Tuesday, June 16, 2009

PFPSA Confirms Toxic Zinc Levels In Nutro Cat Food

June 16, 2009

On May 22, 2009 – one day after Nutro Products recalled certain of its dry cat foods – the Pet Food Products Safety Alliance (PFPSA) purchased a bag of recalled cat food and submitted the unopened bag to University of Idaho Analytical Sciences Laboratory for analysis. The product was identified as:

Nutro Max Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor, Best by: 07 JUN 2010 07:17 2AD6 "A"

The lab test results, released today, confirm that this bag of cat food contained zinc at a level of 2,100 parts per million. PFPSA describes this as a "deadly" concentration of zinc – enough, based on the company's recommended daily feeding portion size to kill a 9-pound cat in just over two days.

It is disturbing that FDA has had nothing to say about the Nutro cat food recall. The agency's lips have been sealed ever since it released its April 28th statement on Nutro Products, Inc. At that time, FDA said,

"FDA is clarifying that Nutro Products, Inc. is not currently under investigation. FDA does not typically confirm or deny the existence of an FDA investigation. It has recently come to our attention, however, that a media report incorrectly concluded and reported that Nutro Products, Inc. was the subject of an investigation."

When we contacted FDA by email on May 27th to ask about the May 22nd Nutro cat food recall announcement, we were told that, "The FDA can neither confirm or deny whether a company is under investigation."

Why should it be necessary for PFPSA to do the FDA's job for it? And where is the "transparency" that the Obama administration has been promising?


  1. How is the 6400ppm potassium in that test result considered "low"?

    I hope CRF kitties will have the wet foods tested or avoid until tested, because the phosphorus in that dry food tested looked astronomical to me at

  2. FYI, this morning, I spoke with my local FDA Recall Coordinator, and also left a message for the New Orleans FDA Coordinator who's "handling" Nutro.

    Wanted them to know about the test results, just in case the FDA comes back later and says that no one told them - like they did in 2007.

    I've contacted the FDA repeatedly since the Nutro recall was announced - locally, Washington DC, New Orleans.

    IMO, they're NOT INTERESTED in what a pet owner has to say - just keep looping me around to the "communication" experts.

    I will continue to contact them if there are new developments.

  3. Potassium in this particular sample was not low. It's actually about double the NRC recommended minimum and right at the AAFCO recommended level.

    Calcium and phosphorus have to be balanced at approximately .8 phosphorus to 1 calcium. In this sample 11,000 ppm phosphorus to 14,000 ppm calcium is at the right ratio and not excessively over the recommended minimums.

    Some concerns might be raised over the long term effects of high sodium levels, but zinc is the smoking gun on this one. Chronic exposure to zinc at those levels would reach a lethal dose in a very short period of time, although the death would be far from quick and painless. It would be a slow and terrible nightmare for both the pet and its owner.

  4. Its a shame that 2 years after the largest pet food recall ever,pet owners still have to be the ones testing food for safety. Where are the new regulations ? Where are the safety procedures at the pfc's ? And most of all where is the media coverage so people aren't still using this food ?

  5. Ms, Entis, a new Nutro response: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/06/nutro-cat-food-recall-zinc.html

    Why do the still say at their website that they havent received any reports of affected pets? Ms Barrett says they are working with people who have contact them....
    and as far as their implication about NRC and zinc, this is at twitter: NRC in Mineral Tol pg 558 "Cats were found to vomit/refuse to eat meal containing 320/400mg zinc

  6. So this.."I have spoken with Nutro Products communications people and they are not reporting any proven connection with any consumer complaints and this recall.".. is posted as part of this http://tomcatnews.blogspot.com/

    I wonder who he spoke with (hoping it is not just one of the "twitter reps" for Nutro) and hope someone gets to the root of this...Reports on the net with catowners and vets trying to contact Nutro..someone IS lying...I happen to doubt it is vets and cat owners.. but I hope we get to see the truth play out...

  7. My beloved bengal, George, died last september aged 2 years, he got ill very quickly and the dignoses was Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)although never 100% confirmed. I had changed his food to Nuro a couple of months before he became ill, I am now wondering if this was the real cause of me losing my best friend.

  8. Shaking Nutro's Denial Tree:


    " The cat's requirement for zinc is probably between 15 ppm and 50 ppm."

    Per NRC: "In many instances, high dietary level of one mineral antagonizes another element, resulting in physiological deficiency of minerals essential for the animal. Because many different factors affect the quantity of a mineral needed to produce toxicity diverse observations have been reported on the toxic effects of any given mineral."

    Nutro has provided no science stating that the levels of zinc they put in their foods is safe , nor have they provided any proof that the composition of their foods is not adversely impacted by the levels of zinc. Nor have they provided any data to indicate their food is safe - feeding the Nutro food means you feed it all, not just the zinc.

    Safety is a two way street - the makers and those consuming. I'd bet on the impact on those consuming the food to be the true indicator of safety & nutrition before I would the Nutro denial program and lack of any proof to the contrary.

    Burden of proof rests with Nutro and they are not forthcoming.

    I would venture a guess that the lack of science to prove the overall composition of their food with zinc at those levels is actully safe is why they would not release the bloodwork of the cat populations they tested to the vet requesting them.

  9. Its interesting because so far the only people Ive seen that deny cats can get sick from eating this recalled food are Nutro, Nutro twitter reps and Tom Dock on his blog listed in a post above....the vet in this http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-7468-Providence-Pet-Health-Examiner~y2009m5d27-Nutro-cat-food-recall-Symptoms-to-watch-for-in-cats-fed-these-diets?#comments thinks otherwise as do all the people reporting sick cats at Consumer Affairs, twitter and other sites.


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