⚠ Important recall information appears below.
The history of Fromm Family Foods goes back to the middle of the 19th century, when 2 German families decided to try their luck in the new world.
The first bag of Fromm Complete Dog Meal was sold in 1949, and today the company also manufactures cat products.
Below, we share more information about the history of Fromm pet food — including up-to-date Fromm recall information.
Fromm Quick Facts
Brand line includes: Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals, Fromm Gold, Fromm Heartland Gold, Fromm Classic, Fromm Pâté, Frommbalaya, Fromm Crunchy Os, Fromm Family Remedies
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Company: Fromm Family Foods LLC
Headquarters: P.O. Box 365, Mequon, WI 53092
Contact info: 1-800-325-6331, email, website
The Fromm and the Nieman families made their way across the Atlantic from Germany, and John F. Nieman became the first-generation American, born on U.S. soil, in his family.
Using the Homestead Act, the Neiman family obtained ownership of large parcels of land near Milwaukee.
They were farmers, by legacy, and they believed their children would need land to make their way in the world, on their own terms.
The 2 families’ names came together in Alwina Nieman Fromm, who married Fredrick Fromm, a dairy farmer, in 1852. Historians often refer to her by her maiden name and her married name simultaneously.
Fredrick Fromm hoped his sons would attend college, but all 4 of them saw a picture of a fox fur in a magazine, and it fired their imaginations. To heck with college, they would be silver fox farmers.
A.N. Fromm took a huge risk and mortgaged her Wisconsin farm to raise the capital her 4 sons required to start their fox fur business. It may have sounded crazy, but the venture turned out to be wildly successful. The Fromm brothers came to dominate the fur industry.
Foxes have to eat, so one of the next steps was to start manufacturing food. Fromm Bros., Nieman & Co. built its first food production plant in Mequon, Wisconsin, in 1925.
That first plant is still in operation as a combined research laboratory and headquarters.
From Fox Food to Dog Food
Foxes and dogs can be fed similar diets, so it was no real stretch to see the possibility for expansion into the pet food industry.
In the 1940s, the Fromms and Neimans hired biochemist Dr. Willard Roberts to formulate a proprietary dog food. He was tasked with combining meat and grains to create a granular product that could be sold in bags.
Roberts’ creation became the basis of Federal Foods Inc., which sold the first batch of Fromm Complete Dog Meal in 1949. “Fifty thousand foxes can’t be wrong!” was the slogan.
Our research team found a newspaper ad in 1960 that mentioned Fromm dog food at the time was available in “meal form or canned, 100% horse meat or beef.”
In the 1970s, Federal Foods recognized the need to address the dietary needs of different dog breeds. It released a high-stress food blend designed for working dogs.
In the 1980s, the preservative tocopherols was added to the dog food to give it a longer shelf life.
Tom Neiman Takes Over
In 1984, leadership of the company fell to Tom Neiman, who held a brand-new degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Under his leadership, the brand continued to research and develop new products based on scientific research of dogs’ nutritional needs.
In a 2014 interview with Pet Age, Neiman explained that he had no interest in running a company simply in order to flip it. “Our time frame is more generational. From my grandfather, to father, to myself to my sons, we tend to make much more long-term decisions and strategic planning based on a generational timeline,” he explained.
In 1995, Federal Foods was renamed Fromm Family Foods, in honor of the fourth generation of Neimans and Fromms who still owned it.
Fromm Has Stayed in the Family
The company has remained in the Fromm and Neiman families over the span of 5 generations. As the demand for their products grew, Federal Foods opened a second plant in Columbus, Wisconsin.
In 2016, company brand director Bryan Nieman announced the opening of yet another hub in Eden, Wisconsin. That plant’s production is focused on canned foods.
Today, Fromm Family Foods is led by Tom Neiman, who recently bought back the farm that his ancestors first raised foxes on. It will be a museum to a family business that has spanned 5 generations and 1.5 centuries, and to the hard work and long view that go into building a multigenerational American dream.
Has Fromm Pet Food Ever Been Recalled?
Yes. In March 2016, Fromm announced its first-ever recall. The reason for the recall of certain cans of dog food was unacceptable levels of Vitamin D.
The affected cans “were shipped to distributors during the limited time frame from December 2015 through February 2016,” the company said in its recall announcement. For more information about that recall, see below.
2019 Heart Disease Investigation
We also want to alert readers to the fact that, in late June 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified Fromm as one of 16 pet food brands that may be linked to heart disease in dogs and cats. None of those 16 brands have been recalled as part of the agency’s ongoing investigation, though. Most, but not all, of the pet foods are “grain-free” and/or dry (kibble) dog food formulations.
The FDA says this is a “complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors,” and that it cannot even be certain that diet is a cause of the heart problems. For full details, see our article on the subject.
List of Fromm Pet Food Recalls
Cause: Inadequate levels of vitamins and minerals. Announcement: Company recall announcement dated March 18, 2016 (archived here). What was recalled: All lots of the following 12 oz. Fromm Gold canned dog foods:
- Chicken Pate, Code #11893
- Chicken & Duck, Code #11895
- Salmon & Chicken Pate, Code #11891
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Have You Had a Problem With Fromm Pet Food?
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- “Fromm: A Family History of Community and Quality Food.” Kriser’s Natural Pet. Nov. 2, 2018. https://krisers.com/blogs/news/fromm-a-family-history-of-community-and-quality-pet-food.
- Kalaygian, Mark.“Building on a Legacy.” Pet Business. Feb. 1 2020. http://www.petbusiness.com/February-2020/Building-on-a-Legacy/.
- “Dog and Pet Supplies: Fromm (Classified Advertisement).” Lansing (Michigan) State Journal. Dec. 24, 1960. 14.
- Kamery, Jason. “110 Years Young.” Pet Age. March 6, 2014. http://dev.petage.com/110-years-young/.
- Sheridan, Megan. “Fromm Family Celebrates Expansion.” Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Daily Citizen. Oct 2, 2014. https://www.wiscnews.com/columbusjournal/news/local/fromm-family-celebrates-expansion/article_6fed1e8c-3653-5b83-b892-1050e087614f.html.
- “Fromm Opens New Canning Facility, Launches New Foods.” Pet Product News. Aug. 30, 2016. http://www.petproductnews.com/News/Fromm-Opens-New-Canning-Facility-Launches-New-Foods/.
- “Questions & Answers: FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Investigation Into a Possible Connection Between Diet and Canine Heart Disease.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. June 27, 2019. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/questions-answers-fda-center-veterinary-medicines-investigation-possible-connection-between-diet-and.
- “Dear Valued Customers and Pet Parents.” Fromm Family Foods. March 18, 2016. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Fromm-Gold-Pate-12-oz-Can-Recall-Notice-March-2016.pdf.