog could become enclosed in a can.

Dianne told us on Saturday that no one with Mars or an independent lab came to her home on Friday to pick up the dead frog.

Asked about the companys doubts concerning her claim, Dianne said: We figured theyd say that, but theres a cooked frog in this can of food. Its legs are curled. I think theyre side-stepping this situation.

Dianne also has a message to anyone else who doesnt believe she found a dead frog in her dogs can of Pedigree food.

Why would I put a dead frog in my dogs food? asks Dianne, a self-proclaimed dog lover who volunteers for Collie Rescue of Greater Illinois, Inc. I treat my dogs like people. I dont eat that stuff and dont expect my animals or anyone elses animals to do that, either.

I also have no desire to sue Mars. Thats the last thing on my mind.

Dianne, however, does expect Mars to take two specific actions.

What I want Mars to do is clean up their facility, she says. Frogs belong outside. They belong in a pond not in my dogs food. I also expect Mars to take care of my vet bills if my dogs get sick, but only it pertains to the dead frog.

To protect other dogs from eating food that might contain dead frogs, Dianne also reported her incident with Pedigrees food to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

And theyve now opened a complaint about this, she says. I dont want anyone feeding their dogs something that is unhealthy.



Pet Owner Finds Dead Frog in Canned Dog Food...
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P&G; Recalls Prescription Cat Food

Iams Veterinary Formulas lot may have Salmonella contamination


Procter & Gamble (P&G) is recalling two specific lots of its prescription renal dry cat food as a precautionary measure. The company says it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella.

The recalled product is identified as Iams Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal 5.5 lbs; lot code 01384174B4; UPC code 0 19014 21405 1.

This product is available by prescription through veterinary clinics throughout the U.S.

No illnesses have been reported. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) analysis identified a positive result on the lot codes listed above. Lot codes can be found in the lower right corner on the back of the bag.

Consumers who have purchased dry cat food with this code should discard it.

People handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.

Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian.



P&G Recalls Prescription Cat Food...
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Feline's Pride Recalls Raw Cat Food

Salmonella contamination feared in some of the frozen raw food

A New York company today recalled some of its raw food for cats and kittens because of possible salmonella contamination.

Felines Pride of Elma, New York, said its pulling its Natural Chicken Formula in 2.5 pound plastic containers off the market. The frozen raw food with ground bone for cats and kittens included in this action were made on June 10, 2010.

The company sold the products in uncoded plastic containers to private consumers nationwide. Felines Pride makes its food when consumers place their orders and its products have a shelf life of about one week. Only those orders placed and shipped from June 10 through June 17, 2010, are included in this recall.

Felines Pride and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating to find the source of this problem.

The company and the FDA said they have not received any reports of illnesses linked to the recalled food. But the FDA warned that people handling raw pet food can become infected with salmonella. The risks increase if pet owners have not thoroughly washed their hands after handling the food or touching any surfaces exposed to the products.

Symptoms of salmonella infections in people include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, minimal diarrhea, fever, and headache. Children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to these types of infections and may experience more severe symptoms, according to the FDA.

Anyone who experiences these symptoms after handling the recalled pet food should immediately contact their health care provider, the FDA said.

Pets with salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets will only have decreased appetites, fever and abdominal pains.

The FDA warned that infected but otherwise healthy pets can still be carriers of salmonella and infect other animals or humans.

Pet owners with cats that have eaten this recalled food -- and display these symptoms -- should contact their veterinarians.

The FDA said pet owners should not feed the recalled products to their cats and advised consumers to immediately discard the food.

For more information about this action, pet owners can contact the company at (716) 580-3096.



Feline's Pride Recalls Raw Cat Food...
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Pro-Pet Dog Vitamins Recalled After Salmonella Scare

Bacterium can also affect humans who handle infected products

By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com

June 23, 2010
A salmonella scare has prompted an Ohio company to recall some of its vitamins for dogs.

United Pet Group of Cincinnati is pulling all unexpired lots of its Pro-Pet Adult Daily vitamin supplement tablets for dogs because of the possible contamination.

The company took this action out of an abundance of caution after one lot of the product tested positive for salmonella, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning.

The recalled vitamins -- sold in retail stores nationwide -- come in 100-count white plastic bottles with a light blue label and have a UPC of 26851-01800. All bottles with expiration dates on or before 06/13 are included in this action.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said salmonella can affect pets and humans who handle products contaminated with the bacterium.

Pets with salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets will only experience decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected -- but otherwise healthy pets -- can still spread the bacterium to other animals or humans, according to the FDA. Consumers with pets that consumed the recalled vitamins and have these symptoms should contact their veterinarians.

The FDA warned that people who handle dry pet food or treats tainted with salmonella can also become infected. The risk is greater for those who have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the contaminated products or any surfaces exposed to them.

Symptoms of salmonella poisoning in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. In rare cases, salmonella can cause arterial infections, arthritis, and other serious health problems, the FDA said. Anyone who experiences these symptoms after handling a salmonella-tainted pet product should contact their physician.

United Pet Group said consumers should immediately stop giving their dogs the recalled vitamins. For more information about this action, pet owners can contact the company at 1-800-645-5154, extension 3.



Pro-Pet Dog Vitamins Recalled After Salmonella Scare...
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Natural Balance Pulls Sweet Potato, Chicken Dry Dog Food

FDA finds salmonella bacterium during routine testing

By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com

June 21, 2010
Natural Balance has pulled some of its Sweet Potato & Chicken dry dog food off the market because of possible salmonella contamination.

The California company took the action after a random sample analyzed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested positive for the bacterium that can cause food poisoning. That sample had a Best By date of June 17, 2011, the FDA said.

The only products involved in this recall are the Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken dry dog food in 5-pound and 28-pound bags with the "Best By" date of June 17, 2011, the company said. The UPC on the 5 pound bag is 7-23633-9000-4 and the UPC on the 28-pound bag is 7-23633-99002-8.

Natural Balance said there are no reports of any illnesses linked to the recalled food, which was manufactured on December 17, 2009.

Upon hearing from the FDA, I immediately went to our Director of Customer Service, a licensed Registered Veterinary Technician, to check call logs for any complaints with this product, the companys president, Joey Herrick, wrote in a June 18, 2010, letter posted on Natural Balances Web site. Our Customer Service department closely tracks and monitors complaints for any potential issues; and I heard no reports in our weekly meetings, so I was not surprised when I found we did not have a single complaint about this product.

Herrick said he also hired an independent lab to test the companys retention sample from the recalled lot.

Those test results also came back negative, he said, including a link to the findings by Zoologix. I reported our test results and call logs to the FDA, but due to the positive result they had found, they recommended a recall.

The company distributed the recalled food in pet specialty stores in the following 26 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Herrick said his company has strict testing protocols and he was surprised by the FDAs findings.

"In my mind, I asked, How can this happen? I spent over $900,000 putting in our laboratory to test our products before we release them. We tested samples from the production run when it was manufactured six months ago, and the results came back negative.

He added: I believe that we are the only pet food company that has built an in-house lab as an added check and gives you the test results in real time on our website. We hold the finished product in our warehouses for two to three days, until that testing is completed. We only release product to be shipped when the testing is negative.

Not perfect

Nonetheless, Herrick conceded there is no perfect testing protocol.

But the alternative is not testing at all, he wrote. That wouldnt work for me. I wouldnt be able to sleep at night knowing we arent testing every product before it goes out, to help make sure our products are the best in the business. Any testing is much safer for you and your pets than the alternative, which is not testing at all.

The FDA said salmonella can affect pets and humans who handle products contaminated with the bacterium. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning in humans includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. In rare cases, salmonella can cause arterial infections, arthritis, and other serious health problems, the FDA said. Anyone who experiences these symptoms after handling the recalled pet food should contact their physician.

Pets with salmonella infections can be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets may have decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain.

The FDA warned that infected -- but otherwise healthy pets -- can still spread the bacterium to other animals or humans. Pet owners with dogs that ate the recalled food and exhibit these symptoms should contact their veterinarians, the FDA said.

Natural Balance said pet owners can return any of the recalled food for a full refund. For more information, pet owners can contact Natural Balance at (800) 829-4493 or check the companys Web site.

Natural Balance Pulls Sweet Potato, Chicken Dry Dog Food...
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Oklahoma Memorial Will Honor Pets Poisoned by Melamine

Tulsa couple donates five-acre site to honor dogs and cats felled by tainted pet food


A grieving pet owner is creating a memorial to honor the thousands of dogs and cats that died or became seriously ill during the 2007 melamine-tainted pet food recall.

The Oklahoma woman and her husband, who lost six pets in the recall that nuked their lives, have donated five acres of land near Keystone Lake in Tulsa for the sanctuary theyve named Vindication.

The memorial is scheduled to open on June 12, 2010.

The animals that were lost or are still suffering need to be counted and acknowledged, says the woman, who wants to remain anonymous. I want people to feel like their animals did matter. This memorial is to honor the bond between animals and humans.

Creating the memorial is also the donors way of helping pet owners deal with heartbreaking loss of their beloved dogs and cats.

Such a loss can shatter someones life, she says. It devastated hers.

She and her husband lost two dogs and four cats because of melamine-tainted food.

By March 17, one day after Menu announced its recall, I had three dead animals and three who were dying slowly, the woman says. I have cleaned vomit and bloody urine and know what happens when pets die of catastrophic kidney failure. And I cant tell you how it hurts me to open my door and walk into an empty house.

But this (memorial) isnt about my loss, she adds. Its about the thousands and thousands of pet owners out who are being stabbed in the backs. There is no justice or mercy for them or their pets. And there are no safer pet foods out there. Im doing this as one grieving pet family to the rest of those out there. And I honestly feel this will help their hearts heal.

The donor plans to transform the five acres of Oklahomas ancient Cross Timbers -- covered with 500-year-old oak trees -- into a memorial garden that will feature cascading pathways lined with flowers, park benches, and handmade stones. Each stone will bear the name of a dog or cat that died or is still sick because of the contaminated pet food, the donor says.

I will make all the stones at no cost to pet owners, she told ConsumerAffairs.com. I expect I will be overwhelmed, but I felt compelled to do this for the pet people. Its time somebody did something right for them.

Remembered 16

At the memorials entrance, the donor plans to create what she calls the Remembered 16 Circle. Shes making 16 stones to represent each of the animals that died during Menu Foods feed tests more than a month before the company announced the 2007 recall, the largest in United States history.

I gave them each a name, the donor says. They deserve to be honored. We need to lay their ghosts to rest.

The memorial will be divided into two areas -- one to honor the pets that died during the recall and the other for the dogs and cats that continue to suffer from the effects of the melamine-laced food.

Were going to show the names of the dead and tell the truth about what it costs to feed poison, the donor says. The dead wont lie; they died because of the pet food.

The donor also wants to honor the thousands of pets whose bodies are ravaged from the tainted food and the families who still struggle financially to care for their ailing dogs and cats.

Why were there no provisions made for the pets that are still sick in the lawsuits (filed in the wake of the recall)? the donor asks. Do you know the cost people are still paying for kidney failure in their animals? Its a staggering expense. Were going to collect stories about the economic devastation caused by the recall. Its costing pet owners hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The donor is all too familiar with the exorbitant costs of caring for pets with melamine-related illnesses. She and her husband planned to build a house and retire on the five acres they donated for the Vindication memorial.

But we cant afford to do that, not after all our (veterinary) expenses, she says. I guess the universe had different plans for us.

She adds: When I told my husband what I wanted to do, he said, Fine, lets do it for all the pet owners. And then he bought me a chainsaw.

Sorrow and anger

Traces of sorrow and anger are still etched in the donors voice when she talks about the heartache her family endured because of the melamine-tainted pet food.

Were still grieving, she says. It was unbearable to watch my husband hold our babies (pets) as they died. And it happened again and again.

She's furious that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) didnt do more to prevent this unbelievable nightmare.

The FDA can say all they want about how they didnt know what was going on, but theyre lying through their teeth, the donor says. The FDA has intentionally inflicted pain on us.they knew melamine was flooding into the country.

The cruelties have been done to pets and their owners, she adds. The last three years have been an unbelievable nightmare for them.

The donor, however, doesnt want to continue waging a verbal battle with the FDA and others involved in the recall. Shes chosen an unconventional war tactic to address her concerns and help grieving pet owners nationwide.

Im not talking anymore, she says. Im going to be gardening. Im an unusually gifted gardener and one determined person. And Ive found peace doing this for others.

The donors generosity has already given a grieving pet owner in Rhode Island a sense of peace.

This is a gift to all the pets who suffered, says Carol V., who lost two cats because of the tainted food. It shows how many pets suffered. It makes them count for something. It means theyre not forgotten.

Carols beloved cats will never be forgotten by her family or other pet owners who tour Vindication.

The donor has finished a memorial stone for one of Carols cats, a Calico named Smudge. The 13-year-old feline died in December 2008 of renal failure.

I cried like a baby when I saw Smudges stone, Carol told us. It made me feel like shes part of something bigger.

I think she (the donor) understands the depths of sadness pet owners have endured and had to do something. And it gives me a personal sense of peace that Smudge is now part of this memorial.

Pet advocate Susan Thixton, who runs www.TruthaboutPetFood.com, also applauds the donors action and generosity.

This gift has been given to us because the donors wanted all the innocent pets to be remembered, says Thixton, the spokesperson for the anonymous donor and her husband. They wanted no one to forget why these pets died or became ill, and they wanted pet owners to have something that can never be taken away.

The donors are leaving the five acres in a trust and have set aside money in their estate to maintain the property, Thixton says. They wanted this (memorial) to go to all pet owners.

The donors are not independently wealthy people. Thixton says. They are an average family that has been shattered by pet food. They recognized that we (pet owners) have been crushed time and time again. No laws have changed, no lawsuits have been settled, (and) none responsible have been jailed.

Now, thanks to this compassionate family, all these pets will be remembered; why they died will be remembered.

Pet owners whod like their deceased or ailing dogs or cats memorialized at Vindication can fill out a form on Thixtons Web site.

God bless these pet owners, the donor says. Everything thats been done to them in the past three years dishonors them. This (memorial) is to honor them and their petsI hope it makes them feel better.



Oklahoma Memorial Will Honor Pets Poisoned by Melamine...
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Chemnutra Owners Sentenced for Melamine-Tainted Pet Food

Nevada couple gets probation and $25,000 fine



A federal judge today sentenced two Nevada business owners to three years probation for distributing a melamine-tainted ingredient that triggered a massive pet food recall in 2007 and caused the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dog and cats nationwide.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer also ordered Sally Qing Miller, 43, a Chinese national, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, 57, to each pay a $5,000 fine. In addition, Whipple ordered the Miller's company, Chemnutra, Inc., to pay a $25,000 fine.

Today's sentencing ends a long legal case that centered on the involvement of the Millers and Chemnutra with importing and distributing the melamine-tainted wheat gluten used in the recalled pet food.

A Rhode Island pet owner whose cats died after eating some of the tainted food said today's sentence was too lenient, and justice was not served.

"I feel the sentence is not appropriate, said Carol V. of Rhode Island, whose beloved cats, Smudge and Jessica, died of renal failure. "They (the Millers) did not follow the rules and thousands suffered because of it -- financially and emotionally."

"There is no justice for Smudge, Jessica, or the others," she added. "This was no elbow knocking over a bad ingredient. Whether or not they knew someone in China adulterated the product does not matter to me. This company did not abide by the laws and rules of importing a food product. Laws and rules exist for a reason. When they are broken, there should be consequences."

But federal officials applaud the judge's sentence and their investigation and prosecution of the case.

"Today's sentence sends a strong message that we will work tirelessly to stop dangerous goods from entering the American marketplace," said John Morton, the Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "ICE will continue to aggressively pursue individuals and organizations involved with illegally importing tainted or substandard goods that may jeopardize the safety of our families, communities and pets."

"We commend the action of the U.S. Attorney's Office against those companies and individuals responsible for many animal injuries and deaths from melamine contamination of pet food. The FDA will support strong enforcement of the law to protect the health and safety of our pets," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Chemnutra is a Nevada-based company that buys food products in China and imports them into the United States. The company then sells those products to pet food makers and other manufacturers in the food industry. Sally Miller is Chemnutra's controlling owner and president, while Stephen Miller is an owner and the company's chief executive officer.

From November of 2006 through February 2007, Chemnutra and Millers imported more than 800 metric tons of melamine-tainted wheat gluten from China in at least 13 separate shipments, according to a federal indictment. Melamine is a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers and is not allowed in human or pet food.

Chemnutra and the Millers received the melamine-tainted wheat gluten at a port of entry in Kansas City, Missouri, the indictment said. The company then sold and shipped the tainted wheat gluten to customers across the United States, who used the tainted product to make various brands of pet food.

A federal grand jury in 2008 indicted the Millers and Chemnutra for their roles in importing the tainted wheat gluten.

The Millers and their company later pleaded guilty to one count of selling adulterated food and one count of selling misbranded food.

