Nutro Products

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Nutro Products, Inc
Type Private fully owned subsidiary
Industry Animal care
Founded 1926 as Nutro Products in Industry, California, USA
Headquarters Franklin, Tennessee, USA
Area served Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and USA
Products Pet food
Owners Mars, Incorporated
Website www.nutro.com

Nutro Products, Inc., a subsidiary company of Mars Incorporated, is the developer and manufacturer of the MAX, NATURAL CHOICE and ULTRA brands of dog and cat food, as well as GREENIES treats. The company is headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, USA.

History[edit]

John Saleen purchased a dog food company from a British businessman in 1926 and changed the company name to Nutro Products. Moving to Industry, California, it was a family-run business with products only available locally until the company was purchased in 1976 and expanded its market. Nutro Products are now available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Europe.

In 1985, with the help of Dr. Sharon Machlik, they developed and introduced their MAX line of foods which made use of a chicken, lamb and rice formulation. Instead of traditional advertising, the company chose to produce large amounts of literature on the dietary needs of dogs and cats, with comparative information on their ingredients versus the ingredients of other brands, and provide this to their retailers, as a marketing tool.[citation needed]

The company was acquired by Mars, Incorporated in 2007,[1] and the headquarters was moved to Tennessee.

Products[edit]

Nutro develops several different diet formulations, including canned, soft foods as well as bagged, dry kibbles. They have MAX CAT and Natural Choice lines for cats, and the Nutro Max, Natural Choice, and Ultra lines for dogs. Each line has a selection of flavors and formulations for age range. The Ultra line was specifically created with the intent of creating a high-end holistic dog food.[citation needed]

Nutro dry foods are made through an extrusion process, and packaged with vitamin E as a natural preservative.[2]

In 2006, it was announced that Nutro's Adult Lamb and Rice formula had become the #1 lamb and rice dog food in America. This earned the company a blue ribbon on their food.[citation needed]

Food safety and criticism[edit]

In 1998, two samples of Nutro Premium (together with various other brands) were subject to qualitative analyses for pentobarbital residue by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) due to suspicion that the anesthetizing drug may have found its way into pet foods through euthanized animals, including cats and dogs. DNA test for all the samples failed to detect cat and dog DNA but Nutro's two samples tested positive for the drug, presumably from rendered cattle. The CVM stated that due to the low level of exposure, the risk of adverse effects is low.[3][4]

In March 2007 Nutro was listed as a company affected by the Menu Foods recall.[5]

In April 2008, consumeraffairs.com reported multiple cases of diarrhea, vomiting and other intestinal problems in pets fed Nutro products. Nutro stated that their products undergo rigorous safety testing and are 100% safe. Some customers have backed the company, saying that their pets are not having any problems with the food. Veterinarians interviewed states that it might not necessarily be the food that is causing problems.[6] In September 2008, the Pet Food Product Safety Alliance (PFPSA) tested samples of Nutro dog food in response to the consumer complaints on consumeraffairs.com and found levels of copper in excess of AAFCO recommendation. Zinc levels were approximately 2-4 times the minimum recommendation of 120 ppm but still within the maximum recommendation of 1000 ppm. The PFPSA has criticized the recommended zinc levels as excessive as even the minimum recommended levels are 10 times that of adult human requirements(based on body weigh). PFPSA has also stated that the symptoms of zinc toxicity are consistent with consumer complaints regarding Nutro dog food.[7][8] Nutro rejected PFPSA's claims stating that both zinc and copper levels were within recommended levels, reiterating that their products undergo "rigorous quality assurance testing".[9]

In May 2009, Nutro issued a recall of selected dry cat food due to excess levels of zinc and low levels of potassium which the company blames on a production error by a premix company. Nutro stated that it received no complaints related to the recall. Symptoms includes "reduction in appetite, refusal of food, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea."[10] Both consumeraffairs and PFPSA have claimed a link between this incident and earlier complaints and also questioned Nutro's claim of quality control and product testing.[11][12] In June, lab tests of a sample of Nutro Max Cat Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor showed zinc levels at 2100 ppm. Dr. Stephen Hansen, a veterinary toxicologist and senior vice-president of Animal Health for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) described the zinc levels as "awfully high". While he stated that the long term effects of such levels are not known, he mentioned the possibility of "significant intestinal upset and liver and kidney damage." Unlike the 1000 ppm maximum for dog food, the cat food maximum set by AAFCO is 2000 ppm. In comparison, the European Union's maximum for all animal feed is 250 ppm with a recommended maximum of 150 ppm.[13]

Nutro Products, Inc. has been criticized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for hiring below–par animal testing laboratories to test their products. The company denied that it employs animal testing.[14]

References[edit]

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