Originally created 02/14/98

Consumer Reports retests pet food after company disputes findings



NEW YORK -- Consumer Reports wants people to ignore its advice about pet food -- for now.

In a rare step, the magazine is telling readers to disregard its February cover story on pet food nutrition. Consumer Reports agreed to new tests after The Iams Co. questioned the magazine's findings that some of the company's dog and cat foods are low in potassium.

Consumers Reports said it will retest 39 products from several manufacturers that were initially found to have low potassium or other nutritional problems. Those results will be released in the magazine's May issue and on Consumer Reports' Internet site as soon as it becomes available, possibly next month.

"We are going to make sure that everyone who might have read that initial erroneous account gets the word," Marc Kaplan, a spokesman for publisher Consumers Union, said Friday. The nonprofit watchdog group disclosed the error last week.

"We are acting in the same manner we are hoping any of our manufacturers would respond should they be confronted with an error or a mistake in their products or services," Kaplan said.

The 62-year-old magazine last fixed a testing error in a 1979 article about condoms, he said.

Iams, the nation's seventh-largest pet food maker, was pleased Consumer Reports acted so quickly to fix its mistake.

"We felt that when we brought the issue to their attention that Consumer Reports listened because we take ... animal nutrition very seriously," said spokesman Bryan Brown.

The Dayton, Ohio-based company makes Iams and Eukanuba dog and cat foods.