Nature’s Variety Releases Statement About Instinct Chicken Meal Formula

InstinctOn February 27, Nature’s Variety released this statement about their Instinct Chicken Meal Formula due to customer complaints about dogs having loose stools and occasional vomiting:

Recently, some of our customers who are feeding Instinct™ Chicken Meal Formula grain-free kibble for dogs have experienced loose stools and occasional vomiting. If your dog has experienced this and your bag of Instinct Chicken Meal Formula displays a “best if used by” date of 1/3/09 or 1/10/09, you may return it to your retail store for a replacement or refund. The “best if used by” dates are located on the back of the package.

Please be assured, Nature’s Variety has not changed the formulation of Instinct Chicken Meal Formula grain-free kibble for dogs. However, recent changes in production facilities caused these two code dates of product to differ enough from our previous product to cause some digestive upset in some dogs.

At Nature’s Variety, we make all of our products with integrity and care for the health of your companion animals, and we deeply regret this situation. We will continue to take any and all necessary steps to assure the quality of our products. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks again for choosing Nature’s Variety.

Nature’s Variety stated that the digestive trouble was happening because:

In essence, the two affected production batches of food are more nutrient-dense relative to our regular production batches. In other words, the Instinct chicken kibble produced on January 3rd and 10th is a richer food than your dog is accustomed to, which may cause some digestive upset, similar to transitioning diets.

Click here for more information.

(Thanks Kathleen)

56 Responses to “Nature’s Variety Releases Statement About Instinct Chicken Meal Formula”

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  1. Chris says:

    “I would have to disagree with you on the grain free….I tried it cold turkey on my cats (Orijen) and they didn’t get upset and I have 5 cats that tried it.” Good! Cats, like humans, will have different reactions to diet changes. If you were previously feeding a quality high meat, low grain food, then there may not be a reaction at all. I’m not sure what Zoe was feeding prior.

    “But prior his blood work was coming back fine and he didn’t have hydration issues. None of my cats have had hydration issues either.” Again, good! But from speaking to several holistic vets, much disease and many ailments are either caused or exacerbated by a lack of moisture in the diet. The vast majority of the kidney and urinary issues they see are related to animals on a mainly dry diet. I also have friends that say “I fed my last 2 dogs Alpo all their lives, and they lived till a ripe old age!” Again, animals are not robots with a set input requirement or they will fail. Some people eat tons of red meat and fast food all their lives and live till 90 (like my grandfather, RIP). But overall, humans eating a high quality veggie, fresh whole food diet will increase life expectancy overall.

    I’ll make you a deal, Robert. You try eating nothing but dry cereal, dehydrated meat, veggies and fruits that are baked into a kibble, no juice, no milk, nothing with more than 10% moisture (unless it is cooked into something that ends up being less than 10% mositure) and tell me how you feel after 90 days of that and just drinking water. If you feel great, I’ll buy you a large bag of Orijen Feline and canine Orijen Senior or Adult or Six Fish, whatever your preference. Tell me when you start, we’ll stay in communication, and I’ll take your word on it. My cats both started doing much better on a grain free diet with as much moisture as I can feed them. (One does not like eating wet food. Little bugger. He must lick up the fluid, though, and then he gets his Orijen :-)

    “Raw diet has its fans, but are at least 3 major downsides to raw.” Show me one documented case of an animal getting sick from raw. Dogs and cats have digestive systems that are designed by nature to digest raw food. They have short, acidic digestive tracts that burn the heck out of any bacteria they come in contact from. They lick their own butts. They scavenge in the wild. Sick animals, or animals coming off of antibiotics should be careful. I would be more concerned about the human handlers. Just to cover all the bases, do Stella and Chewy’s. They only buy free range animals from Mennonite farms, and every single batch is safely rendered 100% free of any salmonella or e.coli, 3rd party tested, and then the results are put on their website. Also, they have organic fruits and veggies. Check it out, it’s the only raw I feed now, simply because my cats love it and I love the free range animal aspect- http://www.stellaandchewys.com/

    “So while you can maybe say you didnt get complaints, I dont know that you can say no pets got ill.” You don’t know my relationship with my customers. If their animals get sick, we want to know about it, and they will tell us. We are not a faceless mega chain. We have great relationships with our customers, and they know to let us know if there is a problem. Believe me, they let us know if it just looks different.

