How To Report Pet Food Complaint to FDA

If you suspect your pet has gotten sick from it’s food or you think there’s something wrong with the food, be sure to file a report with the FDA. The FDA has instructions on the information to include and where to file the report. It’s okay if you don’t have all the info. listed, just include as much as you can.

If you transfer your pet food to bins or other containers, it’s important that you keep the packaging until all the food is eaten so you can provide information on the variety, point of manufacture, lot numbers, best-by dates, etc.  I haven’t been good about this at all.

When you file a report, you’ll deal with your state’s Complaint Coordinator.  Check the FDA list for each State’s contact information.

I think it’s also a good idea:

  • to file a report with the manufacturer and let them know you’ve filed one with the FDA
  • to get your veterinarian to file a report
  • to be diligent about reporting concerns given how long it can take the FDA to respond

Pet Food Recall: Merrick, Nature’s Variety

photo credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH


A tale of 2 pet food recalls—one typical and one that shows how it should be done.  First, the typical recall, as preformed by Merrick for their Beef Filet Squares Dog Treats.  During testing, the FDA “detected a positive finding for Salmonella. (Find info. about Salmonella below.) A follow-up inspection found deficiencies in the packaging and manufacturing processes.”  Merrick issued a press release about the recall on a Friday.  (Friday night press releases happened all the time during the huge melamine contamination recalls.  Friday nights were late nights for me during that time because recalls would be issued in the middle of the night on Fridays so the stories would get minimal coverage.  It’s a tradition in business and government.) There is no sign Merrick has done anything to better insure the safety of their product and there’s no word on how to get your money back.  Swell.

The recalled product is:

  • Beef Filet Squares Dog Treats—Item # 60016 / Lot Code “9323 best buy 111911” in 10 ounce green, red & tan resealable plastic bag

Setting a good example

Moving on to the atypical recall as performed by Nature’s Variety.  Results from their own testing done by an outside facility showed possible salmonella contamination. (Find info. about Salmonella below.) Nature’s Variety announced the recall on a Thursday and when they expanded the recall, they announced it on a Monday, insuring maximum news coverage.  Nature’s Variety has instituted new safety measures using High Pressure Pasteurization and practices “a test and hold protocol to ensure that all High Pressure Pasteurized Raw Frozen Diets test negative for harmful bacteria before being released for sale.”  The expanded recall was done to remove any product made before the new safety measures were in place.  To get a refund or replacement, bring your receipt or empty package in a sealed bag to your local retailer.

A company taking responsibility for the safety of its product and providing customer service???  What a concept!  Are you paying attention Merrick?

The recall includes the following products with a “Best If Used By” date of 10/29/10 or 11/9/10:

  1. UPC#7 69949 60131 9 – Chicken Formula 0.75 lb trial sized medallions
  2. UPC#7 69949 60130 2 – Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
  3. UPC#7 69949 60120 3 – Chicken Formula 6 lb patties
  4. UPC#7 69949 60121 0 – Chicken Formula 2 lb single chubs

The products included in the expanded recall are any Chicken Formula or Organic Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet with a “Best If Used By” date on or before 2/5/11, including:

  1. UPC#7 69949 60131 9 – Chicken Formula 0.75 lb trial sized medallions
  2. UPC#7 69949 60130 2 – Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
  3. UPC#7 69949 60120 3 – Chicken Formula 6 lb patties
  4. UPC#7 69949 60121 0 – Chicken Formula 2 lb single chubs
  5. UPC#7 69949 50121 3 – Chicken Formula 12 lb case of chubs
  6. UPC#7 69949 60137 1 – Organic Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
  7. UPC#7 69949 60127 2 – Organic Chicken Formula 6 lb patties

What you need to know about Salmonella

Salmonella can cause serious illness in cats and dogs and there can be cross-contamination to humans causing serious illness in humans.

Pet Food Recall: Wysong, Premium Edge, Nutro


I missed this Wysong Pet Food pet food recall while I was out-of-town.  The recall is due to possible mold.  Penicillium and fusarium molds have been found, but so far no mycotoxin. The Wysong website says you should contact your retailer for an exchange or refund.

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Diamond Pet Foods issued a recall of 2 of their Premium Edge cat foods due to an inadequate level of thiamine which can cause serious health problems in cats. The Premium Edge site says you can get a refund from your retailer.

