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« When it comes to pets, do you go with your heart or your head? | Main | New Shelter Pet Project PSA is lovin ' the old dogs »

16 July 2010

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Ingrid King

I can't believe this is still not on the Feline's Pride website. And I used to trust this company. Not anymore.

David S. Greene

I'm sure someone will be by any minute to tell us that it really isn't Feline Pride's fault, and of course they care deeply about their consumer base, just like Merrick.

Carolyn

Please visit http://morethaneightleft.blogspot.com/ for more detailed information on the recall. It really sheds light on the subject and answers many questions. Since customers order directly from the company (and do not buy 'off the shelf''), there are detailed records for the shipments under recall and therefore no need for a notice on the website itself. Those customers have been contacted and taken care of. This is a small company with one man in charge, not a giant corporation with a legal and marketing department. The company is dedicated to quality and health above all else.



Yes, David, you may think that this is a 'line' just like with Merrick, but truly if you knew of the history of this small independent company and the struggles they have gone through to fight the PFI and the AAFCO crap, then it would be apparent this is not another Merrick or Menu situation. There is nothing hidden or shady about this recall–in fact, is is voluntary and very transparent if you are a current customer. And yes, I feed only Feline's Pride and will continue to do so!

Christie Keith

Carolyn, but what about all the people who might be interested in Feline's Pride and need and deserve to know about this problem BEFORE becoming a customer? If it's not on the website, they won't see it, and it's all hush-hush, "need to know," stuff.

There is no excuse for not putting it on the site. It would take one minute and it's the right thing to do.

Sandi K

I find it interesting that the owner can take the time to write that extremely long statement at the blog link provided above but not take one minute to put a notice at their website.

Carolyn

Christie, I see your point, but it's a Catch-22 situation. Can you imagine if you went to a website that had flagged on the homepage "hey everybody, you know that food that you didn't order, well due to bad handling and politics by the FDA, there were inconsistent test results and we have been forced into a voluntary recall, even though subsequent tests have cleared the facility and products fully. Additionally, the food that we do not believe was contaminated as described is STILL NOT contaminated, so really there is nothing to worry about." Or something like that. I really don't know how this can be adequately addressed...



I do believe some reassurance is in order, but since Feline's Pride is challenging this recall and the FDAs handling of the samples via legal channels, they are probably limited in what they can post in regards to the situation. Again, I trust this company and will continue to do so until given a real reason not to.

Sandi K

As a petowner,I want to be the one to make the decision on whether or not to continue to feed a food that might potentially have a problem. Work it out with FDA but in the meantime, until your claim is proven, dont hide the information. Let petowners decide for themselves, dont make the decision for us. The owner wrote out one of the longest statements in history rebutting the findings of salmonella, but yet that statement is apparently not good enough to put at their website? Im sorry, it just looks like the company is hiding information.

Gina Spadafori

Christie, I see your point, but it’s a Catch-22 situation.



Comment by Carolyn — July 20, 2010



Complete and utter BS. I have long supported small and independent pet-food companies, and I wouldn't accept this behavior from any of them.



I'm with Sandi: Trusting is MY decision. And hiding the truth for "politics"? If you know our site, you know we have not EVER spared the FDA our criticism.



But that doesn't excuse this behavior from Feline Pride. I don't excuse it from Iams, Mars, Purina, etc., and I don't excuse it from Honest Kitchen, Rad Cat, Bravo, Primal or Feline Pride.



NO SALE. And I mean that quite literally, in this case.

Carol V

If I see someone comment that this is only a "voluntary" recall---I will do more than scream...When will some people learn that there is NO such thing as a "mandatory" recall here in the US except for baby formula!? And why that angers me is that it might just "belittle" it to someone...and that is never good...a problem is a problem until proven otherwise...

Carol V

It looks like that blog was created for one thing..to say the food is okay...so why not put that explanation on the website..or a link to it..still no "news" to report by the main page at Felines Pride since Dec 2006...I would think this newsworthy...



Carolyn..How did you find this new blog?

Carolyn

As a customer, I was contacted weeks ago and today was sent the link by Feline's Pride.

Leslie K

Too bad Feline's pride couldn't put the full story, including the recall on there. Yes that was sarcasm. They had time to email a link to a blog to all their customers, but no time to put up recall notices. Sorry I don't care how good the pfc looks, or whats in the food, if they can't be upfront about possible problems they can't get fed to my 4 leggers. No informed pet parent is going to have a problem with the idea that the FDA or USDA either might not handle food properly. Get the info out so people can decide for themselves.

