Secrecy in the Pet Food Industry Sends People to the Hospital

Do you know if the bag of dog food or cat food you bought was manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods?  Probably not, because pet food companies tend to keep as much information hidden from consumers as possible.  Therefore if you are one of the people who got sick from touching salmonella tainted pet food manufactured by Diamond, or if you fed your pet one of these tainted foods and are now worried – don’t blame yourself.  You didn’t know and the pet food companies weren’t telling.

But you know who did know?  The pet food companies.  Wellness, Natural Balance, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul, Taste of the Wild, Canidae, and all the other companies which have now recalled their foods knew their foods were made at the Diamond plant in SC which was shut down on April 8 due to salmonella contamination.  And yet they did nothing, until these recalls were issued Friday night.  Now some people are in the hospital and others are worrying for their own health as well as that of their pets.

This list of recalled pet foods is not intended to be comprehensive but rather to give you an idea of the variety of dog and cat foods being recalled.  Only certain lots of each of these brands have been recalled, the details of which can be found at the links provided above.

Wellness Complete Health® Super5Mix® Large Breed Puppy

Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog

Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog

Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog

Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog

Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Large Breed Bites

Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Small Breed Bites

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula – dry dog food

CANIDAE Dog Dry Dog Food, All Life Stages

CANIDAE Dog Dry Dog Food, Chicken Meal & Rice

CANIDAE Dog Dry Dog Food, Lamb Meal & Rice

CANIDAE Dog Dry Dog Food, CANIDAE Platinum

Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Lamb, Rice & Vegetable Formula

Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Formula

Kirkland Signature Super Premium Mature Dog Chicken, Rice & Egg Formula

Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Dog Formulated with Chicken & Vegetables

Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula

Kirkland Signature Super Premium Healthy Weight Cat Formula

Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Formula for Dogs

Therese at PetsitUSA follows pet food recalls closely so check in with her blog for the latest information as it becomes available.

72 thoughts on “Secrecy in the Pet Food Industry Sends People to the Hospital

  1. The recall was announced over a week ago. The plant that has an issue is the SC plant and doesn’t ship food to the west coast. You and everyone else in Washington are safe from the recall. The only food that is on the west coast, but is being voluntarily recalled is wellness large breed puppy. It has tested negative for salmonella but they ate recalling it just to be sure. Taste of the wild is manufactured and sourced in California.

    1. It was another Friday Night Dump and Run. Not acceptable. Who knows what is going on at the other plants in other parts of the country? All bets are off as far as I’m concerned.

    2. What we’ve got here are ‘rolling’ recalls. The initial reports were, in fact, back in April. Then it was expanded earlier this week, and in the last 24 hours, there’ve been a whole herd of dump-and-run additions.

      Taste of the Wild DOES have products among those recalled. There’s a link on their name in the post above.

      Also? A lesson learned from previous pet food recalls: information provided by the companies issuing the recalls is almost always incomplete, and sometimes plain wrong.

    3. i’m on westcoast and just bought natural balance bison and sweet potato for my dogs last week-are you telling me that it is safe then?

      1. checking natural balance is not on their site for recall.

        the personal email correspondence i have been getting from natural balance though, is saying that they have recalled the ‘regular formulas’ for the natural balance foods that have the ‘red meat’ in them.. this is Beef, Lamb, Bison, Venison.. those particular formulas are made in south carolina, the plant that was shut down.

        its also the issue that the plant has been closed yet again, because their ideas of safety dont agree with the rest of society. such as Cleaning !! the equipment after a run of ‘red meat’

        Natural balance continues to state that the Limited Ingredients Formula of Sweet Potato and DUCK and sweet potato and Salmon are NOT in the recall and never were in the recall..

        it is the Limited ingredients (no grains, no fermentation solids!!) formula of sweet potato and Duck is what i feed my service animals.

    1. This is for Ms. Moringstar, a product can still be toxic with severe adverse affects and possible death, without being on a recall list…it happens all the time. Potato and Duck, is lacking in nutrition and has been detrimental to many pets.

  2. Having lived through the 2006 – 2007 recalls (or lack thereof) I appreciate you keeping us up to date on what’s happening. They just do not learn, do they?

  3. Many more people are starting to feed their pet human food, but that doesn’t guarantee that it will be safe food. There is secrecy in the human food industry too.

