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Purina Answers from Global Pet Show

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  1. mikken

    I’m sincerely hoping that the chuckle was a nervous response to an uncomfortable situation, but…since they’ve been poisoning pets for years, it’s a very faint hope.

    Purina gets nothing from me. Ever.

  2. Valerie Noyes

    They got “positive feedback from consumers”. That cracks me up. I’ve been all over the WT facebook page. I’ve posted a lot. So have tons of other people. All about the horrendous effects of this poison. They call us bullies, delete our posts then block us from posting again.

  3. Carla

    Thank you for all your efforts. I am surprised they gave you as much time and effort as they did. I am pretty sure Purina One cat foot sickened my two cats and I will not use their products, but I am glad you got them a little more aware, maybe.

  4. Debbie

    Wow! They certainly “don’t know” a lot!! And, to say they know what their chickens are being fed in China is a bunch of – you know what! I don’t now, nor would I ever, trust anything that comes out of their mouths. Just a “Big Petfood Comany” out to make the big bucks! They care nothing about our pets!!

  5. Marsha

    I will give them credit for talking with you. But they had no answers, so there is no credit given there. Thank heaven I do not have to purchase their foods or treats. Nor will I ever! Thanks for nothing Purina.

  6. Ian

    I’m pleased that Purina listened to you, that’s a start anyway. I can only imagine that the man who laughed at your statement is not himself a lifelong pet owner. I can’t imagine any pet owner laughing at that statement. Maybe someone married to a pet owner, who just doesn’t “get it” would laugh….

    Ironically it was Purina One that brought me to your site years ago when they changed the formula, it sickened my dog, and she dramatically refused to eat it by overturning the bowl with her nose in disgust whenever I put it down. God bless her ! The animals do try to tell us sometimes, if we listen to them. My vet’s response was not to “spoil” her by giving her an alternate food or she would become a “picky eater.” Thank goodness I did not follow this advice A pet that is a “picky eater” is just trying to tell you, “I will not eat this crap, it’s making me sick!” With a change in food she eventually recovered her health including restoring a normal thyroid level with no medication, and lived to 16 on your home cooked diet.

    Sadly I saw even in the non-profit world that most people are more worried about protecting their turf, their career, and their income than they are about their philosophical mission. I am sure that the multi-billion dollar world of commercial pet food is even worse. Of course they can’t farm chickens in the USA… that would reduce their profit ! That’s the only reason it “can’t be done.” Of course, I think they’re wrong, I think there are plenty of consumers who would pay extra for a 100% made in USA product.

    1. Jeri

      ITA,, Ian. The fact that Purina and Hills are now actually toying with the idea of coming up with a “raw” product proves that those of us who feed something other than their “stuff” are making dent in their profit margins. There are PLENTY of people out there willing to pay more for better quality, and the numbers are growing. Witness the number of people who go to Farmer’s Markets, look for “organic” and “pasture-raised” in stores, head to Whole Foods, and other stores which carry such items, and the number of internet groups focused on homeopathic/holistic meds, alternative ways of treating pets, and raw. Yes, the numbers are growing and people are becoming increasingly aware. If that were not the case, the AVMA wouldn’t have bothered to go “anti-raw” or try to silence those vets who recommend alternative diets and lifestyles. The big pet food companies are worried — as well they should be. There may always be those who care little for their animals, but I truly believe the numbers on our side are growing by leaps and bounds. As the governmental agencies work hard to bypass laws which protect us all, the people will speak with their pocketbooks – and are. They will seek out the non-GMO, pasture-raised, grass-finished products and they will refuse to buy those things which are of questionable quality.

      1. Deniese

        I am not sure if you know that last year in May of 2013 that Hills put out a natural dog and cat food called Ideal Balance and my cat has been on it and loves it. It has no wheat soy or corn in it. The nutrition recipe is base on the small animal clinical manual that the vets use to consult to diagnose dogs and cats that has to go on a certain diet. Most of the dog and cat foods are based on the minimum AAFO minimum nutrition standards which has not been updated since 1995 which is like twenty years ago. They have since come up with Ideal Balance Slim and Healthy which is the latest in helping Dogs and Cats loose weight and it is based on coconut oil and based on the clinical test trials they can loose weight of ten pounds in ten weeks. Check Hills Ideal Balance. Based on taste test it was preferred over Blue Buffalo and Nutro.

