WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A West Valley City family was shocked and disgusted to find more than just kibble in their dog food this week.
When the Sauz family opened the bag, they saw maggots crawling in and out everywhere, and they say the dog food company told them this isn’t the first time this has happened.
For one of the Sauz family dogs, Chiquita, nutrition is everything right now.
“She's pregnant,” said Luis Sauz, and his mother, Haydee Garcia, said they’re expecting about three puppies.
The Chihuahua has been eating around the clock with her mate, Solo, by her side.
Garcia said the due date is about two weeks away. The family is ready, but they weren’t prepared for what happened when they opened her dog food three days ago.
“Made me kind of gag a little bit,” Sauz said. “It was a full bag of maggots. They were everywhere.”
“Obviously I'm not going to feed my dogs with this: This is disgusting!” Garcia said.
The maggots crawled around inside the bag, among what appeared to be mold or some kind of webbing.
Sauz said they called the business they bought the food from and the food manufacturer, Purina.
“They weren't surprised, they were like, ‘Oh, OK. Yeah, we're having issues with this,’” Sauz said, recounting his phone call with the customer service representative.
He said Purina pinpointed the issue to a warehouse, and explained that others have had problems.
“They told us, ‘We’re having a lot of issues with beef,’” he said, referring to the flavor of dog food.
Fox 13 emailed back and forth with Purina.
The company said it couldn’t comment on the specific case without additional details, but did say, "We sincerely regret that this consumer had a bad experience with our product. It is certainly not typical. Unfortunately, insect infestation can occur in any pet or human food product in the marketplace.”
They later added, “In situations where infestation has occurred, it likely happened at some point after the products leave our factory, possibly during distribution or storage.”
The company said anyone else experiencing issues should contact the store and food manufacturer.
Purina’s full statement, including tips on checking food and food storage, is available below.
For Sauz and Garcia, the unexpected sight for the mother and son was still alarming.
“Opening that bag and seeing it’s full of maggots… it scares you,” he said.
Sauz said they did get a refund and replacement from the business they purchased the food from, and that Purina offered to send coupons, reimburse the cost of the food, or send a gift card.
But they’ll be checking their dog food to make sure it’s safe for Chiquita, and soon, her puppies.
See below for the full statement from Purina spokesperson Wendy Vlieks:
"I can't comment on this specific situation without additional details. That said, we sincerely regret that this consumer had a bad experience with our product. It is certainly not typical. Unfortunately, insect infestation can occur in any pet or human food product in the marketplace. For example, cake mix, dry dog food, flour and bread.
When we make our products at our facilities, we follow strict quality procedures. The foods are cooked using high temperatures and pressure which also ensures they are free of insects. In situations where infestation has occurred, it likely happened at some point after the products leave our factory, possibly during distribution or storage.
Remember, pet food is food. It should be stored in ways that are similar to dry human food. Here are some additional tips for consumers:
At the store:
1. Make sure the food meets the "Best By" date.
2. Examine packaging before purchasing to ensure there are no rips or holes.
3. Store pet food in a cool, dry location that's off the floor.
4. Do not store pet food in the garage or outside since that's where insects often live.
5. Store food in the original bag and within a plastic or metal bin with a lid.
6. To ensure freshness, food should be consumed within 5-6 weeks from opening the bag.
Insects like to eat anything tasty, including pet food. If infestation happens to you, contact the store where you purchased the food and the pet food manufacturer."