Pet food recalls started catching my attention when in December of last year a friend’s fur-kid became extremely ill and almost died from kidney failure as a result of contaminated Waggon’ Trail brand chicken jerky treats. Guess what?  I had those same exact treats in my kitchen for my own fur-kids.

The FDA would not issue a recall on the treats until February 2012 because, although they knew they were causing illness and killing pets, they “could not identify the ingredient in the treats that were responsible for the deaths.”

Fast forward to April 6. Diamond Pet Foods Facility in South Carolina quietly recalled a limited number of dry dog food bags due to a “potential health risk.”  The food had been distributed to twelve states and “no illnesses reported.” On April 26, they expanded the recall as a “precautionary measure” to other bags and brands. On April 30, the recall was expanded to include dry puppy food.  In a press release, Diamond stated, “The company took this precautionary measure because sampling revealed Salmonella in the product.”  The same day, Diamond expanded the pet food recall to include popular “holistic” brands of dog food such as Kirkland, Apex, Taste of the Wild, Canidae, Natural Balance and Wellness brands.  Soon, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that “numerous varieties of pet foods manufactured at that facility have been linked to fourteen human Salmonella infections in nine states”.  Five people were hospitalized.

Pet owners across several states shared instances with the FDA of sick and dying pets – most of whom were fed Diamond manufactured foods. However, no action was taken to recall the food until they connected the salmonella poison to people becoming ill.

It only gets worse.

Recently, the FDA released its preliminary report of inspection of the Diamond Pet Food Gaston, SC plant. The report contains important – and what borders on horrific – details. Like… the absence of basic sanitary measures (hand-washing stations) for employees, employees handing product with un-gloved hands, duct taped and cardboard surfaces (read: uncleanable surfaces) used in manufacturing and packaging, basic filthiness of the facility and the list goes on.

There’s more…

The FDA’s report also stated: “There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of pentobarbital in the dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), Beef and Bone Meal (BBM), Animal Fat (AF), and Animal Digest (AD) are rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals.”

For those unaware, FDA testing has linked animal fat (AF) and animal digest (AD) with ground and cooked euthanized animals.

So, the $60-a-bag dog food I have been feeding my precious fur-kids potentially contains euthanized animals?

Are you steaming yet?  I sure am.

There are still many unanswered questions in this investigation. What remains constant is that we pet-parents deserve a full investigation of Diamond Pet Food and answers from each and every pet food brand made at this plant.

Worried about what you are feeding your fur-kid? Petsumer Report tells the “rest of the story” on more than 2,500 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats, and comes with a 30-Day satisfaction guarantee. You can download the report at

Written For The Voice Tribune’s The Weekly Scoop
By Beth Green, Pack Leader At Paws Pet Care