Another Bag Of Purina Beneful Fortified With Maggots

Do you read Consumerist on your lunch break? Oops. Here’s a photo of something Richard colorfully calls “maggot stew” lining the bottom of his dog’s food dish, right after Banjo finished a heaping helping of Purina Beneful. Richard says Banjo seems okay so far, but we think it’s interesting that this is the second Beneful maggot story we’ve received in under a week. Read Richard’s full story below.

I read your post Saturday regarding the Purina Beneful dog food. I feed my dog the same brand so I was understandably concerned. I checked the checked the stock we had on hand and was relieved to find no maggots, larvae,or other creatures in my dog’s food.

Later today, 22 Sept., I opened a new bag of the same food and fed Banjo. I usually mix a bit of water in his food to soften it up for him. When he finished eating I grabbed his bowl so I could rinse it out. The junk that was left in the bottom of his bowl was nothing short of maggot stew.

I took a few pictures just in case we would need them and then called Purina customer service. After an automated message stating that Purina was aware of another recall from a competitor’s brand of pet food, I was put in the holding queue with a promise that a service rep world be with as soon as possible. After the wait a pleasant CSR named Megan answered. I told her of my predicament and asked for her advice. She gathered the information from the bottom of my bag and urged me to discard any unused food into an outdoor trashcan. She told me a full replacement coupon was in the mail and apologized profusely. I asked if the bugs would be harmful to my dog and she said that normally they weren’t but if we had to take my dog to the vet as a result of the swarm then we should call back with the reference number and inform the CSR. I hope we can avoid that route but it seems like she was genuinely concerned and apologetic.

I cant imagine bugs would be harmful to him because he eats poop too but that isn’t the point. I paid for a bag of food with an unspoken promise of a bug-free dining experience for my dog. All in all the customer service portion of my ordeal was pleasant and it seemed like they weren’t trying to shirk their responsibility.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Well, high five Megan! I wonder if the OP got her last name or her ID number. If he did it would be very nice of him to send Purina a nice little note about what a good CSR Megan was. If you don’t reward good behavior then you encourage bad…

  2. savvy999 says:

    AFAIK, birds will eat maggot larvae. So really, there is no issue at all– the OP was just feeding the wrong class of vertebrate (mammalia instead of aves).

    At least that’s what I would expect Beneful’s PR arm to be saying soon.

  3. SkokieGuy says:

    I am shocked by Megan’s “helpful” and “concerned” response. As Saturday’s story indicates [] once the food leaves the factory, it is NOT Purina’s problem.

    The reckless behaviour of the rogue CSR and the dispensing of coupons like chicklets is only going to end up being paid by the rest of us who purchase Purina dog food. Thanks a LOT, Megan.

    sarcasm / off.

    See Purina, a reasonable and intelligent response isn’t that big a deal, now is it? What was the cost of this proper response? Certainly far less than the loss of the lost sales and goodwill incurred by the dismissive CSR who mangled the prior call.

  4. dewsipper says:

    Kudos CSR! Sometimes even just pretending you care is enough.

    I just opened a bag last night – nothing out of the ordinary there. Although, I wonder what would happen if I “just add water”….

  5. jpdanzig says:

    Yeah, why didn’t Purina respond to Christina over the weekend with this kind of concern?

    Have they learned their lesson after getting shamed here at The Consumerist, or do they just offer customers p*ss-poor service on the weekends???

  6. gaya2081 says:

    This is why I now longer feed my cats Purina. First-oh its a fluke-took my coupon, but the second time I had enough. The response was great, but sorry maggotsx2 is not my idea of fun. No more Purina food for any of my pets. I have never EVER had an issue with any other pet food in my life (including my dogs when I was growing up). My cats now eat Eukanuba, but I will be changing brands as soon as our kitten is old enough for adult food. Eukanuba changed their formula and is not as high quality as they use to be.
    The bugs don’t seem to bother the cats but it sure bothers me, especially since they are in my kitchen.

    I now store pet food in a plastic container with a latching lid so I can easily scan for bugs.

  7. timmus says:

    I remember when I first adopted my dog in the late 1990s, I had her on basic Purina dog food and she had all kinds of bowel trouble. I soon switched to IAMS and it went away, but came back during a week where we were out of IAMS and I bought the Purina again. I recall looking at the Purina dog food right out of the bag and seeing fibrous hairs engrained in the nuggets. There’s seriously something wrong with that stuff. I bet even the maggots are not happy.

  8. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Beneful just isn’t a good food for dogs. I cringe when I see people buying this and other low quality brands. Do your dogs a favor and get them something a little better (they’ll be healthier, too). Here’s a site with some ratings (no affiliation): []

    Beneful is rated as a “1 star”, you want something at least a “3” star.

  9. mpacuk says:

    What bothers me the most about this story is that I too have a dog named Banjo,and he too eats Beneful…

  10. ObtuseGoose says:

    I’m glad Purina is finally doing something about this. I thought Beneful was a “higher” quality dog food from Purina? Well, I guess it’s back to good ol’ dependable Kal Kan for me ;-)

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @ObtuseGoose: Beneful touts natural vegetables and such, but its ingredients aren’t that different from any other dog food.

      What is different is to shape the food and color it to look like ‘real’ food. Oooh, look round green things, just like peas! Wow, bright yellow triangles, just like corn!).