2ittybittykitties

Do all the PFC's that have had recalls keep the info on their websites back to good 'ol '07? I would much rather feed Feline's Pride even with the recall than anything found in a can, and I do.

David S. Greene

Jen wrote:

In this case though, I tend to side with Carolyn, although still leaning towards full disclosure. The bigger issue is how potential issues are handled by the FDA and USDA, both stumbling over each other.

Carolyn trusts the manufacturer to be fair and to protect the consumer's safety. Even putting this particular Feline's Pride case aside, the record would suggest that's a recipe for disaster. If you trust the manufacturer, Menu Foods still goes merrily along, melamine stays in the the pet food (and milk) chain, and thousands of lives are lost, all in the name of profits. Add in countless cases of salmonella, e coli and other instances, and the reality is clear: safety isn't profitable for companies, and I can't agree with relying on a manufacturer to look out for my -- or my pet's -- interest. I do agree with you that FDA and USDA don't handle their end of the bargain well, either. To be sure they're better than they used to be, but only due to the hard lessons learned by spectacular tragedy, not by proactive, systemic change from within. And even then, as I pointed out here, the record of federal agencies tasked with public protection still falls down in egregious ways. Neither FDA nor USDA have shown they get what change really means, though they're getting better at quick damage control, because it's happened so frequently. The only way that agencies or conglomerates will improve is if you and I DEMAND accountability, not just hope for it. That means when they utilize social networking and the web, they are transparent and immediately forthcoming. A few days or a long holiday weekend isn't immediate. A couple hours is. When the FDA has a public alert but the company in question maintains complete radio silence? That's unconscionable and unacceptable, period. With food products, lives are literally at stake on a daily and hourly basis. I don't give any agency or company the benefit of the doubt because precious few actors in this drama have shown themselves worthy of that benefit, and I still don't understand otherwise savvy adults who still say "Aw, that's alright, I'm sure they're taking care of these things. They know what they're doing.".
Yes, they might know what they're doing, but the doing might not be to your benefit. History says it invariably isn't.

Jen

I honestly can see both sides of the argument. In this case though, I tend to side with Carolyn, although still leaning towards full disclosure. The bigger issue is how potential issues are handled by the FDA and USDA, both stumbling over each other.

Rocky

I'm a fan of Feline's Pride, but all PFC's should put recall info on their websites. No exceptions!



Agree, that a "voluntary recall" is a distinction without a difference 'cause they're all voluntary.

Gina Spadafori

Such an interesting take on making "informed" decisions:



Dear Company I Love:



Please keep me in the dark. I feel so much better not knowing what I should know, because then I don't know what I don't want to know! It works for me!



It's even better if I don't know in advance when I'm just considering your product, that way I never, ever worry at all!



Regardless, I can continue to buy without feeling any sense that there's anything I really ought to know. My life is easier this way, and I thank you.



Sincerely,



No, No, Don't Tell me

Loyal Customer

eli

Why, Gina! That sarcasm sets off your eyes beautifully!

Gina Spadafori

I just never before realized what a value-added service keeping information from customers (current or potential) could truly be.



Too bad I'm just not an "ignorance is bliss" kind of babe.

Carolyn

David,

Every single customer who ordered from Feline's Pride has been DIRECTLY contacted by the company, myself included. This is more than enough notice to consumers. YOU are not at risk, nor are your cats. What exactly do you want?



I know Shelby, I know the company, I know the history, I know the battles, I know the product and I know the results I have seen with my own eyes, saving kitties from horrible suffering and DEATH from the so-called safe food out there. This is a man of great social and ethical conscience, not some faceless corporation. His kitties eat the same food every single day. It is not about profit, but health and well-being. Stop trashing what you don't know. It is not 'benifit of the doubt.' History is on my side on this one.



I trust Feline's Pride. Period.

Sandi K

Although the question wasnt posed to me and I hope David doesnt mind me jumping in here but Im raising my hand....I know what I want, I want ALL pet food companies to be held to the same standard whether it be raw, dry, wet, etc. I want all companies to post on their website, recall information as soon as it occurs, simple as that. I want petowners to demand the same thing of all companies, or do we say all companies except for Felines Pride should have to post recall info at their website?



