Total recall: Proctor & Gamble goes to the dogs

Do your dogs eat better than you do? Mine do. Well, at $50 per 30lb bag, they'd better.

That's a lot of money for dog food -- and why it's so disconcerting when the brand(s) you trust are recalled. There was possible salmonella poisoning in our All Natural Natura dog foods earlier this spring. A recall is inconvenient, mostly. In terms of extra time -- which most of us don't have for excessive dog food related thought, discussions, errands, mailings, phone calls, monitoring and related activities.
"Overpriced dog food -- because I'm worth it..."

But when your specialty dog food is recalled, you're about to spend some time on it. You have to go to the specialty store where you bought the food. There, you have a long discussion about salmonella. At least, it seeeeems long. Then you travel back home. There, you check dates on your bag of dog food and your treats. You have to write down or somehow remember the dates -- in order to compare them with the recalled batch numbers. Tedious? Almost unbearably.

Then you discuss all these details further with the dog food purveyor, who assures you nothing is likely wrong with the food. Probably the recall is just a precaution, it's said. However, to be safe, for the rest of the 30lb bag, you must actively monitor and evaluate your pets to determine whether they "seem sick."

Stuff  I don't know about you, but I've got *stuff* going on. None of this is an optimal use of time or attention. But sometimes you have to do stuff like this. So I did it.

And we made it through Recall #1 just fine. I learned a lot about things I was okay not knowing about. Things like doggie illness, salmonella, and that Proctor & Gamble makes my "boutique, all natural dog food" that costs $50/bag. I hadn't known that. It had a potential upside: with a company like P&G, you'd imagine that if there ever was a quality control problem severe enough to warrant a recall of an entire line of dog food -- well -- certainly such a large company would have resources enough to correct it immediately and from top to bottom. Right? Then customers would never have to waste a bunch of time & attention on the issue ever again. Right?

Apparently not. Just weeks later there came a 2nd recall of the same dog food. Again. I went through the whole thing. Again. Bla bla bla "salmonella." Bla bla bla "are you sure?"  Bla bla bla "Okay."  Followed by keen eyes out for sick-seeming dogs for two weeks.

Okay. Got it this time, P&G? All set?

No. A 3rd recall! Same issue. Both dogs did get the runs this time (read: time and money cleaning floors and carpets). After playing washer-woman for two days, I had the unique pleasure of making two hungry dogs two meals per day by hand: mushed up chicken and rice. For three additional days. P&G will not reimburse me for that time. I have stopped abruptly buying that dog food forever and ever.

A person also isn't reimbursed for the time it took to have all those boring conversations about salmonella. Nor for the time and attention it took from my life to cut bar codes and expiration dates out of bags of California Natural dog food and Mother Hubbard treats. Cutting out bar codes and expiration dates is, by the way, messy business if you're working with a full 30 lb bag of likely tainted dog food. Cleaning up the mess? Time lost. Unnecessary.

My hourly rate is not insignificant. But nobody's is -- that is to say, everyone has more important things to do than manage this type of trivia three different times in three months. And it keeps going: I haven't sent in the paper clippings from bags of food and treats -- because it turns out you have to phone 800-224-6123 to get hold of Natura -- only then can you can find out the next steps, and I assume it won't be a cheerful and easy experience. More time lost of your life to get your $50 back.

Of course it's already cost $50 in time lost, many times over. But I'm determined to get $50 of it back!

We've switched to Fromm dog food. They're a small boutique all natural dog food maker HQ'ed somewhere in Wisconsin. All is well with the food during and after the first bag.

Here's the P&G recall list, straight from the US FDA:


Here's the FDA press release on the matter:
http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/recallswithdrawals/default.htm

Here's my whine in a nutshell:
The good thing? I got to spend a lot of time with my dogs during most of this. Especially during the dog-food-all-over-the-mudroom part, while cutting the barcodes and expiration dates out of the bags and sending dog food flying and otherwise well-behaved furry bodies flying after it, out of control.
The bad thing? C'mon P&G; get it right. At least get it right the 2nd time. Manage your stuff.
The dogs? Happy, healthy and cute as ever; still eating better than I do.

Update July 2, 2013: If you want a refund, the web site to go to is http://www.naturapet.com/recall. You'll need bar codes and expiration dates cut from bags you purchased. Receipts if you have them. You fill out a form and be sure to specify whether you want a refund (yes) or a replacement. Put all the bits in an envelope and snail it over to:
Natura Pet Products
Attn: Amy
8700 Mason-Montgomery Rd. Box 1534
Mason, OH 45040

It must be said that the woman I spoke with at Natura was probably the nicest, most soothing person I've ever encountered in life. Having a bad day? Call 800-224-6123 and see if you can get this woman on the phone. She was amazing. I almost want to give Natura another try. So. P&G should double her pay, whoever she was, because what she just did was priceless.


Kathleen Hurley