Merrick Dog Food Recall 2020

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Merrick is a leading producer of natural and organic pet foods. They pride themselves on making hand-crafted, wholesome recipes for dogs of all life stages and sizes.

Read on to find out more about the Merrick brand and take a look at some of its top recipes.

List of Merrick Pet Food Recalls

Cause: Potential for elevated beef thyroid hormone. Announcement: Company news release dated May 23, 2018 (archived here). What was recalled: The following beef dog treats, but only the ones with “best before” dates falling between May 1, 2017 and Sept. 1, 2019 :

  • Castor & Pollux Good Buddy Prime Patties Real Beef Recipe, 4 oz., UPC #780872510806
  • Castor & Pollux Good Buddy Sausage Cuts Real Beef Recipe, 5 oz., UPC #780872510745
  • Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Jerky, 4.5 oz., UPC #022808786160
  • Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Beef Sausage Cuts, 5 oz., UPC #022808786047
  • Merrick Backcountry Great Plains Real Steak Patties, 4 oz., UPC #022808786078
  • Cause: Potential for salmonella. Announcement: FDA report dated Aug. 8, 2011 (archived here). What was recalled: Merrick Doggie Wishbone pet treats, UPC #2280829050, Lot #11031, best by Jan. 30, 2013.

    Cause: Potential for salmonella. Announcement: FDA report dated Jan. 28, 2011 (archived here). What was recalled: Merrick Jr. Texas Taffy pet treats, UPC #02280827077, all lot numbers up to and including 10364. No “best by” date given.

    Cause: Potential for salmonella. Announcement: FDA reports dated July 2, Aug. 3 and Aug. 16, 2010 (archived here). What was recalled: All lots of the following Merrick treats:

  • Merrick Beef Filet Squares, 10 oz.
  • Merrick Texas Hold’ems pet treats, 10 oz.
  • Cause: Potential for salmonella. Announcement: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) news release dated Sept. 19, 2002, and FDA Enforcement Report dated Jan. 29, 2003 (archived here). What was recalled: Merrick Delicatessen Style Beef Steak Patties, distributed in Canada.

    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.

    Which Merrick Sub-Brand Is Right for You?

    Here are Merrick’s 6 most popular sub-brands. Below, we’ll share what makes each one different. So you can choose the food that best suits your dog.


    Merrick Classic is for those who prefer a traditional dry dog food that’s made with grain.

  • Contains no BHA or other high-risk preservatives
  • Healthy grain-inclusive formula
  • 13 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Merrick Grain-Free is ideal for those seeking a dry food that’s made without grain.

  • Merrick’s most popular sub-brand
  • Contains no corn, wheat or rice
  • 14 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    This sub-brand includes Merrick’s best-selling, grain-free wet recipes. Some available in certain seasons.

  • No corn, wheat, barley or rice
  • Chunky or fine-ground options
  • 10 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Backcountry recipes start with freeze-dried, raw-coated kibble. Then blend in pieces of real, freeze-dried raw meat, fish, or poultry.

  • Grain-free. Contains sweet potato
  • Includes novel protein, like rabbit, venison, or duck
  • 12 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet is a grain-free kibble that can be helpful for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies.

  • Only 9 key ingredients for easier digestion
  • Contains fiber-rich sweet potato
  • 5 recipes (ratings vary)
  • Rating:

    Lil’ Plates is Merrick’s grain-free wet sub-brand designed especially for small dogs.

  • Contains no corn, soy or grain
  • Uses prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion
  • 8 recipes (ratings vary)
  • All Merrick dog foods are produced in the United States. Most of the brand’s dry and wet recipes are manufactured at one of its 3 company-owned facilities in Hereford, Texas. Unlike most pet food brands, Merrick owns its own cannery.

    Merrick also owns Castor and Pollux Natural Petworks (a quality brand known for its certified organic dog and cat foods)… and produces Whole Earth Farms pet foods, too.

    Merrick was sold to Nestle Purina PetCare in 2015.

