Maker: True Pet Food Project Inc. (Smalls)
Cause: Off odor and color
Announcement: Company website announcement dated June 2021 (archived here); FDA Enforcement Report dated June 24, 2021 (archived here); company letter to customers, undated (archived here)
What was recalled: The following recipes and lot numbers of Smalls cat food:
- Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Ground Bird Chicken Recipe, 11.5 oz., lot numbers 21109 through 21136
- Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Smooth Bird Chicken Recipe, 11.5 oz., lot numbers 21109 through 21136
- Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Ground Other Bird Turkey Recipe, 11.5 oz., lot numbers 21109 through 21136
- Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Smooth Other Bird Turkey Recipe, 11.5 oz., lot numbers 21109 through 21136
Apparent refrigeration issues led to a voluntary recall of certain packages of Smalls cat food earlier this year.
In an announcement on the Smalls website dated June 2021 — but which went unpublicized for nearly 3 months — Smalls co-founder Matt Michaelson explained that the recall was initiated after a few customers complained that the products “looked spoiled and had an unusual color.”
In an undated letter to customers obtained by Petful, Michaelson said, “When we learned that our kitchen was experiencing freezer issues, we immediately knew some food might arrive spoiled. Having cats eating this was a risk we simply couldn’t take.”
No cat illnesses were reported in connection with the recall, which the company says was carried out in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Smalls says all customers were notified long ago, and that at this point all affected products are completely gone.
A Petful subscriber shared a July 2021 text message exchange between herself and Smalls where the company said the recall took place “months ago” and that “all customers impacted by the recall were emailed multiple times…. All recalled product was quarantined and disposed of in the beginning of June.”
What Products Were Involved in the Smalls Cat Food Recall?
Even though Smalls sells a few different types of cat food—including Human-Grade Fresh (wet) and Freeze-Dried Raw (dry)—only the Human-Grade Fresh was part of the recall, and only the Chicken and Turkey recipes (not the Beef) were involved.
The affected packages all contained lot numbers that were within the consecutive numeric range of 21109 through 21136 (that is, only lot numbers 21109, 21110, 21111, 21112 and so on, up to the number 21136).
Again, the company has already notified and refunded all customers who had the affected products, so there are no more recalled products unaccounted for at this point.
The company says it tests each batch of product before it is shipped to customers, but that in this case “the product spoiled after passing the testing, and before being distributed.”
Michaelson explained that Smalls uses no preservatives in the food, and that this played a role in the situation.
“We use fresh ingredients and gentle cooking processes to make the best possible food for cats. We don’t use preservatives in our recipes to keep them fresh. Instead, we ship these products frozen so that they arrive to your door as fresh as the day they were made,” he said.
“Preservative-free food spoils quickly without appropriate storage conditions. In this case, some of our products spoiled before reaching customers.”
How to Contact Smalls
“As cat parents ourselves, we understand that these situations can be stressful, and we want to alleviate your concerns as much as possible,” Smalls says. “If you have any questions, please reach out to our team via email [email protected] or text 503-487-4303.”
In his letter to Smalls customers, Michaelson wrote, “The recall was something we chose to do for the safety of all Smalls cats, as doing what’s best for their health is literally the whole reason we do this.”
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There were more recalls in 2021. See the previous one:
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