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Pet foods continue to make pets sick, yet ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center concludes pet food recalls are “likely not food-related.” Sure, and elephants fly!


July 2016 update |

Nel Liquorman, Health & Nutrition Editor


Not much has changed since 2009 when Consumer Affairs{1} asked Dr. Steven Hansen of ASPCA to review some of their NUTRO complaints. After doing so, Dr. Hansen said “Unfortunately the cases are not consistent and appear to be anecdotal with no real definitive diagnostic findings. 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.”


It appears they did no product testing so we were puzzled by his conclusion that there were “no real definitive diagnostic findings” and equally so in that ASPCA APCC sees no consistent trends in the stream of pet food recalls over the last two years!


As an aside, if you suspect your pet has been poisoned, see below for the Poison Control hotline phone number.  There's no charge for prompt, professional help.


We consider Dr. Hanson’s response a classic cover-up and denial. You are about to learn why but first, a look at pet food recalls as a direct result of contamination which sickened or killed pets.

  • June 2008, U.S. Marshals seized pet foods from Petco Distribution Center in IL due to filthy conditions.

  • September 2008, Mars Petcare US recalled 52-pound Pedigree in CA and NV.

  • October 2008, Solid Gold recalled an entire production run of Tiny Tots dog treats due to mold contamination. Mold can be deadly.

  • October 2008, Hartz Mountain Corporation recalled rawhide chips due to salmonella.

  • October 2008, Mars Petcare recalled Special Kitty sold at Wal-Mart due to salmonella contamination.

  • November 2008, Kroger announced Pet Pride was added to the Mars recall list due to salmonella.

  • November 2008, Champion Pet foods recalled Orijen cat food in the USA after cats began dying in Australia.

  • December 2008, Mars extended their recall of dry cat and dog foods.

  • December 2008, the FDA cautioned consumers about dog illnesses due to consumption of chicken jerky products.

  • April 2009, pet products containing peanut butter were included in the recall brought about by the filthy conditions at Peanut Corporation of America’s two plants that gave us the salmonella scare.

  • May 2009, Mars Petcare US recalled Nutro Products dry cat foods due to incorrect levels of zinc and potassium from a production error.

In addition to Animal Poison Control Center, which charges callers a $60 fee, ASPCA has another enterprise; ASPCA’s Animal Product Safety Service (APSS) for pet product makers.

This means that the ASPCA’s Product Safety Service has a close alliance with the very corporations whose products have made pets sick.

So how could ASPCA not know? has covered pet food fraud, counterfeiting, and contamination in great depth. The above list is only a sampling of pet food recalls due to sickness and fatalities in America’s pets, excluding melamine contamination and pet food problems in other countries.


Not always the same contaminants, not always the same maker, and not always the same product but how can ASPCA state that pet foods do not make pets sick? Don’t they see a trend in the complaint log?


Many people take their sick animal to the veterinarian during regular hours but after-hours trips are extremely expensive so people may call Poison Control for help.


How can you treat an animal over the phone when the official position is that he is not sick from eating pet foods are not even tested?


Trying to make sense of the issue, we searched for answers, and what we found will come as a surprise to most readers. In addition to Animal Poison Control Center, for which they charge callers a $60 fee, ASPCA has another enterprise; ASPCA’s Animal Product Safety Service (APSS) for pet product makers.  But that's not all. ASPCA’s APSS even has a service for helping their member companies fill out the FDA report forms when their products sicken or kill pets.


In addition, they do not charge pet owner-callers if the product that made the pet sick is made by a member of APSS. Read that again!


While we do not know which, if any, pet food corporations have become members of ASPCA’S APSS, the notion that this could be reflected in their conclusion regarding pet food is troublesome. In the very least it is a conflict of interest and certainly a slap in the face to other pet owners who are charged when they call the poison control number. Some would consider it outright fraud.


If you suspect pet food sickened your dog or cat, take him to the vet, along with a stool sample if possible. Then put samples of the food in two separate airtight zip-bags. Write the date collected on the zip-bag labels. You should find the manufacturer’s date stamped on the dog food bag (often sewn into the seam so you can’t find it) the package, or the can, so save that, along with the UPC code, and report the adverse effects to the FDA at no cost.{2}


NEL ON RECALLED, RECYCLED, COUNTERFEIT DOG FOODAs to the ASPCA’s APCC (Animal Poison Control Center) statement that pet food does not make pets sick; there are many pet owners and reliable veterinarians who know that the ASPCA is wrong. Most would also agree ASPCA appears to work both sides of the fence due to their alliance with pet food manufacturers by way of ASPCA’s Animal Product Safety Service.


Among the best phone numbers to call in an emergency is 1-800-222-1222 the National Poison Control Center which will automatically connect to their free service in your state. Depending on who answers, you may get quick, basic information for animal poisoning and it is free, 24-7.


Reference and additional Information:

{1} Consumer Affairs   {2} FDA Complaint Coordinator for reporting in your area EST 2002 © Sep 2009-1608



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