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The Natura pet foods recall opened the flood gates for writers to put important questions on the pet food table.


June 2013

Nel Liquorman, Health & Nutrition Editor


Clever marketing and classy packaging lead consumers to believe that a particular pet food is superior to all others. Then along comes a shocking series of recalls such as the recent ones by Natura (a Proctor & Gamble company), which recalled their dry pet foods, including California Natural, Evo, Healthwise, Innova and Karma with expiration dates prior to March 24, 2014. But it gets worse…


Dry dog food bags can’t conceal what is in the contaminated pet food.Global Pet Food Recall?

Distribution was in the USA, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Costa Rica as Natura pet food could be ordered via the Internet. It appears that the problem was realized after routine testing by State Agriculture Departments, first in Michigan and weeks later in Georgia. The Salmonella was found by random safety testing in two widely separated states weeks after manufacture. It is therefore fair to say that those Natura pet foods were already in the hands of pet owners and consumed by many dogs and cats around the world.


Human Salmonella contracted from your pet is a major concern. In 2012 a multistate outbreak of human salmonella was linked to dry dog food. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the outbreak affected 49 people in 20 states and 2 in Canada. Although no deaths were reported, 10 patients were hospitalized.


Salmonella Symptoms

Pet owners can get ii SALMONELLA from handling tainted pet food products or even from a pet suffering from salmonella poisoning. Poisoning can begin within 1 to 3 days but may take much longer. Many people just assume that they just have the flu and don’t seek medical attention, nor do they report their illness to the CDC or to the FDA as food related illnesses. Likely, many are diagnosed with something other than salmonella. The financial cost of salmonella poisoning is not just to the company that must recall its products. It is a burden to the budgets of every agency that must get involved.


The origin of the salmonella would seem to be of utmost importance. How did it get into the samples where it was detected? So far, there has not been news as to the origin. Surely inspectors from Nebraska’s Agriculture Department or some from the FDA have inspected the manufacturing facility by now. Why wouldn’t the company want to present the good news that they have a clean bill of health as soon as possible?


Dry dog can’t conceal what is in the contaminated pet food.Pet Food Indictment?

As time drags on, we wonder if the manufacturing process at Natura’s facility could be as bad as the one at the Peanut Corporation of American in Georgia in 2009 for which there is now a 76 count indictment. Since all of Natura’s dry products are included in the recall, there must surely be a common denominator. Could it be a contaminated additive that is included in all of the selections, such as natural flavor, rosemary extract, or a meat meal? What about vitamins and mineral supplements? Where are they being sourced and what other pet food brands use the same source?


Could this spell disaster for other pet food companies that may be using the same resource supplier? Remember the melamine disaster of 2007? The contaminated gluten came from a single supplier. Should we wonder if a contaminated ingredient came from China, since that country is so famous for poisons?


Meat Meal Mystery

Natura Pet products website information states: “We use only high-quality ingredients: fresh meats, whole grains, natural fruits and vegetables, and complete vitamin and mineral supplements." However, the first ingredient in Natura’s Healthwise and in California Natural is not fresh meat. Instead it is a meat meal so even though it is contradictory, it is not hidden.


Meat Meal, bone meal, and fish meal are an industry, not a simple step in manufacturing pet food. Rendering companies reduce the raw material into small dry particles and sell it to pet food manufactures as meat meals usually referred to by a source name, such as chicken meal, beef meal, etc. However, bone meal does not indicate what species of bones were included. Fish meals are usually not identified by the source. Why wouldn't the manufacturer state the sources of the bones or fish? This would appear to make it impossible to trace potential contamination back to the actual source?


In the Natura case, Salmonella contamination does not appear to be in the meat meal since other pet food makers are not at this point, recalling product for Salmonella. Nonetheless, consumers would be wise to check the label for single source such as chicken meal, turkey meal, beef meal, lamb meal, bone meal, or fish meal. This narrows the window of potential meat meal contamination.


Repeat Pet Food Recalls

Yet not a single pet food company has stepped up to tell consumers the ii COOL (Country Of Origin Labeling) for the many ingredients that are included in pet foods. We give Petsmart credit for answering many questions regarding private brands owned by their company. Correspondence with Customer Care and contact with store employees make it apparent that Petsmart is listening to consumers. TheDogPress has made it clear that we want “Made in USA” pet foods {1} and Petsmart appears to be taking steps to meet consumer demands that products be made in the USA from USA produced ingredients.


Here’s Natura’s claim: "All of our dog and cat foods are carefully cooked and tested to ensure consistent nutrient quality and enjoyable texture and taste. And we never add artificial ingredients, chemical additives, by-products or fillers of any kind." But on their wide array of labels we discovered questionable substances such as ii probiotics {2} (bacteria/microbial), rosemary extract {3} and even natural flavor (mystery ingredient) but may be one of the ingredients that causes Berserk Behavior? {4}


Should we wonder why Natura’s news release referred to their products as “Specialized Dry Pet Foods” and states they are sold through veterinary clinics, select pet specialty retailers, and on the internet? In reality, Natura is sold at pet food chain stores such as Petco and Petsmart, and we even found it on


FDA Missing Pet Food Recalls?

Natura’s recall was really big but there is no excuse for letting even small recalls escape attention by the FDA. Barf and Breeder’s Choice recently did recalls that must have flown under the radar. News releases regarding the recalls can be found on the internet, but the FDA recall webpage does not contain them.


Significantly, this means that there is no permanent RECALL RECORD and no reason for the FDA to do any special inspections.


NEL ON RECALLED, RECYCLED, COUNTERFEIT DOG FOODDon’t be swayed by clever marketing, fancy words, or brilliant packaging – READ THE LABEL and find out what ingredients and substances you are actually feeding your pet! Can we trust the Food and Drug Administration is paying attention and protecting people from pet food contamination? Kick up your safety measures up a notch, sign up for RECALL ALERTS from the FDA at this Link:


Thank you Michigan and Georgia state inspectors for random testing and catching the Natura pet food contamination!



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