Latest Round of Pet Food and Treat Recalls

The following recalls and withdrawals are posted on the FDA website under the Animal & Veterinary category.  Most are within the last week or so.  Click the links for additional details, including lot numbers.

Treats recalled for salmonella: Petco, Kasel, Menards, BIXBI, Boots and Barkley, Nutri-Pet, Nature’s Deli, Sam’s Club, Best Bully Sticks.

Honest Kitchen foods recalled for salmonella:  Verve, Zeal and Thrive

Chicken jerky treats recalled for salmonella:  Nutri-Vet and Nutri-Pet

Treats and greens recalled for salmonella:  Kaytee (These are treats made for birds.)

Nature’s Variety food recalled due to clear plastic pieces:  Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula

Hartz treats withdrawn for antibiotic residue:  Hartz Chicken Chews and Hartz Oinkies Pig Skin Twists Wrapped with Chicken

Milo’s Kitchen treats recalled for residual antibiotics:  Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats

Info from the CDC:

How do I know if my dog or cat has Salmonella infection?

  • Dogs and cats that become ill from Salmonella infection generally will have diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus. Affected animals may seem more tired than usual, and may have a fever or vomit.
  • Some cats do not have diarrhea, but will have a decreased appetite, fever, and excess salivation.
  • Some dogs or cats may have Salmonella infection but may not appear to be sick.

If your dog or cat has these signs of illness or you are concerned that your pet may have Salmonella infection, please contact your pet’s veterinarian. Let your veterinarian know if your pet recently consumed a recalled product. Do not feed your pet any more of the recalled products. Dispose of the products immediately.

To be on the safe side, I follow the same protocols when touching pet food and treats as I do for raw eggs – I wash my hands immediately with soap and water.

Added, February 25, 2013Hy-Vee grocery store brand dog foods recalled for aflatoxin.

Updating the List of Pet Foods Recalled Due to Aflatoxin

For those keeping track of the dog foods recalled due to aflatoxin, they are:

Iams – ProActive Health Smart Puppy

Cargill – River Run, Marksman

Advanced Animal Nutrition – Dog Power

O’Neal’s Feeders Supply – Arrow Brand

In addition to the official recall list, remember that Price Chopper warned consumers about some additional Iams products pulled due to aflatoxin.

As with previous pet food recalls, it’s possible more foods may be recalled over time.  In the interest of being proactive, it may be wise to consider changing foods, at least temporarily, to one which does not contain corn.

Aflatoxicosis in pets usually occurs when pets consume a  food product that was made with moldy corn (although the mold can grow on other grains and peanuts as well).  Liver disease and/or death may result.  There is no antidote.  Read more about aflatoxins and dogs here.

Iams Issues a Recall Due to Aflatoxin

So much for feeding all Iams products with “complete confidence” like we were told by the Iams rep at Thanksgiving.  The company has now issued a limited recall of Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy dry food (see link for details) for aflatoxin contamination.  Note that this is NOT one of the foods Price Chopper posted briefly on its website notifying the public of aflatoxins in some Iams products.

Aflatoxicosis in pets usually occurs when pets consume a  food product that was made with moldy corn (although the mold can grow on other grains and peanuts as well).  Liver disease and/or death may result.  There is no antidote.  Read more about aflatoxins and dogs here.


Updated X 2: Grocery Store Notifies Consumers about Limited Iams Pet Food Recall

The grocery store chain Price Chopper has posted a recall of certain Iams dog and cat foods due to aflatoxin.  There is nothing on the Iams website about this recall.  I called Iams twice, trying to get a person or at least a recording clarifying anything about the recall but no luck.  I believe Iams is aware of the Price Chopper posting because when I called Price Chopper this morning, I was informed someone from Iams had called yesterday inquiring about the posting.  As far as why Iams would be aware of the recall notice but have nothing on their website or recorded phone info, I don’t know.

