Recall Update: Monday

Here’s the latest in recall news.

Be in on the ground floor. It’s brand new, and probably overdue, but we have added a discussion board for you to talk about the recall, pet nutrition, safety and more. (If you see a security warning, ignore it.)

Senate Pet Food Safety Hearing is scheduled to be shown live here (under Webcasts) on Thursday 2pm Eastern, Thursday, April 12. They are also checking into a C-SPAN broadcast.

Senate hearing witnesses released. Lack of industry “outsiders” is disappointing. Of the 2 witnesses who are not working for the industry, both worked for Hills, but one is now an advocate for cat health — Dr. Hodgkins. The other, well, you can Google for yourself: Dr. Claudia Kirk. We just called Sen. Durbin’s office, and it looks like this is the final list. They will focus on the FDA’s actions, not so much on the pet food industry itself. (Thanks Howl911) Post edited.

Vet network confirms deaths in thousands: Pet Connection has a story on the Veterinary Information Network’s estimates on the number of potential deaths and a financial toll up to $20 million.

Itchmo Exclusive: FDA’s vets were focused on salmonella risk before recall — a very low risk for pets.

New Jersey is blazing the trail on making pet food makers pay for their mistakes.

Another pet site investigates dry food death reports — this time Purina’s Beneful.

USA Today Op-Ed: A national centralized system is needed and treating pets as property won’t change the industry.

More and more people and groups question pet food ingredients.

Pet food is in short supply in some shelters. (Seattle) Please donate any non-recalled food you can spare.

Forbes takes a look at the bumbling of customer relations by the major recalled food manufacturers.

(Thanks to many readers for your tips.)

21 Responses to “Recall Update: Monday”

  1. Anonymous says:

    well it s a sad thing money and profit , are killing our pets

  2. Steve says:

    This battle is only beginning. I am sure the Pet Food Industry would love nothing more then for Americans to just resign and learn to accept their servitude to whatever garbage and gimmick it is they put on market.

    The Pet Food Industry has zero credibility.

    The next stage is to see what develops with the Senate hearings, because it is obvious the Pet Food Industry doesn’t take us customers seriously.

  3. Martin says:

    How many must die before these foods are recalled. This is posts regarding Beneful dog foods. Note Purina says they are fine to eat.

    The Beneful Countdown begins on Good Friday, Friday the 6th.

    Purina has until Good Friday to recall Beneful and issue an apology to all of the people who have had to deal with the sickness or death of their dogs. An apology will be necessary, since Nestle/Purina was made aware of the problem with the food by staff in January. (We are positive they knew of the problem before we initially notified them)

    We will count down the days in our “Comments” section, each day, until Nestle/Purina does the right thing. They had the opportunity to be a corporate hero, yet chose to be corporate cads.

    Dogs continue to get sick and die after their owners are told by Nestle/Purina that “All is ok”. “All is not ok” and Nestle/Purina knows it. There is no safe Nestle/Purina dog food. They are all low quality in the first place. Don’t listen to the commercials, read the ingredients.

    Why does do this?

    Purina Countdown begins Friday!

    From Ric-I am furious at Nestle/Purina and you will find that I am very passionate about what I believe in. I can tell you that Nestle/Purina has already figured it out. They probably can’t understand it. Wouldn’t rather sell us ads like the other media who will be quiet in exchange for ad dollars? Not in this lifetime. Nestle/Purina packages junk food for dogs and markets it as healthy. When there is a problem, they promote it more so you will think everything is ok. They are a pitiful excuse of a company. Let me give you a non-insider/insider tip. If you own Nestle/Purina stock…sell it. The dog community is huge and dogs are dying for Nestle/Purina profit. We inserted a notice in a news segment a couple of days ago for people to let us know if they wanted a list of the products made by Nestle/Purina. I stated that I will no longer use any products by the Nestle/Purina Corporation…the whole corporation…ever. We have already received hundreds of emails from dog lovers pledging to avoid any products made by Nestle/Purina now or in the future. There is only one way that Nestle/Purina can salvage their reputation at this point and that is to come forward and admit some uncomfortable facts. The worst fact is that while they tried to protect their reputation, dogs were dying from the Menu Foods issue. Had Nestle/Purina recalled Beneful in January, when we first sent out our “Beneful Alert”, the Menu Foods problem would been forced into the news media faster. In my opinion, every dog that has gotten sick or died is directly Nestle/Purina’s fault.

