The Consumer Affairs website reports hundreds of pet owner complaints of sick dogs after eating Beneful dog food. A recent post on Examiner.com shared the same startling information regarding Beneful. However an inquiry sent to FDA does not match the number of complaints posted on the Consumer Affairs website. Here’s what the FDA stated…
Consumer Affairs reported on January 8, 2013 their site had received a large increase in views of Beneful complaints and actual complaints over the last six months. Examiner.com stated there are “220 incidents” of sick or dying pets.
However the FDA told me (January 17, 2013) “FDA has averaged about 2-4 complaints about Beneful over the past year. We’ve received four additional complaints in the last 48 hours, but two of those were merely links to the Examiner article.”
So what is going on? Why the huge amount of complaints on the Consumer Affairs website regarding Beneful with the FDA only receiving a handful?
There are several possibilities…
1. It could be every single complaint on the Consumer Affairs website are legitimate reports of pet death or illness linked to Beneful, but only a few of these pet food adverse events were reported to FDA.
Should this be the case, this would be very, very unfortunate for pet food consumers in general. There is no way to ‘fix’ a pet food problem without FDA involvement. Like the FDA or hate the FDA, a pet food that is causing pet illness or death probably won’t be removed from store shelves without FDA involvement (there is no such thing as a voluntary recall).
2. It could be some of the complaints posted on the Consumer Affairs website are fictitious.
The Consumer Affairs website offers businesses (in this case, pet food manufacturers) the opportunity to respond to complaints posted on the site by becoming a member of ConsumerAffairs for Brands. At one point the ConsumerAffairs.com website provided full details of the fees involved to allow businesses the opportunity to respond to complaints posted on the site. It was pricey. That information has since been removed. The only information I could find currently was a post on ReputationManagementFor.com; a comment stated the fee was $299 per month plus a $500 set up fee. I completely understand that ConsumerAffairs.com has to make a living, but some interpret this fee-based service could result in fictitious complaints to pressure businesses to join.
To answer my own question – what is going on with Beneful? – we just don’t know. Pet food is Big Business – with Big Business comes the potential for cut throat methods to steal customers from your competitor. There are hired ‘consumers’ – on the payroll of one or another of Big Pet Food – paid to post negative comments all over the web. If that is what happened here (with the posts of sick/dying pets on the ConsumerAffairs.com website), Big Pet Food has reached an all time low.
To concerned pet food consumers, reports of sick or dying pets linked to a pet food is a very serious thing. If there are those out there faking these reports, your lies will eventually float to the surface…you will eventually be out-ed. It’s one thing to have one of your hired guns to post a glaring review of a genetically modified grain based pet food – it’s a completely different thing if you hire someone to fake reports of sick pets. Let’s hope you haven’t sunk that low.
Please, please, please – everyone – if you believe your pet has become sick or died due to a pet food or treat, report this to FDA and to your State Department of Agriculture. Here is the link to report to FDA: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm If your pet was treated by a veterinarian, please encourage your veterinarian to report the issue as well. To report to your State Department of Agriculture, visit your state website to get phone numbers, ask to speak to the pet food investigator.
If all of these reports of sick/dying pets are legitimate on the ConsumerAffairs.com website, more pets could be getting sick right now simply because the FDA cannot investigate what is not reported to them. That’s bad for all of us.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
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