Primal Dog Food Recall of December 2017


December 21, 2017 — Primal Pet Foods of Fairfield, California, is voluntarily recalling specific lots of 5 of its freeze-dried poultry products because their grind size exceeds the ideal size of ground bone to be fed to dogs and cats.

What’s Recalled?

Affected products include Primal Canine and Feline Freeze-Dried Poultry Formulas.

Click here for a more readable copy of the following list of recalled products.

Company Comments

Primal has posted the following comments about this recall on its website:

  • This is a Primal production specification issue – it poses absolutely no risk to human health.
  • We have very precise requirements as to how our foods are to be produced so they preform optimally.
  • We require our meat and bones be ground down to a coarseness of 1/8″
  • Over a single production run, the wrong grind plate was used and the product was ground at 1/4″ coarseness, which is a 1/8″ variance to our specifications.
  • We became aware that food produced over a single production run did not meet our precise specifications and may not preform optimally, particularly for small dogs and cats.
  • We are not comfortable having product in the market that doesn’t meet our precise specifications and deliver optimal experience to the consumer and pet.
  • This decision is entirely voluntary and the FDA is not involved at all.

What to Do?

The company asks that affected products be returned to the Primal retailer from where they were originally purchased for full credit.

Those unable to return the product directly to the retailer are invited to contact Primal Customer Service at 866-566-4652 extension 2 or by email at [email protected]

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

Or go to

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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  • anon101

    Exactly. The homeopathic crowd will tell you it is not possible.
    It’s true, even finely ground up bone can cause bowel and colon obstructions.
    I have the x-rays and the vet bills to prove it.
    I hoped you have learned something.
    For science based veterinary medicine go here

  • Andy Lee

    I cant definitively say its the cause, but my dog has had bloody stools on and off over the last 2 weeks. My vet suspects that it could be caused by bone shards in her food. Shes been eating Primal Freeze Dried the entire time and I just found out about this recall.

  • Alan Patrick

    I understand that with this particular food but with all the recalls that are coming out for deadly problems should be caught BEFORE ever leaving the plants. My pets are treated as my family. To me they are Not just dogs and cats, they are truly part of the family and cared for as such. That is why I get so upset with recalls on foods we feed.

  • Gingerken

    It is not a sefety issue. Read what Primal said about it.

  • Gingerken

    They made it coear it was not a danter issue it was an internal quality control issue.If you have educated yourself on raw feeding you already know it is not a big issue.

  • paulaecohen

    Thanks for the info. I definitely am not feeding it. I don’t trust canned given co-packer potential issues. But my spoiled pups eat 8 foods every 2 days – 4 kibbles (Carna 4, Fromm, Anna Maet, Grizzly Salmon) and 4 freeze-dried/dehydrated (Primal, Grandma Lucy, Sojos Wild, NRG Pulse) – half kibble/half freeze dried – 2 kibble/1 freeze dried per meal so we have plenty of options. Plus they’ll have a little of the prime rib today and tomorrow and turkey on Monday. Just very scary for a company to release a recall and then take off for the holidays.

  • paulaecohen

    Love their products. I buy the food rather than the treats but use them as treats – always in my pocket – fully balanced so you don’t have to worry about giving Browny too many — and MUCH cheaper ounce per ounce. Zeus and Jasmine love tripe and lamb and venison. The tripe and lamb does have a stronger aroma. If you smell the bag it is pretty stinky but when you take out a few it isn’t too bad. Venison smells better to a human.

  • anon101

    Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years.
    They are completely dependent on humans for their food and care.
    Dogs are not wolves.
    You are entitled to your opinion, I don’t share it.

  • Tawnya Howell

    Naturally dogs are supposed to kill and eat their food, raw bones are important nutrients for a healthy diet. Do you think they are supposed to eat around the bones?

  • anon101

    Exactly, avoid all bones (raw, cooked, ground up)
    Some people just don’t understand the risks involved, until they have to go to the emergency vet.

    I have had good luck with Zignature kibble as a base, so far.

  • Lynnette Capriotti

    I have 2 chihuahuas and a dachshund, seniors. They cannot digest bones. To many health problems. I’ve been seeing more and more bones added in dog foods, among other things. Now I just make my own, more safe that way.

  • Petra Alt

    I usually have to mash-up the food and try to make it warm in my hands ,have not found any bones in the duck formula

  • Alan Patrick

    I’m just wondering what kind of quality control they do that allows bad product to leave the plants in the first place. Doesn’t matter what company it is. There is to much of it going on.