    Nestle/Purina…Here is the solution.

    Admit you were aware of the problem early on, people already know
    Admit you hid from the problem, people already know
    Acknowledge responsibility and compensate for sick or dead dogs
    Ensure the public that this will never happen again
    Establish outside committee to monitor you, since you have no credibility
    Start making quality food
    That is your options, Purina. Based on the past, let me guess how you proceed. Run new ads promoting Beneful, Send press release assuring people that your food is safe, Put a pretty, concerned face on the Menu Foods issue, hope the problem goes away.

    It’s not going away…Ric

    From Cindy

    Hi Ric,

    I have been visiting the doggybling website for over a year now and I really appreciate your passion for animals. I read your apology to the dogs of New Orleans last year and it affects me every time it crosses my mind. I wish you would reprint it, so people could read it during this crisis. I am so glad to see that you are not afraid of a corporation that everyone else seems to cater to. I still have not heard anyone other than you mention Beneful. Please continue to fight for those who do not have a voice. Like you, I believe there is a large problem with Beneful and other purina products.

    Cindy _______

    From Debi

    Hi Ric,
    I don’t know if you remember me but I talked to you a couple of months ago about my 11 year old dog, Mandy and the Beneful issue. I also emailed you a picture that you featured on your website of Mandy with my children.
    Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you for praying for us and Mandy……..Mandy did die last Sunday. She was progressively getting worse over the last 3 months. It has been hard for my family but I am glad that she is not suffering anymore.
    Again, thank you for your prayers and I really enjoy your website. The next time we are in Destin, we will definitely stop in.
    From Denise
    I am writing to you to tell you of my beautiful dog Harley. (shih tzu). My daughter and I got our dog for her 13th birthday. Harley has been part of our family for about ten years. He was a spry happy dog and was very active and playful ALL the time. He always ate pedigree dog food but recently he seemed tired of pedigree and we switched to Beneful food (the ones in the container) In between beneful, we gave him a mix of beneful and alpo canned food becaue he gets bored or finicky. He was so active on March 28th but he seemed to be drinking a lot of water and he was urinating very often. (we thought it was because it was nice out and he wanted to run around) In fact, I was saying to him, “Harley, for petes sake, you JUST went.” Now I feel bad because I had no idea what was to come. We had checked the list over and over and there was no sign that he was in any danger. Now we are feeling as if we poisoned our own dog.
    March 29, he woke up and was not walking right. I rubbed his back legs and he seemed to be just okay. My daughter called the vet and we had an appointment for 9:30 in the morning.
    Come 5:45, he started acting worse. He would not move more than 4 steps almost like he was tired. I called the vets and asked if they could take him right now, but they were closing so we kept the appt. for the morn. I ended up late in the evening calling all the animal emergency hospitals possible and they all told me I can’t bring him in unless I had ALL the cash it would take. I told them I am on disability and do have that kind of cash on me, i had 100 dollars for them,but I will the rest by tommorow. They would not take us. SO, at midnight, my dog lost all pink on his stomach and even in his ears. He was a whitish yellow color and his mouth was white. (inside) and needless to say, it turned out to be the night from hell. I spent the entire night brushing him slowly, taliking to him and telling him it was okay if he stopped fighting and just went. I had to let him know I was there and I loved him so much.I brushed his hair slowly for comfort and had to carry him out every hour, had to hold him up and spread his back legs out so he could release his bloody urine. (His back legs not working at all.) His poop was orange. By morning we rushed him to the vets early (before our appt) By, this time, he was barely alive and watching him suffer the entire night had taken its toll. With Harley wrapped in a blanket, we rushed him through the door of the vets and ran directly to the back asking them to PLEASE just put him out of his misery. WE loved our baby and now he is gone! We KNOW it was his food because he was FINE!!! It happened so fast and we can’t stop crying. This is terrible and we are scared for our cat. I don’t trust any food because it seems to me they need to take all foods from before march 6 and start over. Tested or not!! We will NEVER forget him. We are so traumatized by the suffering we saw him go through and are trying to get over the guilt we feel. Also, the anger we feel over this.
    Anyway, if you know anything I should know, please let me know.
    P.S. when the vet saw him, he said it could not have been his food because his mouth and tongue are completely white and that is liver failure! I say, If your kidneys fail… so does your liver..
    OH my god …so devestated!!!
    Thank you for listening
    Note from Ric–Denise, the people at the animal clinic are absolutely worthless! (And you may quote me)
    I am still searching for answers, because her death was so sudden - but our beloved Haylie - 6 year old Golden Retriever Mix died last Thursday 3/29/07. Haylie ate only Beneful dog food. The last bag I purchased was from Petco in Algonquin IL in February 07. The symptoms she had were exactly as listed on, lethargic, not interested in food or water, white gums, lack of control of bodily functions. Our vet was at a loss to explain how this happened so suddenly when a blood test she had in Feb 07 was perfectly normal. Two weeks ago, she was running with my daughter who was training for a triathalon - last weekend 3/24-25 was our first indication something might be wrong. She was lethargic, and not eating, she never recovered. Please add Haylie to the list of dogs who have died after eating Beneful - even though Beneful was not on the list of dog foods being recall - I checked several times - there might be something else going on with it. I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I am feeling after losing my beloved pet.

