Eight years ago, thousands of dogs and cats died after being poisoned by contaminated food.
The world\'s largest pet food company has removed more than 100 different products from store shelves.
Since the government did not track animal deaths, there are still no official deaths in large pet food recalls.
But experts estimate that at least 8,000 pets have died.
Slaughter is an opportunity for the Blue Buffalo.
In just five years, the company, proud of its \"natural, healthy\" products, has become one of the most powerful players in the pet food industry.
In a highly concentrated industry, its rise is no small feat ---
According to the trade publication Petfood Industry, Mars Petcare, together with Nestle Purina, controls about half of global sales.
Blue Buffalo has deployed a strong advertising budget to portray its products as more nutritious than inferior \"big name\" competitors ---
Terms often used in commercial advertising.
With the recall making headlines, Blue Buffalo launched a new advertising campaign online and in the newspaper to inform the consumers concerned that its products are a safe alternative to those that have been removed from the shelves.
For a while, these ads seem to have boosted the company\'s image.
But in April-
More than a month after competitors face music-
The Blue Buffalo admitted that there was a similar problem with the production of its kitten food.
A week later, the company expanded its recall to include all of its canned dog food, a whole line of canned cat food and snacks sold as a \"health bar.
\"The story of Blue Buffalo is about the advertising glut of more than one company.
This represents almost all the problems in the pet food industry, and also represents how much changes have taken place in the industry and government agencies that regulate it since the most disastrous pet food safety incident in modern history.
It\'s a story that has a clear impact on human food safety, and it\'s also a warning to the rest of the US economy, in these industries, backward regulators are working to keep pace with the increasingly complex global supply chain.
Most pet food is safe.
But the recall is still routine.
Slow development of pet food industry
Reform, medical reformand safety-
Conscious consumers often turn to expensive alternatives
Sometimes this futile pursuit actually puts their pets and even human family members at risk.
The pet industry is booming.
According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $58 billion on pets last year, with food alone exceeding $22 billion.
The pet food market has grown by more than 75% since 2000, and almost all of the growth has been high.
End the \"premium\" industry, according to Euromonitor International.
And the market seems very flexible.
Even during the worst downturn in the Great Depression, overall spending on pet food is actually increasing.
The pet food recall in 2007 did not change pet consumption.
This trend has been around for years.
However, the growth in the luxury pet food market shows that vendors still have a lot of room to make money in a poorly regulated industry.
The United States now has more dog families than families with children.
As more couples delay their children
Keeping a pet, or simply rejecting it completely, often becomes the emotional focus of the family and an opportunity for lovers to show their commitment to each other.
There is a reason for Blue Buffalo to register this sentence: \"love them like family members.
Feed them like family.
\"Fancy pet food is still a lot cheaper than childcare, and professional couples with money to burn have become easy signs.
The premium pet food market is dominated by a handful of big companies.
According to pet food industry data, Mars pet food is the world\'s largest pet food company with annual sales of more than $17 billion.
It is also the parent company of many high-tech enterprises.
Most consumers don\'t agree with its flagship brand. Hippie-
Yahoo\'s favorites, including California nature, Evo, Nutro, Eukenuba, and Innova, are mars Hydra.
The high-end market is also where Blue Buffalo pulls its $0. 75 billion in annual sales from consumer wallets. A 30-
Shipping a bag of Blue Buffalo lamb and brown rice formula from Amazon for $43. 99, about $1. 46 per pound.
In contrast, Wal-Mart\'s sales are 50.
A bag of Purina Dog Chow is available for just $22.
98, 46 cents per pound.
The price of the Blue Buffalo bag has tripled, promising to provide a \"comprehensive\" formula, including \"healthy whole grains\", \"healthy fruits and vegetables \", registered \"source of life section\" and \"active nutrients and antioxidants\" for the health and health of your dog\"being.
\"With the claim of the health benefits of pet food, these benefits are relatively small.
Dozens of companies advertise professional \"skin and coat\" or \"healthy joints\" products that show they will help prevent or treat itchy or arthritis of the skin-
This is a common pain problem for many dogs.
Pet Smart, a major retailer, owns the entire sales category of \"skin and fur\" dog food.
There is often little scientific evidence to support these so-called health benefits.
\"You don\'t need to have any real evidence,\" said Dr.
Kathy Michel, professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary College.
\"Many of them are marketing.
\"Only drug marketing can make a clear causal claim for treating a disease or disease.
And drug regulatory review procedures--
Even animal medicine-
Much wider and much more expensive than food.
Pet food companies evade their health statements by keeping them vague.
As long as the boast of a company is limited to \"structure-
The Food and Drug Administration will no longer take care of it.
In practice, this means that marketers may say that a product \"supports healthy joints\" rather than boasting that it \"can prevent arthritis \".
