UPDATE: Hill’s Pet Nutrition has announced that it is voluntarily expanding a recall of its canned dog food due to the elevated levels of vitamin D previously found.
The following products and lot numbers are affected. If you have any of these, stop feeding them immediately and return them for a full refund.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Science Diet has voluntarily recalled select canned dog food products due to potentially elevated levels of vitamin D.
While vitamin D is essential for dogs, consuming elevated levels can lead to potential health issues such as vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss. Vitamin D, when consumed at extremely high levels, can lead to renal dysfunction.
Pet parents with dogs who have consumed any of the products listed below and are exhibiting any of these signs should contact their veterinarian. In most cases, complete recovery is expected after discontinuation of feeding.
In the United States, the affected canned dog foods were distributed through retail pet stores and veterinary clinics nationwide. No dry foods, cat foods, or treats are affected.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition learned of the potential for elevated vitamin D levels in some of our canned dog foods after receiving a complaint in the United States about a dog exhibiting signs of elevated vitamin D levels.
We care deeply about all pets and are committed to providing pet parents with safe and high quality products.
Hill’s has identified and isolated the error and, to prevent this from happening again, we have required our supplier to implement additional quality testing prior to their release of ingredients.
In addition to our existing safety processes, we are adding our own further testing of incoming ingredients.
For further information, please contact Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. at 1-800-445-5777 Monday-Friday during the hours of 9am-5pm (CST) or at [email protected] Information can also be found at www.hillspet.com/productlist
List of Hill’s Science Diet Recalls
Cause: Elevated levels of Vitamin D. Announcement: FDA report dated Jan. 31, 2019 (archived here); company webpage updated May 15, 2019 (archived here). What was recalled: In the United States, the following Hill’s Science Diet canned dog foods were recalled:
Note that Hill’s Prescription Diet canned dog food was also recalled. See our Prescription Diet page for details.
Of special note to anyone outside the United States:
Cause: Unknown “minor” issue, but possibly labeling issues. Announcement: Notice posted in select PetSmart stores, Nov. 28, 2015 (archived here). What was recalled: This was technically a market withdrawal rather than a recall. According to the FDA, a market withdrawal takes place “when a product has a minor violation that would not be subject to FDA legal action. The firm removes the product from the market or corrects the violation.”
All date codes of the following canned dog foods were withdrawn:
In addition, all date codes of one canned cat food were withdrawn:
Cause: Potential for salmonella. Announcement: FDA report dated June 2, 2014 (archived here). What was recalled: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small & Toy Breed dry dog food with “best by” date and production code of #08 2015 M094 in the following size: 15.5 lb. bags with SKU #9097 (distributed in California, Hawaii and Nevada).
Cause: Melamine. Announcement: FDA report dated March 16, 2007 (archived here); company announcement dated March 27, 2007 (archived here). What was recalled: All Hill’s Science Diet Savory Cuts canned cat foods, which included the following in both 3 oz. and 5 oz. sizes:
If you have not done so already, we urge you to sign up now for Petful’s FREE recall alerts by email. Our free alerts are saving pets’ lives.
Has Hill’s Science Diet Ever Been Recalled?
Yes. Hill’s Science Diet has been recalled a number of times in recent years.
Most recently, in January 2019, Hill’s Pet Nutrition issued a massive, worldwide recall of 33 different varieties of its canned dog foods — 22 million cans recalled in all — because of toxic levels of Vitamin D, which Hill’s blamed on a “supplier error.”
The recall included both the Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet brand lines. However, no dry foods, cat foods or pet treats were included in the recall.
Reportedly hundreds of dogs died after eating the affected dog food. Families who spoke with Petful told us their dogs had been in good health, but then, within a matter of days, their pets’ well-being took a severe downturn, ending in kidney problems, kidney failure and, in some cases, death.
“We believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of pets have died or become seriously ill as a result of eating Hill’s foods with toxic levels of Vitamin D,” attorney Nyran Rose Rasche told CBS News.