I do have a question regarding Carolyn's statement above "Since customers order directly from the company (and do not buy ‘off the shelf”), there are detailed records for the shipments under recall and therefore no need for a notice on the website itself." The company has a list of distributors at their site and several of them are stores that sell raw food. So in cases like that how was the PFC able to contact each customer individually? It seems to me if it was sold in a store, it would be up to the store owner to make sure they contacted everyone who bought the food and if they dont have everyones contact information, which we have found to be the case in prior recalls, not everyone might be able to be contacted. In addition to that, how long did it take to contact everyone? In cases of any pet food problem, time is very important which is why recall info posted as many places as possible is what many of us are concerned about.

Christie Keith

Carolyn wrote: I know the results I have seen with my own eyes, saving kitties from horrible suffering and DEATH from the so-called safe food out there.

This is not about "Feline's Pride is better than worse foods." That is a false dichotomy. I feed homemade diets, and there are other brands of raw foods, and other small food makers with good ethics and transparent business practices.

2ittybittykitties

Carolyn, I was contacted immediately, too, by Shelby and I didn't even have a batch of the recalled food. I think he may have contacted all his customers.

Gina, there are recalls all the time on beef, chicken, pork, fish, tomatoes, peanut butter, etc for salmonella and other bacteria that you purchase from local markets without any knowledge of which manufacturers had recalls presently or in the past. Did you stop eating because of it? There's not enough complete transparency in the food supply chain to know the background on every single item you purchase.

I don't know why an opinion on a pet food company would be so radically different than the foods you purchase to consume.

In any event, the notice is on their website. I'm satisfied about the way the recall was handled (personally); why the recall was done; and who it really affected. I really don't see any fraud going on by the company, in the true sense of the definition.

It's good to have a place, though, to air our differences so all opinions can be considered.

David S. Greene

Stomp your feet and clench your fists all you like, but you're just plain wrong. History isn't on your side. If it were, we wouldn't have had tylenol that killed people, cat food that killed cats, the creation of a Consumer Product Safety Commission, a Food & Drug Administration, a Department of Agriculture, and I wouldn't have written a story a couple months back about the USDA's Inspector General detailing the myriad failures of the Department to do its job in cracking down on puppy mills. And how exactly do you (or Feline's Pride) guarantee that every single morsel of food is accounted for? You say they called all their customers. That's very good. Actually, that's great. And I applaud them for that. But if you're going to be honest, they called all buyers on record. Who's to say that a buyer didn't give some product to a friend or family member in another state, then forgot? It's human nature. It happens. Or worse, an unscrupulous buyer didn't surreptitiously SELL a bunch of product without telling he company? Feline's Pride did a great job, but it's not a closed system.

In any case, I was making a larger point that I stand by, and I'll just have to live with your protests. Early on in my previous comment I said "even putting this Feline's Pride case aside", then went on to make a larger point (which you appear to have missed). The private sector doesn't exist to protect us, it exists to make money from us. If they can cut corners, lop off a few safety precautions and make money in the bargain, they're going to do it. Trusting them to watch out for you isn't wise policy. If FP did their job in this case, marvelous. They dodged a bullet. But my point stands: companies OWE us full, complete, immediate and PUBLIC disclosure when they learn a product may (or already has) caused harm. If you still disagree with my larger point, I can't help you, and I wish you great luck in the future.

I'm glad your cats are healthy, I really am. May they live long, happy and purrfect lives. In 2007, countless thousands of cat owners weren't as lucky.

Carolyn

Christine wrote: "This is not about “Feline’s Pride is better than worse foods.” That is a false dichotomy. I feed homemade diets, and there are other brands of raw foods, and other small food makers with good ethics and transparent business practices."



I disagree because to me it is the total package of ethics and integrity in my decision making calculation. I am considering my history and experience with this and other PFCs as well as the care and commitment of the owner, Shelby, to guide my decision. Granted, not everyone has this same history and corresponding trust, but I do, and I am very protective of this company, it's reputation, and it's future.



Quality of the overall product is also an important aspect of this conversation. Unlike Menu Foods, who were trying to increase profits through product tampering and contamination, this recall and circumstances are different. Again, reputation of the man, his company and the very reason for the companies creation is a critical point to me. Motive and intentions do matter.