"By pleading guilty, Chemnutra and the Millers admitted that melamine was substituted wholly or in part for the protein requirement of the wheat gluten so as to make it appear the wheat gluten was better or of greater value than it was," Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said in a statement released today. "They also admitted that the labeling of the wheat gluten was false and misleading because the wheat gluten was represented to have a minimum protein level of 75 percent, when in fact it did not. The labeling was also false and misleading because melamine was not listed on the label as an ingredient."

During today's federal court hearing, Judge Maughmer decided not to impose further restitution because of the $24 million settlement reached in a civil suit filed in the wake of the pet food recall.

The melamine-tainted wheat gluten forced pet food makers to recall more than 150 brands of dog and cat food during 2007. It was the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

Dogs and cats across the country suffered kidney failure after eating the contaminated food. While there is no coordinated national tracking system to monitor the number of pet deaths, the FDA said approximately 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating pet food made with tainted wheat gluten imported from China.

Wheat gluten is a natural protein used as binding agent in pet food to thicken the gravy. Adding melamine to the wheat gluten made the product appear to have a higher protein level than it did, FDA officials said.

Back in Kansas City, Phillips said her office will continue to aggressively prosecute companies and individuals who put consumers at risk.

"We are committed to protecting the health and safety of the public," she said. "We will vigorously prosecute those who violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other federal statutes designed to protect the public from this kind of criminal conduct."

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Porter and Joseph Marquez prosecuted the Chemnutra case. It was investigated by the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Chemnutra Owners Sentenced for Melamine-Tainted Pet Food...
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FDA Warns Pet Owners of Salmonella in Beef Treats

Merrick Beef Filet Squares flagged for recall


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today warned pet owners not give their dogs Merrick Beef Filet Squares that have a best by day date of "111911" because the treats may be contaminated with salmonella.

The products included in this warning are packaged in 10-ounce green, red and tan re-sealable plastic bags. The Texas-based Merrick Pet Care, Inc., distributed the treats nationwide in retail stores and Internet sales.

The "best by" date is printed on the top portion of the bag, which is torn off when the package is opened. The FDA said consumers who cannot find the "best by" date should discontinue use the products.

Today's action comes after routine testing by the FDA in December 2009 detected salmonella in Merrick Beef Filet Squares. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause food poisoning and other health problems.A follow-up inspection found deficiencies in the packaging and manufacturing processes, the FDA said.

Although there are no reports of illnesses linked to these treats, the FDA said consumers who have the products should not to handle or feed them to their pets.

Salmonella can affect both humans and animals, the FDA said. People who handle dry pet treats can become infected with salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after touching the treats or any surfaces exposed to the products.

Salmonella can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever, the FDA said. In rare cases, the bacterium can cause more serious health problems, including arterial infections, inflammation of the lining of the heart, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.Consumers who develop any of these problems after handling these dog treats should immediately call their doctor, the FDA said.

Pets with salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets may only have a decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain.

Infected but seemingly healthy pets can spread the salmonella bacterium to other animals or humans, the FDA warned.

Agency officials said pet owners with dogs ate the affected treats, or owners with pets experiencing any symptoms, should immediately contact their veterinarian.

Consumers can file complaints about these or other FDA-regulated pet food and treats with the the consumer complaint coordinator in their area. The FDA has more information about filing a pet food complaint on its Web site.

FDA Warns Pet Owners of Salmonella in Beef Treats...
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FDA Warns of Salmonella Risk in Beef Hooves, Pig Ears

Pets and humans at risk from contaminated pet chews

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns pet owners not to give their pets beef hooves or pig ears made by a California company because of possible salmonella contamination.

FDA officials late Thursday cautioned pet owners about the potentially-tainted products, made by Pet Carousel of Sanger, California, and distributed in bulk and retail packaging to stores nationwide.

Pet Carousel made the products under conditions that facilitate cross-contamination within batches or lots, the FDA said. No illnesses are linked to these products, but the FDA advised pet owners not to handle these items or give them to their pets.

FDA officials said this alert covers pig ear products with the brand names Doggie Delight and Pet Carousel and beef hooves that have the brand names Choo Hooves, Dentleys, Doggie Delight, and Pet Carousel. All sizes and lots of these products made by Pet Carousel are included in this warning.

FDA officials in September tested pig ears made by Pet Carousel and discovered the products contained salmonella.

Those findings prompted FDA officials to inspect Pet Carousels manufacturing facilities. During that inspection, the agency took additional pet treat samples and found salmonella present in beef hooves, pig ears, and in the manufacturing environment, the FDA said.

Dentley Beef Hoof

The agencys warning comes on the heels of a national recall issued by PetSmart of two Dentley Beef Hoof products because of possible salmonella contamination.

Those recalled products are:

• Dentley's Bulk Cattle Hoof UPC# 73725703323, use by date of 10/14/2012;

• Dentley's 10 Pack Beef Hooves UPC# 73725736055, use by date of 10/14/2012.

Pet Carousel shipped the recalled hooves from its California plant to three PetSmart distribution centers in Ottawa, Illinois, Groveport, Ohio, and Newnan, Georgia.

Some PetSmart stores -- not all -- received the recalled products. The national pet retailer, however, recalled all the items from all its U.S. stores as a precaution earlier this week. PetSmart also put a register block to prevent the sale of the recalled hooves in its stores, removed the items from the PetSmart.com Web site, and notified PetPerks customers who purchased the products.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause health problems in humans and animals, the FDA said. People handling dry pet food or pet treats can become infected with salmonella, especially if they do not thoroughly wash their hands after handling the products.

Healthy people infected with salmonella may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. In some cases, salmonella can cause arterial infections, endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart), arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Pet owners who have any of those symptoms after handling these pet products should immediately contact their doctor.

Pets with salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting, the FDA said. Some pets may only experience a decrease in their appetites, fever, and abdominal pain. Pets that have any of those symptoms should be seen by a veterinarian.

Easily spread

The FDA also warned that infected pets can spread the bacteria to other animals or humans.

Pet owners who purchased the recalled products should immediately discontinue use and return the hooves for a full refund.

More information about the recall is available on the companys Web site . Pet owners can also contact PetSmarts Customer Service at 1-888-839-9638.

In the meantime, the FDA said it will continue to investigate this matter to determine the source of the salmonella contamination.

Consumers with complaints about these or other FDA-regulated pet treats or food can call the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in their area.

FDA Warns of Salmonella Risk in Beef Hooves, Pig Ears...
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Wysong Pet Food Pulls Products Due To Mold

Third company in as many weeks to issue recall

By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com

October 15, 2009
A third pet food company in as many weeks has pulled some of its products off the market.

Wysong Pet Food confirmed that it recalled five batches of Canine Diets Maintenance and Senior dry dog food -- manufactured in June and July 2009 -- because the products contain mold.

"Penicillium and fusarium mold species have been identified," Lucas Wysong, the company's vice-president, told ConsumerAffairs.com. "All mycotoxin tests conducted thus far are negative with regard to the recalled products."

"That we released some product that was not of the highest quality and may have caused any animals harm makes us frankly ashamed and heartsick," he added.

Specifically, the Michigan-based pet food maker recalled the following batches of dry dog food:

• Wysong Maintenance: lot #: 090617

• Wysong Maintenance: lot #: 090624

• Wysong Maintenance: lot #: 090706

• Wysong Maintenance: lot #: 090720

• Wysong Senior: lot #: 090623

ConsumerAffairs.com talked to a pet owner in Hawaii who says her Doberman Pinscher recently died -- and her eight other dogs became sick -- after eating Wysong's moldy food.

Lucas Wysong said his family's company is working closely with that pet owner. He called the case "exceptional" and said his company has received only two other minor complaints -- reports of diarrhea -- linked to the recalled food.

Wysong told us his company discovered the problem in late September after it investigated customer complaints' of possible mold contamination in the food.

In a prepared statement, Wysong said "At first report of potential mold in our products, Wysong launched an internal investigation. Batch records were re-examined, numerous bags of product opened and scrutinized, product samples were acquired from customers, and testing in-house and out-of-house conducted."

That investigation, the company said, revealed the problem with the food stemmed from the "unusually high heat and humidity" on the days the products were made in June and July. The company also blamed the higher moisture issues on a "malfunctioning moisture checking device."

Wysong said his company notified its distributors about the problem on September 29, 2009.

"Once Wysong ascertained that there was mold presence and the potential for mold (based on moisture tests) in certain batches we alerted our distributors, who were the primary recipients of these batches of product," he said. "Distributors were instructed to dispose of the product, as well as pull product from stores that had already received the product."

The company also said it contacted stores that received the recalled product and asked them to remove the food from store shelves. In addition, the company destroyed any "problematic" batches that remained in-house.

Wysong also told us that his company notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)about the mold problem. The FDA's new Reportable Food Registry requires U.S. companies to file a report when there is a "reasonable probability" that their food will cause serious health consequences to people or animals.

Wysong also posted a recall notice on its Web site, but that warning is buried under the dry dog food section.

When asked why his company didn't immediately notify pet owners about the mold problem, Wysong said "The vast majority of the recalled product was sent to our distributors and retailers. We have therefore focused our efforts on alerting distributors and stores and asked them to dispose of the product."

"In other words, we are focusing on the supply chain because the customers at the retail/store level are not identifiable," he said.

Wysong admitted that posting a notice on the company's Web site is not the most effective way to reach customers who may have the recalled products.

"The actual recipients of the product -- distributors and retailers -- have already been alerted, and those that buy our product in stores are likely not Wysong.net site visitors," he said. "The notice on the site therefore serves as an alert to those who did not receive these products."

"We keep records of the distributors and stores that were shipped this product," he added. "Our best chance at notifying customers is through these mediums."

Pet owners who have any of the recalled food should immediately stop feeding it to their dogs, Wysong said.

"She did not deserve to die that way"

That warning, however, came too late for Julie P. of Hawaii. She says her healthy Doberman Pinscher, Scarlet, died on September 26, 2009, after eating some of Wysong's moldy food.

"Losing Scarlet was just horrible and totally needless," Julie told us. "She died a very painful and agonizing death on the morning of her fifth birthday after suffering all night long. She had gone completely toxic."

But Julie's nightmare didn't end with Scarlet's death. Her other eight Dobermans also became seriously ill after eating Wysong's moldy food.

"They're lethargic and continued to get more and more down as time went by," says Julie, who switched her dogs to Wysong in August. "They have very red eyes with yellow gunk that they have had the whole time I was feeding Wysong. That has now finally gone away because I took them off the food after Scarlet died," she said.

"They also had severe diarrhea the whole time, too. At first I thought it was from the changing of their food, but it got worse with some bloody stools and did not go away until again I stopped feeding them Wysong."

One of Julie's dogs, a male named Doug, also developed a sore on his leg that would not heal and had "dry flaky skin with red bumps on his neck."

"Several of my other dogs, including my Daddy, Ruby, and Maybelle all have a bad rash on their groin areas that I also could not get to go away for the last two months," Julie says. "They have had gaseous upset stomachs many times in the last two months. They have been throwing up, and at times, Doug refused to even get near his feeding dish."

Julie says she didn't make a connection between Wysong's food and her dogs' death and illnesses until she opened a new bag on October 4, 2009.

"When I opened that bag, I noticed a moldy look to the kibble -- a look I had seen on several previous bags in the two months I feed it to my dogs. I did not notice any smell, but I think my dog Doug did."

Julie contacted the company that same day. "I was afraid to feed them what looked to me like moldy food," she says. "And I started putting all these symptoms together as being from the food."

"I'm not sure how I can prove that all of these symptoms were from eating the bad dog food," she adds. "But now that I've stopped feeding the food to them, they are all getting better, which seems to prove that it was."

Julie says Wysong should give her some compensation -- at least enough to cover her vet bills -- but no amount of money can ever replace Scarlet.

"She did not deserve to die that way," Julie says. "She was still a young and vibrant dog and very, very special to us. She could have gone on to live another ten years...it's hard to put a price tag on that. What would you pay to have your loved one with you for all those days?"

Lucas Wysong told us his company is "immensely sorry" for any worry or inconvenience this issue has caused its customers.

In Julie's case, Wysong said his company is in "direct communication" with her regarding the death of Scarlet and the illnesses of her other dogs.

"We have requested specific tests be conducted in an attempt to definitively determined the cause of death/sickness," he said, adding the company has not received any other reports of serious adverse reactions linked to the recalled food.

The company, he added, has also taken steps to ensure a mold problem like this doesn't surface again.

"We are in the midst of scrutinizing each and every step of our quality assurance processes," he said. "All products going back for months are being tested for moisture and mold, thus eliminating the possibility of further problematic product (if any exists) being released.

"We vow to all interested parties to do everything we can to ensure that this never happens again."

Julie, however, isn't taking any more chances with Wysong's food.

"Like a lot of people I am going to be making my own food for my dogs. But with this many to feed, that's a challenge. It can be hard to get all the vitamins in there, so I would like to supplement with a small amount of kibble."

Meanwhile, pet owners who have any of Wysong's recalled food -- or questions about the recall -- can e-mail the company at Wysong@Wysong.net.

Third in a series

Wysong is the third pet food maker in recent weeks to quietly pull some of its products off the market.

Earlier this month, Diamond Pet Foods removed some of its Premium Edge Finicky Adult and Hairball cat food off the market because of deficiencies in the thiamine levels.

Diamond's action came just days after Nutro Products quietly pulled from the market three types of its puppy food because of a production error.

The company said it voluntarily withdrew the puppy food after it had discovered pieces of melted plastic in the "production line of select varieties of NUTRO dry dog and cat food products."

Wysong Pet Food Pulls Products Due To Mold...
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Diamond Pulls Premium Edge Cat Food from Shelves

Thiamine deficiency found in some bags of the product

Another pet food company has quietly withdrawn some of its products from store shelves.

Deficiencies in the thiamine levels of certain bags of Premium Edge Finicky Adult and Premium Edge Hairball cat food have prompted Diamond Pet Foods to pull the products from distribution.

The company made that announcement Premium Edges Web site.

The action comes just days after Nutro Products quietly removed from the market three types of its puppy food because of a production error.

Nutro confirmed its decision to voluntarily withdrawal the puppy food on its Web site last Wednesday, saying it had discovered pieces of melted plastic in the production line of select varieties of NUTRO dry dog and cat food products.

In this latest product withdrawal, Diamond said it is pulling from the market Premium Edge Finicky Adult and Hairball cat foods that have the following date codes: RAF0501A22X 18lb., RAF0501A2X 6 lb., RAH0501A22X 18 lb., RAH0501A2X 6lb.

Product testing proved no contaminants were discovered in the cat food; however the cat foods were deficient in thiamine, the company wrote on its Web site. Diamond tracked the vitamin premix lot number that was utilized in these particular cat foods and have performed testing on another lot of Premium Edge cat food that used the same vitamin premix, and it was not deficient in thiamine.

Symptoms of thiamine deficiency will be neurological in nature, according to the company. Any cats fed these date codes that display these symptoms should be immediately taken to a veterinarian, the company said, adding it has received calls about these health issues from pet owners or veterinarians primarily in the Rochester, New York, area.

The company said it asked all stores that received the cat food to pull the products off the shelves. The retailers were also asked to contact their customers via email or telephone requesting them to check the date code of the food, the company said.

Pet owners who have any of the Premium Edge cat foods involved in this action should return the products to the store, the company said.

For more information, contact Premium Edge at 1-800-977-8797.

The Nutro puppy food items quietly pulled off the market last week are:

• NUTRO ULTRA Puppy food for dogs, 4.5 pound bag, best buy date of 9/10/10, and a UPC of 79105 51313;

• NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal Formula Small Bites Puppy, 5 pound bag, best buy date of 9/10/10 and a UPC 79105 23050

Nutro said it shipped those bags of puppy food to PetSmart stores in California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.

The pet food maker also pulled select 30 pound bags of NUTRO ULTRA puppy food, which were distributed to PETCO stores in California, Nevada, Hawaii, and Utah. Those bags of food have a best buy date of 9/10/10 and a UPC of 79105 51315.

A Nutro representative told ConsumerAffairs.com last week that the company pulled the puppy food off the market after learning a workers plastic hard hat was sucked into the machinery.

Based on our extensive review, it is highly unlikely that any pieces of plastic made it into finished product, the company wrote on its Web site. However, upon learning of the incident, we voluntarily retrieved all potentially affected products.

Although Nutro said it found pieces of melted plastic in the production line for dry dog and cat food products, the company is not pulling any feline food off the market.

Customers who have any puppy food involved in this action can return the product to the store for a full refund or exchange, Nutro said.

For more information, pet owners can contact Nutro 1-800-833-5330.

Diamond Pulls Premium Edge Cat Food from Shelves...
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NUTRO Pulls Some Puppy Food from Shelves - Nutro Products Issues Update

Workers hard hat was sucked into machinery, company rep says


Nutro Products has provided updated information on its decision to pull some of its puppy food off the market because of a production error.

