Natural Balance Dog Food Recall 2010


Dog Food Recall WarningNatural Balance Pet Foods, Inc., of Pacoima, CA, has announced a voluntary recall of their Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food due to the possibility of contamination with Salmonella bacteria.

The recall applies to products with the “Best By” date of June 17, 2011 and sold in 5-pound and 28-pound bags.

Complete details regarding this recall are available within the actual FDA News Release dated June 18, 2010.

In a letter1 announcing the recall, company president Joey Herrick provided a factual explanation for the voluntary action.

Dog food recalls involving Salmonella contamination are potentially serious matters… for both humans and pets. People who handle dry food can easily become infected with the bacteria.

According to the FDA…

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

So, take precautions… and be sure to tell everyone you know.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

  1. This article originally contained a link to that letter. However, it is apparently no longer available on the company’s website
  • Chicken

    Raw dog foods 5 star dog food is the only thing my dogs will get from now on!

  • Elizabeth Ross McKee

    this brand made my little dog extremely sick. tried several of the formulas. we wont have it in the house.

  • J.G.

    This is interesting, because we have buying the cans (did not know about the recall concerning the dry) of the same formula, the Chicken & Sweet Potato, and have had to bring back the cans to the store because the tops looked a little “swollen” and when I opened them air and bubbles rushed out of the cans. Of course, no way was I going to give that to my dog. I did get in touch with Nature’s Balance to inquire why this might be happening, and they wanted to replace the cans. That doesn’t answer my question – why is that happening and what are they going to do about it? I’ve not had a response. This was two days ago.

  • Irene Cheung

    Thanks, Mike. I’ll take a look.

  • Hi Irene… There’s a close relationship between the signs and symptoms of both food intolerances and allergies. To get a better idea of these issues you may want to read my article, “Suggested Hypoallergenic Dog Foods“. Don’t be turned off by the title. Check out the article and see if you can find a food that might help your dog. Hope this helps.

  • Irene Cheung

    Thanks, Mike. Any suggestions for a dog food that is suitable for a dog that has a sensitive stomach? Thanks!

  • Hi Irene… Since I’m not a veterinarian it would be misleading for me to assure you I have the answer to your dog’s pancreatitis problem. In any case, I seriously doubt your dog’s problem is related to a manufacturing defect in the food but could be (depending on the specific product) the fat content of your dog’s diet. Check with your vet to answer this important question.

  • Irene Cheung

    I feed my dog Natural Balance Ultra Premium. He had a severe case of pancreatitis (that’s what the vet diagnosed) a week and a half ago. He was vomiting for 2 days (food completely undigested) and extremely lethargic. He is getting better now, but still lethargic. I’m wondering if this is related to Natural Balance. Is it possible there was some sort of plant contamination? How do I know this wasn’t caused by his food and not some unexplained event that got diagnosed as pancreatitis? Any thoughts? Thanks for any info.

  • yvonne

    Taste of the wild [high-prarie is the best,I have a westie with brain cancer and this food has helped her recover.Also EVO is great too.yvonne

  • M

    I will never buy NB dog products of any kind because of what occurred a few years ago with the dog food fiasco. My dog’s immune system was compromised and I will never ever reccommend their products to anyone. Good luck in finding a decent dog food. They are there but not plentiful. Everything is a corporate game of greed and cost cutting these days.

  • Lawrence Chase

    Dear Dr. Mike,
    When your site alerted me to the recall of Natural Balance’s Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog food, even though my dog,Abby, was not on that diet, I sent an email to Natural Balance with several questions. Natural Balance responded in short order and in great detail and did not try to gloss over any concern. Below, I am including the email correspondence between Natural Balance and myself, should anyone be interested in how a responsible dog food manufacturer such as Natural Balance deals with it’s customers.
    From: Larry Chase
    Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2010 10:14:36 -0400
    To: info
    Subject: Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog food recall

    Mr. Joey Herrick, President
    Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc.

