Purina responds to social media rumors: "our food is safe"

Pet owners online say Purina-brand food is making animals sick, but the company insists that it is safe for them to eat in a statement posted to its website.

Pet parents continue to be understandably scared by an online rumor that there is an issue with Purina pet foods. This rumor is false, and we are saddened to see the confusion and fear that it has caused for pet owners. There are no health or safety issues with our products, and they can continue to be fed with confidence. 

In light of this rumor, our Quality Assurance team has reviewed all incoming consumer contacts, manufacturing, and quality assurance data (this includes ingredient testing, analytical data throughout the production process, and quality assurance post-production testing) for the past year. Additionally, our Office of Consumer Affairs, which takes calls and messages from pet parents and works closely with our quality assurance experts, veterinarians, nutritionists, a veterinary toxicologist and many others, to investigate product complaints, has reviewed its data from the past year. Thorough investigations by both teams have found no data or trend that would indicate a product issue that has not been previously addressed.

There will be no Purina recall. The company "adamantly denies there are any issues with its products," reports NBC News, which traced the rumors to a Facebook group called "Saving Pets One Pet @ A Time", beginning last month, and now exploding among Tik Tokers, who mostly just repeat the rumors in their Authoritative Influencer voices.

Group administrator Kelly Bone wrote in a post that she had received multiple reports of dogs or cats becoming suddenly ill or dying after eating Purina Pro Plan, a pet food formula for dogs and cats that comes in wet and dry varieties.

Purina had a voluntary recall a year ago after a report of a pet illness—"addressed quickly and without hesitation," it writes—but none since.

6. I've read that Purina may be doing a 'silent recall' of its foods. Is this true? All Purina pet food are safe to feed. We have no current or pending product recalls. There is no such thing as a 'silent recall,' and quietly retracting product from the market that has been proven to be harmful to pets would be both irresponsible and illegal. Information about any recall is shared immediately with the FDA, consumers, retailers and veterinarians.

Looking through the rumors and complaints there's an interesting phenomenon where introduced problems (things that aren't supposed to be in the food, like melamine or salmonella) become interchangeable with inherent problems (the listed ingredients are fundamentally bad). In all this is an inceptive conspiracy theory that was looking for a brand to make its vehicle and Purina—popular, premium mediocre, pet moms—got unlucky. Now it will absorb every pet ailment and upset owner who comes within memetic range of it.

Which is not to say, of course, that there isn't an unrevealed or undiscovered problem with the food.

A two-button problem—"capitalism at the stage where Purina cannot even know what is in its own dog food" vs "Tik Tokers mechanically performing everything that might get them attention"—with panicking consumers in the middle.

And check this out from that Facebook group:

Do NOT agree to send the pet food company the food. If you feel compelled to do so, only send a small portion. Keep the rest of the food in the freezer in original packaging.
Do NOT send the medical records to the pet food company. Document your conversation with the pet food company.⁠ ⁠ The pet food company may eventually say they will pay your vet bills and reimburse you for your pet food. If you agree to this they will ask you to sign a form which will prohibit you from taking legal action.
Eventually, if there is a class action lawsuit you will be unable to join if you do this or if you want to file your own lawsuit.⁠