Diamond pet food plant up and running, despite sickening report

The Diamond plant responsible for the largest pet food recall since 2007 is back in business today. The FDA gave it the thumbs up after Diamond gave it a good scrubbing.

Diamond Pet Foods resumed production at its troubled Gaston, S.C., plant after conducting a cleaning and testing operation at the facility, according to a U.S. government spokeswoman.

“It’s my understanding the company closed down and cleaned up the entire facility,” said Laura Alvey, spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

Diamond said earlier that it resumed production in Gaston the week of April 30. Despite the resumption of production, the cause of the contamination has still not been found, CVM has said.

Meanwhile, a volunteer with an Iowa animal rescue group has launched a petition drive urging Diamond to publicly release more information about the Gaston situation, including plant inspection reports, food test results, correspondence between Diamond and government officials, and a timeline of notifications to Diamond and Diamond’s response.

The petition states, “Consumers deserve to know: How did this program fail? When did Diamond learn of this failure? Did Diamond react responsibly or withhold information? How does Diamond track reports of adverse reactions to its food?”

The petitioner is requesting that Diamond release documents relevant to the recalls in particular plant inspection reports, food test results, correspondence between Diamond and public officials including the FDA and CDC, and a timeline of notifications to Diamond and Diamond’s response.

The petitioner suggests that if Diamond does not respond that Diamond’s clients should terminate their contracts and that retailers, such as Petco and Petsmart, should refuse to carry products.

Unfortunately, that is highly unlikely considering the industry’s pattern of subterfuge and secrecy. Transparency is a concept that has yet to be embraced by many within the industry.

Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food (TAPF), tired of the lack of honesty and transparency that for years has frustrated her efforts to obtain the truth, has launched a campaign that hopes to change that.

Pet food manufacturers have been invited to participate in transparency pledge.  Essentially, they are asked to provide the answers to questions that most consumers ask and deserve to know:  what the quality of the ingredients are and the country of origin of those ingredients that make up pet foods and treats.

Sounds like a reasonable request, but when requests were sent to 89 companies on April 1, of those, only FreshFetch, the Honest Kitchen, Lucky Dog Cuisine, Raw Health completed the Pledge of Quality and Origin thus far. To view their completed information go to Truth About Pet Food’s Pet Food Pledge page.

Meanwhile, TAPF has a list of a select few companies that make pet food that passed Susan’s stringent requirements before she gave them her thumbs-up. Personally, I trust TAPF’s thumbs-up and stamp of approval when making my pet food choices, and not the vague assurances of Diamond Pet Foods.

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Mollie Morrissette

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