        1. Jeri

          Hi, Denise. We feed raw and have seen fabulous results — including the ending of IBD episodes from our older dog, allergies, and blood work and energy that no one can fathom comes from an almost 15 year old dog. With all due respect, many vets have linked UTI and renal failure to kibble diets for cats. I would not trust anything that comes from a pet food company that isn’t held to human standards (and we all know that, given the FDA compliance policy, that pretty much means all of them!) We are SO glad we don’t have to worry about recalls, high aflatoxin levels, mold, and other inappropriate and dangerous ingredients in our furbabies’ foods! We know the source of the ingredients because we chose them — and/or we use a raw food company that divulges where they source their proteins. Yes, AAFCO standards are minimum standards for survival, but the “new foods” coming out are smoke and mirrors. It’s all marketing hype. Eliminating things like “corn” and “wheat” are fine, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to feeding what is “species-appropriate” to our animals. ALL kibble has high carbs and fillers in it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t hold together. As for “protein sources”, those are pretty much always questionable (and when one does question, they get a non-answer: “That’s proprietary information”, “We get it from USDA inspected faciliteis” (still not what we need to know!), and other bilge. Couple that with the fact that the highest protein in most “pet food” is NOT meat or an identifiable, high quality meat source, and there’s nothing there to consider to be remotely “species-appropriate”. It would be a cold day in the eternally hot place before I trusted ANY of the over-processed, cooked three times with synthetic vitamins sprayed back on — so called “food” from the pet food industry!! Not a chance. And for “taste”, there’s nothing that beats what nature intended for our carnivores!

        2. Regina

          Deniese, even if the Hills Science Diet Ideal Balance is an OK product (I’m not going that far, because I have looked into it) I would not use it. Any time you buy it, some of that money still goes to subsidize the crap food that they sell under their normal label. If any company that makes bad products comes out with “good or better” products, I will not use them, because you are still giving money to a company that makes bad products.

          Think about it, if Hills is now saying this “Ideal Balance” is the best way to feed your pets, why would they still sell the crap food that is still loaded with corn? How the heck can they sell prescription foods based on corn and other grains when cats are carnivores?????? I will NEVER purchase anything from them, no matter how good they want to make it look.

  7. B Dawson

    The reason Purina can’t have a farm in the US is because of the cost, period. The cost of land, the cost of water, the cost of feed and the cost of meeting the few agricultural regulations that exist for breeding livestock. And then there is the cost of manufacturing in the US – labor unions, workers comp, insurance, utilities. This should not perplex anyone. It’s just not PC for Purina to admit it, that’s all.

    Every one of the above mentioned things is less costly in China enabling Purina to manufacture a treat that has an attractive price point. Companies know exactly what consumers are willing to pay and the manufacturing process is designed to stay within that boundary.

    As long as consumers demand cheap products – from dog treats to clothing – companies will seek the cheapest possible manufacturing facilities. I owned a holistic pet supply for 10 years and I know for a fact that pet owners all say they want US products, but that conviction is sorely challenged when they see the price tag for US made. Only a valiant few either pay the price or do without.

    In the aftermath of the Great Petfood Recall, I had a conversation with a pet food manufacturer who told me bluntly, “it’s cheaper to send US grown grain to China for processing and then bring it back to the US for manufacturing than to pay the cost of US labor to do it domestically”. He had no answer about how they made certain they were getting their own US grain back.

    The Furry Herbalist
    Commonsense Herbal & Nutritional counseling since 1992

    1. Gitta

      I agree with B Dawson. As consumers we want to pay as little a possible. Very often not due to choice but pure necessity. We complain about the loss of jobs, we complain about the low wages and yet as a consumer group we want to pay as little as possible. The irony: if more consumer would purchase made in the US, these manufacturers would sell a lot more and could lower their price. A vicious cycle. I don’t believe we have seen the worst yet. China is becoming more expensive and many manufacturers are already leaving China for cheaper pastures. China is an enemy we do. Who is next?

    2. Pacific Sun

      “I know for a fact that pet owners all say they want US products, but that conviction is sorely challenged when they see the price tag for US made.”


      Count among 10 pet owners you know, how many truly believe that the PFI is harming animals! Every single person (except for a long time TAPF follower) will say that you are exaggerating, and it couldn’t possibly be that bad. That’s why they’re not willing to fork over more money for a safe product. It has taken years and years and years for the CJT issue to reach mainstream. Probably because relatively recently there was a media blitz! Which the association against CJT has worked very hard to accomplish. I do come across people who now admit they won’t “buy Chinese Jerky Treats.” But are still carting out of the store ProPlan and Beneful and Purina, etc.. Because (ironically) they blame the “Chinese” and not the corporation for it in the first place! Yet wouldn’t common sense say, that if a company is unscrupulous enough to deal with harmful Chinese imports in the first place, then they can’t be trusted regarding ANY of their dealings! People just don’t comprehend the root of the problem, because it IS so unbelievable. And that is Corporate America is not being held to the standard of Truth in Advertising, period.

