Mineral Premix Problem Triggers Voluntary Recall of Nutro Cat Food


A production error by its premix supplier moved Franklin, Tennessee-based Nutro Products to voluntarily recall select varieties of its dry cat foods on May 21. The recall was triggered after the company determined that several of its dry cat foods had been made with two problematic mineral premixes made by Highland, Illinois-based Trouw Nutrition. One premix contained an excessive level of zinc and under-supplemented potassium, and the other did not contain enough potassium. Both zinc and potassium are essential nutrients for cats, and ingestion of too much zinc in cats has been “shown to cause lack of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting,” Nutro Products reported on its Website.

The Nutro products affected by the recall include seven flavors of the company’s NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE COMPLETE CARE dry cat foods and NUTRO MAX dry cat foods with “Best If Used By Dates” between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010. The food is being recalled from 11 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

Nutro said it discovered the premix problem on May 18 during an audit of documentation supplied by Trouw Nutrition, but the company did not recall the affected products until May 21. According to a May 26 article on ConsumerAffairs.com, consumers have been reporting to the watchdog publication for “the past two years that their cats and dogs have experienced … health problems after eating various flavors and varieties of NUTRO brand foods. ConsumerAffairs.com now has more than 800 complaints from dog and cat owners who say their pets have battled sudden and recurring bouts of vomiting yellow bile and explosive and often bloody diarrhea after eating NUTRO’s foods.” ConsumerAffairs.com also reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Freedom of Information Office confirmed to its reporters that the FDA is investigating Nutro Products, which the company denies.

In a Q&A posted on its Website about the recall, Nutro Products said it is taking steps to improve its ingredient supply chain. “We will be further enhancing our ingredient quality and food safety program to ensure that it will be state of the art within the Pet food industry,” the company wrote.” This will be multifaceted, including stricter quality checks for our suppliers, upgraded ingredient management in our factories, as well as more extensive testing of our in-bound raw materials and finished products.”

Mars Inc. acquired Nutro Products in 2007. In 2008, Mars Petcare US voluntarily recalled numerous products from several of its other pet food brands—including Berkley & Jensen, Ol’ Roy and Special Kitty—due to potential Salmonella contamination. Nutro Products said its recall does not affect any NUTRO dog food products, wet dog or cat food, or dog and cat treats, nor any other Mars pet food brands.

Nutrition Business Journal will provide an in-depth look at the pet and animal nutrition market in our August issue. To order a copy of the issue, subscribe to NBJ or download a free 32-page sample issue of the journal, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.

Related NBJ links:
Sales of Organic, Natural Pet Food Skyrocket After 2007 Recall
FDA to Address Economically Motivated Adulteration of Supplements and Other Products

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