And, BTW, does anyone check the websites of every food or food ingredient before feeding each and every meal? It seems this standard of care is what some folks are demanding, if the biggest complaint is 'it's not on the website.' Just food for thought...(but not for eating unnless you check every site before every bite)

Carolyn

David,

I am speaking of the history of this company and my experiences with them. Not the history of humanity, governments or capitalism. I just didn't feel like a line-by-line debate on this one. Doesn't mean you are right, or that I don't get it. And I don't need your 'luck' thank you very much.



My goal is simple. To defend this great company and product and the actions they have taken.



I ask again, what do you want, exactly?

Carol V

Having lost two cats from eating melamine laced Menu Foods products..I never thought these words would be typed by my fingers...but I have to correct the wrong info about them in Carolyn's post..Menu Foods bought contaminated ingredient from another company (who knows if they knew)--they were not tampering or contaminating their product..albeit they may have chosen the wheat gluten supplier based on costs (I'll never know)..so accidents can happen..to ANY company...The point I think some are trying to make is that when a recall happens--post it on the website...it makes it seem like they care about getting the word out. I can see that you are defending this company and feeling protective but I can't help but wonder if that is the reason you do not see the bigger picture of what we are trying to say.

2ittybittykitties

I'm glad Susan Thixton wrote about her investigation on the FP recall on her blog today. She waited until she had all the facts she thought were relevant.

http://bit.ly/chnVqJ

Carol V

Let us not forget that the FDA posted the recall info with NO info about it at the product's website...that is what got this debate going. Not if the recall was warranted or not...that is the bigger picture in my mind.

2ittybittykitties

quote from Carol: "not if the recall was warranted or not". Whether the recall was warranted or not truly is the big picture.

Carol V

Got to disagree with you 2ittybitty..because while the parties (now or in the future) fight it out---the consumers have a right to the info...The FDA recall says the company is announcing the recall (and yes voluntary as that is all that is allowed if not baby formula--Menu Foods was also a voluntary recall) so then the next step should be to go to the company's site for even more info--not a complete absence of it...

Christie Keith

Someone wrote: "Whether the recall was warranted or not truly is the big picture."

It's part of the big picture, but so is how a company handles adversity -- even if that adversity includes a false accusation of something.

It seems that the owner of Feline's Pride doesn't agree with those insisting here the info didn't need to be on the site, but is saying it was because their web tech was out of town, according to the link that was just posted.

As to praising someone for "waiting for all the facts" before posting, that's utter nonsense. The recall was public. The expansion was public. The announcement wasn't on the FP website. There was nothing to "wait" for.

Gina Spadafori

I ask again, what do you want, exactly?



Comment by Carolyn — July 21, 2010



How about that you start with some full disclosure. You are a distributor of this product.



Which, by the way, you are doing a disservice. By defending the lack of information (which even the owner doesn't, saying that the recall wasn't posted because of no access to the web developer) and by not being honest and open with us yourself.



Now, if you look at the first post on the initial recall, we in fact noted that the FDA went out of its way to warn about Salmonella in a way that suggested it was a hazard particular to raw food.



We called BS on that. And I'm calling it on you, for not bothering to mention in all your comments here that you are a distributor of this product.



Tell the truth and let the consumer decide. It's that simple.



By not bothering to think your status as a distributor was important to this discussion, you have destroyed any credibility you brought to this discussion. Not because you ARE a distributor, but because you didn't disclose that information so readers could evaluate its impact on your opinion of the product.

Erich Riesenberg

Carolyn, for someone so passionate about your own pets it is scary you do not want other pet owners to be fully informed.



Thank goodness there are people willing to fight this stuff out with the dishonest people, or the truth would be at the discretion of people with personal agendas.

Ingrid King

I am a former customer of FP, and I didn't receive an e-mail about the recall. Granted, I didn't order during the period that the recall covered, so I guess the recall wouldn't have affected me, but even as a former customer, shouldn't I have received the e-mail? It just doesn't leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. I won't be ordering FP again.



Slightly off topic - Christie, you've mentioned feeding a homemade diet in several blogs. Would you be willing to a blog sometime sharing what you feed?

Gina Spadafori

Anyway, it still doesn’t change the facts at hand.



Comment by Carolyn — July 22, 2010



Carolyn, you really ought to learn that when you're in a hole, stop digging. What matters is not that you're a distributor (as I wrote above) nor does it matter whether or not you profit as a distributor.



