Hoaxes & Rumors

Pedigree Dog Food Safety: Jumbone Recall Hoax

Pedigree Dog Food Safety: Jumbone Recall Hoax
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A heavily-shared social media post in late 2014 claims that Pedigree UK has recalled Jumbone treats. The rumor, however, is not true.

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2014 Jumbone Recall Hoax

In late 2014, a Facebook post received heavy social media sharing. That user claimed that there was a recall by Pedigree UK of Jumbone treats. It stated:

URGENT. Don’t give your dogs these. Pedigree Uk are re-calling them. You need to contact them if your dog has had one/been poorly. Please let all your doggy friends and family know.

The popular December 2014 Facebook post appears to be a shortened variation of an earlier post from November 2014 in which it was claimed that a dog became ill after eating a Jumbone treat.

Please don’t give these to your dogs!! Our Woody is really poorly, and has been violently sick about 12-15 times in the past 10 minutes with crippling stomach pains.

UPDATE: We have just had to rush him to the vet, where he’s has 2 massive injections, one for his brain, and they’ve completely knocked him out! £113 later we are glad he is alive!! The vet couldn’t urge strongly enough how many dogs have become ill because of these bones!

22/11/14 – IVE HAD A PHONECALL FROM PEDIGREE UK THIS MORNING AND THEYRE MAKING AN URGENT FULL INVESTIGATION INTO WHY THIS PARTICULAR TREAT MADE MINE AND SO MANY OTHER DOGS ILL.

To all of you asking how it’s making dogs ill, I’ve heard from quite a few professionals and vets that it will have something to do with the various sugars they contain. It’s now hopefully under investigation with Pedigree themselves, so will keep you all posted. Thanks for your concern.

Despite thousands of shares online, the unsubstantiated assertion regarding a recall was finally debunked by Pedigree UK on December 22, 2014.

The Facebook user who originally posted the photo and the account of her dog’s illness did not provide any additional updates after November 24, but the post continued to receive heavy social media sharing throughout December 2014.

While the claim about a Pedigree recall was quickly debunked, it is unclear if the source of the dog’s illness was pinpointed.

The Jumbone recall hoax harkens back to a more convoluted story of Pedigree dog food safety, which circulated heavily on social media in 2013. Below is that original 2013 story.

2013 Pedigree Safety Social Media Post

The 2013 Pedigree safety debate began with a viral post by a dog owner whose pet fell ill after consuming the product. That post stated the following:

This photo of an ill dog is unrelated to the 2013 accusations against Pedigree dog food.

“FOOD WARNING! This is HUGE – a post I saw that exposes a deadly threat if you use Pedigree dry food… and I sincerely hope you don’t. Please read & heed!!!

IF THERE IS A CHEMIST WHO CAN HELP, I HAVE THIS BAG OF PEDIGREE DOG FOOD THAT KILLED MY DOGS, AND NEED TO KNOW WHAT POISON WAS IN THERE. OH YES, I AM ANGRY. PEDIGREE DRY DOG FOOD WOULD BE MY ANSWER.. 271 COMPLAINTS 2013 ONLINE.. SYMPTOMS SIMILAR TO PARVO. VOMIT YELLOW BILE, LETHARGIC, THEN JUST BEFORE DEATH, BLOOD FROM ANAL. JUST LOST MY PRECIOUS DOGS… HAPPENED SO FAST, WITHIN 48 HOURS. TAINTED BAG OF PEDIGREE DRY SMALL BREED FORMULA IN MY CASE. EPIDEMIC. BUYER BEWARE. NO RECALL. IF THIS HAPPENED IN YOUR FAMILY, GET WORD OUT AS THERE IS NO RECALL. I AM HIRING AN ATTORNEY.”

Such all-caps social media posts are often baseless, fake warnings without any details or substantiation. In fact, this post was accompanied by an unrelated photo of a poisoned dog, taken back in 2011. There are few specifics in the post, and the claims were not proven.

Pedigree eventually responded to the message above.

Pedigree Response

On August 14, 2013, Pedigree issued the following statement in response to the message above:

August 14, 2013

Since August 7th, a post alleging the PEDIGREE® Brand is responsible for the death of two dogs in the Tampa, Florida area has been circulating on Facebook. Like you, we were concerned to hear about this and we’d like to share with you what we know.