      Otherwise the industry would have to admit, that PF is salvaged refuse, (seconds not suitable for the retail market) chemically altered and corrected, artificially augmented, attractively packaged, artfully labeled and deceitfully marketed!

      1. Pacific Sun

        What got left out of my statement above between the marks which is really the whole point …. is this:

        To change Action, you have to change Thinking, but first you have to change Perception!

  8. alexandra

    I have an awful feeling that, deep down, Purina’s bottom line finds it more profitable to continue questionable food component import policies and deal with the “collateral damage” than to change to using only proven safe foods in their products. Profits out rank morality? It would not be the first or only time that inhumane corporations put profits above safety.

  9. Allison

    The earlier comment is correct…it is much cheaper to have food & other products processed in China. This is done in pet food & human food all the time. But those are the exact companies you want to avoid! If we keep avoiding products made or processed in China our demand for products made in the USA or Canada will make companies change what they are doing. It’s so simple so why can’t everyone do this?! I have been making my own raw dog food for over a year now and I’m only spending $120 a month to feed a large chocolate lab and 2 medium sized dogs (beagle & basset hound). I was spending around $90 a month when I fed a ‘high’ quality dry food (now I know no dry food is high quality food…) All you have to do is find good local sources for meat and negotiate a price for large quantities. It’s so simple!! At the very least avoid products made or processed in China. You may need to contact a company to find out where a product is actually processed or where some of the ingredients in that product come from. Just a phone call can possibly save your pet’s life! It doesn’t take that much extra time or money to feed your pet a healthy, proper diet. I just wish more people could realize this…

  10. JLS Dominguez

    I agree that manufacturers have to try to balance production costs to acceptable prices. Even when I make my own dog food, I use store bought chicken that is likely laced with antibiotics, so we may be stuck with unsuitable ingredients.. Occasionally, I use rabbit, which I raise myself, using no antibiotics, but my rabbitry is small, and rabbit stew is rare for my dogs. Purina is my backup rabbit feed supplier, but I’ve found inconsistencies in the rabbit feed I get from ADM. They’ve been much better lately and I’ve had no deaths or health problems from feed from either Purina or ADM. My rabbits like Purina. I do not feed Purina dog foods. Do they have corn as an ingredient? One of my dogs is allergic to corn.
    It was very good of you to acknowledge Purina for their willingness to subject themselves to an interview. I hope they will find the answers to your questions. It will make them a better company. It’s heartening to see a company respond to their market in this way.

  11. Terry

    Until there is a majority of consumers wnho boycott there mass companies which purina is just one, things will not change about 5 years ago I made a change to quality pet food after a lot of research and although it is seems motr expensive, I no longer have expenses for lg vet bills ,medicines and supplements, etc and my two senior cats are healthy and active at 14 years old. Good real quality food is benificial to both humans and our furry friends

  12. Daniel Podobed

    The conversation ending in a chuckle is inexcusable. I think you are too fair to some of these people Susan, an attribute that you have and that I lack. I call it like I see it. The problem with meetings like this, is they will always have an answer, even for the difficult questions. And the irony about that, is the answers they provide are laughable. But they don’t care if people believe their answers. Until someone proves them wrong (which they’ll have something to dispute it), they will keep up with the smoke and mirrors about what is really going on- an insatiable lust for money.

    1. Jane Democracy

      I think his chuckle was misunderstood. Of course he understands the sadness and loss of pet owners whose pets have died.

      Unless you work in the human food industry or the pet industry for big or small companies you really don’t understand the process. Thinking a pet food caused your pets death is entirely different from actual cause which often cannot be determined without expensive testing which again most people cannot afford and therefore opt not to do. This is testing that cannot be performed by your local veterinarian but multiple tests that must be sent to major accredited facilities and universities at a substantial cost to the pet owner on top of the substantial cost of the veterinarian trying to save the pet’s live so they choose not too.
      People who don’t work in the lab industry don’t understand lab testing either, it’s not as simple as plugging something into a machine and a few hours later finding all the answers. (TV is not reality – no surprise there though).
      People do not understand that correlation is not causation. Anecdotal evidence is not really evidence at all. Real concrete substantial evidence and result based facts are required, whether your emotions like it or not. No food company big or small, home kitchen to big corporation is responsible in any way shape or form for what a consumer thinks happened nor should they be.
      People will say that they are willing to pay whatever price for a food to ensure it meets their expectation of what pet food should be. But that is just not true: not now, not before and not ever are they willing to pay the true cost of what they are asking for. They are not willing to in human food nor pet food. The people who are asking for this will make their own instead of paying that price and this will leave other consumers paying for expensive food that they never wanted because their is no more choice left in the market.
      Companies have to make a profit to survive… that is the nature of our world. How many of you would work for nothing? How many of you think you deserve more money?
      These are some of the reasons big diversified companies buy out the smaller ones, because they are the only ones who can afford to run the business. The smaller companies are often drowning in costs and not making any profit because they cannot produce the volume required for their business to be sustainable above and beyond operating costs. The smaller companies may have to sacrifice ingredients or quality of ingredients from time to time due to cost or availability because they simply do not have the buying power to get them.
      I would much rather buy something from a large corporation that tests its ingredients and has a substantial food safety and quality program in place every day than a small company that claims many things about its food (and we believe them), has zero buying power and can’t afford to clean and test things properly. I can then choose from these companies products whose ingredients meet my needs and expectations and pay accordingly for what I have chosen.

