Released earlier this year, 2013 FDA testing of Beneful found above allowed levels of cyanuric acid and melamine, and ethoxyquin that was not listed on the pet food label. Purina Beneful refused to provide FDA documents, refused to provide FDA with testing methods, and in one instance Purina refused to provide FDA the actual content of ingredients in a suspect food.
In multiple inquiries sent to FDA over many years by TruthaboutPetFood.com regarding Beneful, the agency never previously disclosed plant inspections had been performed at Purina (relating to Beneful consumer complaints). The FDA never previously disclosed information of testing of Beneful Dog Food (relating to consumer complaints).
A recent ‘find’ on the FDA website shows the agency released some VERY concerning information regarding FDA’s investigation of Purina Beneful earlier this year (published April 21, 2016). No public notice was issued regarding the agency’s publication of the Beneful investigation documents, the agency simply stated due to multiple requests for information on Beneful…
“FDA is providing documents related to consumer complaints received by the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) associated with Nestle Purina Beneful dry dog food and the center’s subsequent activities to investigate and identify a potential cause for these illnesses.”
And in this morsel of information provided by FDA – with no alert to the public – we discover the agency tested Beneful dog food and found..
Yes, that’s cyanuric acid and melamine; the two deadliest adulterants in the history of pet food. FDA found ‘above the allowable level’ of cyanuric acid and melamine in 2013 testing of Beneful. Cynauric acid and melamine are the deadly combination responsible for the largest and deadliest pet food recall in history (2007). There was no recall even though test results are evidence to 6 Purina Beneful pet food adulterations.
The FDA release of information of Beneful testing also stated…
“Six samples collected contained ethoxyquin;
however, the additive was not indicated on the product labeling.”
Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative commonly used in pet food. (This very ingredient is what my veterinarian told me was responsible for my dog’s bone cancer 25+ years ago.) Pet food regulations require all ingredients to be declared on the pet food label; Purina did not comply with that regulation. There was no recall even though test results are evidence of 6 Purina Beneful pet food labeling violations.
The FDA release of information regarding Beneful tells us the agency inspected three Purina Beneful manufacturing plants in 2013. During the inspection of the Purina plant located in Flagstaff, AZ…
Purina allowed FDA to
“view records, but not obtain copies of records unless approved by the firm’s legal counsel.”
During the same inspection…
Why wouldn’t Purina “describe” to FDA their testing methods for “routine contamination” of ingredients? It could be because if they did, FDA might find fault with Purina’s testing methods; disclosure would put Purina at risk. Purina chose to not fully cooperate with the FDA. No one, but Purina, knows if this testing is adequate or even if it actually exists.
During another FDA inspection of Purina Pet Food – plant located in Mechanicsburg, PA…
FDA discovered “formula changes” and ingredient replacement.
More information to follow on these ‘formula changes’.
During this same inspection…
Why would Purina refuse to disclose to FDA “the actual content or weights of individual ingredients that went into the implicated lots” of pet food? Again, disclosure puts Purina at risk. If a manufacturing error was made in the lots of pet food that caused pet illness and death (‘implicated lots’), Purina disclosure would be an omission of guilt. Purina chose to refuse the FDA request. No one – but Purina – knows if there was a manufacturing error in the implicated lots of pet food.
During the 3rd FDA inspection of Purina Pet Food – plant located in Edmond, OK…
“The firm was in direct and constant contact with the Purina corporate Regulatory Affairs office in St. Louis, MO during this inspection.”
Under the section titled “Refusals”, bold added…“On 3/25/2013, Mr. (redacted) told us that the NPPC (Nestle Purina Pet Care) corporate policy does not allow photography during inspections. I explained that photographs would be taken for evidentiary purposes only and that photography has been deemed by the US Supreme Court to be essential to any inspection. I also suggested that the firm could take a duplicate photo, in the event that a photo was taken by FDA. Mr. (redacted) excused himself and called NPPC; he returned to stated that he had been instructed to refuse photography during this inspection. I clarified that the firm was refusing to allow photography, and Mr. (redacted) affirmed the refusal.”
“During the close out meeting” – FDA inspectors with Purina – two FDA affidavits were presented confirming Purina’s “receipt and testing of corn and use of ground corn as an ingredient in products” and “captured information regarding the manufacture and distribution of the firm’s Beneful dog food products, and stated that FDA had collected samples of the products”. “After consulting by telephone with Mr. Chris Cowell, Regulatory Affairs, NCCP, Mr. Reiley did not read or sign either affidavit.”
Of concern, the Edmond, OK FDA inspection report also stated…
“Mr. (redacted) stated that all formulations are issued by the NPPC nutritionists; no formulation deviations are authorized or made at the plant level.” “Mr. (redacted) stated that no new ingredients had been used, and no formulation alterations had been made for “quite some time” and that all formulation changes occur at NPPC (Nestle Purina Pet Care).”
But in the Mechanicsburg, PA inspection report, it states something quite different: “The investigation revealed the following formulation changes: addition of (redacted) and choline chloride to Beneful Healthy Growth, IncrediBites, and Playful Life, effective as early as 11/26/12. In addition, (redacted) was replaced with (redacted) in Beneful Original, Puppy, Healthy Fiesta, IncrediBites and Playful Life, effective as early as 3/19/13.”
So, even though Purina told FDA in one location that “no formulation alterations had been made for quite some time”…it seems that in another plant numerous formula changes were made during the exact same time period.
The madness doesn’t stop, there’s more…
A dog from Kentucky died linked to consuming Beneful Dog Food. Kentucky Department of Agriculture assisted FDA with investigation performing “a post-mortem examination (necropsy)” on the dog “that revealed acetaminophen in the urine.” “Laboratory analysis revealed positive markers for acetaminophen in the animal’s tissue.”
The report stated: “The dog food product collected from the complainant tested negative for acetaminophen”.
BUT…(bold added) “This laboratory sample was not included as an official sample in this investigation, as the method of analysis to detect acetaminophen in dry dog food was not validated.”
This means: Kentucky Department of Agriculture did not properly test the pet food for this grieving consumer. Kentucky did not test the food in a way that would hold the pet food accountable. It was a worthless effort.
And at the end of this mess of inspection and testing, what did FDA do? They sat down and had an “educational” talk with Purina.
“CVM elected not to pursue regulatory actions during this incident. CVM decided to provide educational outreach to Nestle Purina Corporate Headquarters regarding the labeling violation for ethoxyquin…CVM had not yet pursued a Class 3 voluntary recall as planned.”
In 2014, about a year after FDA found 6 confirmed adulteration and label violations with Purina Beneful, Nestle Purina Pet Care initiated a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo. To announce this lawsuit, Purina built the website “PetFoodHonesty.com” with the tagline “Purina: Where Honesty is Our First Ingredient”. This image is the current header…
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines honesty as: “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct”.
Question to pet food consumers…
Is any of the above information – released on the FDA website – regarding testing of Beneful and/or Purina’s handling of inspections…PET FOOD HONESTY?
One more thing…
The Purina News Center posted a recent update to the U.S. consumer lawsuit against Beneful. It states: “On June 27, 2016, U.S. plaintiffs who filed a class action lawsuit against Beneful in Feb. 2015 dropped their damage claims for injury to dogs. However, false advertising and related claims remain, including alleging Purina “failed to disclose some issue” with Beneful.”
It remains the same old story for pet food consumers; no accountability for pet illness and death directly linked to pet food.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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