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Warning about Purina pet food - Input Junkie
January 5th, 2012
10:58 pm

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Warning about Purina pet food
ETA: I checked some more, and there's almost no evidence of serious problems with Purina pet foods other than that at consumeraffairs.com, which suggests to me that the problems don't exist. I think I was had.

Lots of serious complaints-- I'm not the first to post about this. The short version is that a lot of cats and dogs, some of whom had been eating Purina food for years, have been getting very sick, and some of them have died of it. There are problems with maggots and other insects in the dog food, and cats getting diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.

No one seems to know what's specifically wrong with the food (or in the case of maggoty dog food, what's gone wrong with the company), but I'd say avoid the stuff. It sounds like some kind of organizational collapse.

No, I just checked.... Salmonella contamination recall for a couple of lines of cat food in July However, I'm not sure that's the problem generally.

Kit and Kaboodle seems especially problematic among the cat foods. Purina One Lamb and Rice came up a lot in the dog complaints.

Oddly, I'm seeing all this at the link above, but a casual look at Purina ratings at amazon doesn't seem to show a lot of serious complaints, so I'm not sure what's going on there. Not very many people review pet food, though.

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From:houseboatonstyx
Date:January 6th, 2012 06:25 am (UTC)
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Amazon might be censoring the reviews. Either because they're selling the products, or because Purina might sue them.
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 6th, 2012 07:00 am (UTC)
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It's conceivable, but Amazon generally includes negative reviews-- sometimes a lot of them for a single product.

Also, I think that if people tried to post negative reviews because their pets were seriously sickened or killed by a product and then those reviews didn't appear on amazon, those people would be screaming bloody murder online.

My tentative theory is that most people buy Purina pet foods in stores. It's a very popular brand (though perhaps not for too much longer). Only a small proportion of customers have gotten obviously defective food, and it's not enough to show up in the amazon reviews.

Another possibility is that only some factories (I'm assuming that Purina has more than one) are supplying defective food, and none of them are shipping for amazon.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:January 6th, 2012 10:51 am (UTC)
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I've seen strong evidence that Amazon suppresses negative reviews if the product seller wants them suppressed. Most don't ask for censorship, so there are still a lot of hostile reviews, but I don't consider Amazon reviews a trustworthy measure.

It's also possible for a competitor or someone with a grudge to flood sites with libelous reviews under different names and IP addresses, so you can't tell much from that either. I don't worry until I see something from identifiable, somewhat trustworthy sources.
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 6th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
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That's very nicely balanced paranoia. Thanks.

I thought the prose was varied enough at the complaint site to be unlikely to be one person, though.
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From:orangemike
Date:January 6th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
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That's not a "reliable source" (as we say in Wikipedia), especially when all the complaints are at the same unmoderated website.

That said: don't consider anything posted on Amazon's website as evidence for or against anything else. I've never seen a viler nest of spamming, vandalism and generally hinky behavior, precisely because it is so widely used.
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 6th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I've found amazon reviews to be quite useful for finding good tai chi, chi gung, and self-help books, but I don't just count the stars or look at their distribution.

First test for a self-help book (assuming I'm not already enthusiastic about the author): Did people use the recommendations, or did they just like reading the book? Then, are the results they got something I want?

Are negative reviews bad tempered about something minor, or do they seem relevant?

It's possible that these areas are less messed up than some other parts of amazon. Which areas have you looked into?
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From:orangemike
Date:January 7th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
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My experience was that when I looked at any Amazon review page, there was a probability approaching 1 that at least three "reviews" will be ads or blurbs written by the author, his/her spouse or parent, or the same hack who writes the poorer sort of jacket copy; and at least two more will be thinly-veiled attacks by her/his worst enemies or ideological foes. This experience has been improved, in recent years, by simply adopting a policy that (since I will never buy from the sonsabitches anyway) I just avoid coming anywhere near the place.
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From:orangemike
Date:January 7th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
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I will also point out that maggots and insects in food, however they may gross mere humans out, are not necessarily unhealthy in any way for animals. I have never eaten witchety grubs; but I did once have some cockroach pilaf served at a museum lecture. Crunchy AND chewy!
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