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More Pet Food Recalls

Posted Aug 29 2013 7:00am
Dr. Coates is a veterinarian based in the other “Sunshine State” – that's Colorado to the rest of you – where she lives and plays with a varied range of animals. She shares her professional and personal experiences, Monday through Friday, here on petMD's blog, the Fully Vetted. Log in for your daily dose of her insight and wisdom. < Previous Post Aug 29, 2013 More Pet Food Recalls by Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM     Share       Save to mypetMDAs I sat down to write today, a news flash came to my attention regarding another big pet food recall. A major manufacturer was recalling all of its dry pet food and treats manufactured prior to a certain date when, according to the information on their website, “we implemented additional finished product testing procedures with the guidance of industry experts.” This recall involved potential Salmonella contamination in several highly regarded brands of food.
 
Unfortunately, this is not a single event. The number of pet food recalls is on the rise, in part because of increased testing of pet foods for Salmonella. This pathogen is of special concern, not just because it can make pets sick but also because people can become infected after handling pet food or feces that contain the organisms. Recalls do help protect public and animal health, but they really are a measure of last resort. After all, these foods are already in people’s homes — dogs and cats have been eating them and their owners have been handling them. As of yet, there have been no reports of illness associated with this most recent recall. Let’s hope that doesn’t change.
 
Recalls are indicative of multiple failures throughout the supply, manufacturing, and distribution chain. Best practices should ensure that ingredients used in making pet food only come from countries with trustworthy regulatory practices (think back to the melamine debacle of 2007). Domestic and international ingredient suppliers must have excellent purity standards in place, but the pet food manufacturer is ultimately responsible for the quality of the ingredients used to make its products.
 
Here’s an example: An article published in the January 2010 issue of Consumer Reports noted that 14 percent of 382 chickens bought from more than 100 stores in 22 states were contaminated with Salmonella. I think it’s safe to assume that much of the chicken entering a pet food facility is also contaminated. The bacteria are killed and rendered harmless during appropriate cooking/manufacturing processes, but Salmonella can be spread through the air. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that raw ingredients are completely separated from the finished product to prevent cross contamination.
 
Quality control is crucial for incoming ingredients during the manufacturing process and for outgoing pet food. Did you know that many pet foods are not made by the brand name that is associated with them? These companies hire other producers to make their products for them. Contracting out the manufacturing of pet foods makes quality assurance difficult. Pet food companies that make foods in their own facilities have much greater control over the process.
 
Because mistakes are always possible, companies should test their finished foods and not ship them until after results prove that the products are safe. All-encompassing quality control is time consuming and expensive but necessary to protect the health and well being of pets and people. Unsure of where the company that makes your pet’s food stands? Go to their website or call them and see what they have to say about their quality and safety standards.
 
 

Dr. