However, things changed with the Diamond Pet Food Recalls, for salmonella contamination, which were first announced in April 2012. I had not covered that recall on my blog since it was specifically for dog food. In May, however, a number of new foods had been added to the list, two brands of which I had been feeding my cats for several months. Although I covered those recalls on my blog, initially I was lulled into a false sense of security, because I missed the change in wording from "dog and puppy foods" to "pet foods," and also by the list of states affected by the recalls, which were clear across the country from California. In addition, the FDA was slow in picking up any of the recalls for quite some time.
Then reality raised its ugly head. Lissa Wolf, Guide to Pet Shops for About.com, contacted me to let me know that she had called the Diamond Pet Foods Media line. They had told her that ALL pet foods, both dog and cat, were among those on the recall list. Shortly thereafter, I received three emails from Amazon.com, informing me in a generic notice that "We have recently learned that Diamond Pet Foods, in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is voluntarily recalling certain lots of dry pet food from nine different brands. Our records indicate that you have purchased one of the items listed in this recall through the Amazon.com website." Specifically, these foods were Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Formula With Venison and Salmon, and Natural Balance Green Pea and Chicken, both grain-free dry foods.
Although I had already discarded the bag for the Taste of the Wild, I wore latex gloves to empty and clean the gravity feeder bowl containing the TOTW, wrapped the food well in plastic grocery bags and discarded it, then thoroughly scrubbed the bowl and container with hot water. I also scrubbed my hands and arms up to my elbow. By this time, fifteen people in the U.S. had been sickened with Salmonella Infantis, and one in Canada, and I wasn't taking any chances.
Natural Balance Was a Different Story
However, although the Natural Balance was on the recall list, previous experience with Joey Herrick, President of that company, left me confident that the food was safe for my cats. For several years, now, Natural Balance has had its own state-of-the-art testing facility for toxins in its products. As it turns out, the Natural Balance website page showing the recall list only lists dog foods. therefore my cats continue to eat this food. Natural Balance also has two helpful pages on its website:
- About Our Testing
Describes the locations where the testing is done, and the testing processes in detail.
- Information Page on Contaminants and Toxins
Describes in detail seven different toxins for which the pet food is tested.
Diamond Pet Foods Setting Records for Inconsistencies in ReportingAlthough the scope of the Diamond Pet Food Recalls will never reach the numbers of the Menu Foods debacle, the inconsistency in its updates is as bad, if not worse.
Timeline of Diamond Food Recall Notices:
- April 6, 2012
Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice ONE formula only. "This is being done as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. No illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond manufactured products are affected."
- April 26, 2012
Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food. (One production run and four production codes.) One bag of the product has tested positive for Salmonella, and the recall of the four production codes is being conducted as a precautionary measure. No dog illnesses have been reported.
- April 30, 2012
Diamond Puppy Formula Voluntary Recall "due to Possible Salmonella Contamination." "The company took this precautionary measure because sampling revealed Salmonella in the product. No dog illnesses have been reported."
May 4 and 5, 2012: Diamond Expands Voluntary Recall
"Diamond Pet Foods today announced that it is expanding a voluntary recall to include batches of nine brands of dry pet food formulas manufactured between December 9, 2011 and April 7, 2012 due to potential Salmonella contamination. Although none of the additional products being recalled have tested positive for Salmonella, the company is pulling them from store shelves as a precaution...Brands included in the recall include":
- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul
- Country Value
- Diamond Naturals
- Premium Edge
- Taste of the Wild
- May 18, 2012:
Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula samples, 6 pound and 18 pound bag sizes, manufactured on Aug. 26, 2011, have been added to the limited voluntary recall, due to potential exposure to Salmonella. No illnesses have been reported. This notice is significant because although it isn't mentioned directly in the press release, the recall was from the Meta, MO plant; the first recall outside of the Gaston, S.C. plant. You have to look at this PDF file to find that information, at the top right corner.
It is interesting to note that Natural Balance is not anywhere on the list - interesting because according to the video on the Natural Balance recall FAQs page. It seems that the NB folks only became aware of the possibility of contamination when they received a phone call from a Diamond Pet Food representative. By that time, the FDA was on the scene and its inspectors were concerned about the proximity of the NB product to an area of contamination, resulting in the NB voluntary recall.
In addition to all these inconsistencies, the Production Codes and "Best by" dates have been corrected on several occasions.
As of 5/23/12, I have seven more pet food lots on my blog list than Diamond Pet Food has on its Recall Information Page. I don't know which cat food products are recalled. I'm waiting for the Diamond Media folks to return my call about these details and will update as soon as I have that information.