    Dear Mr. Herrick:

    I have been feeding my little senior dog, Abby, your dog food and she is thriving on it. Fortunately, she is not fed the Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog food which you have voluntarily recalled this past June. I do, however, have some general questions to put to you in order to help ease my mind and retain the confidence I have in your product line:

    How did the FDA testing differ from the testing performed by both Natural Balance and by Zoologic?
    Was Natural Balance or Zoologic able to test the food sample the FDA used and, if so, what were the results from both?
    Did the FDA test Natural Balance’s negative retention samples and, if so, what were their results?

    Meanwhile, as I await your reply, I shall continue to feed Abby the canned Lamb Formula she enjoys so much while remembering that this product was the subject of an FDA Class I recall issued on April 26, 2007.

    Lawrence B. Chase

    From: Kristi Choy
    To: Larry Chase
    Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2010 5:38 PM
    Subject: Re: Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog food recall

    Hello Mr. Chase,
    Thank you for contacting Natural Balance regarding the voluntary recall. Shown below is information regarding your inquiry on the testing of our products. If you should have any further questions, please feel free to contact me by phone or email.

    1. How did the FDA testing differ from the testing performed by both Natural Balance and by Zoologic?

    Natural Balance uses Neogen GeneQuence tests for Salmonella. The RNA hybridization test employs Salmonella-specific RNA probes, which are directly labeled with horseradish peroxidase. A colorimetric endpoint is then used for the detection of Salmonella spp. in food samples following broth culture enrichment. A sample is considered negative for the presence of Salmonella if the absorbance value obtained is less than 0.10. A sample is considered presumptively positive for the presence of Salmonella if the absorbance value obtained is greater than or equal to 0.10.

    Zoologix uses an ultrasensitive qualitative detection of Salmonella by real time Polymerase-Chain-Reaction test (PCR), which is the most sensitive type of testing for Salmonella. This test is highly specific because they detect genetic sequence unique to the target pathogen. Even closely related pathogen strains can often be distinguished. In PCR testing, nucleic acid — DNA or RNA — is isolated from the specimen, and then amplified (after an extra reverse transcription step in the case of RNA) using highly specific primers complementary to known target pathogen sequences. References and controls are run simultaneously; internal controls monitor extraction and PCR efficiency. Amplified sequences are visualized and recorded using state-of-the-art protocols and instrumentation.

    The FDA uses a culture technique and then isolates & tests the representative colony.

    2.Was Natural Balance or Zoologic able to test the food sample the FDA used and, if so, what were the results from both?

    No, these were not made available to us.

    3.Did the FDA test Natural Balance’s negative retention samples and, if so, what were their results?

    The FDA does not accept opened products, as this may be potentially exposed to environmental contaminants. The FDA did not test our retention samples.

    Have a great day!
    Kristi Choy, B.S.
    Manager, Customer Service
    Animal Nutrition

    Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc.
    12924 Pierce Street
    Pacoima, CA 91331
    (800) 829-4493 x122

  • Tina

    Thanks Mike. I did call my Petco and asked if they were doing the recall. They said yes. So, I returned the sweet potato and chicken NB just to be safer but going with another variety of NB still. Thanks for the info. I do appreciate all your hard work.

  • Hi Tina… this recall applies only to the Sweet Potato and Chicken product. And according to the FDA bulletin, only if purchased from “pet specialty stores in the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming”.

    By the way, in the future, your product will stay fresher when it is in a container with very little air space. I prefer to leave my product in its original package so I can squeeze out all the air each time I put the package back inside the larger storage container.

    Most containers have too much open air space inside them that reacts with the food… making it quickly stale.

  • Tina

    This post follows my above post. I just looked at NB’s website. So they say not all states are affected for the recall. I live in Ga so my state was not on the recall. It still makes me a little nervous. I don’t know if I could even get a refund with just my receipt and no bag. I may check with my store. This still makes me a little nervous on taking a risk. Even though no illnesses have been reported. I’m still not sure if I should just relax or panic.

  • Tina

    I can not believe this! I just got my dog switched over to this food with in the past several weeks due to his food allergies. I have thrown out the bag since I pour the food into a large container. I did not know of any recall until I got on the site tonight. Now, I’m left wondering what to do. I have a receipt but no bag so I have no idea what the “best buy” date was. My dog seems fine. This is a headache and it’s hard to find him the right food. What do I do?

  • Thanks Mike, we’ve noted it in our Forums.