    “its a new facility according to both you and NV but yet NV has been using that facility for a long time?” Again, it was a new facility for that particular formula. That facility has produced other flavors for NatVar for some time, and also other holistic foods.

    “Why was this product even allowed to be sold?” Again, every measurable indicator was within recipe guidelines. Every brand has a range which the manufacturing facility must fall within. The original factory was towards the low end of the range, the new facility was near the high end. That is why this is not a traditional “recall”. That’s why, from the looks of it, not many animals (relative to the amount produced) got sick. There was nothing out of spec. There were no cheap tainted ingredients. What NatVar learned on this is that they need to shoot for the middle of spec more often, so that variations will not cause upsets in animals with sensitive digestive systems.

    “If I had been jumping to conclusions in 2006/2007 my cat might still be alive.” I am very sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine how I would react to this if I had lost a cherished member of my little pride. That’s why I can take an unemotional , unbiased look at this. I could care less if we carried NatVar or any other line we carry, i.e. if I felt that they were nefarious, I could drop them in a second and not lose one bit of business, because my customers trust our judgment and we could move them to Orijen or Evo. In discussion with the rest of the management team, if we felt like this was something serious, we were ready to drop NatVar.

    “And I need to add that I found it interesting that in order to get your questions answered you had to sit down with a top exec from NV.” I told NatVar they screwed up royally on communicating this. In their defense, they were probably concerned that too many people would simply see “recall” and run for the hills because they did not want to take the time to investigate the true, underlieing cause of the issue. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I am sure that Itchmo readers have the common sense to judge “too much high quality chicken based protein” vs. “tainted gluten to make it look like it’s high quality protein”. But too many people are more concerned with “Hollywood Bimbos behaving badly” to really take the time to think about the difference in their pet food.

    “You did the unthinkable. You spoke the truth and supported the truth.” It’s hard to look at things without bias and without emotion, especially when it comes to our pets. We cherish them, only we can make decisions for them. I think it is a strength of mine (to hopelessly attempt to offset my weakness!!!) to look at things in a very evenhanded manner. In this case, many on this board were not given enough info from NatVar. So I cannot blame them. In the absence of fact there can only be speculation. NatVar was way too vague on this. That is on them.

    “you say this isnt a recall, well its funny, because Chris in his post said it was” “But don’t forget how much “better” they are so you shold pay the premium price for that “unperfect” product”
    It’s semantics. Call it whatever you like. Think whatever you like. From what NatVar told everyone, again, it left a lot to speculation. I can only tell you what they told me, and how I feel about it. I know they have good intention. They are good people. They are not some pet food company that is owned by a granary or beef production plant that is looking for a profitably way to get rid of waste material. They want too have their own plant, as does everyone, and they will eventually get their own plant and have more control. And they will not be perfect.

    “I just happened to have a unopened bag of the old packaging so I opened it and they both ate it. Then I served some of the new and both refused it.” That is not too odd. We have several customers whose cats will only eat canned food (not NatVar) that is from certain batches. If it’s a new batch, they only buy one, and see if their cat will eat it. I just opened a new bag of Orijen and my Benny won‘t eat it. (I have a fussy Mainecoon that will only lap up the gravy from wet food, he won’t eat it or raw. That’s what I get for 7 years of Purina One Dry *sigh*) So it’s not uncommon, but it is very frustrating, I know.

    “Why is there a sudden shortage of duck?” I am off until Monday, I will check then.

