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Mold Found in Merrick Cat Food Cans

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  1. Lleslie

    Over the last 6 months about 6 times when I open Merrick’s Cowboy Cookout small can, only 1/3-1/2 of the can will be filled. The food seems fine but yes even with Cowboy Cookout Merrick is having canning problems.

    1. janet

      Hi, I think Merrick (cowboy cook out) formula has changed. It seems alot thicker and less appealing to my boys. The ingredients are not the best.
      I’m switching to Great Life cans and Acana dry.
      I’m sure I have two winners with these prducts.

      1. Sherry Smith

        Wow, I thought it was just me. I noticed the formula was different too, and my dog won’t eat it anymore. I relied on Merrick cans for SO long.
        I’m think I’m reading to start cooking his food.
        I’ve had good luck with their grain free dry.
        I contacted Merrick and they responded right away, and as I recall, I think they said they had made some minor changes? It was a few months ago, and I got a letter via postal mail. Wish I had saved it, but Merrick has ALWAYS responded personally to me, either by phone or email.

        1. Peter

          Merrick has changed all of their formulas, insisting they have “improved” them, but the reality is different: cost rise 15%, calorie content rise 10%, changes in ingredients ratios (more chicken, less duck, for example), changes to ingredients never used before such as cellulose (sawdust as fiber/filler), and high moisture content (you are paying for water). The facts are simply that they are cutting costs, but the insult is compounded by a parallel rise in price. And my cats would not eat the reformulated flavors.

    2. Peter

      I too, as well as others, have many times found Merrick cat food cans not completely filled with food, but with liquid. For quite a long time. This is especially galling, considering this is a so-called “premium” food and generally about $1.50 or more for the standard 5.5 oz. can. Upon complaint, a Merrick representative tells us that these cans are from “the end of a run” of a certain food. That may be so, but it is inexcusable that the product be allowed to be shipped and sold as if the cans were “full.”

  2. Jessica

    The cans in the pictures above are dented, there is always a risk with dented cans that the seal has been broken. This can cause mold and other bacteria to grow in the can. The problem seems more like a shipping problem than a canning problem to me. I used to work at a natural pet food store and any cans that got dented in transit never even made it onto our shelves for this very reason.

    1. Liz

      That can is barely dented. A dent like that (should not) compromise the seal. It states in the article that there were several cans were bad.

  3. FL

    Not so sure this is a canning problem given the obvious denting on the bottom of the can. I frequently order from pet food websites and sometimes receive sightly dented cans. In my experience, it only takes a small dent and a small puncture to create something like this. I rarely use anything with a visible dent, but when I do, I definitely listen for the “pop.”

  4. Sue Meigs

    I pretty much dropped Merrick from my offerings in my shop several years ago. I certainly scrutinize large manufacturers for obvious reasons, and prefer smaller providers, like myself. I have to say this… These manufacturers cut corners and the actual cans that products are canned in are totally inferior to cans of the past… and with the normal handling/shipping efforts… I get SO many damaged cans in a shipment as well as residues on the outside of the product (which are incurred at the plant). Handling is an extreme problem. And if damage is not visible to those that stock the new product, mold ensues. My suggestion~ just feed a species appropriate raw diet. Google it. Contact me. My motto: I would be happy to not have one piece of kibble in my shop. Please consider feeding raw… But be sure you know how to do it correctly!

    1. janet

      what raw would you suggest?

      1. Brian

        I would definitely recommend Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw. My dog has been on it for years and is healthier and happier than he ever was before.

        1. Bill McQuade

          I feed my dog Bravo Balance in the 6 pound chub. Great price, a little inconvenient. My wife feeds her 2 small old dogs Instinct Medallions. One is a 17 year old obnoxious Shih Tzu that was almost put down at age ten because he was suffering from health issues and we were feeding the best dry food. I have also fed Primal, Vital Essentials, Natures Logic, Stella And Chewy. All feed exceptionally well. I have seen many health problems cured when a pet is changed to a raw diet.

          1. Sherry Smith

            That’s great, thank you.
            I have a great interest in Stella and Chewy. Thanks for the feedback.

      2. Barbara

        Don’t know if you live near where there is a weekly farmer’s market. We have a bunch of cats and feed them beef organs from our local farmer’s market. Fortunately, we know the small mom & pop outfit. The organs are liver and heart, (good for cats), and packaged in one – one ½ # pkgs and is $4/ a pound, (which is cheaper than canned food or other frozen petfood). We put in the freezer until needed and slice it up half-defrosted. They go wild for it. Some come back later when it is more defrosted. I am a vegetarian and my daughter is a vegan, so this was hard to do at first, but now just do it without being too squeamish. BTW they would NOT eat liver from the chain grocery store!
        For more “balance” they have Nature’s Logic kibble or canned (too expensive for us). Our favorite is Honest Kitchen, (Prowl variety), from the vet. You can also order online. It’s a raw-dehydrated food that you mix with warm water so it is thick soup. Our cats love it. We would rather have Honest Kitchen instead of the kibble. Haven’t done the math yet…