Following an investigation into that recall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a warning letter (archived here) stating that Hill’s had failed to follow its own procedures. “A systematic failure of your food safety plan occurred that resulted in the recall of canned dog food,” the FDA said.
The FDA ordered Hill’s to take corrective actions and put the company on notice of future inspections.
In response, Hill’s said, “We care deeply about all pets and are committed to providing pet parents with safe and high-quality products.… We continue to cooperate with the FDA, including all inspections and requests for information.”
A consolidated lawsuit with about 300 named plaintiffs is being overseen by the U.S. District Court in Kansas City. The case is called In Re: Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. Dog Food Products Liability Litigation, case number 2:19-md-02887.
For more on the 2019 Science Diet/Prescription Diet recall, be sure to read our article about how families were left horrified and heartbroken.
In November 2015, Hill’s initiated a market withdrawal (not a recall) of certain Hill’s Science Diet canned pet foods for unknown reasons. We learned about this via a note posted in some PetSmart retail locations.
One consumer who contacted a Hill’s customer service representative and asked about the reason for the market withdrawal was told they “don’t have that information” but that the products were “perfectly safe.”
Per the FDA definition, a market withdrawal is issued when there are minor problems with the products, such as a labeling mistake, as has been speculated in this case.
The year before that, in June 2014, 62 bags of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small & Toy Breed dry dog food were recalled in California, Hawaii and Nevada because of potential salmonella contamination.
In March 2007, Hill’s Science Diet was one of more than 100 brands included in a wide-ranging recall of pet food that the FDA and other food safety officials determined may contain melamine — a chemical used in plastics manufacture. Every single can of Hill’s Science Diet Savory Cuts cat food was recalled. Thousands of pets died in the wake of the Menu Foods/melamine recalls.
Our research team spent hours going through recall databases and news archives to find earlier recalls of Hill’s Science Diet. We didn’t find any, but we did uncover another dark chapter in this pet food’s history.
Way back in August 1987, a study published in the journal Science drew attention to the fact that thousands of cats had been dying every year from DCM, the fatal heart condition, because of an apparent taurine deficiency in popular cat foods at the time.
In the study, Dr. Paul D. Pion, DVM, DACVIM, and others observed cats who were diagnosed with DCM and had been fed popular commercial cat foods such as:
Taurine deficiencies observed in the cats seemed like too much of a coincidence. Clearly, cats needed more taurine than was being provided by the foods at the time.
By the time the groundbreaking Science article was published, pet food makers like Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Ralston Purina had already begun changing their recipes to include higher levels of taurine.
No recall was ever issued, to our knowledge. However, the recipe reformulations brought about a dramatic decrease in the incidence of DCM in cats. A 1990 follow-up study using data from 2 veterinary hospitals found DCM in only 6% of cat patients, versus 28% of cats brought into the hospitals before the recipe changes went into effect.
Speaking at a 2019 “Science of Cats” summit, Dr. Pion shared that during the lead-up to publication in Science, he and his fellow researchers had faced “legal and other manipulations and threats from pet food companies trying to distance themselves.”
An executive from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, he recalled, “took the aggressive stance that this couldn’t be related to their diets and suggested, with impolite words, that our group was foolish and irresponsible for pursuing these investigations.”
And then, Dr. Pion added, “As other pet food companies were similarly implicated, we began receiving letters from their lawyers.”
On the positive side, he said, “I am glad that after this and other incidents, including the melamine pet food incident of 2007, our colleagues at pet food companies have often opted to take a more collaborative and open-minded approach when veterinarians suggest there may be a problem related to diets.”
Below, we list the full details of every single Hill’s Science Diet recall.
Q: How do I know my product is safe?
A: We’ve completed a detailed review and have isolated the issue to one vitamin premix used in canned foods. We tested that premix to confirm vitamin D levels, and we have also tested products that could have been made with the premix with elevated levels of Vitamin D. These results show that those products are within the normal vitamin D range except for those that are included on the recall list.
Is there a recall on Hill’s Science Diet dog food?
What dog foods are being recalled in 2021?
How many recalls has Hill’s Science Diet has?
What food is being recalled right now 2022?