California Natural Dog Food Overview, Review and Recalls

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California Natural Dog Food Overview

California Natural, Innova, EVO, HealthWise, Mother Nature and Karma, were all pet food lines owned by “Natura Pet Products,” but the Nutura brand and its line of pet products were acquired by “Proctor & Gamble” in 2013.

In March 2014, Proctor & Gamble reduced its pet food business and the Natura, Eukanuba, and IAMs brands were sold to the “Mars PetCare Family” for $2.9 billion in cash. Mars bought the rights to the three brands in North America, Latin America and other selected countries. Natura’s California Natural and EVO lines of pet food are now part of the Mars PetCare Family.

Mars entered the pet care business in 1935, when they acquired UK-based Chappell Brothers Ltd., makers of Chappie canned dog food.

Mars PetCare also owns such brands as Pedigree, Whiskas, Banfield, Royal Canin, Nutro, Sheba, Dreamies and Cesar.

In case anyone is wondering, Mars is the same company that manufactures chocolate, chewing gums, candies, rice, tea, and coffee products.

Where is California Natural manufactured?

The headquarters for Mars Petcare is based in Brussels, Belgium. Mars Petcare operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated.

There is no information on the California Natural dog food website about where their manufacturing facilities are located. They also do mention where the ingredients are sourced, or if any are from China.

The most they say is that “all our ingredients are from suppliers we trust to meet a higher standard. You have a right to know where the ingredients in your pet food come from – so we believe that sharing our sources is simply the responsible thing to do.” Although they make this statement on their website, they have not posted any information about where their ingredients come from.

California Natural dog food products include:

  • The California Natural line only makes dry dog food. They have some grain free recipes, but they do not make any wet food.
  • In order to decrease the likelihood of sensitivities to some ingredients, California Natural dog food only uses three to six key ingredients in their food.
  • They use animal-based protein as the number one ingredient in all of their recipes.
  • None of the California Natural formulas contain any wheat, white potatoes, corn, soy, dairy, eggs, or byproducts. They are also free of artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.
  • Whenever possible, they avoid the use of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). They especially avoid GMO soy and corn.
  • They do not specify the “grade” of meat, but instead focus on the specific qualities of the meat.

Some of the California Natural Limited Ingredient “Grain Free” Formulas

California Natural Kangaroo & Red Lentils ‘Grain Free’ Recipe

Formulated for adult dogs that are more than one year old.

  • The primary ingredients are kangaroo, red lentils, green lentils, peas, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, pea fiber,

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein MIn. 21.0 % Iron Min. 100.0 mg/kg
Crude Fat Min. 11.0 % Zinc Min. 140.0 mg/kg
Crude Fiber Max. 6.5 % Vitamin E Min. 300.0 IU/kg
Moisture Max. 10.0 % Omega-3 Fatty Acids* Min. 1.0 %
Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 Fatty Acid) Max. 1.1 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3487.0 kcal/kg; 434.0 kcal/cup

California Natural Salmon Meal & Peas ‘Grain Free’ Recipe

Formulated for adult dogs that are more than one year old.

  • The primary ingredients are salmon meal, peas, green lentils, red lentils, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, pea fiber,

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 28.0 % Phosphorus Min. 0.8 %
Crude Fat Min. 11.0 % Iron Min. 100.0 mg/kg
Crude Fiber Max. 6.0 % Zinc Min. 140.0 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 10.0 % Vitamin E Min. 300.0 IU/kg
Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 Fatty Acid) Min. 1.1 % Omega-3 Fatty Acids* Min. 1.0 %
Calcium Min. 1.2 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3495.0 kcal/kg; 435.0 kcal/cup

Some of the California Natural Limited Ingredient “Dry” Formulas

California Natural Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe

Formulated for adult dogs that are more than one year old.

  • The primary ingredients are chicken meal, brown rice, rice, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, natural flavours.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 21.0 % Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 Fatty Acid) Min. 1.5 %
Crude Fat Min. 11.0 % Vitamin E Min. 300.0 IU/kg
Crude Fiber Max. 2.5 % Omega-3 Fatty Acids* Min. 0.3 %
Moisture Max. 10.0 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3533.0 kcal/kg; 430.0 kcal/cup

California Natural Lamb Meal & Rice ‘Small Bites’ Recipe

Formulated for adult dogs that are more than one year old. The kibble is a perfect size for dogs with smaller mouths.

