Guest Blog: It was a Product Pull

The following Guest Blog first appeared on Truth About Pet Food, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of its author, Susan Thixton.

Per Iams it was a Product Pull

The recall notice posted on the Price Chopper website, then promptly removed was “posted erroneously” according to a Iams Customer Service Representative. The notice that three varieties of Iams pet food tested with “elevated aflatoxin levels” wasn’t meant for public notice. It was a product pull, not a recall. Thanks to Price Chopper for doing right by petsumers or we wouldn’t have even known about this.

For those new to this website (and the truth about pet food), there is something you should be aware of. It is known in the industry as a ‘product pull’. We call it a silent recall. A product pull/silent recall is when a pet food manufacturer discovers a problem with a food – which could be serious or could be something insignificant – and in turn the pet food manufacturer alerts retail outlets to ‘pull’ the product from store shelves and return to the manufacturer.

Iams Customer Service told me this was a “product pull”. She stated “a small number of bags did not meet our specifications”. “This was not a consumer recall”. She also stated that Price Chopper “posted erroneously” the Iams notice to remove some pet foods from store shelves.

The same product pull notice “might have been sent to a couple of other stores” – but we don’t know who those other stores are.

But we do know (thanks to Price Chopper) that these three foods tested with “elevated aflatoxin levels”…
Iams Original with Chicken Cat Food
UPC 1901403915
Lot Number 12794177D3
Size 6.8 lbs.

Iams Original with Chicken Cat Food
UPC 1901410504
Lot Number 12794177I5
Size 4 lbs.

Iams Lamb Meal with Rice Dog Food
UPC 1901403735
Lot Number 12794177J4
Size 15 lbs.

Aflatoxin are “commonly found in corn, peanuts, cottonseed, milk, and tree nuts. After ingestion, aflatoxins are absorbed and carried to the liver via the circulatory system. They are then converted by the liver into toxic reactive epoxides which bind covalently to intracellular macromolecules such as DNA, RNA and protein enzymes, resulting in damage to liver cells. In addition to their hepatotoxic properties, aflatoxins are also carcinogenic. Mycotoxin contamination in pet food poses a serious health threat to pets.
From “Mycotoxins and the pet food industry: Toxicological evidence and risk assessment” by Herman J. Boermans and Maxwell C.K. Leung.

Thank you to Price Choppers for doing the right thing and posting the notice that these pet foods contained elevated aflatoxin levels! You bothered to warn consumers that had already purchased these pet foods. That shows real concern and integrity in my book.

Iams, I would love to hear from you (I’m sure my readers would too) on just exactly what the ‘elevated levels of aflatoxin’ were. I will be glad to share your side of the story with everyone.

Two years ago, thousands of pet owners wrote and called their pet food companies asking to put an end to Silent Recalls. We asked all pet food manufacturers to participate in a program called Pet Food Recall First Alert; which meant the pet food manufacturer would agree to notify customers of any product pull or concern with a pet food. The following companies agreed…

  • Nature’s Logic Pet Food
  • Mulligan Stew Pet Food
  • The Honest Kitchen Pet Food
  • Wysong Pet Food
  • Complete Natural Nutrition
  • Solid Gold Pet Food
  • Dogswell Pet Food
  • Dr. Harvey’s Pet Food
  • Fromm Family Pet Foods
  • Redbarn Premium Pet Products
  • Canine Caviar
  • Kumpi Pet Foods
  • Raw Health Pet Food
  • Champion Pet Foods (Acana and Orijen)

Thank you to the above companies. Petsumers deserve to know if a pet food tests for elevated aflatoxin levels and any other possible health risk.

Silent recalls or product pulls are NOT good for anyone. Please – all pet food manufacturers – just stop for a moment and think about the pets and the families of those pets that might already be eating foods that you quietly remove from store shelves. Don’t those pets and those families deserve to know what is going on?

About the author: Susan Thixton is the publisher of Dubbed The Caped Crusader for Safe Pet Food, she reports to a world of pet lovers the ‘truth’ behind the pet food label.