The company late Wednesday posted information about the action on its Web site, which confirmed it's removing three types of puppy food off store shelves after discovering pieces of melted plastic in the production line of select varieties of NUTRO dry dog and cat food products.

We identified the source as a workers bump cap, similar to a hard hat, which inadvertently made its way into our manufacturing process, the company wrote. We immediately retrieved the affected pet food from our distributors, and only three skus reached retail stores."

The company added: Based on our extensive review, it is highly unlikely that any pieces of plastic made it into finished product. However, upon learning of the incident, we voluntarily retrieved all potentially affected products.

A Nutro customer service representative on Wednesday told ConsumerAffairs.com that a workers plastic hard hat was sucked into some of the machinery and the bags of puppy food may have plastic in them.

The representative also said the puppy food involved in this voluntary product withdrawal was only shipped to PETCO and PetSmart stores in Arizona and California.

But Nutros Web site now states the food was distributed to six other states.

The Web site also lists different UPC codes on some of the puppy foods than the ones Nutros representative gave ConsumerAffairs.com on Wednesday morning.

According to NUTROs Web site, the company is pulling the following flavors of puppy food -- shipped to PetSmart stores in California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico -- off store shelves:

• NUTRO ULTRA Puppy food for dogs, 4.5 pound bag, best buy date of 9/10/10, and a UPC of 79105 51313;

• NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Chicken Meal, Rice and Oatmeal Formula Small Bites Puppy, 5 pound bag, best buy date of 9/10/10 and a UPC 79105 23050

Nutro also said it is pulling select 30-pound bags of NUTRO ULTRA puppy food, which were distributed to PETCO stores in California, Nevada, Hawaii, and Utah. Those bags of food have a best buy date of 9/10/10 and a UPC of 79105 51315.

Although Nutro said it found pieces of melted plastic in the production line for dry dog and cat food products, the company is not pulling any feline food off the market.

Customers who have any puppy food involved in this action can return the product to the store for a full refund or exchange, Nutro said.

For more information, pet owners can contact Nutro 1-800-833-5330.

Read more ...

Verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.
Recall notice

NUTRO Pulls Some Puppy Food from Shelves - Nutro Products Issues Update...
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NUTRO Pulls Some Puppy Food from Shelves

Workers hard hat was sucked into machinery, company rep says

Nutro Products is pulling some of its puppy food off store shelves because of a production error, ConsumerAffairs.com has learned.

A Nutro customer representative said the company is taking this action because a workers plastic hard hat was sucked into some machinery on Monday and the bags of puppy food may have plastic in them.

Nutros representative said the puppy food involved in this action -- distributed to PETCO and PetSmart stores in California and Arizona -- are:

• The 5 pound bags of Nutro Natural Choice Small Bites (Chicken Meal, Rice, and Oatmeal formula) puppy food with a best buy date of 9/10/10 and a UPC of 079105230506;

• The 4.5 pound bags of Nutro Ultra puppy food with a best buy date of 9/10/10 and a UPC of 079105513135;

• The 30 pound bags of Nutro Ultra puppy food with a best buy date of 9/10/10 and a UPC of 079105513159

Nutros representative said there are no problems with the puppy food. The company, she said, is removing the puppy food from store shelves as a precaution.

ConsumerAffairs.com contacted Nutros public relations office this morning, but did not receive an immediate reply. We also checked the companys Web site earlier today, but did not find any mention of this action.

A customer service representative with PetSmart, however, told us that Nutro had issued a voluntary product withdrawal of the puppy food. The representative listed the same flavors of puppy food, but did not have the UPC codes or the best buy dates. PetSmarts representative also said the company has not received any reports of illnesses or injuries linked to the puppy food involved in this action.

Customers with any of the puppy food involved in this action should not feed it to their pets, according to PetSmarts representative. Pet owners can return the puppy food to the store for a full refund or exchange.

Read more ...

Verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.
Recall notice

NUTRO Pulls Some Puppy Food from Shelves...
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Nevada Couple Pleads Guilty to Distributing Melamine-Tainted Gluten

Possible sentence of two years in prison, $200,000 fine

By Lisa Wade McCormick
ConsumerAffairs.com

June 16, 2009

A Nevada couple pled guilty in federal court today to distributing melamine-tainted wheat gluten, the ingredient blamed for the illnesses of deaths of thousands dogs and cats nationwide during the massive 2007 pet food recall.

Sally Qing Miller, 43, a Chinese national, and her husband, Stephen S. Miller, 56 — along with their company, Chemnutra, Inc., — entered their guilty pleas late this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Maughmer.

Sally Miller is the controlling owner and president of Chemnutra; Stephen Miller is an owner and chief executive officer of Chemnutra.

Each of the co-defendants pleaded guilty to one count of selling adulterated food and one count of selling misbranded food.

"Millions of pet owners were impacted by the pet food recall in 2007," said Matt J. Whitworth, acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. "The conduct of these defendants in violating federal health and safety standards caused the deaths and illness of thousands of family pets, as well as anxiety among dog and cat owners across the country and economic harm to many pet food manufacturers."

By entering their guilty pleas, the Millers and Chemnutra admitted:

The chemical melamine — used to make plastic — was added to the wheat gluten to make it appear that the product had a higher protein content;

The wheat gluten's labeling was false and misleading because it represented the product had a minimum protein level of 75 percent — when it did not — and melamine was not listed on the label as an ingredient.

Under federal statutes, the Millers can face up to two years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $200,000, and an order of restitution. Chemnutra is subject to a fine of up to $400,000 and an order of restitution.

The Las Vegas, Nevada, business buys food and food components in China and imports those products into the United States. The company then sells those products to businesses in the food industry, including pet food manufacturers.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Chemnutra and the Millers imported more than 800 metric tons of tainted wheat gluten from China — in at least 13 separate shipments — between November, 6, 2006, and February, 21, 2007. Federal authorities said those shipments — which totaled nearly $850,000 — were tainted with melamine.

Chemnutra and the Millers received the melamine-tainted wheat gluten at a port of entry in Kansas City, Missouri, and then sold and shipped the product to customers across the United States. Pet food makers then used the tainted product in various brands of food.

Role in pet food recall

During 2007, pet food manufacturers recalled more than 150 brands of dog and cat food that contained the tainted wheat gluten. Dogs and cats across the country that ate tainted pet food suffered kidney problems or died.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimated approximately 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating the melamine-tainted pet food.

ConsumerAffairs.com heard from thousands of dog and cat owners nationwide and in Canada who said their pets became sick or died after eating the contaminated pet food.

Pet food manufacturers use wheat gluten as a binding agent in certain types of food as a thickening agent for gravy.

The Millers and Chemnutra will be sentenced after the United States Probation Office finishes its presentence investigations.

Authorities said the conduct charged against the Millers in the remaining counts included in their 2008 federal indictment could be considered by the court and used against them at the time of sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Porter and Joseph Marquez prosecuted the case, which was investigated by FDAs Office of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The newly-appointed FDA Commissioner applauded the investigative team and their results.

"The FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations acted aggressively in 2007 to investigate Chemnutra," said Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg. "Today's announcement reflects our continued commitment to investigate and prosecute companies and individuals that violate the law and endanger the publics health through illegal conduct."

Nevada Couple Pleads Guilty to Distributing Melamine-Tainted Gluten...
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Pet Owners Unsurprised by FDA Shutdown of Evanger

Many suspect agency investigating NUTRO as well


Pet owners who were informed of the Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) suspension of Evanger's ability to sell pet food across state lines were relieved — and unsurprised — by the news.

News of the FDA's crackdown confirmed dog owner Leslie K.'s suspicions about Evanger's food — and federal authorities' interest in the company.

"A special agent with the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) called me in May 2009 and wanted details of what happened to my dogs after they ate Evanger's food," the Tabernacle, New Jersey, woman told us. "He came out and said Evanger's failed multiple inspections, and this was not a simple paperwork issue or something to do with an unimportant process. He said it was about ingredients and the manufacturing process and people are not getting what they pay for."

The FDA announced late Friday that it had suspended Evanger's temporary Emergency Permit — a decision that, for now, prevents the company from shipping products in interstate commerce. The agency said it took this action as a safety precaution.

"Evanger's, operating in Wheeling, Illinois, deviated from the prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements in the production of the company's thermally processed low acid canned food (LACF) products," the FDA said. "The deviations in their processes and documentation could result in under-processed pet foods, which can allow the survival and growth of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a bacterium that causes botulism in some animals as well as in humans."

Evanger's downplays the FDA's enforcement measures, suggesting the problems are simply a paperwork mix-up.

"In August of 2008, while updating required process information to the FDA our 'process authority' (processing expert) inadvertently deleted pertinent filings," Joel Sher, the company's vice-president, says in a statement on the pet food maker's Web site. "Evanger's has been working with the FDA to resolve this issue quickly. This situation does not call into question the safety of any Evanger's products. No Evanger's product are involved in any recall, nor is there any indication that any Evanger's product is unsafe."

"Just a paperwork problem"

Leslie's concerns with Evanger's food surfaced in May 2007 when three of her healthy dogs — a Chihuahua, Beagle, and Elkhound mix — suddenly became sick after eating the company's Pheasant and Brown Rice dry pet food.

Two other dogs — one belonging to a friend, another to a neighbor — also became ill after eating that same food. All the dogs experienced vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and urinary tract problems.

"We bought the food during the pet food recall when we were trying to find a safe food," Leslie recalls. "We opened one large bag and two small bags and started to add it to the dogs' regular food. But they all started having trouble. I spoke to someone who said to stop the food. Four of the dogs then got better."

But Leslie's Chihuahua, Remy, continued to deteriorate.

"He was urinating constantly, vomiting bile, his eyes were sunken from dehydration, and he had horrible lethargy," she said. "He wouldn't get up and do anything. This is a Chihuahua who loved to play. One of my neighbor's came over and said it looked liked Remy had aged ten years."

Blood tests run by Leslie's veterinarian revealed problems with Remy's urine and liver counts. Leslie contacted Evanger's about the dogs' illnesses, but said the company didn't seem concerned.

"The owner said he'd check into this and get back to me. I waited a few days and Joel (Sher, the company's vice-president) called me back. He said the company hadn't found any problems with the food. I asked him if he wanted to test my food, but he said 'No, we keep a sample of every batch so we can test it.'"

"After that call, all I got were answering machines and the secretary."

Leslie then worked with The Pet Food Products Safety Alliance (PFPSA) and had her Evanger's food tested.

Those tests, she says, revealed the copper levels in the food were 2.5 times the amount recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

When Leslie contacted Evanger's again, "At first, the office manager was nice, but as soon as she knew it was me on the line she became hostile and rude," she said. "She basically said they (Evanger's) were aware of the copper problem and were not concerned. She said they had not tested my food and no intention of doing so because they didn't get that many complaints."

"She knew she went too far because she later sent an e-mail that said the total opposite of what she told me in our conversation."

But could those elevated copper levels cause the dogs' illnesses?

"All my vet can say is the elevated levels (of copper) are consistent with the problems in the dogs: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, elevated liver enzymes, and urinary tract problems," Leslie said. "My vet feels it is the food, but says there is no way to prove that."

When asked about Evanger's comment that the FDA's latest action "does not call into question the safety" of any of its products, Leslie told us: "Obviously it does affect the safety of the food because how can the food be safe if the canning isn't done correctly.

"That comment makes me angry," she adds. "He (Joel Sher) tries to refute the FDA orders and notices in legalese. He words it carefully to make it sound like the FDA is wrong. He's trying to make it sound like this is just a paperwork problem. I hope people don't believe it."

"Should be criminally prosecuted"

Deborah V., of Monrovia, Maryland, agrees with Leslie. "People such as the Shers should be criminally prosecuted and put out of business," she said.

"Mr. Sher's callous attitude from day one has been shocking, and yet, here comes our vindication — a little late," she said. "Some people lost their pets to these awful people's food."

"I'm glad this (FDA action) finally happened. I feel relieved that, hopefully, no one else will go through what I have gone through with my dogs."

In Deborah's case, her two healthy 10-pound Pomeranians became gravely ill in November 2008 after sharing a can Evanger's beef chunks.

"Within half an hour, I was rushing to the vet," she recalls. "My dogs were unable to stand, hold up their heads, and they were blind. The vet stabilized them enough to allow me to then drive to the emergency animal clinic, where they were hooked to IVs, and my little guy even had his stomach pumped. He now has seizures, which started in the hospital. He is on a wide variety of meds...and now has a collapsed trachea and [has to use] an endotracheal tube."

Deborah repeatedly contacted Evanger's about her dogs' illnesses, but says the company ignored her concerns. Her roommate finally reached the company's vice-president, Joel Sher.

"And his comment, when told our dogs got sick from their food, was 'Oh, please'. He and his wife are all over the Internet, as well as an employee of theirs, posting information to have you believe they are a very concerned firm. Why not just be upfront? People deserve to know the truth, and I am talking about all of the issues people have had with their food, not just the horror we've gone through and are still going through."

Deborah says her female Pomeranian has improved, "but the little guy will never be 100 percent."

The FDA's latest action against Evanger's is the third in an ongoing series of enforcement proceedings against the pet food maker.

In April 2008, the FDA issued an "Order of Need for Emergency Permit" against Evanger's. That action came after the FDA determined the company had "failed to meet the regulatory requirements to process a product that does not present a health risk."

Two months later the FDA issued a temporary Emergency Permit against Evanger's.

FDA officials said they took that action after inspections of the company between March 2009 and April 2009 determined "Evanger's was not operating in compliance with the mandatory requirements and conditions of the Temporary Emergency Permit."

When the FDA announced its latest enforcement against Evanger's, the agency's Dr. Bernette Dunham said: "The FDA is stopping Evanger's ability to ship pet food in interstate commerce. Today's enforcement action sends a strong message to manufacturers of pet food that we will take whatever action necessary to keep unsafe products from reaching consumers."

Before Evanger's can resume shipping products, the FDA said, it must prove that corrective actions and processing procedures have been made to ensure the company's finished product will not present a health hazard.

Botulism is a toxin that affects the nervous system and can be fatal, the FDA said. Symptoms of botulism in dogs and cat include progressive muscle paralysis, disturbed vision, trouble chewing and swallowing, and progressive weakness to the body. Death is usually caused by paralysis of the heart or the muscles used in breathing.

NUTRO investigated?

Meanwhile, pet owners like Leslie are convinced that Evanger's isn't the only pet food maker on the FDA's radar.

"They have to be investigating NUTRO," she told us. "When I spoke with the FDA's agent from Office of Criminal Investigations, I mentioned NUTRO and he said he was very aware of the problems. But he said 'I'm not working on that case.' He caught himself and said that (investigation) could be in the process. Every time I talked to him, he struggled to find a way to say he was not working on that case, but it seemed to me that he was deliberately trying to give me the impression that there was an investigation of NUTRO.

She adds: "Why else would FDA agents not want to talk about it or the agency wouldn't release the NUTRO records [ConsumerAffairs.Com] requested under the Freedom of Information Act?"

Leslie pointed out that the health problems her dogs suffered after eating Evanger's food with elevated levels of copper — vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and elevated liver enzymes — sounded eerily familiar to the ones pets eating NUTRO have experienced.

"I'm seriously thinking that this is what's going on...that this could all be something a simple as the vitamins and minerals off," she says. "That can cause acute illnesses."

Just last month, NUTRO recalled seven flavors of its dry Natural Choice Complete Care and NUTRO Max cat food, saying the products contained incorrect levels of zinc and potassium.

The company blamed the problem on a production error by its U.S. premix supplier, Trouw Nutrition. One of the premixes, NUTRO said, contained excessive levels of zinc and not enough potassium. A second premix did not contain enough potassium.

NUTRO claims it has not received any complaints about the recalled food, but warned cat owners to monitor their pets for such symptoms as vomiting, diarrhea, a reduction in appetite or refusal of food, and weight loss.

ConsumerAffairs.com, however, continues to hear from cat owners who say their felines became ill — with those same types of symptoms — after eating NUTRO's recalled food. Some even suspects their cats' deaths are linked to the recalled food, and two contacted NUTRO regarding their sick pets.

Tests run last August by the PFPSA revealed samples NUTRO's Natural Choice Chicken Meal, Rice, and Oatmeal formula and Nutro Puppy Max contained levels of zinc and copper that the PFPSA said exceeded the recommendations of the AAFCO.

PFPSA's founder Don Earl says NUTRO's cat food recall — trigged by "incorrect levels of zinc and potassium" — gives credence to his organization's test results.

"I feel a certain amount of vindication as a result, particularly as the symptoms are identical to those reported by legions of dog owners," he told us.

ConsumerAffairs.com has received nearly 900 complaints from pet owners nationwide who say their healthy dogs and cats suddenly became sick after eating various flavors of NUTRO's pet food. The pets all have similar symptoms — vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. And in nearly every case, the dogs and cat became better after their owners stopped feeding them NUTRO.

NUTRO maintains its food is 100 percent safe and meets all federal guidelines. But Leslie says those are nothing but empty words and promises.