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        Why do you feel you can trust a large company more than a small? Large companies often have stock holders they must provide dividends to/show a profit. Small companies often don’t have that burden. Large could cut the same corners you say only small companies do.

        1. Jane Democracy

          Because I’ve worked for very large and very small companies… In my experience over many years the large ones have far better food safety and quality programs, they do far more testing of both raw and finished products, they are far better to their employees, far better to the environment and they have so much more to lose if their name gets tarnished. I’ve seen much, much, much higher customer complaint rates and had more ingredient and production issues in smaller companies as well.

          1. Susan Thixton Author

            Jane Democracy or who ever – you certainly know all the right things to say in support of Big Business don’t you?

          2. Jane Democracy

            And here comes the big conspiracy theory… I want to support you because I believe the core of what you’re doing is grassroots and wonderful and I spend many hours looking through all of your valuable information. I want to share with your readers my experiences from inside the reality of the food industry. Removing my comments to bolster your personal viewpoint is not fair. It is human nature I suppose, but it is the exact same thing your readers get mad a big corporations for doing. Don’t they deserve to see my comments, I can’t use my real name because I do work in the industry (and I repeat again, not for any big multinational company) and I could lose my job for the things I share because yes business is still business big or small and marketing and consumer perception is everything.

          3. Susan Thixton Author

            I removed the other comments because they all said the same thing…you kept hammering the same point.

      2. Pet Owner

        I guess the debate is about whether large PF companies are an advantage over smaller ones. However I’m choosing to address the umbrella issue of too many PF companies regardless of size.

        In your comment, you’re assuming all pets dying PRE-maturely are from natural causes, environmental exposure, or hereditary defects. Does that mean people do as well? If so, then that’s relatively good news for us. Because we can all go back to eating whatever we want or smoking! But I think Field Professionals have already agreed that improper diet (and toxic chemicals) affect health! It just does.

        Unfortunately, PF goes a step further. It isn’t just an indulgent kind of diet (like Fast Food) with too much fat, sodium and sugar. PF contains ingredients not fit for human consumption, and in combinations, and are heat treated, then chemically compensated. [See TAPF articles on 4-D rendered protein and endotoxins.] What’s worse, pets aren’t eating this as an occasional diet of deficiencies, but it is steady.

        Whether or not we (the Owner) works in the “Industry” or in a “Testing Facility” I invite you to watch FOOD, INC. There’s an eye opener as to Agri-Business and Corporate mentality squarely at the expense of the (human) Consumer! Particularly regarding the Poultry Industry. We can hardly expect them to do better with our Pets.

        But we also know now, even more about the excessive use of antibiotics in animals raised for slaughter. The question is, why is it necessary to use antibiotics. The answer is, because of massive quantities of animals raised, and the hyper-speed rate of production! The greater wildcard is when a foreign country manufacturer now enters the system, using questionable Agri-business farming and manufacturing processes. With even less regulation than the US.

        I would like an Industry Specialist (and perhaps you are one) to answer this. Why can’t a dog or cat can’t eat certain brands of PF over others, without distress? Ingredients should be ingredients. A piece of meat, or a carrot. What’s so complicated. Perhaps an animal can’t tolerate “beef” or “chicken” or a “vegetable” but why do they get sick regarding the entire Brand Name? When plenty of individual formulas/recipes are offered.

        What is common about “that” Brand’s sourcing and manufacturing creating sensitivity? I’ve tested it, with my dogs, same breed, unrelated, with an 11 yr age difference (very old, very young). Living in a controlled household. No variants. But certain Brands produce (note this) simultaneous results, such as ridiculous, pudding like stools! This also happens when Formulas change. And when Company Ownership changes! I’ve read on this site, similar things happening to other Owners. Especially with cats!!

        But when the Brand is switched then the animal’s reaction changes! So as you seem to have a insider’s knowledge background, let’s figure out WHY PF causes what kinds of adverse reactions in pets first! Let’s just answer that question. When the Owner serves it, they get sick. When they stop, they aren’t. Pretty basic testing procedure there. And not expensive at all.

