Anyway, I found a couple of interesting tidbits in Nutro's Recall FAQ. First, they attempt to answer the question of why they use Menu Foods as a manufacturer in the first place:
Why does Nutro use Menu Foods as a contract manufacturer for production of wet foods?
Canned and foil pouch wet foods are a small part of Nutro's overall production. Our limited volume does not allow Nutro (and a great many other pet food companies), the economy of scale required to own a wet food facility.
We use a contract manufacturer because they provide wet food production capacity and expertise. Contract manufacturers are required to follow strict quality standards in the production of Nutro's wet products. Nutro is implementing additional guidelines that will ensure that the quality control measures used by our co-manufacturers and their suppliers are strengthened so that this deeply troubling situation never happens again.
In another section of the FAQ, Nutro mentions that all of its dry food is self-manufactured. I'm sorry Nutro, but your "economy of scale" story just doesn't make a lot of sense.
How is it that a company like Merrick Petcare can manufacture all of its own canned food, but you can't? Merrick is on a lot of store shelves, but they're more of a boutique brand than Nutro. Nutro cans and packerts sit on the shelves at Petco and Petsmart, the two largest national chains. It's hard to believe that you can't make your own wet food.
Here's another one of the FAQs that caught my eye:
Does that mean that all pet foods contract manufactured by Menu Foods are essentially the same, just branded under different labels?
No. As a contract manufacturer for Nutro, Menu Foods creates Nutro brand products according to our own proprietary recipes using our specified ingredients. These formulas are made exclusively for Nutro. Our recipes and ingredient profiles are the result of years of research and development, and meet the highest quality standards for nutrition and taste. Our foods are different!
If their foods really are different, then why did they end up with the same gluten as everyone else? If the process is so hands-on for Nutro then they should have been paying closer attention to what Menu Foods was doing.
I'm sorry, but Nutro sold the contaminated food under their label, and they are responsible for it. Frankly, I also feel responsible for feeding their product to my boys and for recommending it to so many people. I won't make that mistake again.