    “Does Chris=Melissa=Arabiannikki?” Lol, that is funny. I did try on my mother’s clothes when I was a kid……

    “I find it interesting that no mention of a cooked diet” If you are going to go through the time and energy to do homemade, you might as well do raw, IMO. It is the most nutritionally complete diet. Why do you think that raw companies do not supplement with many (if any) added vitamins and nutrients? Raw is intact. Cooked is not. Both are great. I would tell any of my customers to do either one (with a holistic vet) and stop by every once in a while to get toys or just to say hi. We would go out of business, but then again, I know from experience that home made takes time, and these companies do a lot of research into making nutritious meals.

    I hope you all realize that I am not a blind defender of anyone. I went into the meeting ready to drop their line if they did not start explaining what the details were. I have a pretty good BS detector. Of course, they could have been lying , or lied to, but there comes a point when you have to take someone on their word. Every single time you buy anything, anywhere, you are taking them on their word that they are honest, their product is what it says it is, and it is safe. I will back up my decision by continuing to feed their food to my cats.

    Everyone have a great day, and be well! (your animals too, of course!!!)

  2. zoe says:

    Chris

    Can you find out which meats NV will be getting from China? I know the rabbit comes from there and now the duck. I want to know where the chicken, lamb and venison are from also.

  3. Sandi K says:

    Chris, I have a few questions….you stated “You don’t know my relationship with my customers. If their animals get sick, we want to know about it, and they will tell us. We are not a faceless mega chain. We have great relationships with our customers, and they know to let us know if there is a problem. Believe me, they let us know if it just looks different.”

    When you say you are a NV dealer, can we ask who exactly you work for, you claim a lot of knowledge so I would just like to know who you deal with, do you deal directly to retailers or pet parents or both, exactly who is your customer? I think its only fair that we know considering your statement.

    And Im wondering if you read the forum thread where a NV CEO came to answer our questions. He says he doesnt have an exact number of complaints so while you may not have rec’d any complaints, obviously complaints were filed elsewhere from someone.

    And this statment you made to my post: ” “If I had been jumping to conclusions in 2006/2007 my cat might still be alive.” I am very sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine how I would react to this if I had lost a cherished member of my little pride. That’s why I can take an unemotional , unbiased look at this. I could care less if we carried NatVar or any other line we carry, i.e. if I felt that they were nefarious, I could drop them in a second and not lose one bit of business, because my customers trust our judgment and we could move them to Orijen or Evo. In discussion with the rest of the management team, if we felt like this was something serious, we were ready to drop NatVar.

    Somehow I doubt any pet food dealer can really be “unbiased” about pet food and the defense of the pet food industry any more than I can be “unemotional” about toxic pet food that killed my cat. You claim its a strength of yours to be unbiased and unemotional but it might help if you can understand the questions we as pet parents have of all pet food companies since the recalls. You imply that because we have questions and doubts that we are emotional and I say that the emotion is now causing us to ask questions that we never knew to ask before. Being emotional is not necessarily a negative thing if it helps to bring about long overdue changes and improvements to pet food as a whole. I encourage you to go to the forum thread and read the questions and answers and get a better idea of where we are coming from. The questions that were posted were not emotional questions. As a dealer, it can only help your business to gain a better understanding of what the consumer is asking and expecting these days.

  4. js says:

    is the instinct canned food affected? i have it, and i have’nt let my dog try it.

  5. Sandi K says:

    js, no, their info indicates its only the Instinct Chicken Meal Formula grain-free kibble for dogs. Best wishes

  6. DF says:

    In addition to Nature’s Variety Instinct food, their raw frozen food is also dangerous to pets. Both of my dogs contracted pancreatitis and hepatitis in June 2008 from Nature’s Variety raw frozen food and became seriously ill. They had to be hospitalized for over a week. I thought I was doing the right thing by feeding my dogs a “healthy” brand of food but this food almost killed them. Please do not feed this to your beloved pets. I would hate for anyone else to have to suffer through what we did!!!

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