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FDA warns Nestle Purina of “significant violations” at pet food plant

Federal regulators sent a warning letter to Nestle Purina PetCare Co. about “significant violations” observed at a Purina pet food plant in Pennsylvania during an inspection of the plant last year.

The warning letter, publicly released Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Philadelphia office, it said, in part, the company’s low-acid dog and cat food was possibly prepared or packed improperly.

The letter was sent following a response by Purina to violations found during a two-week inspection of the plant last fall.  The letter outlined the FDA’s comments regarding the adequacy of the actions Purina took to correct the objectionable conditions and practices observed during the inspection (detailed below). Repeatedly, the FDA warned Purina that they did not consider their responses “acceptable”.

The violations include:

  • failure to process each low-acid canned food in conformity with at least the scheduled process filed with FDA
  • failure to identify, from a processor chack or otherwise, deviations from the scheduled process of critical factors which are out of control and failure to record these deviations in a separate log
  • failure to chlorinate or otherwise sanitize cooling water as necessary for cooling canals and recirculated water supplies
  • failure to establish a system for product traffic control in the retort room to prevent un-retorted product from bypassing the retort process
  • failure to install the mercury-in-glass thermometers in a location where they can be accurately and easily read
  • failure to have records of all processing and production signed or initialed by a representative of plant management who is qualified by suitable training or experience

Despite the extensive list of violations at the plant, Keith Schopp, a spokesman for Nestle Purina, said the company is confident there are no food safety issues or risks to pet health with the company’s products. And said he “believes the FDA notice covers oversights in administrative activities and record keeping — not incidents of contamination at the plant.”

Despite Purina’s assurances that the warning letter is no big deal, the FDA doesn’t seem to think so. They have given Purina 15 days to notify the FDA of the corrective actions they plan to take to bring their firm into compliance. Failure to take appropriate corrective action may subject Purina and their pet food products to further actions, such as emergency permit control, injunction, or seizure.

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and advisor to AAFCO. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (19) Write a comment

  1. I’ve been purchasing Purina pet products for over 20 years for all of my cats. It’s been only just recently that my cats have experienced problems after eating their products. Last week, one of them experienced bloody diarrhea. After many tests, they could find nothing wrong with her. The vet said it was probably something that she ate. Two of the canned products mentioned in the FDA letter were ones that I had fed my cats – Mixed Grill and Mariner’s Catch. Now, both cats are refusing to eat any can food. I contacted Purina this morning. They insisted that the product was safe, and that there were no formula changes or recalls. Then, I mentioned the FDA letter to them. They changed their tune after that. Their claims department is supposed to be calling me. I believe that there’s more to this story than they are reporting. Until then, no more Friskies! You’ve lost a longtime customer, Purina!

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    • Ralston Purina was a good company that made good quality pet food. After Nestle bought them out (but kept the name Purina) and changed the ingredients is when the problems began. Ingredients such as recycled garbage from the land fills, road kill and euthanized vet animals touted as “nutrient rich” ingredients. Ingredients that are causing all kinds of disease and death to our beloved pets. Look at all the 1 star reviews on Consumer Affairs of people finding BUGS and METAL CHUNKS in the Purina dog, cat and goat food! And all the people complaining of their pets getting sick and dying after ingesting this garbage being sold at inflated prices by these crooks. These people running Nestle are obviously psychopaths. Nestle should be BOYCOTTED! And remember, the sneaky devils have bought out several good companies while keeping the brand names (like Kit Kat, DiGiourno pizza, Purina, Dasani and many others). Kraft is just as evil and should also be boycotted. Beware!

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  2. Though this is incredibly sad for pet owners who have experienced deaths or illness from this food, I think this warning has helped to alert pet owners about the dangers of feeding your pets low quality, grocery store pet food – which is more common than you think. Many of these brands have been around for decades (and in the past may have been of higher quality) but if you dig deeper you will see that they have been sold to large corporations such as nestle, mars, procter & gamble which use cheap ingredients and are a business first. They use species inappropriate ingredients, production left-overs from grain and meat, ingredients sourced from Asia (where standards are different), they add dyes and additives, and even use euthanized pet meat. It’s a terrible travesty. And we wonder why our pets are getting sick.

