Nutro performed its own independent testing of the food. Here is their response to the issue:
Name: Julie Lawless
Subject: Info for you on recent Nutro story on PFPSA
This is Julie Lawless, corporate communications manager for Mars Petcare US and The Nutro Company. I wanted to make sure you had the latest information from us on the Nutro story posted on PFPSA for your readers. We conducted a thorough investigation and sent a retained sample of the food from the production run for Vitamin D testing. I wanted to share with you what we found (see info below). Thanks again, Julie
As a result of a consumer inquiry regarding possible elevated levels of Vitamin D in one lot of NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® Chicken Meal and Rice cat food, we sent a retained sample – taken at our factory from this specific lot – for independent testing. The lab that conducted this test is well-known for its expertise in Vitamin D analysis.
The test results confirm our previous analysis that the Vitamin D levels are well within AAFCO requirements and achieve the target Vitamin D level designed for this food. NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® cat food does not contain elevated levels of Vitamin D.
Claims of elevated levels of Vitamin D are being reported on the website of the Pet Food Product Safety Alliance (PFPSA). Our test results clearly indicate that PFPSA’s information is incorrect. In addition to the test results, a number of facts question the validity of the PFPSA claims.
Conversations with the consumer’s own veterinarian did not indicate that food was the cause of the cat’s illness. Furthermore, blood test results presented on the PFPSA.org website are not consistent with a diagnosis of a cat that has been consuming elevated levels of Vitamin D.
At Nutro, quality and safety are our most important priorities. We stand by the safety of our food. The consumer’s cat is now in good health and we are gratified that our food did not contribute to its recent illness.
Wondering whether to trust the PFPSA or Nutro on this issue, I visited the PFPSA website. http://www.pfpsa.org/ This website is filled with inaccuracies, half-truths and downright dangerous information!
On the page touting recent "news" they is a tirade against Nutro for a presumed problem with their cat food. Here is a direct quote from that page discussing the cat supposedly affected by hypervitaminosis D from tainted Nutro food.
"ANALYSIS: High white blood cells and high lymphocytes generally indicate some kind of immune response. Diseases, allergies, toxins, drugs and foreign bodies can all trigger such a reaction See link. The other high values are consistent with liver problems and possible impairment of the kidneys."Well we don't have any report of what exactly is meant by "high".... few specific results are mentioned. High results across the board on blood tests most often indicate....dehydration! The main indicator of kidney function, creatinine, is not mentioned, so it is unclear why they believe there is "potential kidney impairment." From a study of basic anatomy, one would know that lymphocytes ARE a variety of white blood cell, and significant elevation of white blood cell count is usually associated with infection. Less likely are the other problems cited here. ALT can rise if the patient is taking medications metabolized by the liver, such as tylenol, aspirin and antibiotics. Viral diseases such as hepatitis, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex -- can also elevate the ALT, as can gall bladder disease. One must evaluate these finding in conjunction with the clinical presentation and assessment of the patient...lab results alone cannot be relied on in most situations.
The entire "news" page rants on with erroneous logic and unreasonable analysis and conclusions, asserting several times that Vitamin D is rat poison. Well, just about ANYTHING in excess is toxic....including water.
The PFPSA states
"No reasonable person, of average intelligence, could view the research, data, circumstances and symptoms, without reaching the inevitable conclusion this food was the sole cause of this pet's near death experience."I don't think we are dealing with any "reasonable person of average intelligence" on this PFPSA website.
I also visited their "recepie" page. Setting aside the fact that they can't even manage to spell the word "recipe" correctly, I continued on. There is a grand total of ONE recipe on this page, giving the impression that variety in the diet is inconsequential. There is no mention of the benefits of fish and fish oil, no mention of natural sources of vitamins and minerals such as liver and eggs. The "recepie" includes the use of crushed vitamins and Ca-Mg-Zn tabs with NO MENTION of any sort of dosage. Good lord, isn't this the very problem that they are criticising Nutro for? Again the assertion that Vitamin D is "rat poison"...they fail to mention any natural sources of vitamins A and D that are necessary to good health such as fish, liver in addition to eggs....all of which should be included on a regular basis as part of a healthy, varied diet for pets.
The PFPSA "recepie" further instructs us to add a powdered supplement of the amino acid taurine, because according to this group "there is too little of it in lean muscle meat to meet your pet's needs." This is patently absurd. The richest source of taurine is seafood and meat, so if there is a basis of meat in the diet, lack of taurine will not be a problem. It is high heat and pressure involved with producing kibble and canned food that can destroy taurine. And remember, the sole source of powdered taurine today is China....a risky source as we have seen with importation of tainted supplements in the recent past debacle involving melamine and cyanuric acid. Why would PFPSA suggest that anyone add supplements to their pet food, most likely sourced from China, with no dosing information? This is highly irresponsible.
I believe that commercial pet food is a poor source of nutrition for our pets, and am all for education and information, but overstating the case is not helpful. It is difficult to take a source seriously when they don't do their homework and don't have even a basic, minimal understand the topic at hand.
Having extensively researched dog and cat nutrition personally, I have come across several reliable and useful reference sources. The best overall site for factual, practical and useful information on pet food is Lew Olsen's B-Naturals website. http://www.b-naturals.com/
A visit to this website will provide the reader with a wealth of information about commercial vs home made diets, raw vs cooked foods. Variety in the diet is stressed. Sample recipes are included. Lew also has some fascinating articles on the history of commercial pet foods.
Another excellent site is Mary Straus's website http://www.dogaware.com/ which contains comprehensive information on dog nutrition and health.
Here are links to a series of articles on dog nutrition that summarize and explain important details:
Summary with recipes:
Let's research and present the facts on pet nutrition rationally, basing our decisions on knowledge and research.