\"There are equally fragile claims about the diet of many other fashionable pet foods, from gluten-
Eat raw food for free.
Available scientific evidence suggests that it is extremely rare for dogs to be allergic to gluten.
There is no data on the diet of raw food--
Popular with people who mistakenly think dogs are wild carnivores-
Provide any nutritional benefits that are superior to cheap brands.
Any theoretical therapeutic value provided by professional pet food may be invalid due to food safety issues. A two-
A study completed by the FDA in 2012 found that more than 16% of commercial raw pet foods were contaminated with lyricum, a bacteria that is fatal to humans.
More than 7% people have been contaminated with salmonella.
Healthy dogs have relative resilience to both pathogens, but many do nottop shape.
As any pet administrator knows, there must be someone feeding the animals.
If pet food is contaminated, human family members can easily get sick even if animals are not sick.
Touch the food, forget to wash your hands, or experience a fire on pet cleaning --up, and boom!
You\'re in the hospital.
In other words, it may be dangerous to pursue non-traditional dog food in the name of nutrition.
But stick to standards.
Dog food also does not guarantee the safety of you or your pet.
The largest lobbying group representing the largest pet food company is the Pet Food Institute.
According to a letter of comment submitted to the FDA, the salmonella contamination rates of these companies have declined since the 2007 incident.
It was \"15\" % at the time, and now it\'s just 2. 5 percent.
This improvement should prevent the FDA from implementing strict new testing standards for pet food safety, PFI said.
The PFI comment letter did not reveal salmonella contamination by price range. But 2.
There are 5% bags per 40 bags of pet food.
In the $22 billion market
5% of the market is worth more than a billion dollars.
Eight years after pet food recall-
The FDA has recorded 13 different pet food and treatment recalls, 10 due to contamination with salmonella or Liszt. (
This does not mean that plastic Nylabone will chew toys because of salmonella. )
Pedigree issued a recall in 2014 on the \"presence of foreign materials ---
If you swallow pieces of metal that can be harmful.
A year ago, California nature, Evo, Innova and other brands were recalled due to salmonella problems.
Diamond Pet Food has its own salmonella recall in 2012, including its standard fare brand and higher prices --
End taste of wild label.
\"In 2014, we launched a limited voluntary recall of certain Evo brands of dry cat food and ferret food, as well as dry dog food products of certain descent, mars spokeswoman Kaycie Williams told Huffington Post in a written statement.
\"In both cases, we quickly identified and corrected the problem.
Our quality and food safety programs meet and exceed industry standards;
However, we have been learning and looking for ways to better ensure the safety of pet food.
\"An unpleasant lawsuit between the Blue Buffalo and Purina has exposed many issues that experts say are common in the pet food industry.
In the cat and dog food market, Purina is a gorilla worth $12 billion, second only to Mars.
On May 2014, the company sued Blue Buffalo, accusing the small company of continuing false advertising, claiming that the company is better than \"big name\" dog food in nutrition and has no nausea.
Sounds like an animal by-product. -
Animals that humans do not usually like to eat, including chicken feet, neck and intestines.
Purina claims an independent analysis showed a large number of poultry by-products in Blue Buffalo food.
If Blue Buffalo fixes supply chain management after 2007, it will not face Purina in court.
But Blue Buffalo can\'t change.
Like similar names trusted by many consumers, the company is not primarily a pet food manufacturer.
This is a marketing company with limited control over packaged food.
Its founder, Bill Bishop, is a professional advertising guru who cut copies for a tobacco company before finally building the SoBe energy drink empire.
When Blue Buffalo announced its recall in April 2007, it accused its manufacturer, American nutrition.
A supplier of goods called Wilbur. Ellis.
ANI sells pet food with its own American pet nutrition label--
Brands including VitaBone, AttaBoy!
And Super resources
But its main business is to produce pet food for other brands.
According to the Blue Buffalo, ANI got a batch of rice protein from Wilber --
Ellis was contaminated with a chemical called melamine.
When ANI assembled all of its ingredients into Blue Buffalo food and started stamping canned cat and dog food, the melamine eventually entered the mixture.
Melamine is the core lethal ingredient in 2007 recalls.
Protein is the most expensive nutrient in any pet food, melamine is not only cheaper than the actual protein ---
It can deceive laboratory testing by releasing nitrogen like a protein, deceiving inspectors to think that poison is actually a health food.
This seems to be exactly what the two vendors were trying to get away with in the 2007 incident.
Melamine in Wilber
Ellis\'s products to ANI were eventually traced back to a Chinese supplier, and melamine was also used as an alternative to contaminated wheat proteins from other brands.
Until today, pet food consumers are very wary of any product containing Chinese ingredients.
In October 2014, when Blue Buffalo finally responded to Purina\'s allegations of reliance on poultry by-products, founder Bishop once again blamed a supplier: Wilber-Ellis.