        1. Bill McQuade

          Do the math. I do a column called The Pet Scoop in an online news source for Fayetteville AR called the Fayetteville Flyer. One of my columns was trying to inform people that the price on the bag or can has nothing to do with nutrition. Example: Beneful Healthy Weight $29.99 for 30# bag feed 4 cups per day for 50# dog
          Nutrisource Grain Free chicken formula $48.79 for 30# bag. The cost to feed a 50# dog is exactly the same. 4 cups Beneful and 1 3/4 cups Nutrisource. annual cost for both $262.80. Except one is corn based and the Nutrisource is chicken based. You are purchasing nutrition. Make sure you get your monies worth

          1. Kelley

            I wish more would be said about cost. It’s a myth that the cheapest commercial food is a bargain considering the fillers and by-product left for yard cleanup. Looking at the real cost benefit might be one final way to help convince people to move away from commercial. I spend $30 month on PURE, unadultered non-fat (pasture raised beef & organic chicken). Both come from a major national chain. Also $4 on Oatmeal, $8 for (wild range) eggs, $4 Sweet Potatos, $4 Fruits & Veggies, $4 on (lactose-free) Kefir/Yogurt. Total is $60 a month or $2 a day to feed TWO medium sized dogs a worry free food with virtually 100% nutrition. I spend a couple hours once a month and freeze the meat and veggie/fruit mix. The rest is added fresh or by the week. I could also alternate (every other month with a raw diet too). Premium canned food costs about $2.29 at the least and it’s a lot of moisture and heat pressurized cooked ingredients. A 26lb bag of premium dry food is $70 and would last 2 months (yes, that’s true) but how much artificial supplementation are they getting??

        2. Bjorn

          Please be careful about how much liver you feed. You can easily cause Vitamin A overdose.

          It shouldn’t be more than 5% of the total diet. After all, the liver is about 5% of a whole animal. In the wild, they’d never get more than one livers worth per kill.

          It’s great to feed real meat, but we have to try to mimic a balanced diet.

          10% organ meats overall is great, and you can treat hearts like muscle meat (they go into the other 90%).

      3. Penny

        In case you can’t see the website I linked to above, here it is again: We’ve been making the real bones recipe for over 3 years now with our cats (using 1 can of Libby’s canned pumpkin instead of the psyllium per batch), and they all do great on it–healthy teeth, coats, eyes, weights, and blood/urine/stool labwork. lab work doesn’t lie, and I’ve convinced our skeptical vets on the benefits of raw, for (disclaimer) at least our cats.

        We order our raw supplies from a small family-run farm in Pennsylvania. We then thaw the tubes and cut up the hearts and livers and mix them in my food processor with the eggs and vitamins (sourced locally). Hare-Today has a limited shipping zone, so depending on where you are, Google sites in your shipping area. It takes me about an hour every other week to make enough for 2 weeks for 4 cats. I’m sure it’s a bit more expensive than canned in the long run, but I like knowing exactly what my cats are eating. And the cats all love licking all the bowls/cutting board, etc…so cleanup is pretty easy!

        If you don’t want to go raw, we’ve also done well on canned Evo 95% chicken/turkey, which we use when we’re on vacation, to make it easier for our petsitter vs. defrosting the containers. Good luck!

        1. janet

          Penny, as per Bill in this blog. He suggested
          OC RAW. Read his reply. He is SPOT ON. He also owns pet food stores. I’m still doing Acana dry with the OC Raw.

    2. Melanie

      Sue, I would love for you to educate me about raw foods! I’ve been reading about it, but it seems overwhelming to begin such a new way of eating for my seven-year-old dog. Where do I begin???? Thanks!

      1. Interested Pet Owner

        I’m not the person to whom you addressed your question, but can say that the very easiest way to begin is with The Honest Kitchen’s Preference which allows you to add your own protein source. Keep in mind that it can either be (totally) raw (though I would stay away from retail store hamburger in this form) preferring beef chunks. Or it can be minimally processed such as baked stew meat. Baked just long enough for safe handling (10 min.) yet remains nutritious enough for your dog(s). It depends what part of the country you’re in, but Costco has good deals on stew meat. I do cook the chicken (because personally I just can’t handle raw chicken), and get only the organic at Costco. Rinse it off real well and bake. The reason commercial raw is so popular is that it contains only essential ingredients, of course no grains or other other elements (synthetics, colors, flavorings) that often cause issues. It contains organ & muscle meats, sometimes basic veggies, for the added vitamin/mineral content, but usually no carbs. In California I’m able to get “Small Batch Dog” produced in our state (even within the same area code) and I like that it is SO local, to be mixed with THK-P. When I’m whole food cooking, I steam veggies/fruits, add in cooked oatmeal/tapioca, yogurt and lactose free, fat-free Kefer (probiotic). I split a salmon capsule and a flax seed capsule (from Costco) between 2 dogs occasionally for the natural fat. I add in a tiny amount of cooked (pasture raised) beef liver, sometimes a sardine, sometimes a cooked egg. I’ve also found Udo’s Choice Pet Essentials for Dog (for additional nutritional support, including EFA’s, Enzymes & Phytonutrients). With this rotational diet – I think all the bases are covered. Sometimes I’m just too busy and feed Kibble (Nature’s Logic or Fromms). But as long as my dog’s stools are good consistency, and they maintain weight, am pretty sure everything is being correctly metabolized. I feed both a 2 yr old very high energy youngster, and a 14 yr old (that had one case of pancreatitis) and both have equal energy, stamina and no health issues (knock on wood). So I am always encouraging people to rotate food type and ingredients in their dog(s) diets. Just don’t mix Raw in with Kibble. And be sure to transition in a way that’s most appropriate for your own dog(s) to handle the variety. Having sufficient enzymes and digestion capability is really the key.

