The poisioning of our pets has awakened in all
concerned pet lovers a need to know what is in our pet's food. We are giving our
pets the food they eat. They can't go out & shop for it themselves. So
we are the ones between the bad food and our pets, and if we give our
pets poison pet food, we are right to feel resposible for poisoning our pets.
Just because our legal system regards pets as property is no reason for this
widespread food contamination to be treated lightly. Civil penalties are limited
to paying for people's pets and vet bills, to my understanding. This is all the
more reason for the companies who we have trusted and patronized for decades to
step up and exceed our expectations in correcting this situation. To do less would
be an insult to the millions of pet owners who have, with our purchases over the
years, contributed to their domination of the pet supply market.
go online to seek the various manufacturer's press releases & other statements
about this. Most of these statements are quite similar to one another. And I think
that many of these companies have taken the position that the consumer is entitled
to no more than a list of their foods that were affected. They do provide toll-free
telephone numbers we can call, in some cases. But we could spend the rest of our
lives on hold, waiting for someone at a call center to come on the line and give
us totally unsatisfactory answers about our concerns. If you're looking for a
retailer to point the finger of blame at, you are likely to be pointing that finger
at Petco or Petsmart.
What can we do? The first thing is to go to
whoever we are relying upon to provide us with this food and demand
answers and assistance.
Diamond Pet Food Recall
As I sit
here on hold, waiting for a very poorly informed representative to tell me why
the Diamond recall website doen't include Natural Balance as one of the affected
brands (she didn't even know that Natural Balance was affected), I am writing
this to suggest that you DO NOT call their toll-free number concerning this recall.
This is because you will get no answers that are of any value. In fact, the people
answering calls there are not employees of Diamond. This is just lame. And so,
this is just another good reason to go to the place where you buy your pet's food
and have this
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN ASK YOUR LOCAL SUPERSTORE MANAGER FOR:
1) Answers as to exactly what brands are affected,
and what brands are not. And what varieties of those brands are affected. He or
she should provide you with a list that you can take home and compare to what
remains on your shelves.
2) Answers as to exactly what the substance
in this food was. We have heard that it is an industrial contaminant (in the
case of the 2007 recalls, and in 2012, it is salmonella). But we heard this from
the news we listen to every day. Those who sell us our food are in many cases
the same corporations who came into our neighborhoods and replaced the independent
pet supply stores, and the very knowledgable professionals in these smaller stores.
We need to demand that someone in these superstores gets some detailed information
about each and every brand that they sold us. It is they who are by far the largest
customers of these pet food manufacturers. So it is these huge chains who must
apply pressure on the manufacturers. Ask to speak to the manager of the store,
and demand this action. Tell them that they will lose your business permanently
if they cannot make this effort and get results for you.
as to exactly what we should look for in our pets to determine if they
are affected. These retailers have the duty to provide you with a list of
symptoms to look out for. Your vet can be helpful, of course. But that
could only be possible if she could have some cooperation from those affected
brands so that she can advise you. If your vet is not kept in the loop about what
kind of poisoning she is looking for, she is at a serious disadvantage. In many
cases, the manufacturers haven't been forthcoming to the public with this critical
information, and that is shameful ( in the 2012 recall, at least we know that
it is salmonella contamination). Once again, it is your local Petsmart or Petco
in many cases who will need to coordinate an investigation into the medical implications
of this widespread poisioning of our pets. Tell the manager that you hold
him or her responsible to get you this information because his store sold
you this food. If the manager disagrees with you or refuses to get this information
for you, insist upon getting the name and number for the district manager.
Call this person and begin again with him or her. In many cases, a district manager
is a store manager who has come up through the ranks. He or she is probably highly
skilled at dealing with retail customer complaints, and that can mean that you
will need to spend more time and effort extracting some sort of meaningful
commitment. But once again, your pet needs you to take these measures on his/her
4) Assistance in selecting a brand that was totally
unaffected by this horrible event. Assistance in getting more information
from the brands we have trusted to be safe, but were not. Some brands in these
huge chains are probably perfectly safe to consume, but let's ask these suppliers
to confirm this. In many cases, you will need to find a more responsible supplier
of your pet's nutritonal needs. You will need to do a little traveling to get
to a responsible independent pet supply professional, but isn't it worth it?
I want to repeat this: If you have gotten your pet's food
from these huge chain stores, then you should go into their store and speak
with the manager. If enough of these managers get enough people bending their
ears, their company will - or should - issue some sort of paperwork or
pamphlet or brochure containing substantial and helpful explanations
and information which will help us to get past this mess.
who have pulled products from our pet supply stores should provide some written
information about their involvement - a letter or brochure - that can be put on
the shelves where their food was/is, as well in some area of the stores devoted
exclusively to this recall. In addition, lists of affected brands and varieties
of those brands should be available for the consumer to take home. These lists
should be updated daily & reproduced in sufficient numbers to supply every
concerned pet lover with a copy. It shouldn't be something that has to be extracted
from the store management like some well-kept company secret.
personally, I would rely upon the knowledge and advice of an independent
pet supply professional (if you have any left near you). The ones who have survived
the "pet store wars" of the last 25 years (the onslaught of the warehouse
mega chains) are true professionals in every sense of the word. These people are
dedicated and truly invested in having the products and information you will
need to provide your pet with a safe meal.