"The fact they keep saying nothing is wrong with their food and they are testing tells me that something is wrong. If they were testing the food, it wouldn't take an audit to find the problem. If they were testing the food, they would know that something is wrong."

The active poster on many pet-related message boards adds: "I'm not in this to get any money. That's not my point. My point is that whether you're buying Evanger's or NUTRO or a store brand of pet food, you should be able to buy a product that is safe and doesn't make your pets sick."

Pet Owners Unsurprised by FDA Shutdown of Evanger...
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Consumers React to NUTRO Recalls; Zinc, Copper Levels Cited

FDA investigators say agency's probe is 'high priority'


Its about time. Thats how pet owners nationwide reacted to NUTRO Products' decision last Thursday to recall two varieties of its dry cat food.

NUTRO pulled seven flavors -- in 28 different bag sizes -- of its dry Natural Choice Complete Care and NUTRO Max cat food off store shelves, saying the products had incorrect levels of zinc and potassium. The company blamed the problem on a production error by its U.S. premix supplier, Trouw Nutrition.

NUTRO said it discovered the error on May 18 during an audit of documentation from that Illinois-based supplier. The company, however, waited another three days -- until May 21 -- to recall the products. Some pet owners wonder why it took so long for NUTRO to pull the cat food, but are grateful the company finally took some action.

I was relieved, but not very surprised, says Kristin K. of Trenton, N.J., whose kitten started vomiting bile and experiencing uncontrollable diarrhea after eating NUTRO Natural Choice. I figured with all the complaints Ive seen on your Web site about these (health) problems, they werent coincidence and eventually NUTRO would do something. But I definitely think that NUTRO needs to take a hard look at all its food -- not just its cat foods.

NUTRO claims it hasnt received any reports of illnesses linked to the recalled products -- distributed in the United States and ten other countries -- but warned pet owners to monitor their cats for vomiting, diarrhea, reduction in appetite, refusal to eat food, or weight loss.

That claim outraged pet owners nationwide, who have told ConsumerAffairs.com for the past two years that their cats and dogs have experienced those same health problems after eating various flavors and varieties of NUTRO. ConsumerAffairs.com now has more than 800 complaints from dog and cat owners who say their pets have battled sudden and recurring bouts of vomiting yellow bile and explosive and often bloody diarrhea after eating NUTROs foods.

Many pet owners also say their dogs and cats became lethargic, had elevated liver enzymes, crystals in their urine, or been treated for pancreatitis and gastroenteritis after eating NUTROs pet food.

In nearly every case, pet owners say their animals health improved once they switched to another brand of food. Some pet owners also suspect NUTROs food played a role in their animals deaths.

NUTRO, however, says its food is 100 percent safe and meets all federal guidelines. The company also denies that it's under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- even though the FDAs Freedom of Information Office confirmed that probe to ConsumerAffairs.com.

New Jersey probe

Weve also learned that two FDA agents spent four hours last Friday investigating the recent and unexplained death of a 10-year-old Dalmatian in New Jersey. That is the third case ConsumerAffairs.com has confirmed in which FDA agents have investigated the deaths of dogs that have eaten NUTROs pet food.

In this latest case, Cheryl M. says her beloved Dalmatian, Ember, ate NUTRO food all her life. But earlier this month -- after Cheryl opened a new bag of NUTRO Light Lamb and Rice that she said had a foul smell -- Ember started spitting out the food.

Then she started vomiting the food and yellow bile that had a horrible smell, says Cheryl, who contacted the FDA and NUTRO before and after Ember's death.

Cheryls veterinarian diagnosed Ember with pancreatitis and an abdominal infection. Blood tests revealed the Dalmatian had an elevated white blood cell count. The vet prescribed anti-vomiting and other medications to help the sick dog. An ultrasound also revealed Embers liver and pancreas were normal and the Dalmatian did not have any tumors.

Ember died in Cheryls arms on May 18. My vet has no clue why she died, Cheryl told us, her voice cracking with sorrow.

During the FDAs visit to her home, Cheryl says the agents told her Embers death was a high priority. The agents said they were rushing Embers health records and lab results to the FDAs veterinarian in Maryland -- and promised to immediately test the Dalmatians food.

The FDA agents seemed extremely upset that Ember died, Cheryl says, adding the agents planned to also test the bag that Embers food came in. They did not look happy. When they opened the bag of her food, they did not want to touch it and said it smelled like petroleum.

They asked me what I wanted and I said, 'I want justice.' I dont want anybody else to go through what were going through. Were devastated by this.

News of NUTROs cat food recall only fueled Cheryls fury against the company. I was totally outraged and thought it was very convenient.

Her husband agrees.

When we first saw the news about the recall, we were angry, says Ken M., a New Jersey fireman. This (loss) has been really tough for all of us. And all these people are saying the same thing about NUTRO and NUTRO is not doing anything about it.

Other pet owners -- whose cats and dogs have become sick or died after NUTROs food -- echo the couples outrage and concerns.

Its a first step, but NUTRO cannot just look at that little bit of cat food. It needs to look at all its food, their ingredients, and sources, says Jean B. of Terre Haunte, Ind.

Earlier this year, Jeans kittens -- Rosie and Angus -- started vomiting yellow foamy bile, shedding hair, and having gas after she slowly introduced NUTRO into the felines diets.

NUTRO definitely needs to look at both its cat and dog foods -- they need to look at everything, Jean says, adding that her kittens health improved once she stopped feeding them NUTRO. Most of the complaints (on ConsumerAffairs.com) are from dog owners. I dont know why NUTRO wouldnt be concerned by all these complaints and why they would ignore them.

Someone is cutting corners, she adds. I just have to believe it comes down to money. Or NUTRO must have too much to lose -- and it must be something really bad if it comes out -- for them not to be taking care of this.

Jean is also shocked by the companys claim that it hasnt received any reports of illnesses linked to the recalled cat food.

Youve got to be kidding me. All these complaints are more than coincidental. Something is wrong. And in reading many letters (on ConsumerAffairs.com), pet owners say theyve called NUTRO and not gotten a warm reception. I dont believe they (NUTRO) havent received any complaints about the food. Everyday, there are new complaints on your Web site.

No surprise

NUTROs cat food recall didnt come as any surprise to Vinny B. of Tacoma, Washington.

It made sense, especially the way my cats reacted to NUTRO after the company was purchased (in 2007) by Mars. All three of my cats refused to eat the food anymore, they lost weight, and got sick. One of my cats was on medicine until three months ago to clear up urinary crystals.

We wondered what was going on and we called NUTRO, Vinny says. They said everything was the same.

Vinnys cats improved once he stopped feeding them NUTROs Natural Choice Complete Care Indoor Cat formula. So did his neighbors cats, which also became ill after eating NUTROs food.

We were talking and he said he had been feeding his cats Nutro and they had stopped eating, too. I told him we had issues (with NUTRO) and had switched food. He switched food and his cats started eating again. It is hard to believe this is all a fluke, Vinny says. I believe there is something wrong with the food.

What about NUTROs claim that it hasnt received any reports of illnesses linked to the recalled cat food?

When I heard that, it made me angry, Vinny says. I dont think thats very cool. I feel like something shady going on and they (NUTRO) are not being honest with the public.

Over the weekend, ConsumerAffairs.com heard from a Texas pet owner who says her cat became sick after eating NUTRO Max. And her veterinarian is baffled by the felines illness.

For seven weeks now, my cat has been unresponsive to antibiotics for treatment of urinary tract problems, Daphene M. told us. He continues to urinate blood. It clears up for a 10-day period, but returns. There is no sign of extreme infection, and X-rays indicate no stones present -- typically the cause.

The veterinarian is puzzled about the root cause. Now I see this recall for Nutro Max dry cat food. I have fed this to my cat exclusively for over three years now. My cats diagnosis remains unknown, (but) I feel perhaps this may be the cause of his problems.

Elkhound's death

Indiana pet owner Mark E. is certain Nutros food played a role in the 2008 death of his Norwegian Elkhound, Ali.

Shortly before Alis death, the healthy 11-year-old dog suddenly started having bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and quit eating. At the time, Ali was staying at a kennel while Mark and his family were on vacation. When Ali became sick, the kennel took her to its vet.

The vet said he thought she'd eaten something at the kennel," Mark recalls. "But we asked that if that's true, how come the only dog this happened to was the one that ate NUTRO. We have two dogs; our Collie was on a different food -- not a NUTRO brand. She was in the same run and she's fine.

"And we said: what did Ali eat that the other dog didn't. The only answer was the food.

Thats why Mark wasnt surprised when he heard the news that NUTRO had recalled some of its cat food.

I told my wife that this was only the tip of the iceberg. NUTRO says its food is 100 percent safe, but this cat food recall puts a dent in that claim. ... I feel somewhat vindicated in a way, he says of the recall. And I think that more (recalls) are coming, including of the dog food.

When asked if he believes NUTROs claim that it hasnt received any reports of illnesses linked to the recalled cat food, Mark told us: I think thats a C-Y-A. They know something is wrong. They are just trying to ease into this as gently as possible.

What about NUTROs claim that it isnt under investigation by the FDA? Mark says thats not true, either.

An FDA agent came out to my house (after Ali died) and took down all the information, he says. The agent said they'd (his FDA office) gotten a number of complaints about NUTRO. He said he was aware of the problems nationally and the problems included on your (ConsumerAffairs.com) Web site.

Zinc, copper levels

ConsumerAffairs.com also uncovered an interesting connection between the NUTRO food that Ali ate before her death and the NUTRO products involved in the cat food recall.

After Ali died, Marks vet sent the NUTRO food the Norwegian Elkhound had eaten to Purdue University for testing. Those tests were negative for melamine, salmonella, and e-coli, Mark said. But they did reveal the food contained high levels of zinc and copper.

Marks vet could not say if the food caused Alis death, but "he could not rule it out.

That isnt the only case in which NUTROs dog food has tested positive for high levels of zinc and copper.

Last August, tests by the non-profit Pet Food Products Safety Alliance (PFPSA) revealed samples of NUTROs Natural Choice Chicken Meal, Rice, and Oatmeal formula and Nutro Puppy Max contained levels of zinc and copper that PFPSA said exceeded the recommendations of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Specifically, the levels of zinc in the NUTRO dog foods tested were 260 parts per million, which PFPSA calculated would come to on the order of 40 times the amount of zinc recommended for human dietary requirements.

PFPSAs founder Don Earl says NUTROs cat food recall -- trigged by incorrect levels of zinc and potassium -- gives credence to his organizations test results.

I feel a certain amount of vindication as a result, particularly as the symptoms are identical to those reported by legions of dog owners, he told us.

But Earl is still worried about what pet food makers can legally put in their products.

The most frightening aspect of the situation is that from the research I've done, I believe it's possible to formulate a food within AAFCO tolerances, and still end up with a product that would be lethal to pets within a matter of days to weeks.

NUTRO, however, disputes PFPSAs lab results.

The claims regarding the safety of Nutro pet food in a recent report posted on the Pet Food Product Safety Alliance website are unfounded, the company states on its Web site. In order for a food to provide all the essential nutrition for a pet, it must exceed the minimum requirements for all essential nutrients. AAFCO has established Nutrient Profiles which identify these minimum dietary levels for all essential nutrients in canine pet food products.the 260- 400 mg/kg diet levels of Zinc found in NUTRO Natural Choice Chicken, Meal, Rice and Oatmeal Formula (which converts to approximately 288-444 mg/kg dry matter) are well within AAFCO recommended levels.

NUTRO didnt disclose the levels of zinc and potassium in its recalled cat foods, but said it was taking immediate action to pull the products off the market.

ConsumerAffairs.com contacted Trouw Nutrition, which supplied the zinc and potassium premix used in NUTROs recalled cat food. The company did not return our call.

NUTRO, however, has advised consumers to immediately stop feeding the recalled food to their cats.

But Gayle S. of Nevada -- whose Labradoodle recently become gravely ill after eating NUTROs dry puppy food -- says that warning isnt broad enough to calm her fears. She urges pet owners to immediately stop feeding their dogs and cats any NUTRO products.

I want them (NUTRO) to pull every single product off the shelves, she told us. It almost killed my puppy. I know something is wrong with that food. And, as a consumer, I would to see NUTRO off the market until it (the company) is 100 percent sure its food is not tainted.

Gayle says her five-month-old puppy, William, recently stopped eating, started vomiting yellow bile, and experiencing explosive diarrhea.

My dog exploded in the vets office, she says. There was urine and blood dripping from the dog. He had terrible diarrhea. When he tried to poop, red blood would be dripping out of the dog. Thats what scared me.

Campylobacter

Tests revealed William had Giardia, an infection that Gayle says the puppy could have caught from his litter mates. William in now on medication for that illness.

But the tests also revealed that William had another disease -- one Gayles vet said could be caused by contaminated food. That disease is called Campylobacter.

We shared Williams test results with veterinary toxicologist Steven Hansen, director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control Center.

This looks like an interesting case, he said. Campylobacter can be found in normal dogs and cats, which does complicate this. Yes, this bacterium can be obtained from contaminated food, water, fresh meats and the environment. I am very hopeful that the exact packets that were fed this pup will be cultured for possible bacterial contamination. Otherwise, there are many ways that dogs can consume material contaminated with Campylobacter.

Back in Nevada, Gayle continues to search for answers about her puppys illness.

Shes already contacted NUTRO and the FDA about Williams illness. NUTRO, she says, told her nothing could be wrong with its food and did not offer to test Williams food.

The FDA is now is trying to make arrangements to test Williams food. PetSmart has also offered to analyze the puppys food.

Conflicting stories

NUTROs recall came just days after ConsumerAffairs.com appealed a denial by the (FDA) to release consumer complaints and lab results related to the companys pet food.

ConsumerAffairs.com requested the documents last Spring under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FDA denied the request, saying the release of those the records could interfere with law enforcement proceedings. An FDA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also told ConsumerAffairs.com that our request was denied because the agency was investigating NUTRO.

The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), however, later issued a press release claiming NUTRO was not under investigation. But the CVM is not the FDA division that handles complaints about pet food and is not the division that confirmed the investigation.

ConsumerAffairs.com has also independently confirmed that FDA agents have investigated the deaths of dogs that ate NUTRO pet food.

Though the reports on whether the FDA is investigating Nutro have been conflicting, the FDAs official position is that there is no pending investigation of Nutro, said New York attorney, Cameron Stracher, who filed the appeal for ConsumerAffairs.com. Therefore, the FDA may not rely on the 'law enforcement' exemption of FOIA because, according to the FDA, there is no pending enforcement proceeding against Nutro.

Meanwhile, NUTRO said pet owners who have any of the recalled cat food can return the products for a full refund. Pet owners who have questions or concerns about the recall can contact NUTRO at 1-800-833-5330.

Read more ...

Verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.
Recall notice

Consumers React to NUTRO Recalls; Zinc, Copper Levels Cited...
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Nutro Recalls Dry Cat Food Products

Incorrect levels of zinc, potassium

May 21, 2009
Nutro Products has announced a voluntary recall of select varieties of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE COMPLETE CARE Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO MAX Cat Dry Foods with Best If Used By Dates between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010. The cat food is being voluntarily recalled in the United States and ten additional countries. This recall is due to incorrect levels of zinc and potassium in our finished product resulting from a production error by a US-based premix supplier.

Two mineral premixes were affected. One premix contained excessive levels of zinc and under-supplemented potassium. The second premix under-supplemented potassium. Both zinc and potassium are essential nutrients for cats and are added as nutritional supplements to NUTRO dry cat food.

The company said the probelm was identified during an audit of the documentation from the supplier. A company spokesman said an "extensive review confirmed that only these two premixes were affected." The recall does not affect any NUTRO dog food products, wet dog or cat food, or dog and cat treats.

Affected product was distributed to retail customers in all 50 states, as well as to customers in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Israel. The company said it is working with all of its distributors and retail customers, in both the US and internationally, to ensure that the recalled products are not on store shelves. These products should not be sold or distributed further.

Consumers who have purchased affected product should immediately discontinue feeding the product to their cats, and switch to another product with a balanced nutritional profile. While the company said it has received no consumer complaints related to this issue, cat owners should monitor their cat for symptoms, including a reduction in appetite or refusal of food, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea. If your cat is experiencing health issues or is pregnant, consumers should contact their veterinarian.

Consumers who have purchased product affected by this recall should return it to their retailer for a full refund or exchange for another NUTRO dry cat food product. Cat owners who have questions about the recall should call 1-800-833-5330 between the hours 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM CST, or visit www.nutroproducts.com.

Recalled Pet Food

The varieties of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE COMPLETE CARE Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO MAX Cat Dry Foods listed below with Best If Used By Dates between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010 are affected by this recall.