  • Cheri

    I just switched my little toy poodle from freeze dried Stella and Chewys to freeze dried Primal because of this issue. I was in contact with Stella and Chewys and sent them pics of the size of their ground bones, some up to half an inch long and sharp…..some actually caused my fingers to bleed while breaking up their nuggets. A few caused my girl to cough and choke, and I was able to pull them out of her throat before they went down. I have been happier with Primal as the bones overall, are ground much smaller. I personally would feel better if All the bones are ground to a powder, then not such a worry for smaller pets. I check pretty closely still as I break up the nuggets before i feed her, just in case. As mentioned, for larger dogs, probably not so much an issue. She has only had the beef, and I have not noticed larger bones in the lot that she is eating. She Loves their food and she is super picky!

  • Cathy Koh

    They are made in New Zealand which have stricter pet food standards than the USA. I think it is human grade but I’m not sure… if you want a human grade treat choose Orijen, I tried it myself and didn’t get sick.

  • Maria Rodi Rodeghiero

    where those treats human grade and made in USA?

  • Chris

    Agreed. I don’t think it’s possible for a dog to get hurt by a 1/4″ piece of raw bone vs a 1/8″ piece. it’s only a 1/8″ difference – that’s tiny! I like this brand and I like the caution they’re taking.

  • Briggs

    @Paulaecohen, we’ve fed raw (in large bone-in chunks, boneless chunks, and finely ground parts such as necks, wings, etc.) for many MANY years without issue. We don’t feed Primal but bone has never been a problem here (others may have different experiences though!)
    If you’r concerned I would stop feeding the product and wait until you speak with the company; this goes for any food (raw, kibble, canned, etc.). If the human feeding the food is uncomfortable with meal times there’s no reason for that!!!
    We obtained a course ground product (duck) that I refused to feed and we threw it out simply because the bone fragments were WAY too large for my comfort level. A few bucks down the drain was no big deal for peace of mind and we chose to not order that grind again and chose to ask the butcher to grind it a bit finer. No big deal. He was happy to do so!
    There are a lot of good (IMO) canned foods that are suitable stand-in’s for raw fed puppers that might be a good thing to keep on hand “just in case”. We’ve used Wellness 95% meat and added extra noms (eggs, veggies, etc.). We’ve also utilized cooked meat (boneless, of course!) with vegetables or pumpkin or eggs for a very short-term (think less than a week or two) diet during times of shortage. Most pups are MORE than happy to help you clean out the contents of a crock pot that’s been stewing for 8 or more hours, LOL!

    Happy Holidays to you! =)

  • Briggs

    We have ornery dogs that like to gulp food down as fast as possible so their bones are fed finely ground and they get muscle meat too!!! We’re always really careful about what dogs get what bones and any necks or drumsticks are serious choking hazards in our household so we feed larger or feed them ground.
    Glad your little Chihuahua was OK!! Cooked bones can be bad news!

  • Cathy Koh

    Thanks. 🙂

  • Briggs

    The funny thing about raw is that the bone content and the organ content needed can vary from pet to pet greatly! We have dogs that need extra bone and others that do best with little or no bone at all (with calcium added of course!) =)
    Our cats seem to do best with more organ meat than our dogs, and though heart isn’t technically an organ meat, poultry hearts are a favorite and a large part of their diet…which is great because a lot of times the organs of slaughtered food animals go to waste because not many humans like eating hearts or gizzards. The cats love them and they don’t go to waste!

  • Briggs

    I bet you’ll have a very happy pupper on Christmas morning!!! =)

  • Lori Prosser

    My chihuahua was given a cooked chicken leg by my neighbour that done it behind my back. Because he knew that he was not supposed to have table food. My chihuahua also knew that. So he began to eat it very quickly and then swallowed it almost whole. And it got lodged sideways in his throat. He could breathe but not good at all. It was five minutes after closing time for my vet but I called anyway and they answered luckily. They told me to bring him straight to the office and I did. With their fingers they maneuvered it and got it out but it left a huge hole in his throat. He has had trouble every sense with sinus drainage or if he has to have canned food it clogs the hole in his throat that never healed. When he gets into stress with it I have to rub his throat to help push it down whatever is hung in it at that time. I have to watch him very closely whenever he eats. But I’ve always been told uncooked bones are soft and bend and are easier for them to digest and don’t usually injure their intestines or throat or anything like that. My ex-husband used to work at a dog food plant and believe me the machines can get off very easily and sometimes it takes a while to catch it. Cause quality control can’t be at every machine all the time. Good luck to all anyone that has a question go buy another bag and wait till after the holidays and call the company and ask him just make sure the knee bag is not on the recall list. Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year hope this helped

