Monday, January 13, 2014

My dog's food was recalled...but I still use this food.

My dogs' food was recalled last year.
Then the recall was expanded. Twice.
And I still use this food.



















My dogs didn't get sick, and I don't want to diminish anything for anyone whose dog may have become ill. I know recalls are stressful and difficult. A lot of people would have given up on the brand. I suspect a lot of people did. But I still feed my dogs this food, and I'm here to tell you why. (**And at the end of the post, I'm giving away 3 bags, so you can enter and try it for yourself!)

The food I use is Innova, by Natura.
I first started using Innova after being introduced to it through a blogger event. I was impressed because the company actually invited bloggers to tour their factory and welcomed inspection and questions. That is a pretty bold thing to do. I wasn't able to travel to attend the tour, but I did learn a lot about the brand. So I started feeding because of the blogging event. But I stayed with the brand because my dogs--and I--liked the food.

Then, last March, came the news that the food was voluntarily recalled due to a case of salmonella contamination. No illnesses were reported. A few weeks later, the recall was expanded as a precautionary measure, and then expanded again.




















My dogs had consumed half the bag, but they weren't sick. For a while, Innova and other Natura brand products were off the shelves. I tried a few different brands, but I never settled on one I liked. I kept researching ingredients and brands. In the end, I returned to Innova because:

1. I like the ingredients--the first two ingredients in the varitey I use are turkey and chicken, named protein. I also like the inclusion of fruits and veggies such as green beans, carrots, pumpkin, apples and berries.
2. The food ranks 4 to 5 stars on Dog Food Advisor, a trusted website.
3. Most of all, because my dogs do well on it. They aren't itchy, their digestion is good, their poo is right, they maintain a proper weight. They seem healthy and look good.

But is the food safe? I asked Jason Taylor, Spokesperson for P&G Pet Care Communications, these questions, and he kindly replied:

1.    What caused the recalls last year?

Controlling Salmonella and other meat-borne bacteria is a challenge for everyone in the food industry, especially companies such as ours who use high quantities of fresh meats.

While we had performed numerous finished product quality control checks, our investigation determined that the most probable root cause of the salmonella was contamination of the kibble after it was cooked.

2.    What happened that the problem recurred after the first recall?
As we continued to receive data and work with the FDA, we voluntarily expanded the recall to include all Natura dry products out of an abundance of caution.

3.    What specifically has been done to resolve and improve the situation?
Working closely with independent experts and the FDA, we made improvements to our manufacturing process and established new practices, setting new standards in safety and quality. We implemented a new cleaning program, using highly effective dry cleaning and sanitization techniques that eliminate water, which can potentially harbor bacteria. We also increased equipment testing and created new access points in equipment to enable improved cleaning, monitoring and testing. All critical equipment that comes into contact with our products is cleaned, sanitized and tested daily. We also significantly increased our finished product testing. Going far beyond industry requirements, we now  take four times as many analytical samples and conduct twice as many tests on finished products. No products leave the plant until every test comes back clean.

Natura has committed $10 million in capital improvements at our Nebraska plant to continue our micro-mitigation journey, and we will continue to invest in our operations

4.    Can we feel confident Natura pet foods are safe?
Yes, just as our employees continue to feed Natura products to their beloved pets, we assure you that you can feed Natura products to your pets with confidence about their safety. Our products are subjected to well over 100 quality control checks throughout the manufacturing process. And, our Nebraska plant has earned multiple third party food safety and quality certifications, many of which are based on unannounced visits to the plant. With this world-class facility and our enhanced quality assurance program, we believe our products are among the healthiest in the world, and customers should have peace of mind about their safety.

5.    What would you like pet parents to know?
We know that these recalls disappointed our loyal customers; we were tremendously disappointed, as well. Natura has always focused – and will always focus - on high-quality ingredients, product safety and innovation in pet nutrition. We remain committed to making products you can trust, and are working harder than ever to prove it.

Thank you Jason.
I know that people have strong opinions about dog food and are loyal to their brands, and everyone does what they feel is best for their dog, and that's not the same for everyone. I'm not trying to start a heated debate on the best food or why one is better or worse than another...I just hope to share the reasons why I stay with the food I choose.

I asked Natura if they would be willing to donate some products to a giveaway, and they graciously agreed. So, enter the Rafflecopter and you can try it out for yourself! Good luck!

Giveaway:
Three lucky winners will each receive a large bag (25-30 lbs) of Natura Dog food. I'm giving away 1 large bag of Innova, 1 large bag Evo, and 1 large bag California Naturals. (OR, if your dog prefers wet food, Natura will substitute1 case of cans). Sorry, contest limited to the U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Full Disclaimer- I wrote this post voluntarily, and was not compensated for this post. Natura provided me with 3 large bags (or cases of cans) of dog food for giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own

Note: I will provide Natura with your shipping address, but your privacy is important. They will not use your address for any other reason.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Despite your disclaimer, you lose all credibility when you collaborate on a giveaway with the company you're writing about.

Kelley Caton said...