      In reality it’s just a lot of food coloring creating a brand / marketing distinction with no benefit to the dog, (our doggies are colorblind, ya know). So the colors are to appeal to the food purchaser.

      Take it from someone who’s dogs are only semi-housebroken, the coloring in Beneful is so potent, it will permanently stain carpet.

      There are far better choices in dog food.

  11. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Thank god I feed my dogs something from another company.

    • ludwigk says:

      @The Great Aussie Evil: Make sure that its not one of those cases where a parent company makes pet food for a number of other ones. This may only be the case for real cheapo brands, but it would be prudent to know if your brand and Purina were actually related by having the same parent producer.

  12. randomangela47 says:

    So, cheap dog food companies can’t artificially boost their protein levels with melamine, and now they can’t even cheaply substitute with protein from maggot larvae? Jeez.

    (end sarcasm)

    This is why I go for the higher quality foods.

  13. MadameX says:

    Beneful is rated the #1 WORST dog food by the Whole Dog Journal. I know that not everyone is willing or able to spend the money for the super-premium foods, but please–feed them something better than Beneful!

    Someone posted the 2008 Best and Worst Foods list here:


  14. My keyboard has a typo key says:

    I have bought cat food that had weevils in it. The second time, Mars Inc. does not get any more of my purchases. My cats loved Wiskas a lot too.

    It is food, and should have some better safety controls making it.

  15. snoop-blog says:

    ObtuseGoose: I use Purina One, which is the higher quality Purina food. It has way better ingredients. My dog loves it and it gives her a really soft and shiny coat.

  16. nikki0081 says:

    My dog eats Purina Beneful and i’m switching to a better food for him today.

  17. sspeedracer says:

    “I cant imagine bugs would be harmful to him because he eats poop too “

  18. Urgleglurk says:

    We go with foods like Verus, etc. High quality, organic, natural, no additives, etc. It’s about the only way (short of cooking for your pets yourself)to be sure what’s in pet food anymore.

    The maggots could be from poor packaging allowing flies in to lay eggs. They could also indicate spoiled food. I would not feed it to my pet intentionally and would watch for food poisoning symptoms.

  19. genesa says:

    We feed our dogs the Kirkland brand food from Costco. It’s rated a 3 on the above-posted site. It runs under $20 for a 40 lb bag, doesn’t contain any, corn, by-products or wheat gluten, and contains chondroitan and glucosamine for their joints. It comes in lamb or chicken flavor. My dogs’ coats have improved, and they’ve done really well on it.

  20. Saydrah says:

    Anyone feeding a Purina product should expect shoddy quality. The maggots were probably the highest-quality, most bio-available protein in the bag! Bugs are gross, but healthier for your dog than ground corn cobs and chicken beaks.

    • ludwigk says:

      @Saydrah: Maggots and Larvae are generally very nutritious, since they are literally bags of nutrients to fuel the pupation process to becoming an adult bug. So, the bugs in of themselves probably do not represent any kind of threat.

      The problem is their production process has gaps in it, and allow for the introduction of unintended contaminants. This month, its harmless maggots. Next month, it could be some strain of Botulinum that poisons people’s pets.

  21. splitplug says:

    My dog also eats beneful, but I’m going to the store after work today to buy something better, because two of these stories in a row is scary.

  22. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    My dog eats Beneful! What should I do? I obviously won’t give her anymore of her leftover food, but switching food can be difficult. I have to call my vet ASAP… :(

    • BeeBoo says:


      Why would you waste the rest of the food you have on hand? Apparently your dog likes it.

      Does it have maggots? No? Even if it did, eating them wouldn’t hurt your dog in the slightest.

      All it takes is one fly to lay eggs in the factory and you have maggots in the food.

      Get the Costco dog food and switch by mixing it into the Beneful until your dog is used to it.

  23. jacques says:

    After last week’s posting and discussions, I switched from Eukanuba to Dick Van Patten’s natural balance. Dogs are finally off the old stuff, now just waiting for the after-effects of the switching process to finish. Dogs seem to eat it faster, but I don’t know that alone is necessarily worth the extra $.30 a pound or so it costs. Glad I took the dogs off the pedigree/eukanuba mix a number of months ago, I didn’t realise exactly how bad the pedigree was.

  24. colinjay says:

    I used to use Canidae for my two dogs because it was a highly rated and relatively inexpensive premium dog food. It cost me roughly the same as what I was spending for grocery store brand dog foods when you compared the actual kcal/kg. Canidae recently changed their formula to what I believe is an inferior formula and to add insult to injury they raised prices by way of the grocery shrink ray. Now I’ve switched my dogs to Innova and they love it. They didn’t have any issues switching over and I don’t have to worry about feeding my kids junk food.

    I know there are a ton of people who think I’m crazy for spending more than is necessary on an animal, but I consider healthy, wholesome food to be a necessity. I just wish that I had been feeding them this stuff all along.

  25. Dilbitz says:

    ugh, I’ve got two bags of Beneful in my cabinet right now… I used to feed my dog Iams minichunks, but switched because Beneful was cheaper. Well, I guess I’ll just pay the extra money and get him the Iams again. Sorry Gus. I feel like I’ve done something terrible to him…. :(