    Note from Ric-The answer is that Purina values money more than your pet or anything else. They are aware of the problem and continue to ignore it.

    From Debbie

    Dear Ric,
    My 10 month old Pitt bull, Snuggles (Yes, she lives up to her name) -=) has been fed nothing but Beneful since I’ve owned her which has been approximately 7 months now. (I like the Deluise son who was in the commercial) I did purchase a large bag of puppy blend around Dec 15th from Walmart, Snuggles, had for sometime, been vomiting almost totally undigested food periodically for a few months. I attributed it to a a reflux issue. The vet said she would out grow it. ( She has since out grown that particular vet!!!!) I looked for this brand on the 1st list printed & was reassured to not find it.
    Now, I see it was over looked.
    I have a pet store in my town that sells a pet food that the owner of the store, a chemist by trade, formulated. I believe I will be sticking to that brand from now on.
    Thanks for the heads up.
    Debbie ______

    From Shari
    My name is Shari _______. We have mother dog with 6 puppies. I started adding some BENEFUL to her diet last week. Since she has been on it I have noticed blood in her stool, panting very hard, drinking excessive water. I have taken it out of her diet. She regularly eats Alpo Brand Prime Cuts Dry. She is 1/3 wolf, 1/3 malamute, 1/3 Austalian Shepard. She weighs about 70 lbs. I am very worried since we have 6 puppies 1 week old today. Is it safe to feed her the Alpo? We live in Monterey, Tenn. and purchased the Beneful at the Dollar Store here. Could u please let me know something, since we have little babes. I will be contacting the vet today.
    From Dan
    We have been feeding our dog (17 month old West Highland White Terrier) Beneful for the past 3-4 weeks. It was bought at Winn Dixie in Milton, Florida, somewhere in the later part of the week of March 4th or possibly early in the week of March 9th. For the past week or so, almost daily she throws up some bile from her stomach. After throwing up we give her a baby aspirin and she seems to get better and stops throwing up. Additionally her bowels are very loose and she drinks an large amount of water. We have stopped feeding her Beneful as of earlier this date. Please provide any information you may have available.