    Is That Arsenic Hiding in Your Chicken and Rice? – The Alternative Daily –


    ‘Pink Slime,’ Ammonia-Treated Ground Beef, To Stop Being Served In NYC Schools –

    1. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element on earth. Do not be so fearful. I bet my dogs would love pink slime. They even love carrion. Let’s not go too far into the fear mode!

  4. Whoa! I thought I had done my research when renown vet/publisher, Dr. Michael Fox put out a list of foods that he graded. He gave natural balance good ratings. Also Blue Buffalo holistic food which I’ve fed my doggies for the last 4-5yrs. I used to cook lean ground turkey, brown rice, carrots & green beans and feed them that. I should go back to feeding them their homecooked food. We keep on hearing so much crap about all this. What next?

    1. Natural balance Limited Ingredient sweet potato and duck is NOT on the recall, nor is it mfg at that plant.. I called the company and asked I fed this to my service dog, they sent me an email later to further confirm that what i feed is Not in the recall.

    2. Who knows, maybe Dr. Fox gets a kick back. I live on the west coast and my healthy dog recently died due to Natural Balance LID, potato and duck. In the first five ingredients potato is listed in one form or another three times. Duck is listed as the second ingredient, but with processing and the water dissipated it would be more like the sixth ingredient. Thus the product is mostly plant protein, which is difficult for a dogs digestion to break down, this with the increased fiber is very irritating to the intestinal tract causing many problems. This along with the low protein from meat, I basically was starving my pooch along with poisoning him with the imported ingredients from China that they use as a top coat on their product. There is something very wrong with kibble these days. I touched the bottom of the bag and inadvertantly touched my lip…it burned and I ended up with a small ulceration. Just think what it was doing to my dogs insides. Continue to cook for your dogs, at least you know what you are putting into it. I will never buy Kibble again.

  5. Just goes to show us that our food supply, whether it is for dog food or for human consumption, is a lot of times not safe. There has to be a better way to control the contamination. USDA is not doing a good enough job and the companies that make our food (or grow it) are making too many people sick. It’s truly scary. Our best bet is to grow our own food but for the majority this is near impossible.

    1. Many cities have community gardens where you can get a plot to grow vegetables. If you own a house tear up part or all of the back yard and plant a garden. There are farms around the country that rent out or give space to people who want to grow a garden. Container gardening can be very productive. Hydroponics grown vegies does not require dirt and can be done on a deck or even in a garage with lights. Lots of options, just have to be creative sometimes.

      1. Fortunately people food doesn’t have the degree of food poisoning risk with that our pets have and these pet foods can deliver! Consider that we often feed the same (if we buy in quantity) bag of dry food to our pets for up to two months! Therefore if its contaminated with pathogenic bacteria the pet is constantly seeded with bacteria thruout this time! In contrast to people who may receive a single exposure at some fast food outlet where a teenager that doesn’t understand food safety is cooking/serving. Single exposure= much easier recovery time.
        Multiple constant exposure=debilitated, weakened immune system and animal.

      2. Additionally the liability consequences of a company involved with tainted human food are much more severe.

  6. Not at all. Most urban areas now allow people to keep up to four hens (not roosters) — fresh eggs and meat. Buy a herd share from someone outside city limits if you want fresh milk and can’t keep a couple of goats. Vegetables can be grown in containers on patios and decks (even inside). While you may still be buying certain food items, one can — with a little thought and effort — provide healthy foods for themselves and their families.

    1. Sensible common sense there Jan! During the World War Victory Garden were considered a patriotic duty to have. It is time American returns to common sense! Some veggies can even be grown hanging from patio ceilings. Where there is a will, there can be delicious food sources!

  7. I purchase Kirkland for my pets and Costco has called every last member and informed them. Apparently they track our purchases–I was amazing and very pleased that they are so proactive. Costco is pulling all lot numbers off their shelves.

    Anyway, I’m a vet tech and usually recommend wellness (kirkland is cheap and decent for pet food, so I buy it) what the hell should I feed my kids?? Any suggestions??

    1. I fed my dogs cooked chicken, brown rice and cooked carrots ( until just done, not mush). Also fed them other cooked meats like lamb, goat, beef, pork, rabbit and salmon. Occasionally they got venison too. I also fed vitamin supplements, worked out amounts and what supplements with my Vet. They loved it and the home cooked food completely stopped my Golden’s yeast issues with skin and ears. The German Shepherds also loved it and all dogs had more energy, were over all healthier and their coats were soft & shiny beyond belief with very little dander. I will never feed factory produced dog or cat foods again. It is more work but well worth it in the long run.