U.S. Product Name

Bag Size

UPC

NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Kitten Food4 lbs0 79105 20607 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food8 lbs.0 79105 20608 2
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food (Bonus Bag)9.2 lbs. 0 79105 20695 2
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food20 lbs0 79105 20609 9
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Kitten Food (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult4 lbs0 79105 20610 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult8 lbs.0 79105 20611 2
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult (Bonus Bag)9.2 lbs0 79105 20694 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult20 lbs0 79105 20612 9
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE®  Adult Oceanfish Flavor4 lbs0 79105 20622 8
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult Oceanfish Flavor8 lbs0 79105 20623 5
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult Oceanfish Flavor (Bonus Bag)9.2 lbs. 0 79105 20698 3
NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Adult Oceanfish Flavor20 lbs0 79105 20624 2
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor3 lbs0 79105 10228 5
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor6 lbs0 79105 10229 2
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor16 lbs0 79105 10230 8
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor3 lbs0 79105 10243 8
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor6 lbs0 79105 10244 5
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor16 lbs0 79105 10245 2
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor (Sample Bag)1.5 oznone
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Salmon Flavor3 lbs0 79105 10246 9
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Salmon Flavor6 lbs0 79105 10247 6
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Adult Salmon Flavor16 lbs0 79105 10248 3
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Weight Control3 lbs0 79105 10249 0
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Weight Control6 lbs0 79105 10250 6
NUTRO® MAX® Cat Indoor Weight Control16 lbs0 79105 10251 3

Read verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.

Nutro Products has announced a voluntary recall of select varieties of NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE COMPLETE CARE Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO MAX Cat Dry Foods....
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NUTRO Recalls Dry Cat Food Sold in 11 Countries

Company blames supplier for incorrect zinc, potassium levels

By Truman Lewis
ConsumerAffairs.com

May 21, 2009
For more than a year, NUTRO Pet Products has shrugged off consumer complaints about dogs and cats becoming ill and even dying after eating the company's food. The company's public relations agents have insisted the food was "100 percent safe" and both NUTRO and the taxpayer-supported agency charged with regulating the safety of animal feed — the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — have denied there is any kind of investigation into NUTRO products.

But today, the FDA announced a recall of more than 20 kinds of dry NUTRO cat food that has been sold in at least 11 countries, including all 50 states in the U.S. The FDA allowed the company to write the press release, which was then posted on the official FDA Web site. The company-written statement repeatedly stresses that the recall is voluntary and pins the blame on an unidentified supplier who supposedly allowed excessive levels of zinc and under-supplemented potassium in its premix. (Complete list) The company takes credit for finding the problem.

As usual, the company claimed it has received no consumer complaints about the recalled cat food but said cat owners should monitor their cat for symptoms, including a reduction in appetite or refusal of food, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea. If a cat is experiencing health issues or is pregnant, consumers should contact their veterinarian.

However, among the more than 800 consumer complaints ConsumerAffairs.com has received about NUTRO products since 2007, many have been about illnesses and deaths involving cats. Many of the aggrieved consumers also contacted NUTRO.

"I was approached by a rep for Nutro Cat food in January 2009," said Jean of Terre Haute, Ind. "I told her we had just adopted two Ragdoll kittens and she told us that Nutro brand was so good and natural and she had Ragdolls and it would be very good for them, etc. We purchased it and slowly changed their food over to Nutro. They began vomiting yellow and were shedding hair like crazy and had gas, etc. I found this site and was horrified to read what folks have been going thru and ... dodged a bullet by switching cat food immediately."

Linda of Richmond, British Columbia, tried to speak to NUTRO about one of her cats began vomiting after eating NUTRO and another refused to eat it.

"I got worried and phoned their company and was eventually yelled at by Diane, the consumer receptionist. I contacted the store where I bought it, and was told another client complained of a very sick cat. A rep contacted me and was rude to me. I ended up throwing the crap out and putting them on Kirkland cat food. My cat gained back ALL of her weight within 2 months. I was treated very badly by those roaches at Nutro."

FDA all the way

Besides publishing NUTRO's carefully-crafted and self-congratulatory press release verbatim — and without making any attempt to verify the truth or falsity of the claim that the company had not received any complaints about the problem — the FDA has for months gone out of its way to avoid giving offense to the company, owned by the powerful Mars Corp., of McLean, Va., one of the world's largest pet food and candy producers.

When ConsumerAffairs.com asked FDA about the consumer problems with NUTRO — which are many times more numerous than for other brands of pet food — the agency had little to say. Reporter Lisa Wade McCormick last spring filed a Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) request last spring, asking for all consumer complaints, investigatory reports and lab tests that the agency had in its files.

After the usual delay of many months, the agency's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) responded, saying it did not have any such documents and referred the request to other FDA departments. The request was eventually denied on the grounds that supplying the documents would jeopardize ongoing investigations. Questioned by McCormick, an FDA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the request was denied because the agency was investigating NUTRO.

But just a few days later, the CVM — which had already conceded that it would have no responsibility for such an investigation — issued a press release claiming that NUTRO was not being investigated and asserting that reports otherwise were in error. Earlier this week, ConsumerAffairs.com appealed the agency's latest refusal to release the documents.

"Though the reports on whether the FDA is investigating Nutro have been conflicting, the FDAs official position is that there is no pending investigation of Nutro. Therefore, the FDA may not rely on the 'law enforcement' exemption of FOIA because, according to the FDA, there is no pending enforcement proceeding against Nutro," said Cameron Stracher, a New York attorney who represents ConsumerAffairs.com.

Facts and true facts

Despite the FDA's denial that it is investigating NUTRO, consumers have confirmed that FDA inspectors came to their homes investigating their pets' deaths.

In one instance, the FDA investigator told a consumer that he had learned of her pet's death by reading her complaint on ConsumerAffairs.com.

"The FDA's odd insistence that there is no investigation — when all the evidence indicates that there is — leads to an even more obvious and urgent question," said James R. Hood, president of ConsumerAffairs.com. "If the agency is telling the truth and there is indeed no investigation, it seems logical to ask, 'Why isn't there?'"

"One would think that NUTRO and the FDA would be curious as to why so many pet owners have reported their animals became ill after eating NUTRO products and — in some cases — mysteriously improved when they were switched to other foods. A public relations blitz won't get to the bottom of it. The FDA needs to stop stalling and do its job," Hood said.

Earlier this week, Sherri of Ann Arbor, Mich., wrote about her experience with NUTRO: "My pure bred Portuguese water dog began vomiting, having loose stools and acting lethargic after 4 months on Nutro Natural Choice Herring & Rice Formula. The vet could not explain, blood levels normal, intestinal antibiotics/probiotics given, intestines 2x normal size, surgery revealed no obstructions, every time food was readministered it began again. Vet suggested I stop Nutro after learning about other dogs problems. My dog is now on Natural Balance and is doing perfectly fine."

Sherri said she contacted NUTRO about a week ago. They said they'd contact her vet, but so far, they have not, she said. They also said they'd send her an envelope for samples of the food. She said they have yet to do that.

In her posting, Sherri urged other pet owners to contact the FDA and ask it to investigate.

Read more ...

Verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.
Recall notice

For more than a year, NUTRO Pet Products has shrugged off consumer complaints about dogs and cats becoming ill and even dying after eating the company's fo...
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Consumer Site Appeals FDA's Refusal to Release NUTRO Records

Agency claims there is no investigation, so records should be released, site argues

May 19, 2009
ConsumerAffairs.com has appealed the refusal of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release lab results, citizen complaints and other documents related to NUTRO pet food.

The consumer Web site has received more than 800 reports from consumers who say their pets became ill and, in some cases, died after eating NUTRO products. ConsumerAffairs.com first requested the FDA documents under the Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) last spring, but the FDA denied the request, saying that granting it could interfere with law enforcement proceedings.

Questioned by ConsumerAffairs.com reporter Lisa Wade McCormick, an FDA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the request was denied because the agency was investigating NUTRO. But the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) then issued a press release claiming that NUTRO was not being investigated.

The CVM is not the FDA division that handles complaints about pet food and is not the division to which the FDA employee who confirmed the investigation is assigned.

"Though the reports on whether the FDA is investigating Nutro have been conflicting, the FDAs official position is that there is no pending investigation of Nutro. Therefore, the FDA may not rely on the 'law enforcement' exemption of FOIA because, according to the FDA, there is no pending enforcement proceeding against Nutro," said Cameron Stracher, a New York attorney who represents ConsumerAffairs.com.

Despite the FDA's denial that it is investigating NUTRO, consumers have confirmed that FDA inspectors came to their homes investigating their pets' deaths.

In one instance, the FDA investigator told a consumer that he had learned of her pet's death by reading her complaint on ConsumerAffairs.com.

Why not?

"The FDA's odd insistence that there is no investigation -- when all the evidence indicates that there is -- leads to an even more obvious and urgent question," said James R. Hood, president of ConsumerAffairs.com. "If the agency is telling the truth and there is indeed no investigation, it seems logical to ask 'Why isn't there?'"

"One would think that NUTRO and the FDA would be curious as to why so many pet owners have reported their animals became ill after eating NUTRO products and -- in some cases -- mysteriously improved when they were switched to other foods. A public relations blitz won't get to the bottom of it. The FDA needs to stop stalling and do its job," Hood said.

Just yesterday, Sherri of Ann Arbor, Mich., wrote about her experience with NUTRO: "My pure bred Portuguese water dog began vomiting, having loose stools and acting lethargic after 4 months on Nutro Natural Choice Herring & Rice Formula. The vet could not explain, blood levels normal, intestinal antibiotics/probiotics given, intestines 2x normal size, surgery revealed no obstructions, every time food was readministered it began again. Vet suggested I stop Nutro after learning about other dogs problems. My dog is now on Natural Balance and is doing perfectly fine."

Sherri said she contacted NUTRO about a week ago. They said they'd contact her vet, but so far, they have not, she said. They also said they'd send her an envelope for samples of the food. She said they have not done that, either.

In her posting, Sherri urged other pet owners to contact the FDA and ask it to investigate.

Read verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.

Consumer Site Appeals FDA's Refusal to Release NUTRO Records...
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NUTRO Pulls Greenies Dental Chews from Supermarkets

Snacks will be distributed only through veterinarians, specialty retailers

By Truman Lewis
ConsumerAffairs.com

May 4, 2009
NUTRO Products, Inc. says it is pulling its Greenies line of pet dental chews from supermarkets and other mass markets. Beginning in June, the Greenies — which have been blamed for illness and deaths in some dogs and cats — will be distributed only through veterinary hospitals and pet specialty retailers.

We believe that pet medical professionals at veterinary hospitals and well-trained, knowledgeable staff at pet specialty stores are best equipped to answer pet owners questions about our products and to make the right recommendation, said Carolyn Hanigan, vice president of marketing for Nashville, Tenn.-based NUTRO.

The company said that staff education was a primary concern for the Greenies dental chew line, as each of five sizes is formulated for a corresponding weight range

It's the latest attempt to resolve highly-publicized incidents of pet deaths attributed to the popular treats. Pet owners said the treats failed to be properly digested and led to fatal intestinal obstructions.

In February 2006, the company said it would clarify the instructions on the packaging. The green-tinted treats are in the shape of a toothbrush and are promoted as an effective way to prevent gum disease in animals and promote oral health.

Reformulated

The dental chews were reformulated to be "more highly soluble and thus safer, yet effective as a daily preventive of oral disease," the company said in a November 2007 statement. Independent studies conducted by the University of Illinois confirmed the high solubility of Greenies, according to the statement, which said that the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) had awarded its Seal of Acceptance to Greenies for plaque and tartar control.

In 2005, a New York couple filed a $5 million lawsuit against Greenies' then-manufacturer, S&M NuTec, charging the treats are unsafe and inadequately labeled. The couple charged an undigested Greenie caused the death of their four-year-old Dachshund. The company was later acquired by NUTRO.

Jennifer Reiff and Michael Eastwood say their minature dachshund died two days after they fed him a petit-sized Greenie.

The couple told WCBS-TV in New York that the day after giving the dog the treat, they took him to the vet where he underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. Reiff and Eastwood say it was a portion of a Greenie that caused the problem. Their pet died two days later.

KIRO-TV in Seattle reported in 2005 that the Food and Drug Administration had begun an investigation of the complaints but nothing more was ever heard of the supposed probe.

Pet owners complain

ConsumerAffairs.com has received complaints from several pet owners whose pets died or became ill after chewing the popular treats.

"We gave such a treat to our Japanese Chin on Friday and she is dead," said Mary of Sayville, N.Y. in September 2007. "The vet did an autopsy and she choked on a piece of this allegedly digestive greenie. My vet told me that a number of dogs have either choked to death or died as a result of intestinal blockages caused by Greenies."

Rose of Phenix City, Ala., said in September 2006 that her Maltese became ill after eating a Greenie: "She couldn't eat or drink. She almost died. ... My dog was sick for 2 weeks and was in the intensive care and given IVs."

Lisa of Simi Valley, Calif. was luckier.

"My Standard Poodle, Hummer, got into a bag of Greenies which had not even been opened — they were still sealed in the bag in the shipping box. He weighs around 54 pounds and ate appoximately 8oz. Later he was rushed to the pet Emergency Clinic had to spend the night and we were told to watch him carefully the next several days," she said in a 2006 complaint.

Lisa said Hummer was rushed back to the hopsital in Noctober for emergency surgery.

Developed by dog owners

Greenies were developed in the late 1990s when two dog owners, Joe and Judy Roetheli, teamed with a well-known board-certified veterinary nutritionist to develop a dog chew treat formulated to control dental tartar, plaque and gingivitis, and formulated to taste great while reducing bad breath.

NUTRO is owned by Mars, Inc., one of the world's largest producers of pet food, confectionary, beverage, food and health food. The privately-held company is headquartered in McLean, Va.

A division of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied that it is investigating NUTRO Products Inc., whose pet foods are the subject of more than 700 complaints from consumers who say their dogs and cats became ill and, in some cases, died after eating NUTRO products.

NUTRO Pulls Greenies Dental Chews from Supermarkets...
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Feds Deny NUTRO Investigation; Witnesses Say Otherwise

Consumers still hoping for action on their pets' deaths and illnesses

A division of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied that it is investigating NUTRO Products Inc., whose pet foods are the subject of more than 700 complaints from consumers who say their dogs and cats became ill and, in some cases, died after eating NUTRO products.

But consumers who fed their dogs NUTRO have confirmed that FDA inspectors came to their homes investigating their pets' deaths. And the FDA is still refusing to release information about NUTRO, saying that to do so could hamper law enforcement efforts.

"They can't have it both ways," said James R. Hood, president of ConsumerAffairs.com, which has a long-pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information the agency has gathered about NUTRO. "If there's no investigation, they must release the files, which are public property. That's the law."

Tuesday's denial came from the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), which is not the FDA division that handles complaints about pet food.

But an FDA official, who is not with the CVM, told ConsumerAffairs.com last week that the agency is investigating the pet food maker. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he or she was not authorized to talk to the media, said the investigation could be civil or criminal in nature.

Investigation confirmed

Despite the backtracking of the FDA and the denials of NUTRO's publicists, ConsumerAffairs.com has confirmed that FDA agents in Indiana have investigated the deaths of three dogs in that state. All three of those dogs ate NUTRO.

Earlier this week, a consumer in Evansville, Ind., said that the FDA came to his home last August after the death of his healthy 11-year-old dog, Ali, a Norwegian Elkhound, who died on July 13, 2008.

"An FDA agent came out to my house and took down all the information," said the pet owner, Mark D. "The agent said they'd (his FDA office) gotten a number of complaints about NUTRO. He said he was aware of the problems nationally and the problems included on your (ConsumerAffairs.com) Web site." Mark said he talked to the agent several times after the agent visited his home.

Mark said he and his family went on vacation last July and took Ali and their other dog — a Collie — to the kennel. "We took her to this same kennel for many years and Ali always ate well."

The kennel's owner, however, noticed that Ali suddenly had bloody diarrhea, was vomiting and not eating. The kennel took Ollie to its vet.

"The vet said he thought she'd eaten something at the kennel," Mark said. "But we asked that if that's true, how come the only dog this happened to was the one that ate NUTRO. We have two dogs; our Collie was on a different food — not a NUTRO brand. She was in the same run and she's fine.

"And we said what did Ali eat that the other dog didn't. The only answer was the food."

Ali then took a turn for the worse. She died on July 13, 2008.

"It was awful," Mark said. "This was a healthy, 11-year-old dog that was taken to the vet once a year. We have all her records."

After Ali's death, Mark had a necropsy done on his beloved dog. That autopsy revealed that Ali died of septicemia (bacteria in the blood) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

"The vet said the infection started in the GI tract, and he did not see any signs of melamine poising," Mark said. "Additionally, there was a growth on her spleen the size of a softball. When I asked him (the vet) how long the growth could have been there, he said a week or two at the most."

The vet could not say if the food caused her death, but "he could not rule it out," Mark said.

Mark said his vet urged him to contact the FDA, which he did. His vet also sent Ali's NUTRO food to Purdue University for testing. Those tests, Mark said, were negative for melamine, salmonella and e-coli.

Nonetheless, Mark is convinced the NUTRO food played a role in Ali's death. "I don't see how it could be anything else," he said. "It's terrible to lose a dog, especially in that manner...to go like that is not deserved at all."