      2. lucy

        Primal raw and RAD CAT lamb for cats are reliable and i’ve had no problems with recalls. sad about Merrick products; I believe merrick also now owns castor & pollux, which we just transitioned four cats from the past three months.

  5. akf

    I used to have issues with Merrick’s cans often in my old store. I’d find them in the back room with maggots and stinking to high heaven. Seems their cans are pretty thin and the seal would often get broken when squished in pallets or in shipping from the distributor. I saw this issue with them 5 years ago, among other issues. Not a fan of this company after all my dealings.

  6. Bill McQuade

    Merrick has a fairly new majority owner from what I understand and the Merrick family only owns a small percentage now. As with so many other familiar brands over the last fifteen years, once invested in or purchased by large corporations, quality goes down and presence in big box stores goes up. I have 40 years in this industry and I would compare the modern pet food industry to the worlds oldest profession except I do not want to insult the quality or morals of the worlds oldest profession.

    1. janet

      I was wondering what food you would recommend highly
      for my three cats? I have started them on Acana and they love it. But the wet is still not there favorite?

      1. Bill McQuade

        I am a huge believer in raw. There are a lot of products available out there. Acana is an excellent dry food. If you can find Natures Logic, it is the only dry kibble completely sourced from whole foods. No synthetic anything. All dry foods are heavily processed. Also, many cats do not drink enough water and a completely dry diet can lead to urinary tract and digestive problems.

        1. janet

          Bill: I just purchased 2 cases of Natures Logic cat food wet, rab bit and chix. All three of my spoiled kids did not eat it. They all took one bit and walked away.

          Now what!

          They eat the Acana dry. You name it I have tried the wet.
          The one they really liked was the AvoDerm Chick. chunks in gravy ( I know not a good food at all. But go figure)
          Now I just got By Nature wet ( ok, but had some bad ingredients in it) Then I bought yesterday, Great life canned. Same thing just picked at it. Chix, last nite and beef in am. I’m going to try OC raw.? Yours thoughts?

          1. Lesliek

            Janet- NL wet food is very dense, try adding water or broth to get it to the consistancy they are used to.

          2. Bill McQuade

            I like OC raw principles a lot. We are just now able to get it in my area. I own three stores and we are going to carry OC raw in all three. Cats are picky critters and things like texture and shape can be critical. Most cats will love raw. One other hint. Place a high value on their food by putting it down and give them a few minutes and pick it up. The longer they have access to it the less value in their mind. (birds and mice do not sit around waiting to be eaten.

          3. janet

            Bill, Auggies Doggies (Audrey)Ft/Laud.Fl. gave me a
            sample of OC raw!(I put it in the freezer and forgot about it.) I put it down and no luck, but thanks for the advice of taking it away. I will try that tonight.
            Audrey spoke very highly of OC Raw also. Thanks again.Where are your stores located?

          4. janet

            Bill, You are the man! I just put a small about down of the OC Raw again. and picked it up right away.Then put it back down again. Boy, all three ate it. I cannot thank you enough. My abused stray (about 16 years old) is still licking his chops. He was licking the bowl for more. Amazing!!!!!!! I’m going back to Auggies Doggies today and buy alot of OC Raw!

          5. Bill McQuade

            Go slow. Your cats will only place value on something they perceive as hard to attain plus you are making a drastic change to the type of diet you are feeding. Transition slowly. You will be amazed at energy levels, coat, and the tiny bit of refuse in the litter box with little odor. Another plus is urinary tract health. will take you to our web page and connect to facebook page. Good luck.

  7. Amanda Gordon

    I stopped using Merrick foods quite some time ago! It was not cans but 3 bags in a row of the dry dog food were moldy!!

  8. Dave

    Sorry – as a dealer this is unfortunately something that occurs once in awhile. It is especially prevalent in dented cans that have the pull tops. It not just Merrick that is effected and it is not all that common. I also expect that pressure has been applied to the case this can came from. It may have been at the bottom of a very tall pallet of cans or products. I have even seen it caused by someone standing on the case.