      1. Thanks! I would have to do venison, lamb, or bison (or something) as my one pup has IBD and she’s been perfect since on kirkland (lamb). Its not worth losing my babies to save some money. How do you know what and how much vitamins to add??

      2. feed organ meats, and for the gut health.. get some green tripe.. (not the white stuff)) you can find it at some doggy food stores, or online.. in cans.. it works pretty good and they LOVE it.. that will even out the nutrients.. you want to feed about 5% organ meat to the muscle meat..

        also Heart is a muscle meat.. but it is the primary source for taurine. which cats need more then dogs, but dogs need it also.

  8. My dad wants to help me make food and treats for our pets, I’d love to share recipes and swap with anyone once we get that started.

  9. Anyone know if wet food is in danger too? I have some Natural Balance cans. I should probably toss them just to be safe. I know I don’t feed the cats the really high quality stuff but right now I am glad cause at least Friskies and Science Diet haven’t had a recall.

    1. I haven’t heard that the Gaston, SC Diamond plant makes canned foods. If I come across something that says it does, I’ll post.

      1. FYI for anyone who feeds Canidae.I was told by Canidae that their canned is made by Performance Pet and their Biscuits by Mountain Country Foods

    2. NONE of Natural Balance food has actually come up with the salmonella, FDA just wanted them to recall their product, as it was in the part of the plant that has the major problem with diamond.

      ALSO, wet food is made at different plant then dry food..

    1. Good point Shirley! I didn’t think about that, it would have been nice to know when they first found out that actual bags of food were testing positive for salmonella. I don’t trust diamond manufacturing and I had no idea MY dog food was made by them until recently. I need to find a cheap yet quality source for lamb meat or something besides chicken/beef for my pups, one has IBD. I’m seriously considering making homemade food for my cats and dogs. Just need to find out their exact nutritional requirements but I don’t think even my boss (vet) knows exactly.

  10. Honest Kitchen, Orijen, and Acana are all good quality foods that aren’t on the list and aren’t made by Diamond. Maybe give those a try?

    1. Honest Kitchen is good, and it isn’t kibble. I also have freeze dryed raw food for my surviving dog, although he likes home cooked better.

  11. I don’t if you’ve written about this before but all chicken strip treats made in China are dangerous. Although they have not be recalled, I understand that about 500 dogs have died of organ failure. The most notable brands are “Waggin Tails” and “American Kennel Club”. No one is taking them off their shelves and all the major pet chains carry them

  12. Secrecy is par for the course. Pet food companies are also allowed to keep “secret” that most of their recalls are in fact initiated by the “recommendation” of the FDA, whose first allegiance is apparently to the companies: “FDA became involved in early April when the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported detecting Salmonella from an intact package of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs, collected during retail surveillance sampling. Diamond Pet Food was notified of the sampling results, and agreed to voluntarily recall this product on April 6, 2012.” It was sickening to see everyone lauding Diamond for their prompt action, when in fact they did not discover the contamination themselves and made no recall until it was “recommended by the FDA.

    1. I don’t think any of us would be surprised at that – but I’m delighted that it was the Michigan DOA that first picked it up. Didn’t know they were checking . . . and as a Michigan resident, I’m pleased that they are.

  13. Diamond announced the first voluntary recall April 6 and expanded it later to name other brands. Not sure what the complaint is here. I think they have performed responsibly and publicly. I think the sample of people who got sick is too small to make the conclusion that they got sick from handling the dog food.
    It’s a good idea to sign up for newsletters from the mfg of the dog good you use so you can get these recall announcements immediately.

      1. 14 reported people. How many people became ill and recovered and figured it wasn’t worth it to go to the doctor at this point? And how many never connected it to the dog food and thought they just had food poisoning or a bad bug?

    1. Nicki, I was on Blue Buffalo’s mailing list when they had a recall because of a factory problem with too much vitamin supplement being added, never heard a word from them.If I hadn’t seen a notice in a large pet supply chain, I never would have known; luckily I had switched to senior food because the recall involved the food I had been using, so being on the mailing list is no guarantee. Their customer service was an absolute joke too. Stopped using their product even though my dogs loved it, and it was most likely just a computer glitch at the factory, but because of their “so what” attitude. .