  • The primary ingredients are lamb meal, brown rice, rice, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavours.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 21.0 % Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 Fatty Acid) Min. 1.0 %
Crude Fat Min. 11.0 % Vitamin E Min. 300.0 IU/kg
Crude Fiber Max. 2.5 % Taurine* Min. 0.1 %
Moisture Max. 10.00 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3731.0 kcal/kg; 439.0 kcal/cup

California Natural Chicken Meal & Rice ‘Puppy’ Recipe

Formulated for weaning puppies and puppies up to one year old.

  • The primary ingredients are chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols “Vitamin E”), flaxseed, sunflower oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavours.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 26.0 % Calcium Min. 1.2 %
Crude Fat Min. 16.0 % Phosphorus Min. 0.8%
Crude Fiber Max. 2.5 % Vitamin E Min. 300.0 IU/kg
Moisture Max. 10.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acids* Min. 0.35 %
Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 Fatty Acid) Min. 2.0 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3810.0 kcal/kg; 463.0 kcal/cup

California Natural Brown Rice & Chicken Meal ‘Weight Management’ Recipe

Formulated for adult dogs that are more than one year old. The balanced protein and fat levels make this recipe an excellent choice for overweight, or less active dogs.

  • The primary ingredients are brown rice, chicken meal, rice, (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, potassium chloride, natural flavours.

Guaranteed Analysis: * Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile.

Crude Protein Min. 21.0 % Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 Fatty Acid) Min. 1.0 %
Crude Fat Min. 7.0 % Vitamin E Min. 300.0 IU/kg
Crude Fiber Max. 3.0 % L-Carnitine* Min. 250.0 mg/kg
Moisture Max. 10.00 % Omega-3 Fatty Acids* Min. 0.3 %

Calorie content (calculated): ME 3384.0 kcal/kg; 393.0 kcal/cup

California Natural Dog Food Recalls

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listings, there were four recalls in 2013.

  • On March 18, 2013, Natura voluntarily recalled all their dry dog, cat and ferret food under the EVO, Innova, California Natural, and HealthWise lines of pet food, due to possible contamination with Salmonella bacteria.
  • On March 29, 2013, Natura expanded its recall of specific California Natural, Innova, EVO, Karma and HealthWise formulas, due to potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria.
  • On April 19, 2013, Natura announced it voluntarily widened its recall of California Natural, Innova, EVO, HealthWise and Karma. The expanded recall included all dry pet food products and treats with expiration dates prior to and including March 24, 2014.
  • On June 18, 2013, Natura Pet Products of Fremont, Nebraska, voluntarily recalled specific lots of dry pet foods, due to potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria. The recall included specific lots of the brands Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Karma, and Mother Nature.

Summary

  • There was a 2011 class action lawsuit by Judy Ko filed against Natura Pet Products, Inc., for making false and misleading statements about the human-grade quality of its pet food. These products included Innova, EVO, California Natural, HealthWise, Mother Nature and Karma dog and cat food. Natura denied the allegations but agreed to create a $2,150,000 million class action settlement fund to refund consumers and resolve the litigation. On the California Natural dog food website, the “grade” of meat that is used, is not mentioned.
  • Despite the lawsuit, the Natura brand and their line of California Natural dog food used to be considered a very high quality choice of pet food. While Natura was in charge of their own lines, they never had a recall in their twenty-one year history. After Natura was taken over by Proctor & Gamble, the brand had numerous recalls. Both the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of Salmonella in many of the dry cat and dog food formulas.
  • The Natura brand is now owned by Mars. Apparently, the company that is famous for their chocolate bars, also consider themselves qualified to be a leader in pet nutrition and veterinary science. After acquiring many brands of pet food, Mars Petcare is presently one of the world’s leading pet food providers. The question remains whether their standards will maintain the high quality of California Natural dog food and the rest of the Natura line that consumers know and trust.
  • If Mars Petcare wants to gain the trust of the California Natural line of dog food consumers, they should begin by mentioning on their website where their ingredients are sourced, and where their manufacturing facilities are located. Also, being transparent about what “grade” of meat they use would also be welcomed information.
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