If you know of a responsible
independent pet supply store where you feel confident purchasing your pet's provisions,
here to tell me their name, address & phone #. I will publish
a list when I have a handful of reliable stores. Also, if you have a favorite
brand of pet food which you believe is safe for your pet to eat, I would appreciate
hearing about that, too. You would be helping others who feel trapped and worried
about what to feed their cat or dog. (UPDATE as of 5/30/10: I simply have no
way to confirm individual pet food recommendations as safe, so I won't publish
a comprehensive list of food, except from my own personal standpoint. But I'm
always interested in building a business relationship with a strong local independent
pet supply provider. So please do me a favor and share the contact information
of your favorite store with me, OK?)
What commercially available pet
foods can be safely consumed by our pets? For starters, I would
, who produces all of their food themselves, and uses only domestic ingredients.
Newman's Organic Pet Food also seemed to not get caught up in this
debacle, and my cats like it. Nutro
is another brand I have come to trust, and my cats enjoy their canned and dry
food. Although Nutro's pouch foods were affected in 2007, they've apparently taken
the necessary corrective action. They now own their manufacturing facilities (as
of May, 2012), and don't buy any ingredients from China (according to my conversation
with a Nutro representative in May, 2012). Although, please be advised that they
do source some of their ingredients from other countries (the lamb is from New
Zealand, for example).
Back in 2007, I was satisfied with the news posted
at Natura (sadly, I need to say now that this satisfaction
was unwarranted), makers of the following brands: Innova, Evo, California
Natural, Healthwise, Mother Nature, and Karma (www.naturapet.com).
I understand that many brands used Menu Foods (who owned the facility
where much of the poison pet food was canned in the 2007 recall) to do their
canning & have few other options in the short run. Natura's CEO posted
a statement pledging to either purchase or build their own canning facility from
scratch (UPDATE as of 2/12/10: This is still in the planning phase nearly
three years later.). He has promised that in the meantime, Natura will
keep their own QC inspectors at the Menu Foods plant (It is my understanding
that this is not happening), and will use only domestic ingredients
(ingredients are NOT all domestic, according to a Natura customer service representative.
However, it is their contention that nothing from China is used - according to
this same phone representative on 2/12/10.) I need to say here that I'm
sad to make these changes in what I reported in 2007, but I believe this is an
accurate appraisal of their situation in 2010. I also regret impuning a company
that was NOT IMPLICATED in the original crisis, but it now appears
that they've made more than one promise that remains unkept. Since their pledges
to take these measures seemed reasonable and prudent at the time, why did they
abandon all three strategies? And did other companies let their PR releases handle
the problem in a similar way? Three years later, what has changed?
you to read all of the various companies' statements addressing this recall and
draw your own conclusions. If the statement at a company's website is vague or
incomplete, do not buy their product. Since Diamond's 2012 list of recalled foods
is also not complete, I've tried to identify here all of the brands that they
had ANY involvement with, and you should seek answers from your local store concerning
any of these brands.
There are long-term implications of feeding our pets
contaminated food. Symptoms may be delayed by years, and then suddenly manifest
themselves in a number of ways, not the least of which is organ failure and allergies.
Some proactive measures on our part now may help prevent this in the future. I
highly recommend this
book on pet allergies for anyone suspecting that their pet is allergic
to their food. It is an eye-opening look at some major causes of suffering in
our pets. This book isn't for the faint of heart, but is certainly has changed
the way I look at the food I put in my cat bowls.
I recently went to a well
established feed store in Chester County, PA, and watched a woman stand, almost
paralyzed, in front of the vast canned cat food rack. Finally, I asked her if
she was trying to find cat food that was not poisoned. She almost looked relieved
when I asked her this, and I wonder how many more people like her are doing
the best they can with the limited information that has come out from the various
brands. She was at least looking to see if the can contained wheat gluten. That
is a very good start, and I told her that she was a step ahead of many pet owners
by just taking the time to read the label. But it's a shame that just going out
for cat food had to be a chore filled with trepidation and apprehension for her.
In the same store, I have asked an employee to show me a couple of brands that
were unaffected by this contamination. I must say that he stepped up to the plate
and took as much time as I needed to feel a little better about what I was
about to open up for my cats.
You may not trust any brands at this time.
That may not be a bad strategy - just to let them all win back your trust. In
the meantime, you might consider cooking for your pet. Get creative. They
might snub human food at first, but they will learn to eat it. But don't just
open a can of tuna for your cat. Remember that pets need wholesome foods just
like we do. Please consult your veterinarian concerning your pet's individual
nutritional needs, but don't feed your pet a brand that you haven't researched.
Just because the brand name has the word "Science" or "Dr.
this or that" or "Natural" doesn't mean it's healthy.
informative but not necessarily complete timeline and discussion of the 2007 pet
food contamination story can be read here.)