  9. […] I'd be leary to feed any canned dog food from Merrick too. This is just gross and unacceptable. Mold Found in Merrick Cat Food Cans Nancy Charlie 6-16-08, CGC 6-20-10 Niner 7-31-12 Reply With […]

  10. Tracie

    This is a known issue and has been documented for several years.
    Merrick’s cannery is in-house, and there is no excuse for the bad seals on these cans.
    When I fed Before Grain (and do not feed any Merrick products now), many case lots would have bad can seals; upon opening the cans, the food would smell like feces or otherwise be “off”.
    I’ve seen cans with bulging lids and bulges on the bottoms of the cans.
    There are also many documented reports of foreign objects in the cans.
    Handling and any subsequent denting would not necessarily cause this issue.
    Dented cans are the norm for this company and I believe they get packaged this way before they are shipped out.
    Having said that, they do appear to have an issue with their cannery not sealing the cans properly.
    And yes, the formulas all changed once they acquired Castor & Pollux.
    Complain to them and you’ll get the response “we have had no other reports of this issue”.

    1. Sherry Smith

      What I don’t understand is stores that put the dented cans on the shelves. Several times I’ve picked up dented cans of Merrick and other foods, and trotted them to the front register so they can be removed from the shelf.
      Bewildered clerks take them from me and thank me, but I have the feeling they put them right back out for sale.

  11. Lucy McKernan

    I have just learned that Castor & Pollux was purchased by Merrick, and am very unhappy about this. But here’s why I’m posting: Part of the reason I was buying C&P (via Amazon, b/c it’s cheaper that way) was because I wanted to stay with a cert. org. pet food that didn’t source animal meats that were de-beaked or fowl that suffered in animal cages. But here’s the kicker: THE OTHER IMPORTANT REASON WAS BECAUSE THIS WAS THE ONLY COMPANY WILLING TO STAND BEHIND ITS BPA-FREE 5.5 OZ. CANS OF CAT FOOD! A fact I now find ironic, because the Amazon shipping and/or packaging results in roughly 5/10% loss of goods; once the 24-can cases arrive, the softer, BPA-free cans are dented and/or compromised and the food is spoiled. I’ve contacted amazon and the company about this, and they haven’t stopped doing it. Again, though, the main reason I’m switching is because C&P sold out to Merrick.

    1. Mary Irish

      What a disappointment. Merrick purchased Castor & Pollux in April 2012.
      I could tell a difference, so could my cats, when I purchased a 14.5 lb bag of dry (adult) cat food from Castor & Pollux. The food was much smaller, and when my cat’s went to eat it, they both looked at me like, “what’s this stuff”. They sniffed at it for a while, which is not normal for them; they usually snarf their food in seconds flat. When I contacted C&P, I heard Merrick’s greeting. I asked the cust.svc.rep if they changed their formula…she said no, they did purchase “new dye casts”, so the food may appear smaller/different. I inquired why I was speaking with Merrick & not C&P. Rep mentioned the purchase back in April 2012. I asked if they use downer cows, there was a pause, and she asked what I meant by downer cows. I asked if they use diseased cows. She, of course, said no.
      Time to do more research on cat foods. Do you know what food you are leaning towards?

  12. Dezi

    I work at an independent pet food store. We had problems with the Merrick seasonal winter pack. The same can out of every pack was sealed improperly causing us to pull the winter pack after we figured it out.

  13. kitkat852

    *correction Expiration date was May 2013.

  14. Michelle S

    I was surprised that I didn’t see anything posted about this on Merrick’s Facebook page, but I DID see an issue with treats that was posted earlier today. It looks like a screw in the treats, and I don’t think that it’s the first time that I’ve seen something of this nature. Here’s the post:

    1. Michelle S

      Maybe it’s food, and not treats. I honestly can’t tell because I don’t use Merrick dry or treats.

  15. Kelley

    Read through all the comments. It’s always the same. An issue comes up with commercial PF. Or the pet gets tired of it or refuses a new offering. Especially cats.

    Raw food and minimally processed whole food is the only way to go. Just try. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, complicated or expensive recipe. A cat does need specific minerals (refer to Susan T’s book for that) but dogs can handle a broad range of choices. If it’s not fatty, spicey or toxic, you almost can’t make a mistake with a dog’s diet.

    Try baking stew meat or chicken, add cooked sweet potato or oatmeal for an energy building carb, add most any kind of steamed veggie, and digestable fruits (non-citrus), add lactose-free (non-fat) yogurt or kefir. If you can keep your pet on a whole food diet for just 1 month, I guarantee that you’ll never go back. Your pet will be more excited about eating. It will have more energy (enthusiasm, or brightness!). And the temperment will dramatically change to the positive. It’s just the natural properties of whole food that makes the difference.

    I am convinced that commercial food has too many (incompatible) food additives, colorings, enhancements, and cooked extruding processing that devoids the food of it’s primary benefits. This affects pets over the long term. PLEASE try the alternative. I have never, ever read anywhere that an owner actually regretted making the change. But …. maybe somebody will post a comment like that …here and now.