Screen capture of the recall notice posted at

Aflatoxicosis in pets usually occurs when pets consume a  food product that was made with moldy corn (although the mold can grow on other grains and peanuts as well).  Liver disease and/or death may result.  There is no antidote.  Read more about aflatoxins and dogs here.

Update:  Price Chopper has pulled the recall notice from its website.  There is no explanation, just a 404.  I haven’t received any response to the online contact form I filled out at the Iams site.  Questions, questions.

Update #2, November 28:  I got tired of waiting for Iams to answer my online inquiry so I called them.  Paulette informed me that they have issued no recalls and will not be posting anything on their website about the lot numbers specified in the Price Chopper recall notice.  I said she was probably aware that many people were interested in getting clarification on this issue.  She said yes but they still weren’t going to address it.  She also said consumers can feed any of their foods with “complete confidence”.  So, everyone is feeling all confident-like, I assume?

Aflatoxin Kills 1300 Shelter Dogs in Taiwan

China View reports:

On Dec. 22, 2008, the agricultural authority received a report which said more than 300 dogs died at two shelters in Taipei county. 

Staff with the shelters said the dogs were extremely weak, jaundice, and had blood in their urine. The symptoms are typical of liver damage. 

According to Taiwan media, another 1,000 dogs, with the same symptoms, reportedly died in Yunlin, Tainan and Kaohsiung counties. 

The agricultural department did not give any details on when any of the dogs died or how many others might be affected by the tainted food.

Gee that has a familiar, FDA-ish ring to it.  Apparently “Peter’s Kind-Hearted Dog Food” was made “with 1,500 tonnes of moldy corn which was imported from Pakistan last November”.   The way this is written, it could be interpreted that the company knowingly bought moldy corn (which is known to carry aflatoxin)  to make their dog food.  I would hope that’s not the case.  The company offered a vague reassurance that all the dog food had been accounted for and none was exported.  But where did the rest of said moldy corn end up?:

Ji-Tai also produced 1,450 tonnes of pig food with the moldy corn However, Yunlin county authorities found no toxic pig food in spot tests. 

It is unknown whether any of the pig feed was exported off the island.

Vaguely UNreassuring.  Particularly for those who buy pig feed and/or eat pork.  But no worries, I’m sure the FDA’s got your back.


Pet Food Ingredient Breakdown – #1

In my never ending quest to find a great dog food, I recently looked at a premium (AAFCO approved) brand of so-called “natural” kibble which advertised that it contained no ground corn. I know this is an important issue for some pet owners as they don’t want to feed corn due to potential allergies and/or the possibility of aflatoxin contamination. So I looked at the first three ingredients on the bag since the food would contain more of these (by weight) than any of the other ingredients listed. They were: Lamb, brewers rice, corn gluten meal.

1. Lamb – I could not find a direct AAFCO definition but presumably, it’s lamb meat (with or without bones?), which would be largely water. After cooking/processing, the amount of lamb meat remaining (“lamb meal”) is greatly reduced and would most likely not be the first listed ingredient in the food. I consider this a way to fool consumers into thinking they are purchasing a meat based food when in fact they are not. Note: The label indicated the lamb meat originated in two foreign countries but I don’t know whether it was inspected by any human food agencies since that information was not provided.

2. Brewer’s Rice – AAFCO’s definition states “the dried extracted residue of rice resulting from the manufacture of wort (liquid portion of malted grain) or beer and may contain pulverized dried spent hops in an amount not to exceed 3 percent.” My version: Alcohol industry waste product which if not bought by pet food companies, would otherwise end up in the trash bin. Note: Spent hops, when ingested by dogs, can be fatal.

3. Corn Gluten Meal – AAFCO defines as “the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.” My version: Waste product from facilities manufacturing corn syrup. Note: this dog food is not sounding so good for pet owners trying to avoid feeding corn after all.

A more in-depth explanation of corn gluten meal:

Corn gluten meal (CGM) is a co-product from corn wet milling, the process responsible for production of corn sweeteners and corn syrup. In the wet milling process, corn is cleaned and then steeped in a water/sulfur dioxide mixture at 50°C. This acidic stew activates the inherent lactobacillus organisms, which begin to break down the corn seed.