Here are the facts:

The safety and well-being of pets is our top priority and we take every consumer inquiry seriously. We’ve been in contact with the consumer and we are continuing to fully investigate the situation.

Our production records for the consumer’s product met all of our stringent quality standards. This is in addition to the more than 600 quality checks we perform in our factories each day, and why we have no reason to believe our food played any role in this unfortunate situation.

The emotional and disturbing photo associated with this post is not a picture of the consumer’s dog. In fact, this photo was shared by an individual unrelated to the situation and was taken more than two years ago. The dog in the photo is unrelated to this situation and unrelated to our food. Like you, we are disheartened to see this photo cause confusion among our dog-loving community but we’re glad to report that the dog in the photo is doing fine. Click here to see where this photo originated.

Consumers can continue to feed Pedigree to their dogs. We are confident that our food is safe and we feed it to our own pets.

At Pedigree, we’re for all dogs. We encourage any consumer who has additional concerns to contact us directly at 1-800-525-5273 M-F 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT, contact us through our Web site or direct message us on Facebook.

Case closed?

Pedigree was in contact with the owner, the photo is fake, the claims were unsubstantiated, and Pedigree was said to be safe. One would assume that would be the end of the story, but this was not the case.

Consumer Affairs

While the all-caps post circulating on Facebook included an unrelated photo and unsubstantiated claims, some consumers pointed to a sharp increase in complaints at Consumer Affairs regarding Pedigree dog food.

The number of complaints regarding Pedigree on Consumer Affairs did, in fact, see a notable increase in mid-2013:

  • November 2013: 19 complaints
  • October 2013: 18
  • September 2013: 23
  • August 2013: 48
  • July 2013: 14
  • June 2013: 9
  • May 2013: 10
  • April 2013: 8
  • March 2013: 5
  • February 2013: 5
  • January 2013: 3

The number of complaints suddenly increased in August 2013, followed by a slow decrease in complaints in the ensuing months.

NaturalNews

An article on NaturalNews entitled “Pedigree dog food may be endangering your pet, yet no recall despite over 300 complaints from customers” claimed that were “hundreds of complaints in recent days” at Consumer Affairs. This is incorrect. At that point there had been 97 complaints in 2013, and just over 300 in total, dating back to 2007. Despite this factual error, there is a lengthy and lively discussion among commenters regarding the experiences of dog owners who had fed Pedigree to their dogs.

Dog Food Advisor

This exhaustive website rates Pedigree dry dog food 1 out of 5 stars, describing it as a “below-average dry dog food” and “not recommended.” The site includes hundreds of comments related to Pedigree, mostly negative.

Pedigree Facebook Page

Some consumers commented on Pedigree’s Facebook page, claiming that the food sickened or even killed their pets. Pedigree has typically responded with a cut-and-paste answer, which has done little to appease upset pet owners. A typical response reads:

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The safety and well-being of pets is our top priority, which is why our food is manufactured in our own factories where we perform more than 600 quality checks each day. We assure you our dog food is safe. We encourage any consumer who has additional concerns to contact us directly at 1-800-525-5273 M-F 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT or direct message us.

Eukanuba Recall

Though there appears to be no connection, some dog owners have pointed out the timing of the rash of Pedigree complaints with a voluntary recall issued by Procter & Gable recently around the same time. Some lots of Eukanuba and Iams dry dog foods were recalled due to a salmonella risk. Pedigree is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated and has no connection to Procter & Gamble.

What to do

If you believe your pet has been adversely affected by pet food, take your dog to a veterinarian. Keep the packaging for any food in question and file a report at the The Safety Reporting Portal. You will want to take note of the food name and lot number.

Bottom Line

In late 2014, a social media post stated that a dog had fallen ill after consuming a Jumbone treat. It was then falsely asserted that Pedigree UK had issued a recall of that product. Pedigree UK declared the rumor a hoax.

In mid-2013 there appeared to be an increase in complaints regarding Pedigree dry dog food, but the cause for such a surge was never discovered.

Have you had problems with Pedigree dry dog food or Jumbone treats? Let us hear from you in the comments below.

Sources

Updated December 23, 2014
Originally published August 2013

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