Mark says he just wants answers about what happened to his dog. "That would be great. I would love to have NUTRO admit this was its fault — or it it wasn't their fault — to find a reason for what happened so it won't happen again."

Another investigation

ConsumerAffairs.com has also confirmed that the FDA investigated the April 2008 deaths of two Italian Greyhound dogs in Indiana. The dogs' owner told us an FDA agent came to her home, took a report, and tested samples of the NUTRO food those dogs ate. Those tests, however, did not find any toxins in the food. Autopsies indicated the dogs died from antifreeze poisoning. The dogs owner doesnt believe those findings, saying there is no antifreeze around her home.

Hundreds of pet owners nationwide have told ConsumerAffairs.com their dogs and cats have experienced sudden and recurring bouts of vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems after eating various flavors of NUTRO. In nearly every case, the animals recovered after their owners switched them to another brand of pet food. Others, however, died. To date, ConsumerAffairs.com has talked to the owners of seven dogs who suspect their pets deaths are linked to NUTRO food but cannot prove it and are hoping for government help.

NUTRO has repeatedly defended its products, and also denies that it is being investigated. Mars recalled 20-pound bags of Pedigree dog food last year, saying it might be contaminated with salmonella.

Menu investigation

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 is a division of privately-held Mars, Inc., which is not required to file the extensive financial disclosure statements required of publicly-traded companies. After NUTRO was acquired by Mars in 2007, Mars was fined a record 4.5 million (about US$5.8 million) 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. NUTRO also had extensive marketing operations in Europe, but under pressure from the German regulators, Mars divested NUTRO's Austrian and German businesses.

Request denied

News of the FDA investigation came to light last week after the FDA denied a Freedom of Information Act request filed by ConsumerAffairs.com seeking a list of all NUTRO complaints and lab results the agency had collected since 2007, which is when NUTRO became a subsidiary of the privately-held Mars Corp. Mars manufactures candies including M&M's, Snickers, KitKats, Mars Bars and Skittles. Half of its business comes from pet care products, including Pedigree, Whiskas, Royal Canin and Cesar pet foods.

In its denial letter, the FDA said the records ConsumerAffairs.com requested were compiled for law enforcement purposes and releasing those documents could interfere with law enforcement proceedings.

In an earlier letter ConsumerAffairs.com received from the FDA — one dated September 5, 2008 — the Center for Veterinary Medicine denied our FOIA request, saying: The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has no responsive records to your request. Complaints regarding adverse reactions to pet foods are filed with the district office consumer complaint coordinator located in the state where the complainant resides."

NUTRO has been citing the Center for Veterinary Medicines denial as proof the FDA is not investigating the company, and the CVM yesterday released a statement saying that "a media report incorrectly concluded and reported that Nutro Products Inc. was the subject of an investigation." But the official ConsumerAffairs.com spoke with last week was not assigned to the Center for Veterinary Medicine. That person is with another division of the FDA.

Media wags its tail

The media response to the dust-up illustrates the sorry effects of the cutback in newspaper reporting staffs and television's increasing use of empty-suit commentators filling positions once held by actual journalists.

The story has simply been ignored by most major newspapers and broadcasters. The few who have touched it have been content with scraps tossed their way by NUTRO and the government.

CNN took its cue from the company's publicists on its 7:41 a.m. newscast a few days ago, as newsreader Robin Meade aired a "clarification of a report that involved a report from ConsumerAffairs.com."

"It (the report) said that the FDA is investigating NUTRO pet foods. It said the independent Web site — which is not affiliated with the federal Consumer Protection Agency (sic) or Consumer Reports — it said it got hundreds of complaints from dog and cat owners who said their pets got sick or died ... but the FDA tells CNN that ConsumerAffairs is wrong and it's not investigating NUTRO."

CNN did not contact ConsumerAffairs.com or any of the 700 consumers who have taken the time to tell their stories but relied totally on the assurances of government and corporate publicists whose interests lie in advancing their employers' interests, not ferreting out the truth.

"NUTRO says in a statement to CNN that it wants to assure its consumers, associates and retailers that its products undergo rigorous product assurance testing and are safe and conform to the specific standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — that's a quote," Meade exclaimed.

"Now as far as the complaints from the pet owners," she continued, "NUTRO says an analysis of the products complained about determined them to be safe and that there was nothing in the pet health issues caused by NUTRO pet food."

Professional groups have also shown little concern, labeling the reports of pet illness "anecdotal." Dr. Kimberly May of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) discounted the source of the reports.

Based on previous experiences with ConsumerAffairs.com, they dont let the truth get in the way of a good story," she said on a trade group forum. "They were one of the sites propagating the microchips cause cancer in pets rumors a few years ago, without any science whatsoever to back up their statements.

May's statement is completely false — no such story ever appeared on ConsumerAffairs.com, Hood, the Web site's president and editor, said. May has since retracted the statement but has not apologized.

"The complete disregard for fact-checking that prevails in today's world is just mind-boggling," Hood said. "People who are supposed to be respected professionals say the first thing that comes into their head while completely ignoring the entreaties of the consumers whose interests they are supposed to protect."

"Any incident can be called anecdotal. A story of a fatal assault during an armed robbery is anecdotal, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen and that measures should not be taken to capture the offenders and try to prevent future occurrences," he said. "The press and responsible professionals are supposed to investigate — not wait for corporate and government mouthpieces to hand them their talking points."

Worrisome trend

ConsumerAffairs.com filed its Freedom of Information request for NUTRO records last year after an analysis of consumer complaints revealed that scores of pets from California to South Carolina had experienced sudden and recurring bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

A common denominator among those dogs and cats was NUTRO pet food. In many cases, consumers said their pets conditions improved once their owners stopped feeding them NUTRO pet food. Some animals died, however.

ConsumerAffairs.com continues to receive complaints about NUTRO from dog and cat owners nationwide. In the past year, consumers have filed more than 600 complaints saying their dogs or cats suddenly became ill after eat NUTRO. The problems these pets have experienced are similar: vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.

Most of the complaints mirror one from Linda P. of New Baltimore, Michigan.

For three years, I have been feeding my dog NUTRO Natural Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food, she said. The last bag I bought, I notice the food color was lighter than in the past. Me being who I am, I believed there was a change in formula for the better. My Dachshund/Lab became ill, vomiting food chunks and yellow bile as well. We took him to the vet and I have been feeding him homemade chicken and rice and antibiotics and he is on the mend.

She adds: How can so many dogs get sick and nothing be done? Today I will start mixing his homemade food with a different brand of dry food. I never want anyone else to go through, what appears to be many, the same situation as our dogs. It will be a week or two before Im sure my dog is okay.

NUTRO denies it

NUTRO defends its products and insists its food is safe. Many NUTRO customers also tout the food, saying their pets have had no problems. And veterinarians say several factors can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs and cats, including changes in diet, newly developed sensitivities to pet foods, and viral infections.

But pet owners who complain to ConsumerAffairs.com on a nearly daily basis are convinced something is wrong with NUTROs food. And they say its no coincidence that so many dogs and cats have become sick — with the same symptoms — after eating various flavors of that pet food.

NUTRO makes dogs sick, says Erin of Encino, California. It is a fact and Im outraged that nobody is taking it off the shelf.

Erin says her three-year-old Puggle was a healthy active dog until she started eating NUTRO Natural Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula and NUTRO Max Beef & Rice Dinner Chunks in Gravy: After about two weeks of this food, she became sick. (She was) constipated for a few days, then had diarrhea, and finally vomiting and was always extremely thirsty. The last straw was her laying lethargic on the couch with white gums.

Thats when Erin rushed her dog to the vet.

The vet said she had allergies, prescribed an antibiotic and cortisone and gave me a bag of Science Diet. I feed her the Science Diet in place of NUTRO because it was free, and she was fine within a week.

Erin, however, says she made the mistake of switching her dog back to NUTRO after the Science Diet was gone.

She again had constipation, followed by horrible diarrhea, and finally vomiting yellow bile and white gums, Erin told us. There is no way that all these stories are just coincidences (not) if my dog is fine when she isnt eating NUTRO and when she is eating it, shes horribly sick. I have switched her back to Science Diet and all her symptoms are gone and her appetite has returned to normal.

Another California pet owner says her dog also became ill after eating NUTRO pet food.

My husband and I purchased NUTRO chicken and rice small bites for our two Chihuahuas, says Jessica of Larkspur. After about five days, our six-year-old male Chihuahua became lethargic, groaned a lot, developed a fever, was not excited to go on walks, and lost excitement for anything that used to bring him joy.

My husband began to suspect it was the new food as he had only developed these symptoms after eating NUTRO. He has always been a healthy and active Chihuahua.

The couple took the dog to their vet, who ran tests but couldnt pinpoint the problem. He was given antibiotics and we are crossing our fingers they work. Our Chihuahua can barely walk, he is groaning in pain, and is extremely depressed.

Across the country, a longtime NUTRO pet owner in Pennsylvania told us her dog suddenly became ill after eating the food.

I had been feeding my dog NUTRO for years, says Amy D. of Webster, Pennsylvania. I started feeding her NUTRO for sensitive stomachs about 6 months ago. At first everything seemed fine. Then my dog, who never urinated in my house, started having accidents (frequently). She needed to go out constantly and would squat repeatedly, come in, and ask to go right back out. I took her to the vet and began treatment for bladder infection. Upon finishing treatment it started all over again.

Amys vet discovered crystals in the dogs urine, which also had a high PH balance. The vet put the dog on another medication.

In the meantime other than the restless pacing to go outside, she seemed disinterested and lethargic, Amy says. Then she began having extremely loose bowel movements (an awful bright yellow) in the house.

Amy launched her own investigation and discovered the scores of complaints about NUTRO on ConsumerAffairs.com.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Could it really be the dog food I had trusted so much making my beloved pet ill? I immediately threw away all my NUTRO dog food.

Amy is now feeding her dog another brand of pet food. And Im thrilled to say she is her old self again. She no longer has to take any medicines and has no more accidents or uncontrollable urges. Thanks to this Web site and everyone who took the time to file a complaint, I have my healthy happy dog back.

Not a fluke?

A pet owner in New York said his puppy had the same experience as Amys dog after eating NUTRO. And hes convinced its not a fluke.

We got our dog two weeks ago and our puppy was healthy when we got her, says Manny of Fresh Meadows, New York. She started eating NUTRO Natural Choice for puppies, since it was recommended by a friend of ours. A week later, she started squatting to urinate, but only small drops or none at all came out. When she can urinate, it is frequent, in small amounts, and contains blood.

Manny took his puppy to the vet, who prescribed amoxicillin.

She received a sonogram, culture test, and urinalysis test. The results showed that she may have a stone in her bladder. The blood in her urine is caused by the stone scraping the bladder walls. The urinalysis test showed that she had a high PH balance. I don't think it is a coincidence that I have the same exact problem as Amy, adds Manny. I wonder if something is wrong NUTRO pet food again. Our puppy is still sick.

ConsumerAffairs.com's investigation into the complaints weve received about NUTRO pet food has also revealed:

• Four dogs unexpectedly died — or were euthanized — in 2008 after eating NUTRO pet food. Besides the dogs in Indiana, the other dogs include a Beagle/Whippet mix in Pennsylvania, two German Shepherd puppies in North Carolina, and a Doberman Pinscher in Texas. Those owners have not tested the NUTRO food their dogs ate before they died;

• Two Italian Greyhounds at a military base in Italy became sick after eating NUTRO food. The dogs owner told us she hopes the FDA is investigating NUTRO and urged the agency to move quickly. It is hard to tell how many people at overseas military bases are feeding this (food) to their dogs and possibly killing them, says Michelle M. who bought her dogs NUTRO food at the bases commissary.

• A pet nutrition specialist for NUTRO told us shes heard complaints about the companys food making dogs and cats sick. She reported those concerns to her supervisor, but said they were ignored. She later resigned.

Some pet owners, however, say NUTRO is the only brand of food their dogs and cats can eat.

My Shar-peis are the most sensitive dogs I have ever owned, says Allison R. of Nampa, Indiana. On the wrong food their hair falls out, their eyes weep and their ears get nasty. It takes me a good 3 months of only NUTRO dog food in order to reverse the affects of the other food. I have found that the senior diet is what works best, not sure why, but it seems to keep my Shar-Peis looking healthy.

A Tennessee pet owner also defends NUTRO pet food — and warns consumers not to jump to conclusions based on Internet complaints.

I feed all of my dogs and cats Nutro products and they are just as healthy as they have ever been, says Brenda of Springfield, Tennessee. They have healthy shiny coats and their stools are firm.

Gradual transition

Brenda also had some advice to pet owners switching brands of food.

Do a gradual transition from the old food, she said. If you dont, your dog will likely experience these issues. Not every bout of diarrhea, constipation, bladder infection, liver and kidney failure and loss of excitement to go on walks should be attributed to food. Your first responsibility as a pet owner should be to take your dog to the vet before you blame anyone. Do your research and don't let any Web site diagnose your pet.

NUTRO has repeatedly insisted its food is 100 percent safe and meets all standards set by FDA, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). A spokeswoman said all NUTRO products are tested for melamine, molds, toxins and other bacteria. And she called the complaints weve received isolated reports of inaccurate information posted online.

The company, however, set up a special a section on its Web site in response to the issues and concerns raised in the ConsumerAffairs.com stories. NUTRO said it takes all customer complaints seriously and encouraged pet owners with concerns about the food to contact the company at 1-800-833-5330.

Veterinarians have said its not uncommon for pets to have sudden bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. They also said a number of factors — pet food, stress, or a viral infection — could be the culprit.

Dr. Steven Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), reviewed some of the NUTRO complaints, in an effort to find out why so many pets have become sick — or even died — after eating NUTRO food.

Unfortunately the cases are not consistent and appear to be anecdotal with no real definitive diagnostic findings, Dr. Hansen said. Without any consistent trends in findings we can not do anything any further. This does appear to us to be a situation where bad things happen, but they are not likely food-related.

Hansen, however, said consumers who suspect NUTROs food is a factor in their pets illnesses should have their animals examined by a veterinarian and document the problems.

I would also recommend that if they suspect the food is the problem, they should take a freezer bag full of it — along with the label information that has the products name and lot numbers — to their vet, he told us. If the vet suspects the food is the cause, the vet should then contact the company and FDA. If theres a problem, we need to document it and get supporting lab results.

Owners anxious

The arguments back and forth don't mean much to anxious pet owners, who say its about time some federal agency investigated NUTRO and its products.

After so many complaints, how can this dog food still be on the market for consumers to purchase and feed to their dogs? Andrea G. of Sicklerville, New Jersey asked us. I have been feeding my Dachshund NUTRO Ultra dry dog food for many months. Suddenly, 10 days ago, he started vomiting yellow bile 1- 2 times daily.

It makes me sick to think that I might be the one responsible for my dog's vomiting by feeding him this food. I can only hope that something is done, very soon, to prevent other pets from becoming ill.

Read verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.

Feds Deny NUTRO Investigation; Witnesses Say Otherwise...
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NUTRO Bites Back; Denies Probe of Pet Deaths, Illnesses

Hundreds of pet owners say the company's food made their pets ill

NUTRO Products Inc. denies it's under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — even though an official of that agency told ConsumerAffairs.com on Monday that the pet food maker is the focus of a probe.

An FDA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that ongoing investigation is the reason the FDAs Division of Freedom of Information denied a ConsumerAffairs.com request for a list of complaints and lab results the agency has collected about NUTRO pet food. The FDA did not elaborate on the focus of its investigation, saying only that it could be criminal or civil in nature.

Hundreds of pet owners nationwide have told ConsumerAffairs.com their dogs and cats have experienced sudden and recurring bouts of vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems after eating various flavors of NUTRO. In many cases, the animals recovered after their owners switched them to another brand of pet food. Others died.

NUTRO has repeatedly defended its products, saying they are 100 percent safe, and also denies that it is being investigated.

We've been in contact with officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding your April 20th posting that claims there is an ongoing FDA investigation into NUTRO pet food, spokeswoman Monica Barrett wrote in an e-mail Tuesday night. This is not true. We have confirmed with officials of the FDA division responsible for regulating pet food, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), that there is no current or ongoing investigation of Nutro Products, Inc.

The FDA had not previously commented on complaints regarding NUTRO pet food. News of its investigation came to light only after the agency denied a request filed by ConsumerAffairs.com under the Freedom of Information Act for a list of all complaints and lab results the FDA has collected since 2007 about NUTRO.

The FDA said the release of those records could interfere with law enforcement proceedings.

The document (s) constitute record (s) complied for law enforcement purposes, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings, the FDAs George A. Strait Jr. wrote in a letter denying the FOIA request.