The point is that people need and are entitled to ALL the contextual and relevant information that will help them make their informed decisions. You don't think the degree of your buy-in to this product and the company is important, and that's just not so. People were owed that information when you first stepped up to defend the company, and you were the one who owed it to them. The fact that it's not hidden for someone who digs a little is not relevant. A lie of omission is still a lie, and you lied in representing yourself as a customer alone.



In so doing, whether you can see it or not, you have made Feline Pride look worse because we now all know that there is at least one distributor who is just fine with keeping pet-owners in the dark, even if the owner of the company is not. (Since he blamed the delay in posting to the website to technical issues, not avoiding the truth.)



That's a real shame, and you have only yourself to blame for it.



Now take my advice and stop digging. The hole you have put this little company in all by yourself is deep enough.

Leslie K

Its on their website now ,http://www.felinespride.com/customercare/recall_response.aspx.Coincidentally after Carolyn got outed ?! As I said much earlier, none of us has great confidence in the FDA or USDA. But the pfc has a responsibility to get the word out, whether or not they feel its a fact based recall. Anyone ordering this type of food probably has the brains to read about the problems with the testing & make an informed decision. Not posting it prevents anyone buying it or thinking of buying from doing that.

Carolyn

Wow, folks, you are amazing in your sleuthing abilities. I have never 'hidden' the fact that I am a distributor. I have included the link to the website, use the same (real) name and picture of my kitty, Shaquille as I do on the FP website and everywhere else. If you actually read my info, you will see that I became a distributor AFTER I was a converted customer. Anyway, it still doesn't change the facts at hand.



Additionally, as I have explained many times,(follow the link above) I do not make money as a distributor. I do not have any financial incentive to participate in this discussion or to hide any facts from anyone. The only motives I have as a distibutor is to secure affordable quality raw food for my kitties and to help others obtain the same. Shipping is expensive to CA, so ordering in bulk and supplying locals at the lower cost saves us all money and allows folks who couldn't otherwise afford the food to feed it.



Blogs/forums are great for quick dissemination of info, but are a rather limited forum for in-depth discussions. It is very difficult and time consuming to 'keep up' with the one-line barbs and jabs and maintain a real discussion.



Finally, folks need to realize that I am a real person, with a real phone # (on distributor page) and they can call if they have REAL questions/comments, not just looking for arguments.

Jen

Well, Gina, when you put in that way.... (in response to my post above).... I reconsider what I wrote ;)

Carolyn

Gina, your accusation of "lies of omission" are so far from the truth it hurts. Have you stopped to read my replies? Seriously, this is sad.



I have never said keep people in the dark. Not once, not ever. What i have said is that I am a distributor and I put my REAL name, email and web links on my sign in and signatures. I do not feel it necessary to start each and every post with the same 'disclaimer.'



I suppose you can look for evil or deception wherever you go, but, to me, that is not healthy or productive. As I have stated, it would have been easy to post as Bob from Mississippi, but I didn't. From the beginning I have said my info is on the website, including direct email and phone number. If your goal is dialogue or information, give me a call. I'd be happy to speak with you personally.

Christie Keith

Carolyn, you really should stop. The owner of the company isn't saying there was no reason to post the website, so why do you keep flogging this?



You should have started your first comment here with the fact that you're a distributor. As to posting in your real name, you are posting as "Carolyn." No last name. The website you use is a link to a blog post about the recall written by the owner of the company. Maybe there is other information there that would identify you to someone, although it's certainly not clear at a glance, but to act all huffy about how we're so mean and not interested in dialogue when you have not taken that simple, basic, blogging 101 step to identify yourself is, well... pointless.



You mock us for being "detectives" then say that people should have to click on links and drill down on a website to find out that you distribute the product you're defending. That does nothing but make that company look bad. You can rail against that until you go hoarse, but it won't change that's how people will see it.



When the owner says, to paraphrase, "We didn't update our site because the tech guy was on vacation, but we did post to a blog and email our customers, and FDA did a press release" well, all I think he's guilty of is not being a very good business person, because to not have the ability to manage your website when someone goes on vacation is a little last century.



The story you're flogging reflects far less well on FP and if you care about them, I'd stop, if I were you.

Carol V

"Carolyn..How did you find this new blog?"



Comment by Carol V — July 20, 2010 @ 5:00 pm



As a customer, I was contacted weeks ago and today was sent the link by Feline’s Pride.



Comment by Carolyn — July 20, 2010 @ 5:15 pm



This would have been a good opportunity to tell us..that is why I asked...sigh...

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