  14. Before worrying about more esoteric dangers like trace minerals/chemicals we need to think about the more common and likely dangers, ie. bacterial food poisening such as this Salmonella case. Factors such as hygenically manufactured foods…(properly washed chicken and turkey carcases) and proper cooking temps that kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella.

    One aspect of this Diamond recall I for one never considered is how the size of a company making the dog food could adversely affect its quality. Quality control and employee oversight are usually much better in smaller owner-operator plants rather than mega plants owned by some distant holding company. And it seems they resort to extreme measures to keep the public from knowing who really runs things! I will be searching out small food plants from now on. Three companies I’ve found so far are 1. Earthborn 2. Champion Pet Foods 3. Natures Variety
    If anyone has information on these companies or kinows of other owner-run plants please let me know. Thanks

    1. Honestly, this does make me laugh. Which dog food company has never had a recall? Purina. All these dog food snobs look down their noses at a long-standing American brand. (Yes, I know they’re owned by Nestle, but all of their ingredients are from American farms and processed in American plants.) They did have a couple of odd things (one canned, one semi-moist food) on the Melamine recall list, but that was it. Purina manufactures a wide variety of foods, including premium foods for performance and show dogs, as well as a line of prescription foods for specific health conditions. So maybe “quality control and employee oversight” are NOT “usually much better in smaller owner-operator plants.”

      1. So, they’ve never had a recall – but wait! They did have ‘a couple of odd things’ involved in the 2007 melamine recalls.

        I am not impressed.

      2. Larkin, I agree with you about Purina to some extent. At least their upfront about who makes what and don’t hide beneath these bogus, touchy-feely names, purporting to be such concerned animal lovers, all the while charging inflated prices. And Purina has been in business for a very long time. If the melamine scare is the worst of their misdeeds that’s not too bad.

        Still, I think, it probably behooves us as animal lovers to be on the lookout for good honest companies, preferably smaller owner-operated ones, where the owner’s reputation is at stake should things go bad. Ever worked at a large restaurant chain vs. one where the owner works alongside? Quite a difference!

      3. Mikken, Well at least with Purina you know who (which company) did what. With Diamond Foods…not so much.

    2. Esoteric?! Recently there was a dump of highly toxic copper into animal feed that was sold here in the US. It was industrial grade copper sulfate, it killed and sickened many of the animals. This slurry came from China. It also was in some of our pet food, but which ones have not been released, The farmers are suing the feed company for their losses, where was the recall of the pet food? How about our losses. This is a problem. The melamine and cyanuric acid poisoning of 2007 killed thousands of pets. The incident of the high content of zinc a year ago, which also is deadly. These ingredients can be/has been more toxic to our pets then the bacterial problems in is in no way “esoteric”.

  15. Honestly “Eucritta” who cares if you are not impressed. My comment about the “odd things” in the melamine recall is that they had a couple of products out of a huge line– and none of their major lines involved at all. NO OTHER DOG FOOD PRODUCER IN THE US CAN SAY THE SAME. (Sorry I had to yell to get your attention, since so little impresses you.)

      1. It’s Fanconi, “Eucritta” and it’s an inherited disorder, not developed from eating treats. The internet really suffers because people like you spew out so much misinformation.

      2. My comment is awaiting moderation for too many links. So, in the meantime, I suggest hitting Google with search terms ‘AVMA chicken jerky Fanconi’ and ‘FDA chicken jerky for dogs Fanconi.’

      3. If you can’t stand behind what you say with your real name then who should care what you have to say? The internet is full of misinformation.

      4. Larkin, Eucritta is correct. From the AVMA –

        “In September 2007, the AVMA issued an alert that stated we had been receiving calls from veterinarians reporting Fanconi syndrome-like disease in dogs that appeared to be associated with the consumption of chicken jerky treats made in China.”

        The symptoms are described as “Fanconi-like” and –

        “A review by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine of the 2007 cases stated that blood chemistry in many cases revealed hypokalemia and a mild increase in liver enzymes. Blood gas analysis indicated acidosis, and glucosuria and granular casts may be seen. Fanconi screens on urine were positive.”

