IAMS Puppy Food – This Time, It’s A Recall

On November 25th, Price Chopper (a regional supermarket chain based in the US northeast) posted a recall notice advising its customers that two IAMS pet foods were recalled due to elevated levels of aflatoxins.

During the Thanksgiving weekend, this recall notice disappeared from the Price Chopper web site. A couple of days later, the supermarket chain posted the following statement:

“Iams has not issued a consumer recall on any products. Information which appeared here earlier referred to a few production lots which Iams has retrieved because they were outside of Iams’ specifications and did not meet their quality standards.”

When I asked IAMS for details on this recall, I received this reply:

“Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We regret the confusion. Iams has not issued a consumer recall on any of our products. We are aware the retailer posted some information which led readers to believe that Iams had issued a consumer recall. The store has since removed the information from their site.”

According to Sue Thixton (TruthAboutPetFoods.com), IAMS described their action as a “product pull” that did not require consumer notification.

Today, Procter & Gamble – owner of the IAMS brand – announced a recall of Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food, sold in 7-lb (Code date 12784177I6), 8-lb (Code dates 12794177D2 and 12794177D3) and 17.5-lb bags (Code dates 12794177K1 and 12794177K2), due to aflatoxin levels that were above the acceptable limit. The recalled products are labeled with Use By or Expiration Dates of February 5 or February 6, 2013.

The products, according to Procter & Gamble, already have been retrieved from store shelves. They were distributed to “a limited number of retailers” in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. The list of retailers includes WalmartFood City, Price Chopper, Big Y and Target.

Interestingly, the 12794177D3 code date included in today’s recall is identical to one of the code dates listed in Price Chopper’s original recall notice – and associated with a Cat Food.

Procter & Gamble hasn’t explained why this particular puppy food was worthy of recall, while the aflatoxin-contaminated cat food with the identical code date only rated a “product pull.” Was it pressure from FDA? Did Walmart – a retailer with enormous clout – “encourage” the company to issue a recall notice? Or did the public reaction to the initial recall/product pull flip-flop convince Procter & Gamble to go public? We’ll never know.

Whatever triggered the recall decision, I hope that Procter & Gamble now realizes that trying to conduct a stealth recall carries a significant risk to the company’s reputation once the recall is found out.

9 thoughts on “IAMS Puppy Food – This Time, It’s A Recall

  1. Or maybe they recalled food because they discovered it was worth it. Maybe they are honest and didn’t think there was any harm to be had.

    Maybe honest companies like P&G do exist. And maybe you’re being unnecessarily cynical. Iams always is miles ahead of the FDA when they think a recall has to be done. Give them some credit geez.


  2. Thanks for this important post! I’m surprised this Iams puppy food is being recalled. I feed my puppy Iams natural. I thought Iams is suppose to have the best puppy food? Thanks


  3. At the bottom of their website, they do have a section for “Product Recall Info” . If you click on the words, you will see their announcement:

    Click to access Iams%20Puppy%20News%20Release%20FINAL%20_2_x.pdf

    I would like to see ALL their customers receive an email in their inbox with this info and also make it visible on their main page alerting the consumer of the recall.

    Most people do not check their pet food’s website on a daily basis or at all.



  4. Great work Phyllis!!!

    “Or did the public reaction to the initial recall/product pull flip-flop convince Procter & Gamble to go public? We’ll never know.”

    Remember folks, speak with your money – then they will listen to us. Do they want to keep you as a customer or stay silent when eventually pet parents will figure out why they pets are sick or went to the bridge.

    Perhaps P&G and ALL dog food companies will read your website and create a page “Alerts & Recalls” on their website as I noted in your guest blog

    “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. http://www.wysong.net/registry.php

    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 http://www.whosyourvet.com. Let’s keep our pets safe and hold these companies responsible! Thanks a bunch!



  5. I remember when the Iams family sold to Procter & Gamble…They assured all consumers that product quality, availability and pricing would remain the same — emphasizing quality — anyone who was a fan of Eukanuba knows changes have been made — the dogs let you know…thankful this toxin was caught….


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