I think it's important to do your research and not buy into the current fad or media scare. When it comes to animals (and children) there are always well meaning, passionate people who can bully you into doing what they think is right. It's important you feel confident and comfortable with what you're doing.

Frankie and Ernie said...

We think that thingys do happen in the food industry... and then it gets fixed. Peeps have NOT stopped eating spinach so why should we stop eating a kibble that we Like and do well with.

Amy Orvin said...

I would love to win for my doggies. Every little bit will help me out. Thanks for the chance to WIN!!

Amy Orvin said...

GFC Follower: Amy Orvin

Two French Bulldogs said...

Doggy food recalls are so scary. Good to the last drop I see, BOL
Lily

Flea said...

I appreciate companies that recall their product voluntarily rather than risk the safety of the consumer. Sounds like a great company.

Jane Blust Eddy said...

now I know this would fit Chewbacca lol its edible!

Jodi said...

I could be totally off base here, but my understanding is the Salmonella recalls are more about people getting the Salmonella than dogs. I understand it that dogs naturally shed the Salmonella in their poo, which scooping the poop could also expose a person to it. Either way, I love to see a company that is proactive in protecting their client base. :-D

Abby C said...

seems like a great company!

Frankie Ernie and LANA said...

HEY THERE.... just saw your comment about the MarshMALLOWs... you should GOOGLE the MALLOW plant which actually grows in marshes.... and is the basis for what we know as MARSHMALLOWS.... It is very interesting... I am OLD and FULL of all sorts of ODD FACTS... Just Sayin....

Jenna Z said...

Voluntarily recalling shows that the company cares. So many pet food companies have to be FORCED to recall after multiple complaints. The fact that there were NO illnesses before the recall tells me a lot about this company.

Jessica @ Life with Duke said...

I am glad to see that they voluntarily recalled the food - shows a responsible company. I also think it is interesting that you really did you research. I don't know if I would have been that logical, so I applaud you for that! I know what you mean about finding the right brand and formula for your dogs, I'd be hesitant to give ours up too!

Earl Lover said...

You have to do your research when you choose a food for your dog. And in my opinion you know a food suits your dog when you try it and it just does! If your dogs are thriving on the food then its fine food that suits. It would be a shame to give that up.

peggyfrezon said...

I'm going to look that up. But you still can't get me to believe that milkbones grow on trees!

Pamela | Something Wagging said...

I'm happy with Honey's food as you are with Innova so I won't enter the contest.


But these recalls aren't really about one particular company. The truth is that our food system isn't terribly healthy in the U.S. Remember the people who get sick from e.Coli on their bagged lettuce?


I hope you continue to have good results for Kelly and Ike for years go come. When you find a food your dogs like and that keeps them healthy, you don't want to give it up easily.

Leslie said...

Bella is a big fan of Natura's products. (I'm not going to enter the giveaway though because Bella has certain dietary needs. We have her on one of the California Natural products.)


I really appreciate that the company voluntarily recalled the products - that speaks to me of their concern for our dogs. So many companies try to deny and reject. Always a good sign when one steps forward on their own to do the right thing.

Emma said...

Finally a post about this food. We recently switched to Innova and love it so far! It seems very healthy and all three of us love it. We are using puppy, senior, and adult. We think it is a great food and did not know anything about the recall last year. We will enter the giveaway as we can always use a bag of food around here!

Christine Suma Hoy said...

I think if a company has been up front, proactive about the recall, and corrected the problem, then why not give them another chance, especially if your dog's did so well on it. SOunds like a great compnay and good food. Would love to win a bag to try :)

Foley Monster and Pocket said...

I think that the recall was more because handling the food for humans could make them sick, not the dogs.

Rebekah Ward said...

They were upfront and honest about the recall. Diamond brands are regularly recalled, it seems, and they are still going strong.

Carol Bryant said...

Way to stick to your guns ;)

LyricInTime2803 said...

I wouldn't pull support of a company- or change foods for good- just because of a recall. I *would* depending on how they handled the recall. Things happen- especially, as you pointed out, when you're talking about such high quantities of products. But what does the company do once it happens? Are they on top of it, up front with their customers letting them know what happened, why, and what they're doing about it? Are they being cautious, worrying about their customers and safety rather than their own bottom line? Are they taking steps to fix the problem and hopefully prevent it from happening again? Great, That is a reasonable response and though I might need to find something else to feed during the recall, I would probably return to the company and food. If, however, the company denies a problem even when there are numbers of reported problems, delays recall until forced, makes little to no effort to prevent the problem from happening again, and overall puts their profit ahead of the well-being of the consumer as has been the case with so many companies involved in the chicken jerky recalls as well as a particular brand of dog food recently? Nope, you've lost my loyalty completely- not only in that particular food or treat, but in all your products. I guess it comes down to trusting the company and what they're doing to earn that trust. One mistake isn't going to ruin it for me, but they better prove they're worthy of returning to.

Janet T said...

I love the voluntary recalls, shows the company actually cares

Linda Szymoniak said...

