What the heck is going on? It comes down to money! Pet food is profitable, so lots of companies with little or no experience (or knowledge) of pet nutrition have pounced on the bandwagon. The food these companies sell usually doesn’t meet the American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards.
On it’s own website AAFCO provides this disclaimer:
Rather, enforcement of violations is the purview of the state feed control officials, so companies must comply with each state’s requirements. While most states follow AAFCO model regulations, exact language and interpretation may differ between states.
What happens is this:
Many pet foods are co-packed, or have several different manufacturers. In these cases the label is done by the end-of-the-line company that’s selling the food, Pet Authority reports.
If the pet food bag has “distributed by” instead of “manufactured by,” or “manufactured for,” it means that the food was made somewhere else but the company is placing its label on the bag and selling it as their own.
Many of us think that most pet food companies have veterinarian nutritionists on staff, practice tight quality control, or do nutritional research. Sometimes that’s true, but it’s often not the case.
Here’s an example:
The Diamond Pet Foods plant caused one of the largest food recall in history, with 30,000 tons of food contaminated with salmonella.
- Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul,
- Solid Gold Wolf
- Taste of the Wild
- Premium Edge and several other brands.
|This was made in CHINA
and manufactured by Nestle Purina
Pet Care Company
The suppliers did this to make the wheat gluten and rice protein appear as if the concentrations of protein were high than they actually were.
This tragedy turned into the largest pet food recall in history, spanning foods and treats made by twelve manufacturers, and resulting a criminal case against the U.S. importing company CHEMNutra, Inc, PetMD reports.
Some 25,601 claims were submitted, with 20,229 approved. In over half of the cases (13,242), the pets died!
Buyer beware. In this day and age, what can we learn from this? The Latin phrase “caveat emptor” (Let the buyer beware) applies here.
Here’s a few suggestions:
The American Veterinary Medical Association publishes a list that is frequently updated, and it can’t hurt to check it out every week.
Stop Foodborne Illness recommends the following top tips for safe handling of pet food – you can take steps to minimize risk and keep your pet healthy:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after touching pet food.
- Clean pet food and water dishes after each feeding.
- Scoop food out of bags/containers with a clean scoop.
- Throw away spoiled or old pet food in a tied plastic bag.
- If your pet’s food is being recalled, discard all of it — from your pet’s food bowls along with the rest of the supply.
- Diarrhea (including blood or mucus).
Keep in mind that some pets can be carriers, meaning they show no symptoms.
In this day and age, it almost seems like keeping your pet healthy is a full time job. Considering all the love our pets give us and the ways in which they enrich our lives, it’s a job well worth it.