Premium Edge Finicky Adult cat food & Premium Edge Hairball cat food (manufactured May 28, 2009 & August 30, 2009):

  • RAF0501A22X 18 lb.
  • RAF0501A2X 6 lb.
  • RAH0501A22X 18 lb.
  • RAH0501A2X 6 lb.

And finally, Nutro recalled 2 varieties of its puppy food in different sized bags due to the possible presence of melted plastic pieces.  The Nutro site says to contact your retailer for a refund or exchange.

Delivered to Petsmart stores in California, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, & New Mexico:

  • NUTRO ULTRA Puppy Food 4.5 lbs. bag, UPC 79105 51313, best buy date 9/10/10
  • NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Chicken Meal, Rice & Oatmeal Formula Small Bites Puppy 5 lbs. bag, UPC 79105 23050, best buy date 9/10/10

Delivered to stores in PETCO stores in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah:

  • NUTRO ULTRA Puppy Food 30 lbs., UPC of 79105 51315 best buy date 9/10/10 from

Meat Loaf For Dogs

wet ingredients
wet ingredients

This meat loaf isn’t meant to replace your dogs’ food—I’m not a canine nutritionist.  I’m also not militant that you should cook all meals for your dog.  I don’t cook all meals for our cats and dog.  I do fix a version of meatloaf for Saffron, our dog, for a few of reasons.  First, is to supplement her dry food with fresh, unprocessed food.  Second, is to make Saffron’s food more appealing to her so she’ll finish her food–she’s never been good about eating, especially if she’s anxious.  Third, this is cheaper than buying high quality canned food.

It’s easy to make, especially if you do it over two days.  I recommend prepping all the ingredients first and then mix & bake it another day.  I’ve been doing big batches, so I don’t have to do it as often, but I’m not sure it’s worth it since it can be a pain dealing with such large quantities.  I’ve adapted this recipe from Mabel’s Muttloaf. You can divide the recipe if you want to try a smaller batch.

Like with regular meatloaf, ingredients & amounts don’t have to be exact—my ratios are based on the 6 lbs. packages of ground turkey you can get at Costco.  Meat loaf is a forgiving dish and even if you’re not an experienced cook, you can make this.

You probably won’t need to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients.  And if you do need to buy some things, you don’t need to buy fancy ingredients.  This is a great chance to use up leftovers, the tail end of a bag of dry beans or rice, or slightly freezer-burned vegetables—nothing spoiled or nasty.  Take a look in your pantry & freezer and see what your dog would like in some meatloaf.


  • 6 lbs. raw ground turkey
  • 1 large can (29 oz.) plain pumpkin
  • ~8 cups cooked beans or lentils
  • ~8 cups cooked rice
  • 2 1/2 lbs. frozen green beans (or some kind of frozen vegetable like corn, broccoli, peas.  I’ve even used frozen okra I had on hand.)
  • 1 lb. frozen spinach
  • 6 cups masa harina (finely ground corn flour treated so it’s more easily digested, you’ll find it in the hispanic section of your grocery or at a hispanic grocery)
  • 6 cups oats
  • ~1 cup brewer’s yeast
  • 1 cup oil
  • 6-8 eggs
  • ~6 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ~ 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp. salt substitute (potassium chloride)
  • enough liquid (stock, milk, whey, water) to bind it all together

Other possible ingredients:

    • cooked potato
    • ground beef, chicken, venison
    • liver or other organ meat (We have frozen beef liver on hand left over from a split side of beef we bought.  I thaw one, puree it, and add it to the mix.  Grossest thing ever, but Saffron loves it.)
    • cornmeal
    • shredded cheese
    • carrots, squash, sweet potato

dog loaf dry ingredients dog loaf mixed

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Roughly puree wet ingredients like beans, rice, vegetables, etc.  In another large bowl, combine wet ingredients. I put on latex gloves and mix with my hands.  Add the dry ingredients and make sure it’s very thoroughly mixed.  Add liquid as needed to get the mixture to form a thick, gloppy texture.  The mixture should be uniform in texture—no clumps of dry ingredients and no runny bits.

dog loaf in pan

Spread into greased baking pans and cook at 350°F for about 1 hour.  It may take longer if your mixture was very wet.  You want the loaf to be pretty solid so the slices won’t crumble and fall apart.  Remove pan and allow to cool.  I cut mine while it’s still in the pan.

dog loaf sliced finished dog loaf

Place slice in empty pan or on a cookie sheet and freeze.  I store mine in double ziploc bags and thaw a slice in the microwave as needed. I crumble it up, add a little water, and mix it in with Saffron’s kibble.