Recall of Dog Food - Are You At Risk?

The largest-ever recall of dog food was sparked on March 16, 2007 after a flood of reported dog and cat kidney failure came into the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They received over 14,000 inquiries in the first month alone compared to their normal volume of about 7,000 for the entire year.

This page will help you understand...

Alarmingly, the contaminated food was distributed by many popular brands that you will undoubtedly recognize from your local grocer. The FDA continues to make progress towards understanding the source and ensuring that all affected products have been removed from store shelves.

The safest way for you to avoid the problems that resulted in the recall of dog food is to steer clear of dog food suppliers and distributors that get their food from China and the Netherlands (some of the contaminated food from China was routed through the Netherlands).

As we will delve into further down this page, you should also know how to diagnose your dog, report any issues and, if you have not already, adopt a natural and organic dog food diet.

What Was Wrong with the Bad Dog Food?

In short, the FDA believes (but is not certain) that melamine is the culprit.  In the United States, melamine is primarily used in industrially manufactured goods such as cooking utensils.  If it is not the problem, the FDA is confident that melamine was directly related.

Even though it has no approved use in food or fertilizer in the United States, melamine somehow found its way into about 1% of the pet food supply.  More specifically, the recall of dog food came as a result of melamine found in the wheat gluten ingredient, which is added to many pet foods in order to thicken the “gravy.”

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Suppliers and Distributors Affected by the Recall of Dog Food

According to Menu Foods, a pet food supplier to many pet food companies, the contaminated wheat gluten came from a new supplier in China.  They realized there was a problem after several reported illnesses and deaths of cats and dogs who had eaten some of their “cuts and gravy” style products.  They made the first recall of dog food and cat food on their own of about 100 different brand name products.

recall of dog food

The FDA jumped in immediately to ensure that all of the bad food was removed from the shelves and to inform the public of the problem.  They then traced the tainted wheat gluten to a single supplier in China named Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology.  There is no reason to believe that there has been any contamination of the human food supply.

Since Menu Food’s initial recall, voluntary recalls of dog food and cat food products have been conducted by:

  • Del Monte Pet Products
  • Hills Pet Nutrition
  • Menu Foods
  • Nestle Purina PetCare Company
  • P&G Pet Care (media statement only - recall list has been removed from their website)
  • Sunshine Mills

Click on the above links for a complete list of recalled dog food from each company.  You can also visit the FDA’s web site for the continually updated list of companies identified for the recall of dog food and cat food.

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The FDA’s Attempt to Fix the Problem

recall of dog food

The first step taken by the Food and Drug Administration - through the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), the agency that regulates the manufacture and distribution of animal feed, pet foods and animal drugs - was to issue an important alert about Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology and to notify and enforce the recall of dog food and cat food for all of the manufacturers who received contaminated ingredients. 

In addition, 100% of all wheat gluten from China is being inspected along with a sampling from the Netherlands, since Xuzhou Anying shipped some of its wheat gluten there.

According to the FDA’s web site, they have also:

  • Staffed their call center to receive calls from consumers and veterinarians who reported illnesses potentially associated with the contaminated pet food
  • Conducted numerous inspections of manufacturers and warehouses identified as recipients of the suspect product.  The FDA has also been working with the affected firms to assist them with their recall of dog food and cat food efforts.
  • Asked the Chinese government to help us with the investigation to determine how the melamine may have gotten into the wheat gluten
  • Conducted recall of dog food and cat food audit follow-ups to ensure an effective recall
  • Worked with federal, state, and local partners, veterinarians and members of the public as part of this investigation
  • Set up a dedicated cat and dog food recall page on the FDA website.  There you can find all of the current information including all press releases issued, frequently asked questions as well as contact information for FDA consumer complaint coordinators

The FDA’s priority continues to be ensuring that all tainted food is removed from store shelves.  They are also attempting to gain a better understanding of the problem and figuring out how to avoid it in the future.  They are not fully certain of the extent of the illnesses and deaths caused, but are sure that it is greater (and possible far greater) than the 16 deaths mentioned on their web site.

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What Should You Do for Your Dog?

The FDA is the first to point out that their investigation remains open and active and that they are still searching for the root cause of the problem.

While there are still many dog food brands and products that are safe, DO NOT ROLL THE DICE.

Certified natural and organic dog food and/or raw natural dog food are the only sure-fire way to avoid the problem.

Avoid dog food problems

Check out the 10 Best Dog Food Options on the Market or rate your own dog food using our Healthy Label Test.

If you suspect that your dog has eaten contaminated food, you should take him or her to your veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms include:

If your dog's illness is in fact from tainted dog food, notify the FDA as soon as possible.

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