In a follow-up telephone call, an agency official confirmed that the request was denied because of an ongoing investigation. The official requested anonymity because he or she was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

Menu investigation

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 is a division of privately-held Mars, Inc., which is not required to file the extensive financial disclosure statements required of publicly-traded companies. After NUTRO was acquired by Mars in 2007, Mars was fined a record 4.5 million (about US$5.8 million) 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. NUTRO also had extensive marketing operations in Europe, but under pressure from the German regulators, Mars divested NUTRO's Austrian and German businesses.

Worrisome trend

ConsumerAffairs.com filed its Freedom of Information request for NUTRO records last year after an analysis of consumer complaints revealed that scores of pets from California to South Carolina had experienced sudden and recurring bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

A common denominator among those dogs and cats was NUTRO pet food. In many cases, consumers said their pets conditions improved once their owners stopped feeding them NUTRO pet food. Some animals died, however.

ConsumerAffairs.com continues to receive complaints about NUTRO from dog and cat owners nationwide. In the past year, consumers have filed more than 600 complaints saying their dogs or cats suddenly became ill after eat NUTRO. The problems these pets have experienced are similar: vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.

Most of the complaints mirror one received last week from Linda P. of New Baltimore, Michigan.

For three years, I have been feeding my dog NUTRO Natural Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Small Bites Dry Dog Food, she said. The last bag I bought, I notice the food color was lighter than in the past. Me being who I am, I believed there was a changed in formula for the better. My Dachshund/Lab became ill, vomiting food chunks and yellow bile as well. We took him to the vet and I have been feeding him homemade chicken and rice and antibiotics and he is on the mend.

She adds: How can so many dogs get sick and nothing be done? Today I will start mixing his homemade food with a different brand of dry food. I never want anyone else to go through, what appears to be many, the same situation as our dogs. It will be a week or two before Im sure my dog is okay.

NUTRO denies it

NUTRO defends its products and insists its food is safe. Many NUTRO customers also tout the food, saying their pets have had no problems. And veterinarians say several factors can cause gastrointestinal problems in dogs and cats, including changes in diet, newly developed sensitivities to pet foods, and viral infections.

But pet owners who complain to ConsumerAffairs.com on a nearly daily basis are convinced something is wrong with NUTROs food. And they say its no coincidence that so many dogs and cats have become sick — with the same symptoms — after eating various flavors of that pet food.

NUTRO makes dogs sick, says Erin of Encino, California. It is a fact and Im outraged that nobody is taking it off the shelf.

Erin says her three-year-old Puggle was a healthy active dog until she started eating NUTRO Natural Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula and NUTRO Max Beef & Rice Dinner Chunks in Gravy: After about two weeks of this food, she became sick. (She was) constipated for a few days, then had diarrhea, and finally vomiting and was always extremely thirsty. The last straw was her laying lethargic on the couch with white gums.

Thats when Erin rushed her dog to the vet.

The vet said she had allergies, prescribed an antibiotic and cortisone and gave me a bag of Science Diet. I feed her the Science Diet in place of NUTRO because it was free, and she was fine within a week.

Erin, however, says she made the mistake of switching her dog back to NUTRO after the Science Diet was gone.

She again had constipation, followed by horrible diarrhea, and finally vomiting yellow bile and white gums, Erin told us. There is no way that all these stories are just coincidences (not) if my dog is fine when she isnt eating NUTRO and when she is eating it, shes horribly sick. I have switched her back to Science Diet and all her symptoms are gone and her appetite has returned to normal.

Another California pet owner says her dog also became ill after eating NUTRO pet food.

My husband and I purchased NUTRO chicken and rice small bites for our two Chihuahuas, says Jessica of Larkspur. After about five days, our six-year-old male Chihuahua became lethargic, groaned a lot, developed a fever, was not excited to go on walks, and lost excitement for anything that used to bring him joy.

My husband began to suspect it was the new food as he had only developed these symptoms after eating NUTRO. He has always been a healthy and active Chihuahua.

The couple took the dog to their vet, who ran tests but couldnt pinpoint the problem. He was given antibiotics and we are crossing our fingers they work. Our Chihuahua can barely walk, he is groaning in pain, and is extremely depressed.

Across the country, a longtime NUTRO pet owner in Pennsylvania told us her dog suddenly became ill after eating the food.

I had been feeding my dog NUTRO for years, says Amy D. of Webster, Pennsylvania. I started feeding her NUTRO for sensitive stomachs about 6 months ago. At first everything seemed fine. Then my dog, who never urinated in my house, started having accidents (frequently). She needed to go out constantly and would squat repeatedly, come in, and ask to go right back out. I took her to the vet and began treatment for bladder infection. Upon finishing treatment it started all over again.

Amys vet discovered crystals in the dogs urine, which also had a high PH balance. The vet put the dog on another medication.

In the meantime other than the restless pacing to go outside, she seemed disinterested and lethargic, Amy says. Then she began having extremely loose bowel movements (an awful bright yellow) in the house.

Amy launched her own investigation and discovered the scores of complaints about NUTRO on ConsumerAffairs.com.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Could it really be the dog food I had trusted so much making my beloved pet ill? I immediately threw away all my NUTRO dog food.

Amy is now feeding her dog another brand of pet food. And Im thrilled to say she is her old self again. She no longer has to take any medicines and has no more accidents or uncontrollable urges. Thanks to this Web site and everyone who took the time to file a complaint, I have my healthy happy dog back.

Not a fluke?

A pet owner in New York said his puppy had the same experience as Amys dog after eating NUTRO. And hes convinced its not a fluke.

We got our dog two weeks ago and our puppy was healthy when we got her, says Manny of Fresh Meadows, New York. She started eating NUTRO Natural Choice for puppies, since it was recommended by a friend of ours. A week later, she started squatting to urinate, but only small drops or none at all came out. When she can urinate, it is frequent, in small amounts, and contains blood.

Manny took his puppy to the vet, who prescribed amoxicillin.

She received a sonogram, culture test, and urinalysis test. The results showed that she may have a stone in her bladder. The blood in her urine is caused by the stone scraping the bladder walls. The urinalysis test showed that she had a high PH balance. I don't think it is a coincidence that I have the same exact problem as Amy, adds Manny. I wonder if something is wrong NUTRO pet food again. Our puppy is still sick.

ConsumerAffairs.com's investigation into the complaints weve received about NUTRO pet food has also revealed:

• Six dogs unexpectedly died — or were euthanized — in 2008 after eating NUTRO pet food. Those dogs include two Italian Greyhounds in Indiana, a Beagle/Whippet mix in Pennsylvania, two German Shepherd puppies in North Carolina, and a Doberman Pinscher in Texas;

• The FDA investigated the April 2008 deaths of two Italian Greyhounds dogs in Indiana. The FDA tested samples of the NUTRO food those dogs ate, but did not find any toxins. An autopsy indicated the dogs died from antifreeze poisoning. The dogs owner doesnt believe those results, saying there is no antifreeze around her home. No one has tested the NUTRO food the other dogs ate before they died;

• Two Italian Greyhounds at a military base in Italy became sick after eating NUTRO food. The dogs owner told us she hopes the FDA is investigating NUTRO and urged the agency to move quickly. It is hard to tell how many people at overseas military bases are feeding this (food) to their dogs and possibly killing them, says Michelle M. who bought her dogs NUTRO food at the bases commissary.

• A pet nutrition specialist for NUTRO told us shes heard complaints about the companys food making dogs and cats sick. She reported those concerns to her supervisor, but said they were ignored. She later resigned.

Some pet owners, however, say NUTRO is the only brand of food their dogs and cats can eat.

My Shar-peis are the most sensitive dogs I have ever owned, says Allison R. of Nampa, Indiana. On the wrong food their hair falls out, their eyes weep and their ears get nasty. It takes me a good 3 months of only NUTRO dog food in order to reverse the affects of the other food. I have found that the senior diet is what works best, not sure why, but it seems to keep my Shar-Peis looking healthy.

A Tennessee pet owner also defends NUTRO pet food — and warns consumers not to jump to conclusions based on Internet complaints.

I feed all of my dogs and cats Nutro products and they are just as healthy as they have ever been, says Brenda of Springfield, Tennessee. They have healthy shiny coats and their stools are firm.

Gradual transition

Brenda also had some advice to pet owners switching brands of food.

Do a gradual transition from the old food, she said. If you dont, your dog will likely experience these issues. Not every bout of diarrhea, constipation, bladder infection, liver and kidney failure and loss of excitement to go on walks should be attributed to food. Your first responsibility as a pet owner should be to take your dog to the vet before you blame anyone. Do your research and don't let any Web site diagnose your pet.

NUTRO has repeatedly insisted its food is 100 percent safe and meets all standards set by FDA, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). A spokeswoman said all NUTRO products are tested for melamine, molds, toxins and other bacteria. And she called the complaints weve received isolated reports of inaccurate information posted online.

The company, however, set up a special a section on its Web site in response to the issues and concerns raised in the ConsumerAffairs.com stories. NUTRO said it takes all customer complaints seriously and encouraged pet owners with concerns about the food to contact the company at 1-800-833-5330.

Veterinarians have said its not uncommon for pets to have sudden bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. They also said a number of factors — pet food, stress, or a viral infection — could be the culprit.

Dr. Steven Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), reviewed some of the NUTRO complaints, in an effort to find out why so many pets have become sick — or even died — after eating NUTRO food.

Unfortunately the cases are not consistent and appear to be anecdotal with no real definitive diagnostic findings, Dr. Hansen said. Without any consistent trends in findings we can not do anything any further. This does appear to us to be a situation where bad things happen, but they are not likely food-related.

Hansen, however, said consumers who suspect NUTROs food is a factor in their pets illnesses should have their animals examined by a veterinarian and document the problems.

I would also recommend that if they suspect the food is the problem, they should take a freezer bag full of it — along with the label information that has the products name and lot numbers — to their vet, he told us. If the vet suspects the food is the cause, the vet should then contact the company and FDA. If theres a problem, we need to document it and get supporting lab results.

Owners anxious

The arguments back and forth don't mean much to anxious pet owners, who say its about time some federal agency investigated NUTRO and its products.

After so many complaints, how can this dog food still be on the market for consumers to purchase and feed to their dogs? Andrea G. of Sicklerville, New Jersey asked us. I have been feeding my Dachshund NUTRO Ultra dry dog food for many months. Suddenly, 10 days ago, he started vomiting yellow bile 1- 2 times daily.

It makes me sick to think that I might be the one responsible for my dog's vomiting by feeding him this food. I can only hope that something is done, very soon, to prevent other pets from becoming ill.

Read verbatim complaints and comments from consumers.

NUTRO Bites Back; Denies Probe of Pet Deaths, Illnesses...
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Lawsuits On the Trail of Nutro, Canidae Pet Foods

Pet owners' complaints of death, illness headed for court


Two separate law firms are gathering information for potential class action lawsuits against Canidae and Nutro, the pet food manufacturers whose products are alleged to have caused widespread pet illness.

Progressive Law Group, LLC, is currently gathering information from pet owners who say their dogs became sick as a result of eating Canidae products, or who have information that would be useful to the suit.

According to its website, the firm focuses mainly on environmental, energy, and consumer affairs issues. More information about the Canidae suit can be found online.

Meanwhile, the Alabama firm of McCallum, Hoaglund, Cook, and Irby is gathering information for a potential class action lawsuit against the company that manufactures Nutro.

In spite of widespread complaints of pet illness, Canidae has yet to issue a voluntary recall of its foods. Last year, the company issued a statement explaining that it had changed the foods formulation and that pets needed to be transitioned gradually from the old to the new formula.

Specifically, the company cited the new foods increased levels of meat protein and the increased overall complex carbohydrate quality.

However, angry consumers said Canidae was at best inconsistent in warning pet owners beforehand of the need for the gradual formula transition. Many claimed that neither the food nor the shelves on which it was stocked provided any warning that the formula had changed.

Some consumers have speculated that the new formula, which contains carbohydrates such as corn and barley, came as a shock to their dogs systems, which had become accustomed to the old formulas more rice-centered composition. In September 2007, a lab report allegedly showed that a Canidae sample contained the painkiller acetaminophen, a charge which Canidae vehemently denied.

Menu Foods

Menu Foods, another large pet food manufacturer, was forced to issue a series of recalls in 2007, after scores of dogs became sick, some experiencing kidney failure. At least 10 deaths were reported. The Pet Food Products Safety Alliance (PFPSA) tested a batch of Nutro pet food in August 2008, and found alarming levels of copper and zinc.

Indeed, PFPSA noted that the copper levels were two to three times higher than recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

A multi-district class action lawsuit against Menu Foods recently settled for $24 million. The suit was brought on behalf of certain U.S. and Canadian residents who purchased recalled pet food after March 16, 2007.

Under the settlement, all class members are eligible to collect up to 100% of economic damages they suffered, as long as they can provide documentation. An explanation of the settlement and relevant court documents can be found at www.petfoodsettlement.com.

More about pets ...



Lawsuits On the Trail of Nutro, Canidae Pet Foods...
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Pricey Pet Food Not Necessarily Better

Consumer Reports advises consumers about what to look for on pet-food labels

When it comes to buying pet food, higher cost doesn't always mean higher quality. A higher price could indicate better ingredients and better quality control during and after manufacturing, but it could also just mean prettier packaging, more marketing, or a fancy name.

And despite food safety concerns that resulted from a recall of pet food tainted with melamine in 2007, Consumer Reports urges caution for consumers who are considering making their own pet food, a growing trend.

Consumer Reports asked eight experts in dog and cat nutrition at seven top veterinary schools what consumers get by spending more for pet food. They were also asked what they served their own pets: Most of the experts said they use a variety of common brands sold at pet stores or supermarkets.

A recent survey by the Associated Press found that although Americans may be spending less on themselves, they're not scrimping on their pets. According to the survey, just one in seven pet owners said they had curtailed spending on their pet during the past year, even as they cut back on other expenses.

Thirty-seven percent of U.S. households have dogs, and 32 percent have cats. But because of multi-cat households, felines outnumber canines. As of 2007, there were almost 82 million cats and 72 million dogs.

The bottom line: It's more important to look for the overall nutrient profile of a particular pet food brand than it is to shop by price or even individual ingredients. "As a pet owner, your main goal is to ensure that your animal is active and healthy," says Jamie Hirsh, associate health editor at Consumer Reports. "That suggests that the food you're buying is doing its job. But it's also important to know that you don't have to choose the most expensive food to get what's best for your pet. Look for food labeled 'complete and balanced,' which indicates it can be the pet's sole nourishment."

Hirsh advises pet owners to look for labels stating that the food's nutritional adequacy was validated by animal-feeding tests based on protocols from the American Association of Feed Control Officials, a regulatory group. That statement is a step above the other one that AAFCO allows — that a food was formulated to meet the group's nutrient profiles. "In addition, make sure the package has contact information for the food's manufacturer, in case you have questions," Hirsh says.

Consumers should also take into consideration the age of their pet and whether he or she has special needs. For example, cats with kidney or urinary problems might benefit from the moisture in wet food, while animals with dental issues might do better with dry food.

What pet food labels really mean

For pet food, there's no official definition of organic, human-grade, premium, no fillers, or gourmet. Gluten-free foods are generally necessary only for the tiny percentages of pets that are intolerant of that protein. There's some evidence that antioxidants — such as vitamin E — and some omega-3 fatty acids might enhance pets' immunity or help protect against certain diseases, but the experts interviewed by Consumer Reports were split on whether consumers need to look for them.

Consumer Reports recommends that consumers educate themselves about pet food labeling, which is mostly defined by AAFCO, which sets standards for pet food manufacturing. Here are some examples:

• The 95 percent rule (Beef for Dogs). Named ingredient(s) must account for a least 95 percent of the product by weight.

• Dinner; also Entre, Formula, Nuggets, Platter, Recipe (Chicken and Salmon Dinner for Cats). The named ingredients must make up at least 25 percent of the product by weight, not counting water. Each individual food must make up at least 3 percent.

• "With..." (Gourmet Fillets with Turkey for Dogs). Contains 3 percent or more of the named ingredient.

• Flavor (Beef flavor). No specific percentage required, but the product must contain enough of the food to impart the claimed flavor, or another substance that tastes like it (beef stock, for example).

• Guaranteed analysis. Mandatory guarantee that the food contains the labeled percentages of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture.

• Light, lite, low-calorie. Meets AAFCO limits for a reduced-calorie diet for overweight dogs and cats. "Lean" and "low-fat" have a similar meaning for fat.

• Natural. Technically, the food has few or no synthetic ingredients. But the claim is loosely defined.

• Grain-free. Protein in the product comes from nongrain sources (perhaps for people who want pets to eat more animal protein). It's unclear whether there's any benefit to a diet high in animal protein.

What consumers can do

Consumer Reportsoffers this advice to pet owners:

Be careful when making your own pet food. Most experts said they hadn't seen a pet get sick from inexpensive food; however, half said they had seen pets become ill from eating homemade pet food, a growing trend since the 2007 recall of some commercial pet food contaminated by melamine. Dogs and cats each require about 40 different nutrients in very specific proportions, so pet owners who insist on making their own pet food should consider enlisting a nutritionist certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (www.acvn.org) or get help from the Web sites www.balanceit.com or www.petdiets.com.