    Which Merrick Classic Recipes Get Our Best Ratings?

    The Merrick Classic product line includes the 13 dry dog foods listed below.

    Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile when available… Growth (puppy), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

    Merrick Classic Real Beef and Brown Rice Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

    Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

    Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient ContentProtein =

    Ingredients: Deboned beef, pork meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal, pork fat, salmon meal, natural flavor, lamb meal, quinoa, flaxseed, salt, sunflower oil, organic dehydrated alfalfa meal, potassium chloride, choline chloride, carrots, apples, minerals (iron amino acid complex, zinc amino acid complex, zinc sulfate, sodium selenite, manganese amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, potassium iodide, cobalt proteinate, cobalt carbonate), taurine, chia seed, Yucca schidigera extract, mixed tocopherols for freshness, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride), citric acid for freshness, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product

    Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%

    Protein =

    Estimated Nutrient Content
    Method Protein Fat Carbs
    Guaranteed Analysis 26% 15% NA
    Dry Matter Basis 29% 17% 46%
    Calorie Weighted Basis 25% 35% 40%

    The first ingredient in this dog food is beef. Although it’s a quality item, raw beef contains up to 73% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

    After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

    The second ingredient is pork meal. Pork meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh pork.

    The third ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

    The next ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

    The fifth item is oatmeal, a whole-grain product made from coarsely ground oats. Oatmeal is naturally rich in B-vitamins, dietary fiber and can be (depending upon its level of purity) gluten-free.

    The sixth ingredient is pork fat, a product from rendering pig meat.

    Commonly known as lard, pork fat can add significant flavor to any dog food. And it can be high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

    Although it may not sound very appetizing, pork fat (in moderate amounts) is actually an acceptable pet food ingredient.

    The seventh ingredient is salmon meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.

    Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.

    After the natural flavor, we find lamb meal, yet another high protein meat concentrate.

    The next ingredient is quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a true cereal grain but a plant prized for its gluten-free seeds.

    Compared to most other grain-type ingredients, it is high in protein (about 12-18%), dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients.

    From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

    But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

    With 8 notable exceptions

    First, we find flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

    However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

    Next, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feed.

    In addition, sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

    Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

    There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

    Next, we note the inclusion of chia seed, an edible seed nutritionally similar to flax or sesame. Provided they’re first ground into a meal, chia seeds are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids as well as dietary fiber.

    However, chia seeds contain about 17% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

    We also note the use of taurine, an important amino acid associated with the healthy function of heart muscle. Although taurine is not typically considered essential in canines, some dogs have been shown to be deficient in this critical nutrient.

    Additionally, this recipe includes dried fermentation products. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

    This recipe also has sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

    And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

    Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Classic appears to be an above-average dry dog food.

    The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 29%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 46%.

    As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 30% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

    And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

    Which means this Merrick product line contains…

    Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to other dry dog foods.


    Has Merrick dog food been recalled?

    Has Merrick Ever Been Recalled? Yes. In May 2018, some Merrick beef-based dog treats were recalled because of potentially elevated beef thyroid hormone. The company said it was aware of a single customer complaint of a sickened dog.

    Is Merrick pet food going out of business?

    As previously announced, Merrick will continue to operate as an independent business, with no planned changes to its management or operations. Merrick has more than 350 employees located primarily in Texas and Illinois, and offers a wide variety of dry and wet foods, as well as treats, for both dogs and cats.

    Does Merrick dog food cause heart problems?

    The Food and Drug Administration is investigating a potential link between certain brands of dog food, including Blue Buffalo, Merrick and Rachel Ray Nutrish, and an increased risk of heart disease in pets.

    Is Merrick good for dogs?

    Dog Food Advisor generally considers Merrick to be a good quality brand with healthy ingredients that will suit the majority of dogs. They’ve rated the Classic range 4.5 stars out of 5, the Grain Free range 5 stars, the Backcountry range 5 stars and the Limited Ingredient Diet range 4 stars.