        Now let’s throw in when an animal gets violently sick. It was healthy before feeding the suspected PF. Owners are smart enough to know whether or not their animal lives in a controlled household (no dangers). And then it gets sick within days of serving the new food. And what’s always SO strange, is that’s it’s hard to scientifically pin point (prove) evidence. I’d have to say the PFI is smart enough to pre-test their food exactly for this purpose. Or there would be lawsuits galore.

        Does “one” serving of PF kill a pet outright? PF Defenders say of course not. Yet Owners have seen drastic results within a week. Our pets are the only animals we know of, among all species, that eat the exact same diet 365 days a year (often) for years and years of its lifetime! And as they age, little problems keep accumulating. Is that only the natural “aging process” or a premature breakdown of natural defense systems?

        I would like to see a long term Industry testing of Brands tracking the health and welfare of pets for at least half their lifetime. Not by keeping animals in cages. But through controlled households belonging to a combination of ethical Industry Professionals, Employees, Veterinarian Families and objective scientifically oriented Third Parties.

        Finally, as to cost. You’re referring to 2 different mentalities. One kind of PF Consumer will never feed anything other than “animal food” to an “animal!” The other kind of Consumer (once educated) will pay the cost of food for what they expect and for peace of mind. And as these Consumers are being educated, they are choosing to feed fresh, whole, home-made food (which does cost more). And the people in between choose RAW. Simple, nutritious, convenient, and less problematic. So “cost” alone does not adequately explain Consumer behavior!

        But it certainly does the PFI’s motivation! If they didn’t make a “profit” they couldn’t stay in business. But the real question is this. How do they define acceptable profit; only by billions of dollars. Or including ethical practices and business integrity? And, if they do continue to make their choices as demonstrated, then for heavens sake, why can’t they please ACCURATELY and TRUTHFULLY label what is being produced, so that everyone can make an appropriate and informed choice!!

        I think the Industry Rep WAS laughing at what was perceived to be an overly melodramatic comment. But the sad thing is, it wasn’t. Which means a lack of understanding and empathy by “Career Professionals” while they gamble with the lives of pets. Several production batches of a PF brand might test okay for that stretch of time. Yet others can easily reach extreme tolerances (pesticide toxicity, inferior sourcing, dangerous storage and transport methods) because as we all know, no system is perfect. And exactly to that point, pet owners need to be RESPECTED for when their animal does manifest symptoms that are the unexpected exceptions to the rule!

        As to testing, yes necropsy is expensive and emotionally charged. But if Veterinarians were supportive of questionable symptoms and premature death, perhaps the practice SHOULD be mainstreamed in order to collect relevant data that could be shot back to the Industry. As it is, the Industry knows how Consumers tick. So their advertising is intentionally manipulative to establish a false sense of trust in their product AND practices.

        The real truth is, it just isn’t fair to the animal

        1. Jane Democracy

          What a great well though out reply!

          A lot comes down to differences in animals… I have one dog who can eat raw meaty bones with no issues at all and another who no matter what kind of meat… even a raw bone with no meat on it will have prolonged horrible vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes… nights spent with the plain pedialyte and a syringe, days after with pumpkin and rice until his stomach settled down and he could finally eat something).

          Different pet food diets are made in giant batches from a formula that normally should not change from batch to batch. I’m talking from 20 to 100 tonnes of food or more in one batch (per day). So if one consumer reports an illness related to that food what do you do as a company when you sold over 5000 bags of this same batch with no issues, and 15,000 before that without issue? How do you begin to investigate that? With good companies even with one customer complaint they most likely will go to their “library” of saved bags from batches and test for things that would normally be thought of as possible. But what if it is sent to an independent outside lab and everything comes back within normal ranges or as expected. What do they test for now? Have they done their due diligence by doing this or should we as a consumer expect more if only one dog became ill?

          It is easy to say just test, test, test… and a lot of the big companies do a lot of testing. (I wish I could say the same about some of the smaller ones). They might do a feeding trial to make sure the dogs will eat their food over another but that is about it. These trials aren’t about food safety, it’s about whether the dog will choose your food over another for a certain number of days. Then there is also the ethical issues of testing on animals… but lets save that for another day…

          As for mainstreaming testing and necropsy and channeling the info back to the “industry”, it would be wonderful, but this is so much bigger than it sounds and there are lots of limiting factors. With necropsy you are seeing the physiological cause of death not the direct causative agent. A necropsy alone can cost $500 dollars or more and then you have to obtain enough “sample” to send out for a myriad of testing, and since there are only a few places across the country that test for certain things you have to divide the sample and ship it each of which can range from $50 to several hundreds of dollars. So to find the cause of one suspicious death it could cost thousands. No one can do this for free, even if they want to. So who pays for this?

