Fact-Checking the Perrarina Canard

You’ve heard it. Everyone’s heard it. In the early 1990s, the Venezuelan economy got so bad, poor people were forced to eat “Perrarina”, the popular dry dog food brand. But…is there any substance at all to this story?

El Pitazo, one of the new crop of Venezuelan digital media outlets created followed the dismantling of the traditional independent press, is on the case.

Check it out:

Long story short, the source for this story is a single, unsigned story that appeared in Producto magazine in 1990.

Ironically, the Producto piece bills itself as a fact-check of the stories going around at the time about poor people eating Perrarina. It starts off by referencing a previous news report on the story, but it doesn’t specify when or where it appeared.

Despite the sensationalist headline, what’s notable about the Producto piece is that they got nothing: they manage to quote a single shop-owner in a slum near San Bernardino saying some of his customers who don’t own dogs have been buying perrarina.

That. Is. It.

But then, in 1990, Harina Pan cost less per kg. than Perrarina did.

So was there some mass outbreak of Perrarina-eating in the early 90s? There’s just no reason to think so.