    My name is Kathleen _______ and I was just reading your blog posted near the end of February 2007 regarding Beneful dog food purchased at Walmart stores. We just recently purchased a bag of this food at a Walmart near us that is going out of business. We suspected that this food made our dog sick this week, but after reading your blog, we are pretty much convinced that the food is the cuplarit. We have been at the vet the last couple of days and have run multiple tests. Our dog has shown all of the sysmptoms you describe in your blog. The vet just called us and informed us that Judge is having kidney failure. We are on a desperate hunt to find more information as soon as possible. I hope this message reaches you in a timely manner and that maybe you can point us in an even better direction. Any new news or direction would help. Thank you for your time.
    From Caroline
    my dog has just recovered from his near death experiance from eating beneful dog food. i didn’t even really worry about the food recal cuz my dog eats dry food and i heard it was only wet food… but i bought him a brand new bad of beneful at target and he after one bowl he was super sick. didn’t eat for 2 days barely drank, was SHAKING bad…his mouth dry and his nose was hot and dry… it was terrible… he is an old dog and he has cancer. this almost finished him off. i tried called the purina hotline but after being on hold for 1/2 hour i gave up and decided this was a better venue for voicing my concern… thank god my dog is ok…. i will never buy purina again….
    From Nancy
    I can’t believe I found this on the net. My dalmation died two days ago. We had purchased a 25lb bag of Beneful at WalMart and she had been eating it and just about finished the bag. She was literally lifeless, hanging her head above water and not drinking. I knew she was going to die very soon. My observation seemed to me like an organ had shut down. My guess would have been kidney since she wasn’t drinking. Now I hear of all these death relate to kidney failure and now I’m reading about the food. What can I do….who can I contact.

  4. susanUnPC says:

    I’m glad Ric posted that — albeit a bit long — because I’d gone to the site a bit ago, and was confused and hope that Ric can clear up my confusion.

    It’s 100% clear that Purina produces junk food. One simply has to read the labels to see that they substitute grains (from god knows where) for meat.

    My new rule: Never ever buy any pet food in grocery stores. And the “better” brands such as Iams sold in grocery stores are also junk food, dressed up and sold at a higher price because many of us consumers think that a higher price = quality (not necessarily).

    But I couldn’t find any clear information at the site on exactly how Purina’s Beneful was harming and killing the dogs. A couple anecdotal stories aren’t enough. Has the site, somewhere that I couldn’t find, compiled an objective list of symptoms, directly tied to consumption of Beneful?

  5. Steve says:

    Forbes Gets It. (Thanks Kim and Gina)

    Misnavigating The Pet Food Crisis
    Marc E. Babej and Tim Pollak 04.09.07, 12:50 PM ET

    The tainted pet food crisis has roiled a passionate market. And the story isn’t dying: As the recalls mount, and the threat moves from cuts-in-gravy to staple dry food and even to treats, feeding pets seems like Russian roulette. How have the pet food companies involved reacted? Too little, too late–and, for the most part, the wrong way.

    For most pet-owning families, their pets are family. This is hardly news to the nation’s pet food manufacturers, but it might as well be. They’ve been strangely, almost eerily, silent. Such behavior consumers might expect from a big, impersonal corporation, but not from the people who make the food for their beloved pets.

    A recent tour of their Web sites was almost surreal. As you might expect, the worst offender was Menu Foods, maker of the majority of the food affected by the recall. Rather than a heartfelt apology, the Menu Foods site displays puppies joyfully eating out of bowls emblazoned with the corporate name.


    What should the industry be doing?

    First, say you’re sorry. Act like you really care about the animals. You may not think you owe an apology, but in pet owners’ minds, you do.

    Second, offer to replace the pet food in people’s pantries, even it it’s not your brand. Every new recall announcement creates more doubt about the food that’s already out in the market. It might not be the cheapest solution, but it would buy a lot more goodwill than an ad campaign.

    Third, stop being defensive. Simply reassuring people your other products are safe isn’t very reassuring. After all, a few weeks ago, you were de facto assuring that all your products were safe. Do you trust the guy who says “just trust me” right after he messed up? Probably not. To regain consumers’ trust, pet food brands have to give consumers reasons to trust that their food is safe.

    Fourth, offer some substance. Explain what really happened, and what specific steps you are taking now to prevent something like this from happening again.

    Fifth, send a message from the top. Jim Burke, the legendary head of Johnson & Johnson (nyse: JNJ - news - people ), personally managed the 1982 Tylenol crisis. The pet food manufacturers are all hiding behind their brands–to wit, the full-page ad signed by “The Employees of Iams and Eukanuba Pet Foods,” not by A.G. Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble (nyse: PG - news - people ), which owns both brands. The pet owners of America deserve to hear from the CEOs to whom they entrust the health and well-being of their pets. There are differences between this crisis and Tylenol’s, but there is no less need for corporate courage, integrity and leadership.

