Monday, June 23, 2014

I Pissed Off Purina

Well, maybe in the smallest of senses I managed to tick them off. I came across the below bag of Beggin' Strips on the clearance shelf at Albertsons last week.

The most important thing when purchasing dog treats is to know where the bag was printed

Obviously the "Printed in the USA" is the most important piece of information here since, you know, the bag is what our dogs are going to be consuming.

So anyway, these were on the clearance rack. Not sure why. Maybe they weren't selling. We've all been hearing about the dog food and treat recalls of products that are either made in China or utilize ingredients from China, so pet owners are becoming much more observant of what they're feeding their four legged friends. Unfortunately there's a lot of grey in what the FDA requires pet food companies to put on their labels in relation to where the ingredients come from. Sure, it can be manufactured in St. Louis, but where are the ingredients originating? There aren't any regulations to list that on the package, though I do believe there are regulations that state if the company is asked, they have to be truthful.

I took this "Printed in USA" bag to Twitter. Keep in mind that Beggin' Strips are produced by Purina which is owned by Nestle, so this is big business we're talking here. What happened next...kind of ticked me off. Here is the brief yet informational exchange with some of my added commentary:

wyld_stallyn (me): #purina #begginstrips manufactured in US, bag printed in US, but where are the ingredients from? @Purina @Beggin #huh
Beggin (them): Most ingredients are sourced near our plants and a limited amount from other countries. Chat us: - BT
PS: After each of their tweets they become more and more adamant about chatting with them. Since they're trying to avoid admitting where their ingredients come from, it's pretty obvious why.
emilie80 (another girl who decided to chime in): @wyld_stallyn @Purina @Beggin I would stick strictly to USA products. These were making dogs sick.
wyld_stallyn: Cool, which countries?
Beggin: @emilie80 All Beggin products are made in the USA. Please chat us with questions: Thanks so much - B/T
Beggin: @wyld_stallyn We'd love to assist you further. Please chat us here: We look forward to chatting with you. - B/T.
PS: See what just happened here? They want to get us off their Twitter as quickly and quietly as possible. The only problem, however, is that Beggin already set themselves up by saying in the beginning that they get some ingredients from other countries, which obviously means the person I'm talking to knows exactly where they're coming from but has been trained to avoid saying "China" wherever possible.
wyld_stallyn: That's nice of you but all I really wanna know is which countries you previously mentioned that your ingredients come from.
PS: Checkmate. I suppose I could have said "Cool, like Germany, England, or the Falkland Islands?"
Beggin: We do source a limited amount from other countries including China. Thank you. - B/T.
PS: I think I ruined his day. Notice he didn't want to chat with me anymore. But Purina had to try and save face here.
Purina: @emilie80 This isn't true. Our products are 100% safe to feed. Chat us here for more info  -
PS: Purina is referencing emilie80's above comment, not refuting what Beggin said, nor bothering to address anything I had said. 
wyld_stallyn: @Beggin thank you for the information :)
wyld_stallyn: @Purina @emilie80 As long as ingredients are coming from China then that's what people are going to believe.

So there you have it. Now, let me be clear: I realize it's difficult to get pet food products that don't contain ingredients from China because A) these big pet food companies are so deceiving and B) the stuff that's not from these big companies can sometimes be more expensive and harder to find. But when you ask a company where their ingredients come from, they should be confident in giving you an answer and it's pretty clear here that this guy was trained to avoid using the C word and try to get me off the Twitter waves. His goal was to get me to chat with them, not to answer my question, but he clearly set himself up from the beginning when he mentioned the importing of ingredients from other countries.

Always know what you're feeding your pet. In fact, if you check out a non-chain pet store you're gonna find food and treats that are far superior in quality to the kind you'd find at Petsmart or Petco. The reality is you CAN make a pet food without importing ingredients from China or basing the entire production of them there, and whichever multi-billion dollar company decides to finally invest some money will get a HUGE PR bump.

Thanks Purina. Great customer service skills you got there. Just kidding. It was horrible. Bad customer service = bad press.