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Is Kroger engaging in willful ignorance?

November 11, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

 
You be the judge.

I took the following pictures on Nov. 9, 2012 in a Kroger in Charlottesville, VA.  (FYI, Kroger is one of the world’s largest grocery retailers, with over $90 billion in annual revenue.)  In the dog food aisle I saw “Natural Flavor Unbasted Rawhide Twists for Dogs,” produced by “Pet Pride”:

From the way this product is packaged, I think most dog parents would assume it is safe for their best friends – or at least that it won’t harm them.  Note:

  • It’s being sold in a huge, respected retailer.
  • It has a Hallmark card image of a man hugging his smiling, vibrant dog.
  • It uses of the word “natural” not once but twice in the package front.
  • It claims the product “removes tartar and plaque.”

That all sounds pretty good.  And at around $4.00, it’s an impulse buy for the busy, stressed-out, unsuspecting dog parent who feels guilty about being away so many hours from their best friend – and who, in the next moment, remembers, “Oh, that’s right!  I have to get candles for Chloe’s birthday cake… which aisle are they in?”

Boom: the purchase decision is made, and the person looks forward to the delight on their dog’s face as he/she is given this presumably safe, helpful, “natural” rawhide.
 


 

But is this product really all that the packaging says it is?

Let’s examine it a little further.  Here’s the back of the package:

According to the front of the package, the product contains – at a minimum – two ingredients: rawhide, and “natural” flavors.  Yet under “Ingredients,” only one item is listed: rawhide.  Do you really believe there is only one ingredient in this product?  Wait, it gets better.

Now, look down a bit, and you see it says it is a “Product of China.” (For those who don’t know, this is basically the kiss of death; China is notorious for infusing dog products with an array of carcinogens – and in the case of rawhide products for dogs, it gets even more stomach-churning.)

Beneath that and to the left, you see a highlighted box that reads:

“Happy pet guaranteed! We promise our Pet Pride products will help your furry family members stay happy and active every day.”

A closer view:

So apparently, “Pet Pride” is Kroger’s house brand of dog products.

Both names have been in the news of late – and not in a positive way:

Kroger Faces Class-Action Suit Over Pet Food Recall – Poisoned Pets | A look inside the pet food industry

Kroger recalling pet food due to possible contamination | abc13.com

List of recalls for Pet Food Products from PET PRIDE

Kroger Pet Pride Adverse Event Reports

Aflatoxin Found in Kroger Pet Food Processing Plant « Daily Kitten Chat Forum

 


 

So how does all this compare to what Kroger says about itself?

Let’s take a look. On its front page, Kroger claims:

“The Kroger Co. values honesty, integrity, safety, diversity, inclusion and respect”

Really?  How could a company that (really) holds those values engage in this kind of behavior?

And if you think what Kroger does doesn’t affect you, because you don’t have any of its stores in your area, think again.  According to its website:

Kroger operates 2,425 grocery retail stores in 31 states under nearly two dozen banners, along with “37 food processing or manufacturing facilities producing high quality private-label products that provide value for customers and enhanced margins for Kroger.”

 


 

So let’s review what we’ve learned:

  • Kroger is a leading U.S. grocery retailer, which claims it values “honesty, integrity, safety, diversity, inclusion and respect.”
  • Kroger’s “Pet Pride” house brand of dog rawhide is made in China, and uses packaging that is clearly deceptive – claiming that it is “natural” (twice), and that the only ingredient is rawhide – when other copy on the package indicates otherwise.
  • Kroger “guarantees” happy pets with its “Pet Pride” brand, and more, “we promise our Pet Pride products will help your furry family members stay happy and active every day.”
  • The “Pet Pride” brand name is somewhat notorious for contamination issues.

 


 

Would you like to make your voice known to Kroger?

Here’s how:

David B. Dillon (bio)
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1100
(513) 762-4000

Kroger’s general contact page is here, and its comment page is here.

 


 

UPDATE:

I came across a terrific dog food and treat watchdog site, Dog Food Advisor, which posted this about Chinese-imported jerky treats:

Tell the Pet Food Industry — Stop Selling Chinese Jerky Treats!

 

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Filed in: Dog nutrition, Dog parenting | Tags: ,

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