Consider your pet's age. Age-specific food is very important for puppies, kittens, and pregnant pets, who have especially stringent nutritional needs. Foods labeled either "for growth" or "for all life stages" meet those needs. Foods "for maintenance" are for healthy adult animals only. "Senior" is a marketing term, not a nutritional term.

Weigh the costs and benefits of wet versus dry food. There's no nutritional difference between wet and dry pet food, but there is a cost difference. Wet foods contain about 75 percent water, so pets need more to get the same calories, and that makes wet food more expensive per serving.

The full report is available in the March 2009 issue of Consumer Reports and online at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.

Pricey Pet Food Not Necessarily Better...
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Topaz Wafer Rolls Recalled on Melamine Fears

Industrial chemical contaminates more food products

Melamine contamination continues to trigger recalls of food products. In the latest melamine scare, National Brands Inc. has recalled all its 4.76-ounce and 12.3-ounce cans of Topaz Wafer Rolls.

The wafer rolls involved in this action were sold in four flavors and distributed at retail stores nationwide. The Spring Valley, New York, company said it has not received any reports of illnesses linked to the products. Customers with questions about this action can call the company at 866-238-5201.

This is the second melamine-contamination issue the company has faced in recent weeks.

In late November, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection warned consumers not to eat National Brand's Topaz Wafer Rolls with Hazlenut Chocolate-Flavored Cream Filling because of melamine contamination.

A sample of those products — tested by the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station Laboratory — revealed the wafer contained 5 parts per million (ppm) of melamine and the cream filling had more than 7 ppm.

That is well above the 2.5 ppm standard for melamine set by the Food and Drug Administration,

The Chinese-made wafers were sold at Ocean State Job Lot stores in Connecticut and identified as Lot # L821 99D.

Melamine is a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers. It is not approved for use in human or animal food marketed in the United States — and manufacturers are not allowed to deliberately add it to any food for U.S. consumers.

Concerns about melamine — and its intentional adulteration in imported foods — have repeatedly surfaced in the past year.

In September, Chinese officials discovered melamine in powered infant formula made in that country. Officials learned some dairy plants purposely added the chemical to milk products to make them appear to have higher protein levels.

That contamination is blamed for the deaths of at least six babies in China and the illnesses of thousands of other infants.

Doctors say melamine can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure.

China's melamine-tainted milk scandal has since spread from infant formula to dozens of other food products sold around the world, including candy, coffee, and pretzels.

Melamine is also blamed for the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dogs and cats in the United States in 2007.

FDA officials discovered the chemical in imported wheat gluten from China used to make dog and cat food. Those findings triggered the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

Although melamine is not supposed to be in animal or human food, the FDA recently concluded that levels below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) do not raise health concerns.

The only exception is infant formula. The FDA now says melamine levels of 1 ppm in infant formula are safe. That is a reversal of the zero tolerance policy for melamine the agency adopted in October.

At that time, the FDA said it was "unable to establish any level of melamine and melamine-related compounds in infant formula that does not raise public health concerns."

Topaz Wafer Rolls Recalled on Melamine Fears...
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Pet Owners Warned about Chicken Jerky Products

Small dogs at particular risk from jerky strips


Pet owners continue to complain about illnesses their dogs have experienced after eating chicken jerky products imported from China, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned on Friday.

That's why FDA officials again cautioned consumers to be wary of feeding their dogs these products, which include chicken tenders, strips, or treats.

This warning comes less than two weeks after an Australian company recalled some of its Chinese-made chicken strips because the treats may cause illnesses in small dogs.

And those illnesses sound similar to the ones dogs and cats have experienced after eating Nutro food, according to a regular ConsumerAffairs.com reader.

15 cases

Earlier this month, The KraMar Pet Company of Australia said it had received 15 reported cases of illnesses since it launched its Supa Naturals chicken breast strips 15 months ago. Those cases triggered the company's recall.

KraMar acknowledged a possible linked between the treats and instances of Fanconi-Like Syndrome in small dogs. Symptoms of that illness include:

• Decreased food consumption, although some may continue to consume the treats to the exclusion of other foods
• Decreased activity or lethargy
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea, sometimes with blood
• Increased water consumption and/or increased urination

In severe cases, blood tests may indicate kidney failure and glucose in the urine may indicate Fanconi-Like Syndrome, the company said.

A veterinarian at the University of Sydney is now investigating the recent illnesses in the dogs that ate the chicken treats, Australian news organizations have reported. KraMar officials, however, say there is no scientific evidence linking its chicken strips to Fanconi-Like Syndrome.

The company's recall came a little more than a year after the FDA warned pet owners to be leery of feeding their dogs chicken jerky products.

"There is a potential association between illness in dogs and these products," the FDA warned last September. "(The) FDA has received over 70 complaints involving more than 95 dogs experiencing illness that their owners associated with eating chicken jerky products."

On Friday, the FDA echoed that warning and said it continues to receive complaints about chicken jerky products.

Limit consumption

"FDA believes the continued trend of consumer complaints, coupled with the information obtained from Australia, warrants an additional reminder and animal health notification," the agency said in a written statement. "Chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are intended to be used occasionally and in small quantities. Owners of small dogs must be especially careful to limit the amount of these products."

The FDA said it is working with several veterinary diagnostic laboratories to see if there is a link between the products and illnesses in dogs.

"To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses," the FDA said. "FDA has conducted extensive chemical and microbial testing, but has not identified any contaminant."

The FDA said consumers who feed their dogs chicken jerky products should watch for such symptoms as decreased appetite — although some dogs may continue to eat the treats instead of other foods — lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, sometimes with blood, and increased water consumption and/ or urination.

Pet owners who notice any of these symptoms should immediately stop feeding their dogs the chicken jerky products. They should also contact their veterinarians if the problems are severe or persist for more than 24 hours, the FDA said.

"Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine)," the FDA said. "Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died."

The FDA said it would continue to "actively investigate" this problem.

The agency encouraged pet owners and veterinarians to report any illnesses possibly linked to these products — or any pet foods — to the the agency's Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state.

Sounds familiar

Meanwhile, a regular ConsumerAffairs.com reader noticed the illnesses among the dogs that have eaten the chicken jerky products sounded eerily familiar.

"I can't help but wonder if this is related to the dogs in the US with these types of symptoms (unrelated to the Menu Foods incident)," Carol V. of Rhode Island told us when KraMar recalled the chicken treats.

She was referring to the growing number of dogs and cats that have experienced similar digestive problems after eating Nutro pet food.

Some pet owners, like Ashley H. of Manteca, California, told us their dogs even died after eating that brand of food.

"Our chocolate lab, Lucy, has been eating Nutro food since she was a puppy," Ashley said. "About two months ago, we switched her to Nutro large breed Weight Management because she started getting too heavy. On December 14 she had loose stools and was throwing up. She was very lethargic and wouldn't eat. The next day she seemed to be getting better and started eating, so we canceled the appointment with the vet."

Three days later, Lucy's health took a turn for the worse.

"We took her to the vet to find that she had something wrong with her liver," Ashley said. "We had an appointment for December 18th to have the excess fluid removed and see what else needed to be done. She didn't make it through the night."

Nutro has repeatedly defended its products, saying its food is 100 percent safe and meets standards set by the FDA, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

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Mars Extends Pet Food Recall

Salmonella found in more pet food samples


Mars Petcare US is extending a recall of dry pet food after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported finding Salmonella in additional samples of the company's SPECIAL KITTY Gourmet Blend cat food.

The earlier recall, issued October 27, was for cat food produced at Mars' Allenton, Pa., plant on August 11, 2008. The recall is now being extended to cover all dry pet food produced at the plant with a "best by" date between August 11, 2009 and October 3, 2009.

The recall affects only products sold at BJ's Wholesale Club, ShopRite Supermarkets, and Wal-Mart locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia. No other customers and no other states are affected.

Retailers have been notified of the recall and asked to remove the products from their shelves. The recalled pet food should not be fed to pets and should be handled carefully by consumers. Consumers should wear disposable gloves and wash their hands carefully when handling any food product thought to carry Salmonella.

Mars makes a variety of pet foods, including Nutro dog food, which has been the target of hundreds of complaints from angry pet ownes who have written to ConsumerAffairs.com.

Eric of Lowell, Mass., said his dog became ill when he switched to Nutro.

"We rushed him to the vet who initially thought it might be leptospirosis, but those tests came back negative," Eric said. "After four days at the vet, with IV's, a negative Lepto test, and multiple medications, he was sent home and seems to be doing much better."

"Bottom line? He became sick after eating Nutro. He got better after stopping eating Nutro," Eric said.

Salmonella

Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, experts say. People can also be infected if they handle the tainted food. Children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Salmonella can, in rare cases, cause such serious illnesses as arterial infections, arthritis, muscle pain, and urinary tract symptoms.

Pets infected with Salmonella may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets, however, may only have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Pet owners whose cats ate the recalled food and have these symptoms should contact their veterinarian.

Mars said it was trying to get ahead of the problem.

"We are continuously monitoring and updating our processes to be at the forefront of product quality, innovation, customer responsiveness, and manufacturing efficiency. In recent months, we have invested tens of millions of dollars in plant upgrades, new testing protocols, advanced associate training, and a new state of the art testing facility that will open in mid-2009," the company said in a statement.

For more information about the recall, pet owners can contact the company at 1-877-568-4463.

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FDA Finds Melamine in U.S. Infant Formula

Agency insists amounts were "minute" and do not pose an immediate danger



Melamine -- the chemical blamed for the deaths of four infants in China and countless pets in the United States -- has been found in infant formula, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper quoted FDA official Stephen Sundlof as saying the finding is "no cause for concern." He said the chemical was at very low levels and was probably the result of contact with melamine during processing or packaging. Sundlof said the agency also found minute amounts of melamine in products such as nutritional and medical supplements made by five U.S. manufacturers of infant formula.

Melamine is a chemical used to make plastic and fertilizers. It is not allowed in human or pet food, although in the late 1960s or early 1970s, the FDA approved melamine as a "food contact substance," Sundlof said.

Sundlof said the discovery was part of a testing program that went into high gear after melamine in Chinese infant formula sickened tens of thousands of Chinese infants and killed four. Samples tested by FDA came not only from ethnic markets but also from products produced by the five major U.S. infant formula manufacturers.

Animal tests are now being conducted to determine melamine safety levels, he said.

Imports detained

Earlier this month, the FDA announced that it was detaining scores of products imported from China, including some pet food, because of possible melamine contamination.

Under this action, dozens of Chinese-imported items that contain milk products will be held at the border -- and not allowed to enter the U.S. -- until the importers can prove the items are not tainted with melamine or are not made with milk or milk-derived ingredients.

The products listed in the import alert -- a precautionary measure designed to keep food tainted with melamine from entering the country -- include candy, cereals, snack foods, cheese, ice cream, soft drinks and baby food products.

"We've continued to get information from others in the international community, and reports from China, about (melamine contamination) moving into different commodities," Steve Solomon, a senior FDA enforcement official, told The Associated Press. "Most of the products we are talking about are finished products like cookies, cakes and candies. The impact will be for various ethnic communities looking for specific products."

"The (infants') illnesses involved the formation of kidney stones and crystals and related complications," the FDA wrote in the import alert. It added that some 13,000 infants were hospitalized after drinking the tainted formula.

"The milk used in the infant formula has been implicated as the source of the melamine contamination." The FDA learned that melamine was added to the infant formula to increase the nitrogen content and falsely inflate the protein content.

The melamine contamination, however, isn't limited to infant formula.

"FDA analyses have detected melamine and cyanuric acid in a number of products that contain milk or milk-derived ingredients, including candy and beverages," the agency wrote.

And those products were shipped to consumers around the world.

More than 13 countries -- including Asia, Europe and Australia--have discovered melamine in a variety of products made with the tainted milk ingredients from China, the FDA said. Those products include candy, yogurt, frozen desserts, biscuits, instant coffee, milk tea products, and other beverages.

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Mars Recalls Cat Food Sold at Wal-Mart due to Salmonella

15 states see recall of "Special Kitty" product


Mars Petcare US has recalled a limited number of bags of its SPECIAL KITTY Gourmet Blend dry cat food sold at Wal-Mart stores in 15 states because of possible Salmonella contamination.

The company said the potentially-tainted cat food was sold at Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia.

"Mars Petcare has been working cooperatively with Wal-Mart to address this issue, and the affected product of this lot has already been removed from Wal-Mart's shelves," the company said in a statement released on Monday. "As a result, consumers can be assured that all SPECIAL KITTY Gourmet Blend products that remain on Wal-Mart's shelves are safe and not subject to this recall."

The cat food involved in the recall include the 3.5 pound, 7 pound, and 18 pound bags with the following UPC codes: 81131 17546, 81131 17547, and 81131 17548. The recalled bags also have a Best if Used By date of August 11, 2009 and a lot code that starts with the numbers "50."

The company said it is not aware of any illnesses in pets or humans linked to the recalled food. Cat owners, however, should immediately stop feeding the food to their pets, the company said.

Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats, experts say. People can also be infected if they handle the tainted food. Children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Salmonella can, in rare cases, cause such serious illnesses as arterial infections, arthritis, muscle pain, and urinary tract symptoms.

Pets infected with Salmonella may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets, however, may only have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Pet owners whose cats ate the recalled food and have these symptoms should contact their veterinarian.

For more information about the recall, pet owners can contact the company at 1-877-568-4463.

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Pet Owners Eligible For $24 Million in Landmark Melamine Settlement

But many say money is no replacement for loss of beloved animals


Pet owners whose dogs or cats became ill or died last year after eating melamine-tainted food are now eligible for a piece of a landmark $24 million settlement. But some pet owners say no amount of money can replace the loss of their best friend.

"She was my constant companion and quite a character," Vicki W. of Sedona, Arizona, said of her cat, which died last year after eating contaminated pet food. "My husband and I miss her greatly."

U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman on Tuesday gave final approval to the settlement, which resolves more than 100 class action lawsuits filed in U.S. and Canadian Courts in the wake of last year's massive pet food recall.

Hillman called the settlement "fair, reasonable and adequate," according to the Associated Press.

The $24 million dollar settlement is in addition to the $8 million in claims some companies involved in the litigation have already paid--bringing the total to $32 million.

Under the deal, pet owners can seek compensation for such expenses as veterinary bills, burial costs, time missed from work to take care of sick animals, and property damage caused by sick pets.

In some cases, the settlement allows consumers to recover up to 100% of "reasonable economic damages" if they can provide documentation for those losses. Even consumers who do not have any documentation can recover up to $900 per pet under the settlement.

Lawyers said more than 10,000 pet owners in the United States and Canada had filed claims as of September 30, 2008. The average cost of the claims analyzed so far is approximately $1,500, attorneys said.

More than 100 people kept their rights to sue the pet food companies and other parties separately.

And 28 people filed objections to the settlement, saying it didn't cover the pain and suffering they endured from losing their pets. They questioned how anyone could put a price tag on the loss of a beloved pet. They're pet owners like Vicki of Arizona.

"She can never be replaced because of her unique personality," Vicki said of her Abyssinian.

That healthy cat suddenly became sick in early 2007 months before Menu Foods of Canada recalled more than 60 million containers of melamine tainted food. "So I had the vet do blood work on her," Vicki said. "The vet said she had beginning kidney disease and if we changed her food she would be okay for a long time."

Her cat's condition, however, deteriorated.

"I took her back in a month and she had gotten much worse," Vicki said. "The vet was surprised at how fast she had gone down and recommended IV treatment. We gave her IV's at home every day for four months and she died anyway."

At that time, no one knew about the tainted pet food.

"I had an autopsy done on her because the vet was puzzled about why my cat went down hill so fast," Vicki said, adding her cat's medical bill totaled more than $1,000. "When we heard about the food problem, the vet said the autopsy made sense--she definitely was victim of (tainted) cat food."

Does Tuesday's settlement give Vicki any sense of justice? "Nine-hundred dollars is a small price for the vet bills and the months trying to save her," she told us. "The only consultation is that it hopefully won't happen again."

The settlement may also help other animals in need.

It stipulates that any money left after all the plaintiffs are paid--including the 55 law firms involved in the case-- will be donated to various animal charities. One attorney said the lead firms alone had done more than $5 million worth of work.

Consumers with questions about the settlement--or filing a claim--can find answers on the Pet Food Products Liability Settlement Web site.

As we've reported, this case started last March when Menu Foods recalled millions of containers of dog and cat food tainted with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics. That marked the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

Thousands of dogs and cats across North America suffered kidney disease or died after eating the contaminated food.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traced the source of that contamination to the wheat gluten imported from China.

Sherrie Savett, a lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the case estimated more than 1,500 died in the U.S. died last year after eating the tainted food. ConsumerAffairs.Com tried to reach her on Tuesday to discuss the settlement, but she did not return calls.

But in May, Savett said the settlement was a win for pet owners.

"With this settlement, consumers will get as much or more than if they litigated the cases individually,