My dogs’ food was recalled last year.
Then the recall was expanded. Twice.
And I still use this food.

My dogs didn’t get sick, and I don’t want to diminish anything for anyone whose dog may have become ill. I know recalls are stressful and difficult. A lot of people would have given up on the brand. I suspect a lot of people did. But I still feed my dogs this food, and I’m here to tell you why. (**And at the end of the post, I’m giving away 3 bags, so you can enter and try it for yourself!)

The food I use is Innova, by Natura.
I first started using Innova after being introduced to it through a blogger event. I was impressed because the company actually invited bloggers to tour their factory and welcomed inspection and questions. That is a pretty bold thing to do. I wasn’t able to travel to attend the tour, but I did learn a lot about the brand. So I started feeding because of the blogging event. But I stayed with the brand because my dogs–and I–liked the food.

Then, last March, came the news that the food was voluntarily recalled due to a case of salmonella contamination. No illnesses were reported. A few weeks later, the recall was expanded as a precautionary measure, and then expanded again.

My dogs had consumed half the bag, but they weren’t sick. For a while, Innova and other Natura brand products were off the shelves. I tried a few different brands, but I never settled on one I liked. I kept researching ingredients and brands. In the end, I returned to Innova because:

1. I like the ingredients–the first two ingredients in the varitey I use are turkey and chicken, named protein. I also like the inclusion of fruits and veggies such as green beans, carrots, pumpkin, apples and berries.
2. The food ranks 4 to 5 stars on Dog Food Advisor, a trusted website.
3. Most of all, because my dogs do well on it. They aren’t itchy, their digestion is good, their poo is right, they maintain a proper weight. They seem healthy and look good.

But is the food safe? I asked Jason Taylor, Spokesperson for P&G Pet Care Communications, these questions, and he kindly replied:

1.    What caused the recalls last year?

Controlling Salmonella and other meat-borne bacteria is a challenge for everyone in the food industry, especially companies such as ours who use high quantities of fresh meats.

While we had performed numerous finished product quality control checks, our investigation determined that the most probable root cause of the salmonella was contamination of the kibble after it was cooked.

2.    What happened that the problem recurred after the first recall?
As we continued to receive data and work with the FDA, we voluntarily expanded the recall to include all Natura dry products out of an abundance of caution.

3.    What specifically has been done to resolve and improve the situation?
Working closely with independent experts and the FDA, we made improvements to our manufacturing process and established new practices, setting new standards in safety and quality. We implemented a new cleaning program, using highly effective dry cleaning and sanitization techniques that eliminate water, which can potentially harbor bacteria. We also increased equipment testing and created new access points in equipment to enable improved cleaning, monitoring and testing. All critical equipment that comes into contact with our products is cleaned, sanitized and tested daily. We also significantly increased our finished product testing. Going far beyond industry requirements, we now  take four times as many analytical samples and conduct twice as many tests on finished products. No products leave the plant until every test comes back clean.

Natura has committed $10 million in capital improvements at our Nebraska plant to continue our micro-mitigation journey, and we will continue to invest in our operations

4.    Can we feel confident Natura pet foods are safe?
Yes, just as our employees continue to feed Natura products to their beloved pets, we assure you that you can feed Natura products to your pets with confidence about their safety. Our products are subjected to well over 100 quality control checks throughout the manufacturing process. And, our Nebraska plant has earned multiple third party food safety and quality certifications, many of which are based on unannounced visits to the plant. With this world-class facility and our enhanced quality assurance program, we believe our products are among the healthiest in the world, and customers should have peace of mind about their safety.

5.    What would you like pet parents to know?
We know that these recalls disappointed our loyal customers; we were tremendously disappointed, as well. Natura has always focused – and will always focus – on high-quality ingredients, product safety and innovation in pet nutrition. We remain committed to making products you can trust, and are working harder than ever to prove it.

Thank you Jason.
I know that people have strong opinions about dog food and are loyal to their brands, and everyone does what they feel is best for their dog, and that’s not the same for everyone. I’m not trying to start a heated debate on the best food or why one is better or worse than another…I just hope to share the reasons why I stay with the food I choose.

I asked Natura if they would be willing to donate some products to a giveaway, and they graciously agreed. So, enter the Rafflecopter and you can try it out for yourself! Good luck!

Three lucky winners will each receive a large bag (25-30 lbs) of Natura Dog food. I’m giving away 1 large bag of Innova, 1 large bag Evo, and 1 large bag California Naturals. (OR, if your dog prefers wet food, Natura will substitute1 case of cans). Sorry, contest limited to the U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full Disclaimer- I wrote this post voluntarily, and was not compensated for this post. Natura provided me with 3 large bags (or cases of cans) of dog food for giveaway. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own

Note: I will provide Natura with your shipping address, but your privacy is important. They will not use your address for any other reason.

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