Pet Food Recalls Are Rising as More Warnings Issued

Pet food recalls have increased in recent years, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) records reviewed by Newsweek.

The number of pet food-related recalls totaled 16 in 2023, including two in February, three in March and the rest after August 1. Recalls involved dry and raw food, as well as liquid probiotics, for animals including dogs, cats, equines, swine, birds and even catfish offered through various brands.

As of May 18 of this year, there have been six pet food recalls that beyond the mentioned animals have affected cattle, chickens and rabbits. There were two recalls in January and three in April.

Are Pet Food Recalls Rising?
Pet food recalls by the Food and Drug Administration have ebbed and flowed in recent years, with the current year’s totals almost reaching half of all recalls in 2023.

Newsweek illustration/ Getty Images

The most recent recall last week resulted from concerns about 315 44-pound bags of dry dog kibble sold under the name Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Grilled Steak & Vegetable Flavor Dry Dog Food produced by Mars Petcare US. The voluntary recall, which affected products sold in Walmart stores in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, was due to bags containing loose metal pieces.

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“The potential presence of loose metal pieces in the bag could pose a health hazard to pets,” the FDA said. “If you believe your pet has consumed the affected product, you should monitor for unusual behavior and contact a veterinarian in the event of any concerns.

There were 26 pet food recalls between 2018 and 2022, including four in 2018, six in 2019, eight in 2021 and eight in 2022. There were no recalls in 2020.

Aside from Pedigree, brands with recalled products have included Purina, Blue Ridge Beef, Simply Nourish, Merck Animal Health, Ozona, Freshpet and NutriSource.

The FDA received 971 pet food-related complaints in January 2024, according to a department response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the pet consumer advocacy group Truth About Pet Food.

According to the FDA’s response, 886 reports involved Purina products, while the remaining 85 reports were from 24 brands in total. Of those 24, 15 had two or more complaints while nine had one complaint.

The incidents led to 1,312 incidents of sick pets this year.

“The pet symptoms provided in the FDA report ranged from minor to many very serious,” according to the FDA’s response to Truth About Pet Food. “Many pet owners reported their pets were bleeding from the rectum, vomiting blood, and many pet owners reported seizures.”

Public Interest Research Groups, composed of grassroots efforts for advocacy in areas like consumer protection and public health, reported in April that total food and beverage recalls nationwide increased by 8 percent in 2023 to more than 300, the most since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Update 5/21/24, 2:52 p.m. ET: This story was updated with more information.