  16. It’s unfortunate that “Purina” is being considered a good brand by Larkin b/c of “no recalls”. They certainly have had recalls in the past. And, they’re having problems right now. The problem is, they’re ignoring customers complaints and telling them “we don’t have enough problems to warrant a recall”.

    It’s not always this simple….but, a simple look at their ingredients on the bag and tell Purina has no interest in giving pet parents the best quality food unless you’re ok with corn, byproducts, gluten and chemicals as “healthy” ingredients. I’m certainly not turning my nose down. We learned the truth 3 years ago and don’t know why people continue to make excuses for these big pet food manufacturers that continue to prove they have no desire to do the right thing morally. If they were so interested in top quality…why do they (and other companies) have “cheap” formulas and more expensive formulas? Wouldn’t a company truly interested in our pets best health stop producing their “inferior” formulas? Why don’t they strive to offer only the best? The reason they don’t is marketing and money. More formulas on the shelf…the more likely someone is to buy one of their bags of food.

    There ARE OTHER Companies out there with no history of recall. Companies TRULY interested in providing natural, healthy foods. We purchase from one of them exclusively now. We don’t worry about recalls or poor quality ingredients anymore. Our dogs and cat have never been healthier. The company is small, privately owned and operated in the US. Ingredients are sourced from “people” food vendors from the US, not “pet” food sources like Purina and 98% of the other companies out there. I can talk to the holistic vet formulator if I have questions about the food or any of the other products in the line. No other company does this! True transparency. True desire to help pet parents and the certifications and history to prove it. If anyone is interested, Go to You can do a comparison with Purina One and other foods. It speaks volumes.

  17. Thanks for the info ~ I was very interested to see the Natural Balance recall, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see if the recall expanded to cat food. I had a problem with some natural balance canned cat food (with salmon) about a month ago and one of my cats got pretty sick (she has since recovered ~ thank goodness). I contacted the company and they had me send them the affected cans after assuring me that the food had tested “safely” ~ stupidly enough I sent them the rest of the cans I had left from that batch. How do I know that ANY of the food I feed my cats is safe? I’m spending a lot of $$ on “super-premium” cat food. Was using Wellness until they had a recall a year or so ago. Anybody have any ideas?

    1. Okay – you convinced me! I am tossing the Natural Balance cans in the garbage. The money buying the cans is definitely not worth risking the lives of my cats. This is the wet food I feed my cats:

      it’s a Petco brand and it is on the expensive side, but when you open the cans you can see that it is actual meat and not some sort of filler. My cats seem to enjoy all the flavors. They claim to have human grade food and I admit that I have thought should a zombie apocalypse come I could probably eat it myself!
      (course that might also be because I have a year’s supply of it in the basement)


      1. Thanks Daniela, I really appreciate the info! I will check out that food @ Petco. I have one very picky, food-allergic cat, so fingers crossed.

    2. Natural balance Duck formula is not in the recall, its just the ‘red meat’ which is beef, bison, deer, and lamb.

      the limited ingredients are NOT made in South carolina , none of the limited ingredients flavors are in the recall.

      I feed that to my service dog and now feed the duck to my service cat.. he is liking this much better then the taste of the wild cat food i brought home last weds.. he was always asking me for more food even witih the dish full..

      now with the natural balance limited ingredients, sweet potato and duck.. he is a happy kitty again.

  18. I live on the west coast (San Diego County) and currently feed my dogs and cats Kirkland foods. We keep hearing about the dog food recalls but it was not until Saturday that I seen the cat food is being realled too, I did dump my dogs food (have not had any one get sick thank goodness) once Kirkland made the list (I didnt know that Kirkland was made by Diamond) but never heard anything about the cats until the notice on Saturday, so I called the diamond company and expressed my concerns that during the whole recall they never once indicated that there are any concerns about the cats food let alone the fact the recall continued to say the foods were only shipped to the east coast. They did take my information and said they will continue updating their information as needed. I did dump the cat food on Saturday and did run out to get some store type food until I can do some research on better foods but I also bleached all the food containers and food bowls. I just do not know which way to go now, what is safe, what is good for them?

    1. Some options include: home prepared raw and/or cooked food, any food that is not manufactured by Diamond. Not that the latter is necessarily guaranteed to be either healthful or safe BUT at least you know it wasn’t made at the contaminated Diamond plant (the trick being, you’d have to get the company to tell you where it IS manufactured).

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