There is always the chance of problems when a product is produced in large quantities. HOW the company chooses to deal with those problems says alot about them, and about their product. Too many have chosen to wait until the FDA forces them to pull their products. I applaud them for their voluntary recall of their product. I feel confident in the Natura brand of pet food.

Kate Obrien said...

We used to feed Innova, but we did switch after the recall. We're now on single protein food for Jack's allergies. Innova gets high ratings in our database too, so if it works for you & Kelly & Ike...then it works.

Danielle Murgia said...

Sissy has not tried Innova. We would like to try it though.

Michelle said...

Would love to try this for my girls

Ruckus the Eskie said...

Your head in the bag!? haha thanks for the opportunity to win!

Lauren Eggers said...

Pet food recalls ALWAYS concern me. They are members of our family!

Amy said...

I only wish I knew more about what cheap foods can do when we had Tucker, the 1st dog we owned. He constantly licked his paws & had the worst itchy skin. Never realized it until he was gone. Always willing to try something new!

astcgirl said...

I got a low quality bag that I"m trying to use up that I purchased in a pinch because we ran out, never again, back to the good food.

Jennifer P said...

We haven't tried Natura in the past. Recalls are always worrying but given large scale production, probably inevitable. It sounds like they have been willing to take steps to correct the problem and expanded the recall volunarily, both positive steps.
-- aka Vicki Furrin on Rafflecopter --

Jennifer P said...

Follow blog on GFC as "From Furrin".
-- aka Vicki Furrin on Rafflecopter --

Stephanie said...

We are currently looking for a new food for our one year old Boxer Loki. We have tried several brands and he will eat them all well but they don't seem to be giving him the nutrients he needs. I would love to win this food for Loki to try, I have heard some really great things about it :)

nurse_mommy(at)live(dot)com

sandy weinstein said...

i get the pet food magazine and diamond brands was one of the top sellers which is strange since they had lots of recalls. i get the cvm notices abt all pet recalls products along w/ vet recalls as well.

sandy weinstein said...

actually several products of this brand were recalled many times, so much so that i know some independent pet stores stopped carrying it. i was using the evo, but stopped and had to return the bag. i would like this to donate to the pet food bank. i used calif natural when my first child was a baby, then i started getting hairballs and things in the bottom of the bag, so i changed. they do have good cust service, however, that was b4 they got bought out a yr or so ago. think it was P&G, but not sure.

sandy weinstein said...

some of the really good foods are holistic select, which has no yeast, salt, sugar added. yeast can cause yellowing in the fur. there is no need for additional salt/sugar to be added as the same w/ human food. a good raw diet is blue ridge raw, which if you can find a distributor in your area, is very, very reasonable. if you have to buy at pet food store, which it is rarely done, you pay 3-4 times more they are usually at dog shows as well. the best dog foods are going to be sold at independent food stores or you can make your own which i did for a number of yrs. no salt green beans, cukes, kale/mustard greens sprayed w/ olive oil and steamed is good. cut up baby carrots, even for treats. the mini peppers, not hot are good, try to remove all seeds from both fruits and veggies.

Cheryl Chervitz said...

I'm glad that they pay more attention now to our animals food supply. I think on a large scale, that most food is safe.

Crystal Rose said...

It sounds like a good brand.

Michelle S said...

I've always like Natura products, but like with any company that goes through a recall, they have to earn back the trust of the consumers. I think that posts like this are a great way to do just that.

LyricInTime2803 said...

Along these lines, wondering what your thoughts are on the recent sale of Zuke's to Purina? Zuke's was my absolute top treat that I use myself and reccomend to others. I loved their treats, I loved their company... Now they've sold to Purina and while I'm not as quick to immediately dump them as thousands of others are, I am very concerned. Purina is a company that has NOT earned my trust as a consumer. Some of their brands have been linked to a large number of illnesses and deaths in dogs, but they refuse to take responsibility or even look into it. It's the chicken jerky recall all over again. Zuke's swears that everything from their sources to manufacturing will stay the same, but again- Purina's track records in taking over other companies tells a different story. I'm extremely conflicted as Zuke's was such a high, high product and technically, there are no problems now. Would you continue to put your trust in them? (Not starting an argument, just honestly interested in your- and other's- opinions as it kind of goes along with the topic of this post).

peggyfrezon said...

That's a great question. I too love Zukes and have used it and blogged about it. I'm disappointed in the sale to Purina.

peggyfrezon said...

Thank you. You're right about earning back the trust. And how they handle the situation. If it happened once again, I'd have a difficult time.

Ruckus the Eskie said...

YAY thank you!

Gary Alan said...

It is still best to cook home made dog food, I think. My reason is the chemicals that goes into the food along the process will surely make a negative effect on our pet dogs. It may not occur at an early stage but it will come. What I like about cooking food for dogs is that you will have good knowledge of the ingredients and the process you make to prepare it. Of course, you need to do some research and consult good people who are knowledgeable in making dog food at home. And you will spare your pet dog from chemicals and preservatives which undoubtedly harm our pet.

PetClubIndia said...

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Royal Canin can offer unique nutritional answers that will guarantee :

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