  16. K9 Instinct Blog

    Wow, what a disappointment on Merrick’s part. Not the first time I heard of this issue with them.

  17. emily

    I have a picky chihuahua. She isn’t even a year. I’ve tried everything from mega nasty alpo (kibble and can) all the way to orijen and everything in between (well a huge deal of it anyways). I used to feed stella and chewy. I love this stuff, and my dog would practically eat her bowl for it. But over a few weeks her stool was no longer firm. More like soft serve ice cream and it had a noticeable amount of clear mucus with it. So to see if it was the food I switched her to wellness kibble and natures instinct canned. Now she should have about 3/4 a can a day. I feed her once a day at night. I mix 1/4 cup (which if fed alone she is supposed to have 1/2 cup a day) of wellness kibble and 1/2 can of instinct canned. She will pick at it over an hour or so but eats it all. And her poop is fine.
    Perhaps raw was to rich for her system? It was over 4 months, even added pumkin and crap I was supposed to. Its just about finding what they like I guess. I wish she could handle raw, but apparently her guts say no. 🙁

    1. Pacific Sun

      There’s no need to give up on raw, or minimally processed (cooked) protein. Some dogs don’t handle chicken as well as beef or vice versus. For better “output” consistency you can add The Honest Kitchen’s Preference to raw or minimally processed whole protein. You can add cooked Oatmeal/Oatmeal Bran and or Tapioca. Adjust the moisture content accordingly. I have a younger dog whose “output” just won’t firm up on Orijen or Acana (fish or chicken) but he does perfectly on a raw or minimally processed diet!! “Bill McQuade” (previous responder) also has a solid suggestion about creating higher value on the meal. Present it for about 20 minutes at a time and remove it! Allow the dog to get a little bit hungry, and don’t offer options or treats in between. Dogs and Cats “read” us like books in a Library!! They can sense our “tension” and “concern” about certain issues. Especially meal times. Once they figure out your confidence and determination concerning mealtime, then they’ll buy into the program. Trust me, NO normal, healthy dog would ever pass out due to self-induced starvation! You offer that meal at the same time, for the same time frame for 3 days in a row (as long as the food is healthy and fresh) then you’ll develop an enthusiastic eater. Eventually they come to absolutely love RAW because it’s so instinctual. But they have to get used to change first. If you live in Northern California I can refer you to a wonderful proprietary raw food that all dogs love!! (No, I don’t sell it or make any money from it). But it’s only sold locally.

      1. tor

        Hi. Live in East Bay of San Francisco Bay Area.

        Could you please email address, phone, etc., and any comments on the “proprietary raw food” place?

        Also, is this only for dogs? Have cats, too. Thanks!

        1. Reader

          Hello Tor
          Happy to do so. This is the link with all the details — but if it’s not enough, post again and we can exchange email addresses through Susan.

          Used this food for 5 years without ever a problem. My dog (who can’t handle fat or chicken) has never gotten sick. It totally changed his temperment to positive! He is now 13 yrs.. We started a 6 mo. puppy out on it too about 3 yrs. ago. Female, spayed, never gained weight! Unlimited energy. Only eats until satisfied! This is only a local product, out of Sonoma ranches. Made fresh once a week and delivered ASAP. Can purchase fresh, then decant into single servings and freeze for weeks. (May make cat food too). Be sure to mix it with The Honest Kitchen’s “Preference” for excellent stools.
          Please know I make no money from the product, nor from the store. Am a regular consumer, same as you. Hope this helps!

  18. blog

    This really answered my drawback, thanks!

  19. G C

    I pretty much dropped all dog foods. I cook 2 times a week for my two girls with chicken, veggies and Dr. Harvey grain twice a week, and I gotta tell ya no vet bills for a long time. It’s the only way to go or raw.

    1. Lucy McKernan

      I do mostly raw, too, for kitties. I do, however, have one cat w/ renal problems, and had to revert to lower/lowest protein, NOT RAW, canned cat food, and found myself back in this game the past month. Not easy to find a great company, but I am purchasing Fromm’s canned food. Also, when I WAS purchasing via Amazon, the packages of canned cat food often arrived with a five to 10% rate of opened, spoiled cans. Now I know why: they were likely shipping upside down! Also, the rub w/ those BPA-free 5.5 oz cans is that they are weaker, softer and easier to damage. Better to purchase these cans from trusted stores!

  20. […] is reporting that several cans of Merrick B.G. (Before Grain) cat food appear to have been improperly canned or handled so that they were not sealed, causing discoloration and even mold growing on the food. See the report here: […]

  21. Debra

    I’d like to see how Merrick handles this problem. Their customer service hasn’t exactly gotten any kudos for their past performance. This is very disturbing to me. My seven cats eat the Before Grain chicken dry. They all love it, and even preferred it over the canned. But if the canned chicken has crap in it, I can’t bear the thought of what is going into the dry! Help us all…

  22. Kitty

    One thing I need to note about any pop top pet food cans. Do NOT accidentally store any of these cans upside down. Even if they are canned properly, the food sitting against the seal in an upside down can will eventually break the seal. I didn’t know that until one of my upside down cans “blew”. Of course with a can that you have to open with a can opener it doesn’t matter which side up you store it. But it does with poptop cans.

