Nutro Products Inc. is a subsidiary company of Mars Incorporated and offers dog and cat food. Their product lines include Natural Choice, Max, Ultra, and Greenies. NUTRO has had 78 recalls and withdraws since 2005 with an estimated 30 million bags/cans/containers of products recalled.
Nutro has had the most recalls and withdraws of company. The following, from Wikipedia, explains the recalls
In 1998, two samples of Nutro Premium (together with various other brands) were subject to qualitative analyses for pentobarbital residue by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) due to suspicion that the anesthetizing drug may have found its way into pet foods through euthanized animals, including cats and dogs. DNA test for all the samples failed to detect cat and dog DNA but Nutro’s two samples tested positive for the drug, presumably from rendered cattle. The CVM stated that due to the low level of exposure, the risk of adverse effects is low.
In April 2008, consumeraffairs.com reported multiple cases of diarrhea, vomiting and other intestinal problems in pets fed Nutro products. Nutro stated that their products undergo rigorous safety testing and are 100% safe. Some customers have backed the company, saying that their pets are not having any problems with the food. Veterinarians interviewed states that it might not necessarily be the food that is causing problems. In September 2008, the Pet Food Product Safety Alliance (PFPSA) tested samples of Nutro dog food in response to the consumer complaints on consumeraffairs.com and found levels of copper in excess of AAFCO recommendation. Zinc levels were approximately 2-4 times the minimum recommendation of 120 ppm but still within the maximum recommendation of 1000 ppm. The PFPSA has criticized the recommended zinc levels as excessive as even the minimum recommended levels are 10 times that of adult human requirements(based on body weigh). PFPSA has also stated that the symptoms of zinc toxicity are consistent with consumer complaints regarding Nutro dog food. Nutro rejected PFPSA’s claims stating that both zinc and copper levels were within recommended levels, reiterating that their products undergo “rigorous quality assurance testing”.
In May 2009, Nutro issued a recall of selected dry cat food due to excess levels of zinc and low levels of potassium which the company blames on a production error by a premix company. Nutro stated that it received no complaints related to the recall. Symptoms includes “reduction in appetite, refusal of food, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea.” Both consumeraffairs and PFPSA have claimed a link between this incident and earlier complaints and also questioned Nutro’s claim of quality control and product testing. In June, lab tests of a sample of Nutro Max Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor showed zinc levels at 2100 ppm. Dr. Stephen Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist and senior vice-president of Animal Health for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) described the zinc levels as “awfully high”. While he stated that the long term effects of such levels are not known, he mentioned the possibility of “significant intestinal upset and liver and kidney damage.” Unlike the 1000 ppm maximum for dog food, the cat food maximum set by AAFCO is 2000 ppm. In comparison, the European Union‘s maximum for all animal feed is 250 ppm with a recommended maximum of 150 ppm.
Nutro Products, Inc. has been criticized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for hiring below–par animal testing laboratories to test their products. The company denied that it employs animal testing.
The total number of recalled containers of pet products is not publicly disclosed but based on the information released by the FDA we are fairly certain there have been at least 25.5 million (25,518,520) recalled cans, bags, or packages. A 2007 recall by Menu Foods included Nutro but did not disclose how many cans/bags/packages were included for Nutro. There were 53.3 million (53,373,600) recalled packages by Menu Foods and we estimate 4-5 million of those were Nutro. We estimate that Nutro has had approximate 30 million (30,000,000) recalled cans, bags, or packages of pet products. While there were a lot of recalls in 2007, the total quantity of recalled products was significantly more in 2009 (25.5 million in 2009, estimated 5 million in 2007).
Nutro has recieved 1,551 complaints and reviews on Consumer Affairs with 93% of the ratings consisting of 1 star and 2 star reviews. The large number of complaints of sickness in pets indicates there may have been times where a recall should have been issued but was not. These are consumer complaints and most are not verified by a veterinarian so the food may not have been the cause. However, with so many complains one has to ask why.
The vast majority of recalls was issued in 2007 and there have been relatively few recalls since then which gives the indication that they have fixed the problems. However, we do not feel that product quality problems have been fully addressed. In 2008, there were reports of multiple cases of diarrhea, vomiting and other intestinal problems. Despite tests by the Pet Food Product Safety Alliance that showed high zinc levels (approximately 2-4 times the minimum recommendation), Nutro rejected the claim stating that both zinc and copper levels were within recommended levels, reiterating that their products undergo “rigorous quality assurance testing”.
In 2009, Nuto recalled dry cat food due to excess levels of zinc and low levels of potassium. Dr. Stephen Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist and senior vice-president of Animal Health for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) described the zinc levels as “awfully high”. While he stated that the long term effects of such levels are not known, he mentioned the possibility of “significant intestinal upset and liver and kidney damage.”
In addition to the recalls, Nutro has a significant number of consumer complaints. Recalls are often voluntary issued by the company and can be avoided, like in 2007, so while Nutro has not had any recalls since 2009, we believe their quality control is less than adequate given the number of consumer complaints.
These statements are made to the best of our knowledge based on the facts collected through 1/24/2014 . Please contact us to report any errors.