And in a final footnote to this story, I queried Price Chopper about the Iams “recall”, and received the following response earlier today:

Thank you for your recent email.

For the most up to date information on the Iams recall, we would suggest you contact the manufacturer directly at 1-800-675-3849 or through their website at”

If anyone has purchased one of the above Iams pet foods – same lot numbers, same UPC codes – please email Susan or post a comment below.

13 thoughts on “Guest Blog: It was a Product Pull

  1. Hi Kris,

    You might want to call your pet food company and encourage them to do what I suggested above. You too can make a difference with your pocketbook. After Jan. 1st, I’m hoping we can start the campaign once again.


  2. Hi Kris – You too can make a difference by writng to your pet food company and demand all their customers be informed of a problem they have or a recall. See above what I want them to do. We can speak to them with our money! I’m sure they don’t want to lose their customers.

    Hopefully, after Jan. 1st, we’ll start a new campaign and get these companies to be responsible to their consumers. We have to be the voice for our furry kids.



  3. Thank you very much. Our pets are family members, and their health means as much to us as our own. It’s frustrating that the law does not force companies to divulge fully in order to save health and lives. You are making a difference in lives and that is priceless. ♥


  4. I don’t know what we would do without either of you! Thank you Phyllis and thank you Susan for being two of the most fabulous super heroes in the land of food safety! A place no consumer willingly wants to visit without the strong armed protection of the Caped Crusader for Petsumers and the fearless Food Bug Lady.


  5. Two years ago, I approached Susan with my idea to have pet food manufacturers notify all their customers when they have a problem with pet food or a recall – “Alerts & Recalls”.

    This is a sample of my letter that went out to commercial pet food companies such as Hill’s, Nestle (Purina), P&G (Iams/Eukanuba) – not just holistic companies on 11/09:

    “I propose to you the following that can help keep all pets safe should your company have a potential problem or recall with your pet food brands:

    I ask that your website initiate an email list for your customers to subscribe to such as Wysong.

    This can be accomplished with a simple auto-responder email program such as Get-Response or Constant Contact. This list will be used to inform consumers if any product is pulled from store shelves and/or believed to be a potential health risk. For pet parents that are not on-line, please develop a voice mail program to notify your consumers that have registered for this alert service through your Customer Service Department.

    Please alert all registered pet parents within 24 hours of your company’s product pull or within 24 hours of your company’s knowledge of a pet food problem.

    Consumers want to see a “warning” on your main page of your website to alert us of the lot #’s being recalled in bold letters that can be easily seen by all.

    Participating companies working on installing this program on their website: Canine Caviar, Complete Natural Nutrition, Dr. Harvey’s, Dogswell, Fromm, Honest Kitchen, Kumpi, Mulligan’s Stew, Red Barn, Solid Gold.

    The average pet parent is not feeding holistic, but your brand. It is important to all pet parents to be directly notified with this simple yet effective way to let us know should your company ever have a problem or recall.

    I started this plan on 10/26/09 and hope to get ALL companies on-board. After the recent recalls, I knew I had to do something to prevent more pets from becoming ill or even worse. My dogs became ill from pet food in the past.

    I will gladly work with you to resolve this much needed communication between your Company, your consumers, stores, distributors and veterinarians. I believe to get everyone to your website starts at the cash register. I have also contacted Big Chains.

    Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.”

    I was getting returned automated messages saying my email is being forwarded to the proper dept. or be assured that your message will be forwarded to the appropriate team where it will be reviewed and carefully considered. I also followed up with a phone call but to no avail. I then took time off to write two books. As Arnold would say: “I’M BACK”!!!! I’m willing to try it again – it’s not a very difficult procedure for any of these companies to implement.

    I’m hoping Phyllis and her readers will consider getting involved in this much needed “Alerts & Recalls” campaign for ALL pet parents.

    I can be contacted at Let’s keep our pets safe and hold these companies responsible! Thanks a bunch!



  6. “Product pull” or “silent recall”? What the hell is the difference? Oh, I see, there is no difference. Your beloved pet eats the rest of the bag of poison anyway.

    joan and the crew
    18 beloved cats


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