  23. Michele

    Wow, the response that the story I sent Susan got from all of you has been overwhelming. It is amazing to see all the love for animals that I have been connected to since sending Susan those pictures. In an update, the FDA is getting involved. Susan gave me the guidance to get the information to the right people. Bless you Susan and thank you.

  24. Cat health

    When you are “taken on” by a cat, you accept specific obligations for your brand-new feline family member. While cats are independent animals, they additionally need humans to set up an environment which is safe and healthy. You wish to have a home which is safe for expedition, so your cat can satisfy its natural interest. Some things you do to safeguard your cats prevail sense, such as keeping poisonous items locked away from your cat’s expeditions. Other precautions are not too understood. These include keeping some human foods away from cats, keeping your cat away from toxic plants, keeping your cat indoors and making certain your cat doesn’t consume too much and become overweight.

  25. Kris

    Good to know I’m not the only one having issues w/ Merrick’s “quality control”…

    A few years back, I had purchased a can of Merrick’s Thanksgiving Day Feast & found some mold growing in it – I thought it maybe it was stored badly (it was hot during the summer), and just got a replacement can from the pet store. Several months later, opened another Merrick’s can of food and found a huge piece of turquoise plastic in the food, leaching turquoise into the food. I vowed to never buy Merrick’s again.

    Only last month I started purchasing BG (Before Grain) wet food (not realizing it was a Merrick’s brand) and stored it in a kitchen drawer. Lo and behold, when I went to take a can out, I found one can leaking food/gravy all over, with mold growing on the leakage! What is it with these Texan idiots at Merrick’s? Obviously, I’ll be checking each brand to see what company owns it…and in the meantime I have to deal with a smelly kitchen drawer (using enzyme-cleaner; may have to resort to bleach!)

    1. Lucy McKernan

      Wow. Does anybody know what SIZE the cans were? I know that the 5.5 oz. cans of cat food by MOST pet food companies are BPA-free, a very good thing, but if these cans were not 5.5 oz., I’d like to know. I also know that Eden Organic Foods went BPA-free over 11 years ago, and didn’t even toot its own horn! That company’s founder is way ahead of his time, and I wonder whether ALL pet foods can be canned in BPA-free, but a certain type of nontoxic resin like that Eden uses. Anybody????

  26. gail

    Well, I have a new disturbing story to add. I purchased five cans of BG wet cat food. The exp date was 1/12/14. Two of the cans smelled awful before I opened them, so I inspected them closely. I was horrified to find maggots crawling all over the cans and gravy leaking everywhere. The lot numbers are: 12012 cl2 20470 0501, 12012 cl2 20470 1801, 12012 cl2 20472 1715, and 12012 cl2 20471 1355. I contacted Merrick via email this morning. Hopefully they will reply.

  27. Peter

    Merrick is also replacing its foods with reformulated ingredients. Among the changes are “powdered cellulose” in some formulas (uh, sawdust).

    Also worrisome is that the calorie contents have gone UP, on average at least 10%. Many pet guardians are not aware of the importance of calorie content (not just seeking out a so-called “premium” food), and this is a huge disappointment.

    Who would guess that with cutbacks in the formulas, and an increase in calorie count, the retail costs would rise 15% as well? Merrik’s website delares that they are “100% free of ingredients from China” but upon contacting them, the “rep” could not confirm that included vitamins, which ordinarily are sourced in bulk from China.

  28. KAH

    This is appreciated feedback on Merricks. I just can’t understand why ANY pet owner would bother with this brand when there are so many others out there. Like 2500 brand formulas!!! If the company can’t control the quality of canning and preservation – then who knows what other nightmares lurk? This is a KEY perception aspect to managing image control and marketing. Yet somebody has very seriously dropped the ball by allowing these cans to get into consumer’s hands!!!!

  29. David

    Bummer about Merrick’s. One of our two kitties (siblings) recently started turning up her nose at the raw food we’ve been feeding her since kittenhood. (Her brother still eats everything and anything). They’re both on a diet of raw wet + orijen kibble and at 5.5 years old they’ve been in perfect health from the start. The finicky girl acts healthy & happy and continues to eat the kibble as usual, and also still loves shared chicken and salmon bits when her humans are dining.

    We’ve decided to look for some high-end canned food to get away from making our own raw food at this point (wife is planning to get pregnant, among other reasons) and purchased a variety of “quality” canned foods from our local pet store yesterday in an attempt to see if there’s anything our girl cat would like.

    She ended up liking the Merrick’s turducken at breakfast today, so I checked out their website to learn more about their line, and I come to find out that they’re introducing the new “purrfect bistro” line. I called to ask about the difference, and if the current line would be discontinued (it is). I asked some questions about the new line and the girl summarized that the “deboned meat” was a little bit better proteidn source, and that “basically, the new food it better”. Then I compared the ingredients/guaranteed analysis of both lines.