  • petsitter

    I have been feeding raw for years. Primal is an excellent company. The product they are speaking of is the freeze dried medallions, not frozen pure raw. When you feed raw, you should be feeding the whole diet which consist of 70% raw meats of your choosing, 15% organ meat and 15% fruits and veggies you make up yourself in a food processor or you can buy a meal mixer such as Honest Kitchen or Urban Wolf which is much easier. The dogs should then be fed 20-30% RMB’s which stands for Raw Meaty Bones. Which is turkey necks, chicken necks, chicken quarters, duck necks and feet. Most people that feed this type of product don’t do the whole raw diet as should be done for full benefit of the dogs and cats. That is why it is called primal. Brings them back to their TRUE ancestoral diet. The freeze dried is fine, but to be feeding raw and reaping the true rewards of the raw diet you should be buying the primal raw frozen also. The bones in the freeze dried are ground up so small that they will NOT hurt your dog in any way. Kudos to primal for catching it and correcting it for those dogs that are strictly on the freeze dried food as a small change could take place in the calcium and phosphorous ratio found in the increase of bone and cause a mild , very mild, basically non noticeable change in stool.

  • Tasha Matherly

    This is not a big deal. This is raw food. Raw food has bones. They just have a requirement that the bones be smaller than they went out. Raw bones are both chew-able and digestible. It just a minor quality control issue. Thumbs up for primal wanting to fix it. It’s unlikely this will pose any health problems for the animals.

  • Cathy Koh

    Oh great, another recall! There better not be a ZiwiPeak recall… I just bought the treats for Browny’s Christmas present.

  • DonnaHok

    These freeze dried food is uncooked. Uncooked chicken bones as well as others are safe for animals. It’s when you cook the bone that it becomes brittle. The food is based off the Barf diet.

  • LesaC

    Try to call your vet and tell them what is going on and they should be able to better advise you. Wish I could be more help but I am just a Mom of 4-legged babies certainly no expert.

  • DonnaHok

    I’m also a buyer but I do know that at times machines used can get out of specs and thus cutting things to large or to small.

  • Safierdrgn

    They’re discs of freeze dried ground up meat/bones. Almost like a stringy powder if you break them apart. This is the first time I’ve seen a problem with this particular food. Fed it to my dog for many years…it’s quite expensive as well.

  • gina parry

    Right, Paula. So the product is called Primal? Never heard of it in Ky or Cincinnati, if that’s the name of it. And is it in a bag? Does it have to be refrigerated? Or is it dry kibble?
    I would be worried about a shard of bone poking a hole in the intestines, and the larger the dog the less likely there would be a problem. Your dogs are probably safe if they have not exhibited and signs or any discomfort.
    Once my little poodle swallowed a pork chop bone whole. Our vet didn’t have that small of a scope to get it out of his stomach, and recommended another vet. They wouldn’t see me until the next morning. There were no emergency vets back then. Well, the new X-ray showed that Rowdy had passed it through all his intestines, up to the colon. At first I was upset that they couldn’t get it with the scope. Then I realized that he was going to poop it out at any time. And he did, while I was writing the vet a check for $300.
    All that time, I was the one in distress, not little Rowdy.

  • paulaecohen

    Does anyone know what this means? I called but can only get voicemail — Merry Christmas to them – mine is ruined. I thought they test before release. How do they know it is just these (many) lots. I have bought many many bags of this. I do keep the labels from everything. What about turkey and sardines? What about venison? Lamb? Is this a minor issue — i.e., the size they target is for maximum absorbability or something — or is the product dangerous? Could my dogs have accumulated bone fragments in their digestive systems? Any insights from anyone would help since I can’t get it from Primal. Seems like when they have a recall — they should staff up to address it – not disappear for the holiday while we are terrified.

  • Alan Patrick

    Why does this stuff ever get past quality control and onto the shelves before they decide it’s not safe. Come on let’s make sure its safe BEFORE it leaves the production plants. Save our babies