          The consumer industry is a crazy game and I agree the number of PF companies is ridiculous and growing because they can all see $$$$ the only way they can get ahead is to make other companies look bad and fool the consumer into thinking their food is better with whatever marketing gimmick they can fathom. So many of the new companies don’t know the first thing about pet food. They are either just trying to cash in or they truly feel they are doing the “right thing”. They make a pretty bag with flashy slogans to lure the consumer. The ingredients and formula come later… Something they often know nothing about. They pay some company to make it for them.

          One of the problems with the pet food industry is definitely lack of regulation… Pet food isn’t people food or animal feed for humans so it falls into a grey area. But I also think there is so much more than just the fact that the industry isn’t regulated. Because, I also think these issues are also rampant in human food which is regulated. The difference is we don’t eat the same thing day after day after day…like our pets do so the effect is somewhat mitigated.

          Now… even with regulations someone has to be checking on all companies big and small, currently there is not a lot of actual checking. But again who pays for checking, who does the checking, how often to they check and what are they checking for?

          I feel your pain with respect to … “if they do continue to make their choices as demonstrated, then for heavens sake, why can’t they please ACCURATELY and TRUTHFULLY label what is being produced, so that everyone can make an appropriate and informed choice!!” I am fighting for this constantly where I work and I hear a thousand excuses, none of which are good …

          1. Pet Owner

            I’ve read TAPF for 8 years, including virtually all comments. But never read one like yours. In the beginning, depending on the topic (especially when a Brand Name was mentioned) nearly 50%-60% of Reader responses were argumentative. People defended their opinions, attacked the Author’s and other Reader’s, like death! By contrast, our own “debate” here isn’t about who’s right or wrong. It is about expanding the discussion. And learning from both perspectives. As an Industry Insider, you taking the time to share personal experience and knowledge is important and considerate!

            I concede to the complexity of manufacturing volume, mass production, evidence investigation, geographical logistics, cost, and how to justify the value of results for the effort applied.

            So let’s individualize issues that “could” be addressed.

            [I’m guessing the dog you mentioned with extreme symptoms to meat may have a tendency toward pancreatitis, IBD, or UC. Once intestinal inflammation starts, it takes its toll, weakening natural defenses, and very little irritation can set off severe episodes. I know from experience. Sadly, for this kind of dog, I would claim a heredity predisposition, and not PF as the main culprit. But keep in mind, that PF over time, can be a colluding factor in promoting internal deterioration.

            So for the sake of progress in this discussion, we can say most dogs with severe reactions, have some contributing deficiency that makes them more susceptible than average.

            Most PF Brands boast of comprehensive quality control procedures. Let’s assume what you describe is typical of major name Brands. From your description it would seem impossible for a dog’s issue to be tied back to a particular batch of food that tests negative. Again, we’ll classify that kind of dog with an existing deficiency or predisposition.

            One question remains, does a “good” PF Company put relative weight on a cluster of complaints within a specific timeframe, focused on a single target? Does it escalate the speed and depth of research? How often CAN a cause and effect be established? And how do they communicate with Consumers? Another observation is, PF is virtually never recalled for worse than “Samonella.” Or is that an “umbrella” excuse for recalling PF with potentially far worse problems? So as not to alarm consumers?

            We know, from common sense, that production mistakes can happen at any point. Fatal exposure to pesticide spraying, leaking chemicals, defective ingredients, dangerous storage and transport circumstances. Can you say companies are truly vigilant against such mistakes, while they are just as comprehensive in dealing with major mistakes prior to batch releasing? If so, why is a library of sample food necessary?

            While testing isn’t a pleasant subject, it’s required for the greater good. It’s assumed that “Prescription PF” must go through rigorous testing to formulate a dependable remedy for a life threatening condition. But, as referenced earlier in my response, shouldn’t practical testing be done to show that long term feeding of a routine diet, won’t compromise a dog’s metabolism, digestive and intestinal processes, long term! Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but these diets ARE life-long. And the Animal Feed Industry has already admitted that livestock feed is intended for short-term maintenance of animals intended for slaughter. How much more quality goes into a PF to ensure its natural to extended lifespan? And compared to fresh, whole foods? That’s the kind of useful testing needed. But we both recognize that no company will incur added expenses, for less profit. BB’s claim of “Life Source” bits may allude to antioxidant nutritional benefits, but is it fair to lead Consumers on with that kind of suggestion?

            If true testing were a valid premise, then in-house necropsy would be part of the discussion. Again, an unpleasant subject. But back to the idea of practical in-home tracking of PF nutritional effects. Career and Veterinarian Professionals (tracking household pets) offset by Objective Third Party participants. Performing end of life necropsy testing, that surely could distinguish between the “clustering” of kidney/renal failure, versus cancers, versus natural causes, and noting average life span reached. If we’re talking about who picks up the price tag, remember the PFI is a Billion dollar business! And because of Dept. of Ag fees, formulas don’t change frequently, nor are new Brand Names often added.