  6. 5CatMom says:

    Does anyone have the name and number of a good testing lab? I have some food samples that I’d like to have tested.

  7. susanUnPC says:

    Itchmo has a link somewhere to the Iowa veterinary school’s testing labs — they’re willing to conduct tests for free, I think. You might also contact ASPCA.


    Re the list of witnesses for Durbin’s hearing. I “Googled” Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins. She’s got the right idea about cat nutrition here:
    – I hope she’s as forceful in her testimony and educates more cat owners about the problems with giving cats dry food + any food with grain content.

  8. Lynette says:

    Dr. Hodgkins is our only hope. Yes, she worked for Hills - and left to start her own cats-only clinic.

    Dr. Hodgkins’ website:
    (She believes many commercial cat foods CAUSE diabetes in cats.)

    Dr. Hodgkins’ book (to be released in June): Your Cat;sr=1-1

  9. Heather says:

    Before making snap judgements about Dr. Hodgkins, please do a little research. Yes, she worked for Hills but in by no means “in their pocket” so to speak. Please check out and see Dr. Hodgkins proposal. By Googling Dr. Hodgkins you can also see her opinion on the pet food industry and feline diet. Dr. Hodgkins is on OUR side and will be the only one to testify that is.

  10. 5CatMom says:

    To SusanUNPC,

    Thanks for the lab info.

  11. Mark Wheeler says:

    This NY Times article says there are an estimated 39,000 pets (the overwhelming majority cats) affected by the tainted food.

  12. Steve says:


    Owners, Vets Question Regulations As Pet Food Scare Continues

    As the list of tainted pet food recalled continues to grow, pet owners and veterinarians across the country are questioning whether new methods are needed for determining the safety of dog and cat food.

    The recall has exposed the fact that, although sold under many different brand names, most pet foods are created only a few manufacturers, such as Menu Foods, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

    The companies that own the brand hire these “contract manufacturers” to make their particular pet food. The contract company owns the processing plant where the food is made and rent out time on their production equipment to make each particular kind of food. Officials explain it is a much cheaper way of making the food because each individual brand doesn’t have to buy the expensive manufacturing equipment themselves.

    The manufacturing company purchases the ingredients while the brand often provides the recipe or formula for their particular brand of pet food.


  13. 5CatMom says:

    Mark’s article is great.

    This may be more than just wheat gluten. Has any progress been made toward testing the food’s Vitamin D?

    For new readers, here’s the article:

    PETA Asks For Investigation of Vitamin D in Dry Food
    Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
    We’ve seen plenty of reader complaints linking dry food to pet deaths. PETA is now calling for the investigation of vitamin D in dry pet food, arguing that the symptoms are consistent with those described in dry food deaths. We’ve already read about a previous vitamin D problem and that backs up PETA’s suspicions.

    Report your dry food-related pet sickness and deaths to us.

    Please also report your case to the FDA.

    (end of article)

  14. Debbie says:

    Good people/good pet parents:

    Why are we even really concerned about what the FDA/govt. and Congress has to say and what they are going to do? I mean really, what is the end result going to be except for some lame apologies, very little changes, and continued fake hype with their advertising.

    Why should we believe that after all of these years of poisonous ingredients, that the pet food industry is REALLY going to care for animals all of a sudden when they haven’t cared one iota about them all along? And as usual, what are those industries going to get, just the usual slap on the wrist. That’s already quite evident since they have been operating as usual without coming to any reasonable conclusions.

    I highly suggest that we just stick to purchasing the pet foods that have always been pet-friendly, pet nutritious like “Natural Balance” and all the other great brands people have been mentioning lately on this board since this long overdue opening of Pandora’s Box.

    PLEASE, good people, don’t fall for any more of those pet company’s fake hype…or the govt’s. either. In the end, it’s still all about getting YOUR MONEY!