    The new stuff has:
    *10% less crude protien
    *more fat
    *more water
    *more ash
    *less taurine
    *less magnesium

    And the ingredients look a bit cheaper to me (less meat, less fancy stuff), though I am NOT qualified to really judge that aspect.

    The quest continues…

  30. Kristin

    Note the can is dented. I purchased several cases of food from PetFlow, and all the cans were abused (Evo, Merrick and Wysong). Some cans arrived open. When I mentioned this to PetFlow, they did replace the order; however, the second order was just as beat up as the first. This is not Merrick’s fault, but a handling issue. I personally have never had an issue with the Merrick cans I have bought from my local distributor.

  31. Kat


    I was *horrified* (and feeling really, really guilty for not paying closer attention to my cats’ food) to find this info about Merrick.

    I’ve been getting Merrick’s BG Chicken and BG Turkey, 5.5 oz. cans, 1 case of each per shipment, from PetFlow for about a year now. All was well until the shipment before last–had a few cans with black mold along the part where the can opens. I threw those out and wrote it off to bad luck. The cans did not appear dented, just seemed as if they hadn’t sealed correctly and somehow leaked. It didn’t seem worth the hassle to contact PetFlow about a few cans.

    The most recent shipment (2 cases), however, is another story. Almost all the cans, even the ones in the center of the case, have small dents identical to the picture shown above. They also have a pattern of circles that look like they are *stamped into* the bottoms–prior shipments didn’t have that. These dents are not deep enough that they should be causing the seals to leak, but something is definitely wrong.

    Many of these cans’ food seemed to have had a slightly “off” smell & look, but I thought it was my imagination until I realized that the cats were only eating it *reluctantly*, not gobbling it up as they used to do. And, they flat-out refused to eat anything leftovers that had been kept in the fridge (1/3 to 1/2 can).
    I wondered why–they are usually not that finicky.

    Finally, I smelled a can from the fridge and no wonder they wouldn’t eat it–it smelled like something had died in the can! It also had a greyish “off” color. That’s very unusual for something kept in the fridge for < 8 hours, with a fridge temp monitored by a special thermometer (need it for medications). I might expect something like that with food kept for, say, several days in the fridge. But this food is going bad almost as soon as it's opened! Or perhaps it is bad BEFORE it's opened.

    I contacted PetFlow and they were going to send a replacement case (only 1, not 2), but then they emailed and said they don't carry the 5.5 cans of Turkey anymore. They didn't offer a substitute as an option, just said sorry, they don't carry it anymore. I'm waiting to hear back if they will substitute a different brand, replacing BOTH cases. I won't feed this to my cats after finding this post with the mold picture!!! It seems as if the cases I've received are bad, but just not showing visible mold in them (yet).

    I called Merrick and left a message–I'm on the West Coast, didn't realize they were in TX so it went to after-hours voice mail. Based on comments in this blog, I'm not expecting much from them.

    Where should I report this to get some action taken? No one I know has had any luck reporting to FDA–the response from them is underwhelming, to say the least.

    Is this food being made in China, despite their claims? What about the vitamins–has anyone been able to verify?

    My vet said my cats can't eat the raw food due to their health problems. Can someone suggest an *affordable* alternative to the Merrick's BG, something that has very few additives and is mostly pure chicken or turkey? Both cats have food allergies (in addition to other health issues), and until this recent problem the Merrick food was working for them. I used to prepare their food from scratch but that is no longer feasible for me.
    Thanks for any suggestions.

      1. Kat

        Thanks, Susan!

        Someone from Merrick returned my call today, but I was about to leave for an appointment so only had time to give her the lot numbers and exp. dates. She gave me her number to call her on Monday. PetFlow offered replacement food but I asked for a refund instead. I’m waiting to hear back from them if they will give the refund.

        They’ve both been pretty responsive so far–that’s a good sign!

        Kitties are having to get used to “home-cooked” until I can find a quality canned food they’re not allergic to (vet said as close to simple ingredients as possible–one meat, one carb, few added “extras”). Too bad about the Merrick Before Grain–they were doing well on it. 🙁

  32. Carol

    I fed my 14 year old cat the BG Salmon for over a year. Six to eight months ago my cat got a head tremor. I thought it was from age. The cat would not chow down readily but it never occured to me that the food was bad. Four weeks ago my cat laid down and I thought he was going to die. He didn’t move for a day and a half. I took him to the vet who gave him a long acting antibiotic and within two weeks he was back to his old happy and active self. I changed his food within these weeks because I couldn’t get the BG reliably. Now its been four weeks post antibiotic and I haven’t seen the tremor. I think the tremor was from the BG food……I am so sick about feeding my cat bad food and causing his difficulties. I will never feed BG again……

  33. Sherry Smith

    This has been a great site. I have learned a lot. But I have a question for everyone.
    Can anyone recommend a good kibble and wet canned food for dogs? It seems like every brand I research has something negative going for it. I’m using Wellness. What does everyone think of their foods?
    After reading everyone’s posts here, it sounds like all manufacturing facilities are “cutting back” both with product quality and staff. Cheapening up on ingredients, smaller cans or same size cans with less food, etc. I also worry that they may not be staffing properly, and hiring people who aren’t as meticulous in the handling of the foods as they should be.