            The PFI shouldn’t be a “crazy game” but well said. In terms of marketing, and AAFCO complicating ingredient definitions and misdirecting labeling. If good will (transparency) was truly intended, then proof and demonstration of “Best Practices” (in all areas) would be self-evident. This I say to contradict the idea that TAPF is a grass-roots conspiracy. And for what purpose. It’s non-profit (if not loss incurring) website helping to promote pet welfare. The PFI would (and should be) as open-minded as yourself, to explain what practices achieve what results. And yet consumers are treated as if knowing too much would be a detriment. Hardly a confidence building approach.

            Actually “because” PF isn’t fit for human consumption, it can only be classified as a specially formulated version of livestock feed. And we know the purpose of that. No better, no worse. But it means a world of difference regarding quality regulation and assurances. And no, the problem isn’t a lack of PF regulation. (Please refer to FDA Compliance Policies already on the books). But understand that the PFI could very well be SELF regulating … if it chose to be! Currently there are Truth in Advertising lawsuit allegations amongst major companies. But how much more effective it would be, if there was a lawsuit against the use of illegal 4-D rendered protein. [See articles on endotoxins, etc.]. So shouldn’t there be a Policy established to make Renderers accountable for the ORIGIN (and condition) of protein sources and treatment practices?? That Policy should be demanded in partnership with the PFI! Again, if they truly wanted to be transparent and use Best Practices for the welfare of animals. Instead of solely focusing on profit.

            The point is well taken that one difference is we don’t eat the same thing day after day after day…like our pets do. Therefore. even greater care should be taken in the formulation of PF.

            I am glad you are advocating for accurate, truthful labeling. Because actually it’s the first step to improving what they’re labeling in the first place! The PFI being so highly competitive, could very well “take off” for the benefit of all pets, if it decided to be SELF regulating, and calling out all “Players” who cheat the system! Nobody knows better than Insiders how to catch a Cheat. And “Good Companies” shouldn’t be blamed for all generalized failures.

            As to marketplace, the one kibble I really trusted was Mulligan’s Stew (dry). I paid double for it and it was shipped overnight. But the company rep admitted to me they couldn’t stay in business with their commitment to quality compared to what it was costing them to make it. But at least they were honest enough to admit that, and NOT sell out.

          2. Jane Democracy

            A good company of any kind should be investigating, trending and analyzing all of their complaints, and if they have multiple complaints with the same issue from a single batch produced it should escalate the depth of research (and this is where IMO bigger companies have an advantage over the smaller one because they have the resources and financial capability to do so). Because complaints often come in as an owner’s perception of an issue, the descriptions of symptoms are vague and consumers often get lost in emotion, anger, blaming etc. which doesn’t help to find out if there is something potentially wrong with the food. Always give specific detailed information about the product itself… without this nothing can be done other than to record a general complaint. The complete name, bag size, SKU, and most importantly the lot/ batch code/ BBD / time code printed on the bag. I’ve listened to complaint calls from consumers who refused to give this information because we should know what we did.

            A company communicate issues to consumers via a recall. A PF is virtually never recalled for worse than Salmonella because that’s what it is routinely tested for (both internally and by the FDA) , therefore that is what has the potential to be found more often. The risk of Salmonella is more aimed towards humans rather than pets, the risk is lower to pets. Salmonella can also act as an “indicator” so to speak for the potential of other bacterial issues.

            Pet food companies should be invested at a bare minimum in some sort of food safety program (GFSI). (This is again where I see differences between large and small companies). It is through the strength of their food safety program that they are vigilant, without this you have no system in place to help prevent mistakes or to find the mistakes that have already happened. I would be very uneasy about any company that does not keep at least some sort of sample library, IMO it speaks to their commitment to their product right up to and beyond it’s expiry date.

  13. Kelley

    Common ground here is two-fold, PFI economics and market maneuvering. Purina and similar have the consumer figured out. Don’t explain the product and nobody will figure out what it really is. That’s why somebody like Susan doesn’t get anywhere with questions. As you can see from the Trade Show photos it’s all smoke and mirrors. They are there to fool re-sellers who do the same to customers for lack of enlightenment. Why do companies spend on slick packaging and advertising instead of reinvesting in the product? Until they realize there’s a market for informed buyers, and watch the numbers going to raw and home cooking who’re not buying their product, companies must keep hearing from consumers. If I’m going to spend the money anyway, I will on whole food for my dogs unless a company can produce a product about which they are proud to be transparent. In the meantime, Susan’s 2014 List helps me make those decisions and recommendations to others!

