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Nutro recalls dry cat foods due to incorrect mineral levels

Decision made 'out of an abundance of caution,' company says


May 21, 2009
By: Jennifer Fiala
For The VIN News Service


Nutro Products voluntarily pulled its pet food from store shelves after incorrect concentrations of zinc and potassium were detected in 10 versions of the company’s dry cat food formulations, seven of which are sold in America. 

Officials did not expand on the size and breadth of the recall in terms of numbers of bags or cost, except to say that affected product was distributed to retail customers in all 50 states as well as customers in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand and Israel. 

While Nutro has received no consumer complaints to date, customers who have purchased affected product are advised to immediately discontinue its use. Owners with pregnant cats or cats experiencing health issues are asked to contact their veterinarian. 

“We do know that not having the right mineral levels can have some health impacts on cats,” spokeswoman Monica Barrett says. “That’s why we’ve taken these precautionary measures.” 

This is the first time Nutro has issued a recall since it’s involvement in the Menu Foods tainted pet-food scandal of 2007, in which melamine-laden food was blamed for death and illnesses in thousands of animals and prompted the largest such recall in history. Nutro officials also note that the recall is unrelated to recent accusations that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating the company’s dog food products for safety. The regulatory agency has since denied that any such investigation is taking place. 

Despite reaching 11 countries, Barrett says the recall is "nowhere near the size" of the 2007 incident. 

"It's much smaller than the one from 2007," she says. "As soon as we found out there was a discrepancy with our premix mineral levels, we wanted to alert the public and veterinarians."

This afternoon, Nutro plans to send an e-mail blast to 42,000 members of the veterinary community via a list provided by Advanstar Communications, publisher of DVM Newsmagazine, Veterinary Economics and Veterinary Medicine. In a ‘Dear Doctor’ letter, Nutro explains that the ingredient mistake stemmed from a production error by a U.S.-based pre-mixer. 

“Two mineral premixes were affected,” the letter explains. While one contained excessive concentrations of zinc and under-supplemented potassium, the other contained just under-supplemented potassium. 
 
“Both zinc and potassium are essential nutrients for cats and are added as nutritional supplements to NUTRO dry cat food. ... We are working with all our distributors and retail customers in both the U.S. and internationally to ensure that the recalled products are not on store shelves,” the letter adds. 

A full list of affected product is available at http://www.nutroproducts.com. Customers who have purchased product now recalled are advised to return it to their retailer for a full refund or exchange for another Nutro dry cat food product. 

Veterinarians and concerned owners can call the company at (800) 833-5330 or visit http://www.nutroproducts.com for more information. 




VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email news@vin.com.



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