    Just another note: I don’t believe the govt. about the few cases of mad cow disease (Japan certainly doesn’t), and about the bird flu virus. Therefore, I had been feeding my current 9 cats strictly expensive Nutro fish (dry and canned)…from which I discovered was the reason for their random vomiting when I stopped feeding it to them. Suspicious me wonders if that Nutro “fish,” Made in CANADA, is the remains of the poor baby seals who are being brutally clubbed to death! Nutro gave me all the more reason to add to my boycotting of Canadian fish exports!

  15. Mike K says:

    Debbie is right. Congress will do nothing and hope that we all fall for their BS do-nothing congressional hearings. WE have to do this ourselves. Start with not purchasing any brand that has anything to with the recalls. Find out who the CEO of these companies are and send them a letter (not an email) telling them that you will no longer be purchasing anything from their company until they cut the cord from Menu Foods and China. The only way these companies will change is if they start losing money. The only way that happens is if we stop buying their crap. Spread the word-even if it is just telling 1-2 others what you are doing. I’ve thrown out the old food and bought Canidae and Felidae for our pets. They weren’t recalled but I’m not going to support any companies that work with Menu Foods.

  16. 5CatMom says:

    Here’s today’s STOCK MARKET report on MENU:

    Looks like Menu fell off a cliff! Unfortunately they seem to be recovering.
    Did you hear the rumor that Natura was looking for a plant?

  17. Amy says:

    Hi I was reading through your blogs and first I want to send my condolences to the pet parents who have lost their furbabies. I for one am lucky so far. We’ve been battling renal failure for 2 weeks now. $3100 later we still have to visit the vet every 3 days for more blood work and another $106 everytime. My babies are still alive though and I’m thankful. All of this due to Iam’s dry dog food. Vets have run every test to rule out anything else. I have contacted everyone I know about this and so far no recall. My local news channel even did a story. The FDA has called and I told them too. NO RECALL. I have 2 dogs that went into failure the same time. 2 Boxers, Dexter-7 and Meeka 3. I just want to let everyone know, even though the dog food doesn’t have wheat gluten, it’s still killing dogs everyday!!! There is something else they are overlooking.!!

  18. Lynette says:

    The Senators are our elected representatives. They will most certainly do nothing - IF YOU LET THEM.

    Write them, email them, let them know this is an issue important to you. They’re not reading these blogs and they’re not reading your minds, but they will (or they will have staff aides) read your letters and emails.

    More than 60% of US households have pets. If we stand up, united, we can implement change.

  19. TW says:

    My dog eats dry Purina Beneful. I buy the 40 lb bag at Sam’s Club in New Orleans. I have never had a problem until the start of the most recent bag I bought. My dog has all the same symptoms–acute liver and kidney failure, excessive thirst, lethargy, uncontrolled and excessive peeing, and an ulcer that causes black stool. My dog does not have access to antifreeze or rat poison, and the leptospirosis test came back negative. It must be the Beneful.

    It seems like the burden of proof is on consumers regarding the tainted food. I think it should be the other way around. The pet food companies should have the burden of proving that their food is SAFE. Just because Beneful isn’t on the official recal list yet, doesn’t mean it is safe.

  20. ldr says:

    Our two dogs have been on beneful for the past five and eight years. This past March we noticed both of them were losing weight, drinking more water and urinating outside more often. We switched to another brand of store bought dry dog food and they are back to normal it would apear for now. These dogs are special to us and we think these pet food producers should be more careful about what goes into their product.

  21. Turbonerd says:

    My dog has eaten Beneful all her life, with no problems until recently. This past April I bought the 40 lb. bag at Wal-Mart. She finished that on Sunday 5/20. That night she started throwing up. I thought she might have been supplementing her diet with something she found in the yard, so I didn’t think too much about it.

    Started a new 20 lb. bag (bought at Walmart) on Monday 5/21. Still throwing up - 4x on Monday, 3x yesterday, once more today (5/23).

    She’s been drinking more and asking to go out a lot more recently, thought it was just the weather. We had house guests two weeks ago, and she’s been downright despondent since they left - we thought because she missed the attention, but now I’m not so sure.

    Going to the vet shortly.

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