    I attached some of my favourite links, they provide useful information about understanding ingredients, giving advice, best and worst pet foods, etc. Happy reading!

    http://www.littlebigcat.com/

    http://truthaboutpetfood.com/

    http://catcentric.org/

    http://www.catnutrition.org/

    http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/

    http://www.thecatsite.com/

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  3. Wish they listed the foods in question. Fed my kitten some Friskies Tasty Treasues turkey and cheese. Poor kit is stumbling all over. OMG. Wish I would have seen this before I gave it to him!!

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  4. @Terri. I’m so so sorry about the loss of your kitty –and your roommates dad’s cat. Was the food the NestlePurina or the raw with Alnutrin? Curious to know. Thank you.

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  5. I continue to question what products I can trust to feed my pets. I have several cats and dogs and welcome any suggestions on dry and wet food. Thank you.

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    • Hello Geena, I found that Hound and Gatos is a good one–just very difficult to get the rabbit–seems like there’s always a shortage in inventory. I’ve had success in the past with this one, but it’s getting to the point where my cats don’t even want the canned now that they’re eating a variety of raw meats. Being true carnivores, they know they’re getting the good meat and not the second hand parts that usually goes in canned–and they know the difference. There’s a review on canned food posted below.

      http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2010/12/the-7-best-natural-commercial-cat-foods-so-far/

      If you don’t want to feed raw (which I can understand), there’s a cooked meat recipe in the recipe library at knowwhatyoufeed.com. You use the Alnutrin supplement with Calcium for boneless cooked meat (or raw). The owner is very nice and helpful and will answer any questions to help you get started. She’s a scientist/chemist and developed the product. I only buy USA meat and try to only purchase meat from animals who were treated humanely. Nothing with added seasonings or any other added/unnecessary ingredients. Just !00% meat.

      When I first heard about feeding my cats raw over two years ago, I thought it was the craziest thing I ever heard of. I was very nervous and thought it would cause more harm than good, but after doing all the research and getting my information from reliable sources, I learned that it’s very healthy for them if done properly. And, there’s bodies can tolerate raw where humans can’t. My feline friends have been eating raw for over two years, and they are thriving and healthy. My female was diagnosed with asthma last spring and I had to do the AeroKat inhaler everyday for months. Not anymore. And, I truly believe it’s from cutting out certain canned food and cutting back. I think her asthma was caused by a food allergy from canned. It takes time and commitment, but it’s worth it. Of course, always get advice from your vet and find one who’s on board with a homemade diet whether cooked or raw. A new diet should always be introduced slowly.

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          • Hello Geena,

            I’ve never heard of Freshpet. Very interesting. I looked at their website and researched on-line reviews and articles. I would’ve tried this company if I wasn’t already making homemade food. :-)

  6. I lost my Papa Kitty (6 yrs young) shortly after I had switched his food to their brand. I gave the leftover food to my roommates Dad for his cat because my girl wouldn’t eat it and his cat died. Didn’t think it was the food until after the second cat died.

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  7. Because of the high number of pet deaths, I decided to feed my cats a raw diet and they’re thriving. I’m slowly getting away from canned cat food. I used to feed only dry food in the past and my pets ended up with health issues–I didn’t know any better. felinenutrition.org is a great place to start. I use Alnutrin supplements mixed with meat. Cats need vitamins, especially Taurine. To learn more about Alnutrin, go to knowwhatyoufeed.com. It’s very difficult to trust pet food manufacturers.

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  8. Nestle/Beneful is responsible for killing my dog and thousands of others. They continue to deny wrongdoing yet refuse to provide evidence that would show their innocence. A local newscaster even did 6 months of research on a story exposing them. They day before the story was to air she was mysteriously fired……. Nestle represents everything that is evil about major corporations. Here is another story about them : http://www.amazon.com/Giant-Killer-Carl-Vennitti/dp/1592324010/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421664317&sr=8-1&keywords=carl+vennitti&pebp=1421664319188&peasin=1592324010

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  9. I expect their rivals in Wilton, CT are a tad gleeful about the negative publicity, and wonder if they will take effort to play with Purina’s absurd definition of “administrative activities.”

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    • Oh, knowing them I’m sure they will try to milk it for all its worth. Most troubling is, that some of these “warnings” were noted during an inspection back in 2007. How sad/pathetic is that.

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  10. Now I understand why ALL of my cats have become so deathly ill……. I lost my big boy, Milo on the 13th of January…… he now has joined his younger sister in heaven……the vet sent his body to UC Davis for an autopsy……… I am anxious to see the results!

    Reply

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