He admits that Blue Buffalo is still accepting ingredients from the same supplier who injected poison into its products seven years ago.
The Blue Buffalo has been attacking competitors for years because their pet food contains poultry by-products.
But Bishop promises that his customers have nothing to fear: these by-products do not cause \"health, safety or nutrition\" consequences in Blue Buffalo\'s own food. Wilbur-
Ellis\'s spokeswoman, Sandra Garlieb, admitted that the products it sold to Blue Buffalo were labeled as \"wrong\", but said that they were \"commonly used in pet food,
Gharib said that the company has upgraded the processes and standards of the offending facilities to ensure compliance with the company\'s demanding quality requirements and to provide additional senior oversight to ensure that these requirements are met.
\"The Blue Buffalo did not respond to Huffington Post\'s inquiry about the article and is now suing Wilber --Ellis.
The company also filed a counterclaim against Purina, claiming that the larger company had a \"well-planned libel campaign\" against the Blue Buffalo \".
Pet food companies are getting rid of poor supply chain management because they are rich and powerful, the FDA is weak and underfunded.
With so many dead pets in so many congressional districts, the federal government cannot ignore the recall of pet food.
In 2010, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act with typical legislative efficiency. off.
The Act expands the FDA\'s power over pet food to enable the agency to implement a mandatory recall (
2007 recalls are \"voluntary\" actions taken by private companies in technology).
The legislation also directs the FDA to develop a rule that ensures the integrity of the pet food manufacturing supply chain and sets basic hygiene standards.
The idea is to prevent brand companies from looking at the problem from another perspective when suppliers ignore basic safety standards.
The new rules will be introduced in July 2012.
It has not yet been finalized and there are no other FSMA rules governing human food safety.
The agency is currently operating under a court order that requires the rule to be enforced by the end of 2015.
Consumer advocates expect the final rule to be strong, but many doubt that the FDA will be able to solve the problems plaguing the industry.
The agency has inspected only a small number of human food producers in the United States, and less abroad.
Pet food inspection is less and less.
\"We will have this wonderful law and these beautiful regulations, but if they are not implemented well, they are not worth writing on paper,\" said Tony Colbo, Food and Water Watch, consumers advocate senior lobbyists for the nonprofit Food campaign.
Even if the recall authority is expanded, FDA enforcement records are uneven at best.
After 2007 pet food recalls, there was nothing more serious than this, but since the same year, pet food problems have killed more than 1,100 dogs, based on a consumer complaint filed with the agency.
Although the FDA finally started issuing warning notices to consumers, it did not take action against specific brands.
After years of FDA inaction, the New York Department of Agriculture found unauthorized antibiotics in a pile of pet food in 2013 (
Again linked to poor standards in China)
And triggered a recall of Purina and Del Monte.
Purina spokesman Keith Schopp described the confusion of illegal antibiotics as \"inconsistent regulation between countries\" and did not constitute a \"pet health or safety risk \".
\"The FDA says it has been actively investigating treatment issues since 2011 and believes that antibiotics found by New York regulators are not responsible for death --off.
\"This is a particularly challenging investigation,\" an FDA spokesman told Huffington Post . \".
\"We continue to invest a lot of resources in the investigation, and regularly inform the public about the progress of the investigation, provide advice to pet owners and veterinarians, indicating that beef jerky is not important for a complete diet, and warn animals of symptoms to pay attention. \"But even anti-
Congressional regulators called for the agency to step up.
The House recently passed an appropriation bill requiring the FDA to provide half of the money to lawmakers
Annual report on its pollution treatment investigation.
Food safety advocates are concerned that problems in the pet food market may also herald problems in human food.
Later last year, the United StatesS.
The Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to allow Chinese processed chicken to be imported into the United States, although, like pet food, there are serious problems with human food safety regulation in China. (
No one has accepted the new broad deal from the US Department of Agriculture due to shipping costs, but food safety advocates worry that it is only a matter of time before Chinese chicken enters the USS. grocery stores. )
Food safety advocates have expressed similar concerns about expanding trade with Vietnam and Malaysia. U. S.
Regulators simply do not have the resources to oversee domestic production and import from poorly regulated international suppliers.
If there is any indication in the pet food industry that this will increase the international complexity of the supply chain-
Does anyone prepare food? --
Probably not a good idea.
But like other industries, the pet food industry has hired some lobbyists that have driven the weakening of regulation.
When the FDA first proposed rules on pet food and animal feed in October 2013, the company raised various objections from maintaining basic electronic records to testing whether food processing equipment contained pathogens.
Lobbying led by the Pet Food Association.
\"The industry has made great efforts in security,\" PFI spokesman Kurt Gallagher said . \".
\"Security is not an area of competition.
Gallagher Group lobby on behalf of the largest pet food brand-
Purina, genealogy, Iams and Cargill.
Blue Buffalo is also a member.