The following is an update on the report of nails found in a bag of Merrick dog food (kibble).
After publishing a report I received from a pet owner of nails found in a bag of Merrick dog food, I received a letter (email) from Greg Shearson, CEO of Merrick Pet Care. The letter asked me to update my story with Merrick’s response.
First, Merrick’s response… (I was not provided with permission to post the full response from Merrick, their email came to me with a privacy statement.)
I took Mr. Shearson’s response as honest and non-threatening (something that doesn’t always happen with responses from pet food – many are threatening). He stated to me, out of concern, Merrick would pay for an x-ray for Cooper (the dog that consumed the food). He stated Merrick initiated an investigation immediately when they received a complaint from the pet owner and found that it would be impossible for the nails shown in the customer’s photo to have entered the bag during production. And his letter doubted the pet food in question was Merrick’s.
Mr. Shearson stated Merrick takes pet health seriously and their number one priority is the company is doing everything they can to help care for pets. The letter also asked me to respond, the following was my response sent to Mr. Shearson’s Executive Assistant…
I received Mr. Shearson’s letter and yes certainly I will update the story. I have to share, I can’t say I agree with everything Mr. Shearson stated in his letter. Significantly his mention that the food wasn’t Merrick. The pet owner had this confirmed through the retail store – Petco. And I don’t believe the pet owner ever implied that the nails entered the food through manufacturing – at least all documents provided to me never showed that. I don’t think the pet owner made any assumptions on how this happened – I assumed from what I was told and the information provided to me that nails could have entered the food just prior to packaging. I felt – and still do – the pet owner was just concerned for his dog and wanted someone from Petco and Merrick to take his complaint seriously. When that didn’t happen, he turned to me (actually another organization suggested he contact me). As well, from this story, two pet store owners contacted me with several stories of issues with Merrick manufacturing that were not addressed fully with the pet owners.
Pet owners – myself included – are not in the manufacturing business. Needless to say, we do not understand the ‘ins and outs’ of pet food manufacturing. On the flip side of that, most manufacturers don’t seem to understand what it is like to trust the life of a beloved family member to a food. Year after year, recall after recall, we – pet owners – hear the same old story. ‘We take the utmost precautions’, ‘We have no other complaints’, and so on. Meanwhile, pet food labels can freely mislead pet food consumers, ingredient definitions do not adequately or accurately describe the ingredient, and quality of ingredients can run from human grade (legal) to the worst waste imaginable (illegal per federal law). Pet owners are left in the dark, almost entirely. I suggest to Merrick and any other pet food manufacturer to open your doors completely to pet owners. We only ask for transparency. I suggest as well, for Merrick and any other pet food manufacturer to become involved with pet owners to make permanent changes in pet food transparency. Stand with us against FDA Compliance Policies and evasive AAFCO regulations.
I hope you understand I or TruthaboutPetFood.com is not out to ‘get’ any pet food manufacturer. This website only encourages transparency and recognition of pet owner complaints.
Now, those other complaints that were shared with me since publishing the report of nails in Merrick Pet Food…
Kim Kalandar of Murphy’s Pet Food (Orlando, FL area) shared that in 2008 her own dogs and several client dogs had some serious issues with bone in canned Merrick dog food. Kim shared that “Ruby” head of customer service ultimately refused to talk to her about this issue. One of the dogs had to go through surgery to have the bone removed.
Another pet store in California shared a very recent story with pictures of a piece of plastic found in Merrick’s Brauts ‘n Tots.
This event (along with photos above) was reported to Merrick via Customer Service Department and discussed numerous times with a territory manager. Eight weeks later, the customer and the pet food store owner has not been provided with an explanation of how this piece of plastic entered the food. Eight weeks later, they have been told it is “still under investigation”.
So…to all pet food manufacturers…
While we respect you have a business to run, we encourage you to respect us in return; respect the pet food consumer. We have been treated poorly (to say the least) time and time again by the pet food industry over many, many years. You might just learn some valuable information if you begin to listen to our wants and needs.
Everyone is capable of a mistake. How the mistake is handled tells a great deal. Should human error occur, just tell us. Straightforward and promptly.
Educated petsumers are growing in numbers by the day. We are taking our pet food shopping dollars to companies that provide full transparency and who respect and appreciate their customers. Even respecting customers with complaints. I recommend all to learn to appreciate and work with educated pet food consumers; we are your future.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
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