I went into San Francisco's Pet Food Express today, as always on the lookout for treats that Kyrie can and will eat. (Don't tell me to cook, dudes; I'm already making their food, I just want to buy some freaking cookies!)
And there was a big sign on the door when I walked in, announcing that a number of Nature's Variety foods had been removed from the shelves (I've added a couple of paragraph breaks to improve readability):
Nature’s Variety has withdrawn one lot of their freeze-dried beef and one lot of their freeze-dried chicken products due to a discrepancy between their specifications and those of the products as produced.
As of today, we still have no word as to what the specific problem is or how it could affect pets, only the manufacturer’s assurance that it does not pose a hazard. We are concerned, ho waver, that because Nature's Variety coats all of their kibbled products with a “bio-coating,” which includes freeze-dried chicken and beef, that whatever problem may exist in the withdrawn products could also affect their Prairie and Instinct dry food lines. Therefore, we have elected to remove all of the Nature's Variety dry foods from our shelves until we can be confident that they are safe.
Additionally, the Nature’s Variety Raw Chicken and Beef diets are identical in composition to the freeze dried diets except that the moisture has not been removed. Therefore, we are also placing a hold on their sale until the situation is clear. Their canned products are not affected.
The specific products being withdrawn by Nature's Variety are Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Beef Formula, 12 oz., UPC 769949602514, and Nature’s Variety Freeze Dried Raw Chicken Formula, 12 oz., UPC 769949601517, with a “Best if used by” date of 05/25/10.
Now, kudos to Pet Food Express for stripping all products they thought could be affected off their shelves. That's a prudent course of action, and they did a good job getting the word out; the warnings are all over the store and on their website as well.
And, I guess, half a kudo to Nature's Variety for not using the "voluntary recall" spin that all the other pet food companies do, as if there was any other kind (FDA has no recall authority over any foods but infant formula). However, given that they apparently asked Pet Food Express not to call this a "recall," and PFE complied, I'm thinking it's more because they didn't want anyone like, oh, me, to go on the Interwebz and say, "Nature's Variety foods recalled."
More information on the recall product withdrawal is here.
More pet-food news: Yesterday, the FDA suspended Illinois' Evanger's Pet Foods from being able to ship their products across state lines, due to several months of concerns that its processing procedures were not sufficient to prevent the growth of botulism in their foods:
In April 2008, Evanger’s was issued an “Order of Need for Emergency Permit” after the agency determined that the company had failed to meet the regulatory requirements to process a product that does not present a health risk. In June, 2008, FDA issued Evanger’s a temporary Emergency Permit. During inspections conducted between March 2009 and April 2009, FDA determined Evanger’s was not operating in compliance with the mandatory requirements and conditions of the Temporary Emergency Permit.
“The FDA is stopping Evanger's ability to ship pet food in interstate commerce,” said Dr. Bernadette Dunham. “Today’s enforcement action sends a strong message to manufacturers of pet food that we will take whatever action necessary to keep unsafe products from reaching consumers.”
In order for Evanger's to resume shipping in interstate commerce, the company must document that corrective actions and processing procedures have been implemented to ensure that the finished product will not present a health hazard.
Note that FDA didn't make them recall the foods -- which they have no authority to do -- nor even stop them from making the foods. They're just stopping them from shipping the foods across state lines. More info here.