Poppy's Picnic - Warning to New and Existing Buyers

Poppys do anything to avoid refunding when food arrives defrosted. They give dangerous info and totally disregard consumer protection legislation. Below are my Trustpilot comments with advice on precautions to take when ordering, together with their ridiculous reply. At the end are steps taken by Wiltshire County Council, so hopefully they will have to improve, but, in view of the outright lies they have told me, I am unconvinced, so advise caution. It’s worth looking at the other Trustpilot reviews regarding this.

1st Review:
“Consumer Regulations state online orders must be as described – in this case frozen – so Poppys have an obligation to refund, without argument, when this is not so. Whether or not it is safe to refreeze is irrelevant. IF UNFROZEN TELL THEM WITHIN 4 HOURS

They only use ice packs in high summer; otherwise just polystyrene lining. When it arrives defrosted Deborah gives dangerous & wrong assurances that it’s safe to refreeze – even when thawed to such an extent that blood has seeped out. She misquotes other frozen dog food producers’ criteria & even her own website. She insists her packaging is adequate when clearly it’s insufficient to guarantee frozen next day delivery (see similar reviews here).

My order arrived completely defrosted when their premises wouldn’t re-open for 4 days due to the bank holiday. I opened it in front of the delivery man, so, with him as my witness, didn’t foresee any problems. I considered refusing delivery, but thought I was doing them a favour by saving them the return payment so fed it to the birds. I suggested Deborah contact the driver, for verification, she said she had done so. This seems to be a lie, as, due to her later refusal to refund, I 'phoned DPD who said she hadn’t been in touch.

Deborah, you ignored or provided irrelevant replies to all my following points, so now is your chance to remedy this by making RELEVANT comments.

You said “You have supplied NO evidence that the food arrived in a poor state.” & accused me of lying.

(1) JOSH, THE DRIVER, COULD HAVE PROVIDED THE ONLY EVIDENCE NECESSARY. When I accused you of lying about contacting DPD you said you’d take no notice of what they had to say because “DPD have no experience regarding our food & boxes”.

Totally irrelevant! The sole reason for contacting them would have been for confirmation it was defrosted. Why didn’t you & why did you say you had?

(2) You’d been told it was totally defrosted & not cold but said “Had you looked on our website you would have seen that the food even though defrosted would have been perfectly fine to freeze”.

BUT what it actually says is “If they arrive slightly defrosted but cold to the touch they are perfectly fine to be frozen. If it arrives defrosted around the edges put it in freezer. Provided the tubs are cold to the touch you can safely refreeze.”

You refer to defrosted food as SPOILED & IN A POOR STATE?. It can’t be safe to refreeze & spoiled – has to be one or t’other. Make your mind up!

(3) You said “Had you been unsure you should have stored it in the freezer until after the bank holiday”. Which bit of “obviously it’s not safe to refreeze” led you to think I was unsure?

(4) You said “The decision to discard the food was completely your own. It could have been frozen directly on receipt. We cannot refund you because of your decision to discard the food”.

Why would you want it back? Surely you wouldn’t have refrozen it? I quoted the following internet searches to you:-

“Refreezing raw meat after thawing is generally a no-no, not only for pet food but in kitchens worldwide. Without proper food handling or an awareness of how bacteria grow on raw meat, refreezing can introduce harmful bacteria to your pet & decrease the meat’s nutritional value The most important rule of safely refreezing raw is safely thawing it first! Only meals thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen, as this is the only method of thawing at home that keeps bacterial growth in check”

And “Can I Refreeze Fully Thawed Raw Meat that is warm to touch/Room Temperature? No. Your meat is most definitely in the danger zone. It is too dangerous for consumption & should be discarded. Do not attempt to refreeze or eat this meat. By virtue of the meat being warm to touch/room temperature, the meat is at a temperature point where bacteria, viruses & food pathogens can multiply very quickly."

1 star reviews here say “I opened the box to find the meat defrosted. Not just soft but 75% of it was wet & fully defrosted. I was told it’s fine & to put it in the freezer.” & “I was told it was fine to refreeze. I explained it was completely defrosted & gushing in blood. I again received defrosted, squishy, blood dripping balls. I was again told to refreeze they are fine.”

You are endangering dogs’ health by giving this false info! Frozen meat should be packaged in temperature-controlled boxes with dry ice or frozen gel packs. I have contacted Wiltshire Council regarding this erroneous information & inadequate packaging. Ingredients are excellent, but customer service is diabolical.

I would advise: (1) Insist on ice packs (2) Open boxes in front of DPD (3) If defrosted refuse to take delivery, take a photo & ask driver to sign a note saying food has thawed. (4) Tell them WITHIN 4 HOURS OF RECEIPT & demand a refund.