    1. Peter

      Your description of changes in pet food manufacturing is accurate. Remember also, that pet food companies mostly don’t make the food they market, but the “manufacturing facilities” you note are contract manufacturers known as “co-packers” that (supposedly) execute recipes and package the foods. So to add to your list, I would suggest adding “maintaining equipment and cleaning adequately between runs or changes in foods.”

    2. KAH

      I’m really picky about commercial PF and settled on adding whole foods to THK’s products. I like that they returned the Pledge, that it’s human grade, and they are so hands-on. A $5 coupon is available for new users interested in trying their products! It was a lot of work for a company to complete the Pledge, yet they really believe in their product and returned it so quickly! In theory, I like what Orijen says about their PF (origin and handling) but they haven’t returned the Pledge. In theory I like the ingredient line-up of Taste of the Wild (a lot of Protein) and a friend has good results with their dogs. But when I checked recently, not only was their website infected with a virus, they were a victim of the 2012 Diamond recall. They lost a lot of good press. And they haven’t returned the Pledge either. Fromm’s also hasn’t although they’re getting good reviews and good results. So for a dry PF “rave” it is still has to be Nature’s Logic doing all things right and avoiding synthetic additives, colors, flavors, and deriving all their vitamins and minerals from natural sources (no easy feat). For canned food which I keep for an emergencies (disasters, etc.) I find myself using Wellness and I like that some of their cans aren’t lined with BPA. I’ve used their “Core” line and the dogs have done well. It’s really hard to find a quality kibble in a chain store, but PetCo carries a lot of Wellness products. Keep in mind that an owner can always add whole food to any diet, and a probiotic, or chelated supplements, etc.. Unfortunately it’s the foundation that can’t be changed however. And if that’s messed up we’re out of luck from the get go. That’s why the research is so important. Be sure to the Petsumer Report which should answer many questions. I’ve heard of 2 brands recently which still could use a review (Dr. Harvey’s and Petbrosia). It seems like, you might be a new reader to this site? And it’s great to see that you’re so involved. Welcome!!!

  34. alisha

    MERRICK WET food is the only wet food i bought for my cat because i believed it is high quality food among others brand.

    But im HORRIFIED when i open a can smelling like there is dead people inside the can and i actually screamed when I smell the most YUCKEST smell ever in my entire life and saw MOLD all over the food.

    I cant EVEN SLEEP and have to type this email even it is now 1 AM because I want to vomit and and feeling sick by all of it.

    TWO CAN!! not just one!!
    I purchased TWO CASE of merrick wet food now i dont want to open the rest of it because IM SO SCARE to ever ,ever smell that again and seeing all the MOLD.

    IT IS NOT EXPIRED until 2014-april!

    I hope i can post a picture of it!

  35. Kenneth Kalligher

    I am delighted that people are contacting Susan directly with the evidence of their pet food problems. Susan is a TRUE crusader for the health and welfare of all pets. She is smart and as tenacious as a terrier with a rat (please no comparisons to food companies). Her inveterate devotion to honesty and transparency in the pet food industry is beginning to show up on the radar of these giant conglomerates, but she faces a horrible battle against formidable odds. It remains to be seen what her impact will be, but pet food owners have no better advocate than this remarkable woman who speaks for the silent furry friends we all love. She is a giant in her indomitable quest for safety and quality assurance for a very shady industry. If any one person will have an effect on this industry, it will most surely be Susan Thixton!
    So, the contamination is clearly mold. If you look at the pictured can you can see the fan shaped pattern of the mold. The origin site will be at the can edge and you may see the site of origin if you look carefully. The question is not so much about formula change, but how does this happen. Food microbiology is quite clear regarding this type of spoilage and without an actual examination of the can, one has to theorize that the spoilage is due to gross under processing or post processing contamination due to can damage or a seam leak and subsequent contamination. In any case, luckily, the problem is apparent and the food should be discarded. Unfortunately, this type of spoilage, while not common given the volume of cans produced, happens all too often. I have bought canned dog food with side seam leaks, chime failures, slag inclusions in the metal which burst during processing and then are contaminated while cooling. Personally, I have given up on the pet food industry and the lack of honesty and outright lies and “spin” they are so wont to deliver as excuses. Shrinkage is one of the euphemisms for slack fill or underweight. These mega companies are so outrageously deceptive that it really isn’t a matter of “if” you will have a problem, but WHEN! And, how damaging it will be to your pet. I have switched all my pets to raw food. It is more work, but I have the comfort of knowing what is in their food and the confidence of proper preparation.

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