The water and germ are then separated from the flint and protein by a water cyclone and the resulting material is ground. Hulls are removed by screening and the protein is separated from the starch by centrifugation. The protein (gluten) mash is then dried and sized. Corn gluten consists of four major classes of protein: Albumins, globulins, glutelins and zein (prolimines). While corn gluten doesn’t have the same level of functionality as wheat gluten for bread production, it does retain some functional proteins that are beneficial in extrusion.

Extrusion of course, is how most kibble is made.

Overall product ingredients review: Truth in advertising? Hmm, not so much – particularly with respect to the “no ground corn” claim which the company knows, or should know, will attract consumers looking for a food free of corn and corn products, which this food isn’t. 2 out of 3 main ingredients are waste products from other food industries and the primary ingredient (“lamb”) is mainly water. I’m not inclined to look favorably on the product.

My quest will continue.

Purina – Got Aflatoxin?

I tried to get answers to my previously posted questions regarding the aflatoxin contaminated mystery ingredient in livestock feeds recalled by Purina Mills. Specifically, I asked Purina:

1. Which ingredient it is they are talking about
2. Who the supplier is
3. What other companies might be facing the same problem (as indicated in Purina’s own statement)
4. Was any of this ingredient used in other feeds, such as dog food.

The first response I received said basically that Ralston Purina (makers of dog and cat foods) sold the part of the company that makes livestock feeds to Purina Mills and we don’t know nuffing about their recall. I was not satisfied with this response. (Shocking, I know.) So I wrote again, this time asking:

Do Ralston Purina (makers of dog and cat foods) and Purina Mills (makers of livestock feeds) share any ingredients, processing equipment, suppliers or storage facilities?

Clearly, this would be vital information with respect to trying to figure out if Purina’s dog and cat foods are 100% safe from the aflatoxin mystery ingredient in the Purina livestock feeds. And in the absence of any official response from the company stating that in fact, the dog and cat foods are safe, I’m trying the long way around to find my answers. Alas, the response I received to that query was the old We-can’t-tell-you-that’s-proprietary-information line we all became so fond of hearing during the 2007 pet food recalls.

So while I hoped to report that yes, Purina is answering questions and reassuring consumers their dog and cat foods are safe from the aflatoxin ingredient, I can not do so. I can only hope that just because Purina appears to be dodging the issue and engaging in the kind of deceptive non-responses consumers got so tired of last year, the pet foods really are safe.

Don’t Touch That Pet Food

Purina’s recall of aflatoxin contaminated animal feed earlier this month has been widely reported to the public – not by Purina, who chose to contact their dealers directly – but by bloggers, including Petsit USA. From Purina’s recall (which they call a “retrieval”) statement: “Our investigation and product testing identified one ingredient of concern, which originated from a single supplier. We have discontinued purchasing from this supplier. Other feed companies that purchased from this supplier are facing a similar situation.” (emphasis mine)

1. I don’t know which ingredient it is they are talking about
2. I don’t know who the supplier is
3. I don’t know what other companies are facing the same problem because none of them have “retrieved” their products to my knowledge
4. I don’t know if any of this “ingredient” was used in other feeds, such as dog food.

Highlights from this article on the Purina aflatoxin recall echo some of my own concerns:

  • Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC announced a recall of several varieties of horse, goat and pig feed…
  • Purina’s statement said the ingredient of concern came from one supplier, but the company declined to identify either the ingredient or the supplier…
  • Purina has not identified whether the supplier in question in the recall is a domestic or overseas company.


Meanwhile, the CDC has confirmed that the human Salmonella outbreak in 2006 was attributable to dry dog food. Both the CDC and the FDA recommend that people use precautions before and after touching pet food and treats to minimize the risk of transferring possible bacteria in the food. But um, I guess it’s still fine for our pets to actually eat this stuff (and in fact only this stuff, since “table scraps” are discouraged)?