If they refuse, contact bank or Paypal. Paypal found in my favour & refunded


Our insulated courier boxes are like mini fridge freezers with each pack keeping the other packs cold. We’ve tested the cardboard (coated it in a potato starch to repel water), the recycled polystyrene (the optimum thickness to work with our packs) and durability (placing the boxes in 24 hour rain and 24 hour direct sunlight) and we have found it to be more thermally efficient than other insulation options. We do everything possible to ensure that your food arrives frozen. If it arrives defrosted around the edges, put it straight into the freezer. Provided the tubs are still cold to the touch, at 4°C or below, you can safely refreeze and use as normal. On the rare occasion that some packs arrive completely defrosted or you are unable to freeze, they will keep for 4 days in the fridge. If customers do receive their order in an unsatisfactory condition it’s important to take photos, for example of any courier damage or details of batch numbers etc, so we can properly investigate. Without this we are unable to provide any refunds or make refinements to our procedures. We wish you and your dog well.

My 2nd review

Are you all politicians? You have their talent for refusing to give straight answers – or any at all! You’ve repeated word for word the info I quoted from your website, but failed to explain why Deborah is saying food is safe to refreeze when completely defrosted & have ignored my other points.

You say completely defrosted packs keep for 4 days in fridge – nothing about refreezing them as Deborah tells us. Meat should be defrosted in fridges – not in transit. No-one orders only enough for 4 days – what’s supposed to happen to the rest of thawed orders?

Natures Menu says “All defrosted meats need to be kept in a fridge & consumed within 24 hrs. Raw food will arrive safely tucked up in one of our specially designed boxes. Inside you will find a set of extremely cold gel packs & our cardboard liners that keep everything insulated”

Why you don’t do the same with every order is inexplicable & clearly some orders arrive completely defrosted due to this exclusion – unless we’re all lying of course!

Customers are entitled to receive orders as described – ie frozen – & should not pay for substandard food – or, to quote Deborah, “spoilt and in poor condition”, or, to quote you “unsatisfactory”.

You say “If customers receive their order in an unsatisfactory condition it’s important to take photos of any courier damage or details of batch numbers etc so we can properly investigate. Without this we are unable to provide any refunds”

How are people supposed to know this? Its not in the T&Cs – although I suspect you may amend them now.


This T&C isn’t worth the paper its not written on. It’s your responsibility to ensure orders are packed with ice so they arrive as described, ie frozen - if they don’t it’s your fault entirely & you have to replace or refund.

Your T&Cs also say” Our boxes are designed to keep the food cool in transit for up to 48 hrs. This applies to average UK seasonal temperatures as stated by the Met Office. We will not accept liability for orders refused if delivered within the 48hr delivery window and will only offer a replacement on a discretionary, case-by-case basis.” Again, utter rubbish!

To use a cliché, when you’re in a hole, stop digging! Your response will create an even worse impression to all who read it than if you hadn’t replied at all. Buyers are being given advice detrimental to dogs’ health. This must stop.

I have advised buyers to refuse delivery if food is defrosted, but, for the avoidance of doubt, is this what you wish? Or would you like to arrange collection later or have it disposed of? Perhaps this is one issue you might answer.

Poppys is one of the very few dog foods the ingredients of which I entirely approve of - apart from (unlike most premium brands) your lack of clarity in refusing to give percentages other than the 1st ingredient - so I find your disregard to consumer rights very disappointing.

What Wiltshire County Council say:

"Thank you for your email. I just wanted to let you know that I have now advised Poppy’s Picnic on unfair terms and that they must ensure that all terms used are balanced and not in favour of the business. I have also reiterated that it is the responsibility of Poppy’s Picnic to ensure that adequate packaging is used for frozen products.

I have advised the company that they need to ensure that staff are following the company’s written policy regarding refreezing. I explained that where the advice provided to customers is not given in line with that (as appears to be in your case) then they should provide further staff training, or alternatively evidence that raw pet food that fitted your description of defrosted is microbiologically safe to refreeze. Poppy’s Picnic informed me that staff will be spoken to in order to ensure that they are clear on the messaging with regards to refreezing."

I have always understood that frozen raw food should not be refrozen and when thawed. There is more information about safety on the Gov.uk website.

I feed frozen fresh food but cooked, not raw. It comes with ice packs and wrapped in sheep wool liners. I return these for recycling. Last summer when it was very hot they trialled dry ice. Never had a problem.

I hope that you get this dealt with to your satisfaction.

Exactly, Dottie, but there might be people who don’t know that and who are trusting or gullible enough to believe them when they say it’s safe. Poppys must know it’s unsafe but put their profits above dogs’ health, which is unforgivable. I think PayPal must be aware of the problem, because they only gave them 10 days to respond instead of the usual 20, escalated the matter to a claim themselves and refunded very quickly. I intended to cook it and, as it’s the only cookable raw food I can find without nutritional additives I’d still like to buy it, but doubt if they’d sell to me after I’ve caused them grief!

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Fortunately there are plenty of high quality raw food companies. Hopefully you will be able to find something suitable. In view of the fact that you like their products, it is a shame though.

Gemma, thank you for sharing.

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