  14. Sharon Norris

    Recently my friend with an senior dog reported to me that the dog was quite sick and they were afraid he was going to die. He was eating Little Caesar–as was recommended by the vet. They gave the little fellow chicken and rice and he seemed fine. Again they fed him the Little Caesar and again he got sick so they gave some to the younger very hearty dog and he got sick. They threw out the commercial dog food and the little old fellow is eating chicken and rice and doing fine.
    Has anyone heard anything about any problem with Little Caesar?
    I have given this to my dogs a few times but not recently and never again now.

    1. Reader

      First, it’s good to ask questions. No pet food should ever be making a pet sick! Unfortunately PF is always suspected last instead of first. Secondly, people think as long as a PF hasn’t reported a “problem” then it’s okay. Instead, it’s a question of whether the company can vouch for the origin of its ingredients, uses primary food among the first five listed, will answer all consumer questions. It helps further when the food is minimally processed. However Caesar is known to be a very popular food! Particularly when a pet will hardly eat anything else. Heaven only knows what makes it irresistable. Still it’s a highly processed food, using by-products, sodium nitrate, carrageenan and added color to name a few. One site reviewed offered a case of six (3.5 oz) servings for $9. That’s about $45 for a month. If that’s all the dog needs to eat. Chances are, not a good idea.. Whole food for a little more money is possible. THK offers a pre-mix, to be used with real chicken ($2.99 lb) or beef ($3.99 lb). A few optional ingredients can extend the meal. A senior dog, even a dog approaching those years, SO needs a wholesome diet. At least occasionally. Think about aging Seniors (humans). Should they eat only “fast-food” (preservative and sodium rich) quick foods? Or will they feel better eating as many whole foods as possible? Compared to decades ago too many pets are dying prematurely of cancer and cats with renal issues. We’ve got to start asking, what’s the common denominator?

      1. Sharon Norris

        Thanks for your comment. Personally, I cook for my dogs (and cats) and feed them a little kibble made by Wysong plus some freeze dried food by Whole life. I am trying to convert my friends and I am sure they are tired of hearing me.

  15. Amwell Pet Supy

    When a product is recalled think about why you would buy that product again. There are many excellent products out there. Know what you feed your pet. Read the ingredient labels on the bags. And research the best products and shop independent stores where there are owners and staff that care about your pets.

  16. Terri Janson

    Thanks Susan for voicing our concerns to Purina. My Beagle that was a breeder dog (adopted by me) was fed Purina food. I promptly changed her kibble and the seizures she would sometimes get disapeared! Hummm.

    I will not buy ANY Purina products at all.

  17. Tammy Baugh

    He said Purina can’t make it here only in China. No Purina could bring it all here. But he said they can’t, more like they won’t. Again it’s all about the cost. The chuckle. I bet he thought it was a funny thing to imagine thousands of sick and dyeing pets, because of them. The power he must have felt at that very moment! Sickening. You are so controlled. I think I may have told him so many 4 letter words of what all I thought of him I would never have been welcomed back. I do admire your control.

  18. Monica

    nestle/purina is the anti-christ…

  19. Janice

    I have one questions for Purina…Why raise anything in China or elsewhere for that matter? As a US company, they should bring it back home to the USA! It will be better for our economy and better for our pets.

  20. Roslyn Meadows

    Ask her when they’re going to do something about Gigi and the horrid suffering she endured as she died in kidney failure and how they can ever compensate any of us for the pets we’ve lost…..I’d like to know how they can have the audacity to produce this product. Check out their views on water too. I don’t like these guys and you will not find a single product made by this company in any place in my home.

  21. JuliaS

    I had a healthy cat that ate everything a normal cat would. Then (with my assistance of course), the cat discovered Purina. Over time the cat got hooked on that flavored Chinese sawdust and one day delivered a kidney failure. My boss at work also had a pair of cats that were fed Purina almost exclusively. One died of cancer.

    And not to single out Purinay. Most mass produced cat food is made at the same batch of factories. Companies like Purina do branding. They buy the 3rd party product and put it in their colored bag. In reality all processed cat food is bad. It is designed to be addictive and to discourage animal’s taste for natural meat, fish and chicken. It’s an unregulated drug industry for creatures that have have no judicial protection. It’s all poison.

    If you have a kitten, feed it normal food. Keep it safe and far away from these companies.

    The sad thing is that they themselves know perfectly well what they’re selling. It’s all public relations and profits. They don’t give a wooden nickel about the pets. Suit wearing businessmen. Marketing and brand experts.

  22. Karen A Nelson

    I just spent $200 on my puppy who got ill after eating one gourmet homemade dog cookie from a “reputable” dog treats boutique…so don’t think homemade is any safer

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