Local newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung reported on Friday that at least three senior citizens were brought the dog food during the week of Christmas by charity Osnabrücker Tafel – a service similar to Meals on Wheels.
Apparently it was the puppy chow's packaging that led to the confusion. The dog food was presented in a glass jar labelled “from the land” and “meat dish in a glass”, describing the contents as “venison and potatoes in garden vegetables.”
It was only in small letters at the top that the product was described as “gourmet food for animals” with instructions on the back describing how much to serve a dog based on its size.
But the dog food's packaging was so enticing that several seniors overlooked those key words – or perhaps were unable to read them – and one pensioner proceeded to heat the sauce in a pan.
“Only upon the resulting smell did the person become suspicious and went for a magnifying glass,” a source told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.
An employee of the Osnabrücker Tafel charity told the newspaper that there was one case where the person did not notice that they had been served dog food in time.
The Osnabrücker Tafel says on its website that it collects around five tonnes of food surplus from sponsors every day, sorts the products at their headquarters and then brings them to families and individuals in need.
“Our warehouse manager sorts through many tonnes of groceries every day and it is possible that due to the design of the packaging, he did not notice,” said Dieter Möllmann, the outgoing chief of the charity, adding that he could not rule out that others had also received the dog food.
“We are extremely sorry about the mix-up,” Möllmann continued. “Due to this incident, we will advise all stations within our operations to in the future go over and check groceries more carefully.”
The manufacturer of the dog food insisted to Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that the packaging clearly states that it is dog food both on the front and the back, but also said that it is harmless to humans.