Natural Balance Pet Food Recall History

Has Natural Balance Ever Been Recalled?

Yes, Natural Balance has been recalled five times throughout its history. The most recent recall occurred on May 4, 2012 because of a salmonella contamination.

Prior to the 2012 recall, Natural Balance has been recalled four more times for salmonella, botulinum, and melamine contamination.

The Natural Balance brand was established in 1989 by an actor named Dick Van Patten. Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods is a subsidiary of Big Heart Pet Brands, which is owned by The J.M. Smucker Company.

Here's a comprehensive list of brands owned by Big Heart Pet Brands: Milk-Bone, Nature's Recipe, Kibbles 'n Bits, Pup-Peroni, Milo's Kitchen, Snanusages, Gravy Train, Canine Carry Outs, 9Lives, Meow Mix, and Pounce.

List of Natural Balance Recalls

May 4, 2012

Natural Balance Pet Foods issued a voluntary recall for select dry dog foods manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods. According to the company's press release, the affected products may be contaminated with salmonella.

The following recipes were included in the recall:

  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison Dog Food
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Food
  • Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Bison Dog Food
  • Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food
  • Natural Balance Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Dog Large Breed Bites

According to Natural Balance, none of the recalled products tested positive for salmonella. However, other products manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods tested positive for salmonella. Natural Balance decided to recall the recipes listed above as a precautionary measure.

June 18, 2010

Natural Balance issued a recall for Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food. The recall was issued in response to a positive salmonella test conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Here are the identifying details for the products included in the recall:

  • Name: Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Formula
  • Bag Size: 5 lbs or 28 lbs.
  • Bag UPC Codes: 7-23633-9000-4 or 7-23633-99002-8
  • Bale UPC Code: 7-23633-99003-5
  • Best By Date: June 17, 2011

July 21, 2007

Natural Balance was included in a recall issued by Castleberry's Food Company, a co-packer for canned Natural Balance pet foods. The recall was issued because of a ofbotulinum toxin contamination. Ofbotulinum toxin is a bacterium which can cause botulism.

Here are the potential side-effects of botulism (for humans) mentioned in the press release:

Botulism can cause the following symptoms: general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms.

Here are the identifying details for the products included in this recall:
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Irish Stew With Beef, Potatoes & Carrots, 15 oz can (UPC 2363359860)
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Chinese Take Out With Sauce With Vegetables and Chicken, 15 oz can (UPC 2363359861)
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs HOBO Chili With Chicken & Pasta, 15 oz can (UPC 2363359863)
  • Natural Balance Eatables for Dogs Southern Style Dumplings With Chicken & Vegetables, 15 oz can (UPC 2363359862)

April 27, 2007

Natural Balance issued a recall in response to the recall initiated by American Nutrition Inc., who manufactures canned pet food for Natural Balance.

Here is an except from the press release:

Natural Balance Pet Foods is taking this voluntary action after learning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed rice protein concentrate used by American Nutrition contained melamine, a substance not approved for use in food. These products are being recalled in addition to our previously recalled Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.

The products included in this recall were not formulated or labeled to contain rice protein concentrate. Natural Balance said that they believe this error was caused by a manufacturing deviation by American Nutrition. In other words, they are claiming that American Nutrition did not follow directions.

April 17, 2017

Natural Balance announced a nationwide recall for all Venison dog foods and Venison dry cat foods.

The recalled products include Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food.

According to Natural Balance, laboratory testing showed that the products contain melamine. Natural Balance received complains involving dogs and cats that developed kidney failure after eating the affected products.

Natural Balance believes that the source of the melamine was rice protein concentrate, not wheat gluten.

Where Is Natural Balance Made?

Natural Balance Pet Foods are made by Diamond Pet Foods, American Nutrition, and Castleberry's Food Company. Diamond Pet Food facilities are located in the United States. American Nutrition and Castleberry facilities are located in the United States and many other countries .

Natural Balance does not write "Made In The USA" on any of its pet food products. This could mean that either the entire product in manufactured overseas or ingredients are sourced from outside the United States.

The Natural Balance website does not provide information that would tell us exactly where foods are manufactured. The website also does not provide any useful information regarding how ingredients are sourced.

The lack of transparency suggests that the brand does not want consumers to know where ingredients come from and where products are manufactured. In general, premium brands of pet food proudly display all of this information when it is favorable for their image.

Is Natural Balance Pet Food Safe?

We have many concerns regarding the safety of Natural Balance Pet Foods. Throughout our research process, we found it very difficult to find information about manufacturing and ingredient sourcing.

In our option, most of the information provided on the Natural Balance website is carefully crafted to sound good but side-step many of the important questions.

The brand relies on other companies to make its pet food products. Natural Balance is large enough to build and manufacture its own pet food products, but they choose to outsource this process.

After reviewing the recall history of Natural Balance, we believe that many of the recalls could have been avoided if Natural Balance made its own pet food.

For example, Natural Balance said inside an official press release that the April, 2007 melamine contamination was a result of manufacturing deviation by American Nutrition. An issue that would have never happened if Natural Balance controlled the manufacturing process. American Nutrition was adding a contaminated rice protein concentrate into Natural Balance products when rice protein concentrate was not even listed on the label.

Because Natural Balance doesn't make any of its own pet food, all recalls associated with Natural Balance involved a third-party co-packer. These co-packers produce food for dozens of other brands. In these arrangements, the chance of manufacturing error and contamination are much higher. The specific co-packers used by Natural Balance have a long history of quality problems.

We'd like to mention that after the 2007 melamine recall, Natural Balance invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a testing laboratory. Today, every batch of food or treats manufactured for Natural Balance are tested for the following 9 substances.

  • Aflatoxin
  • Cyanuric Acid
  • Don (vomitoxin)
  • Shiga Toxin Producing Escherichia Coli (STEC)
  • Fumonisin
  • Melamine
  • Ochratoxin
  • Salmonella SPP
  • Zearalenone

Pet owners can actually check test results for each batch of Natural Balance pet food directly on the Natural Balance website.

Although we appreciate the steps taken by Natural Balance to improve safety, we cannot ignore the aforementioned safety concerns.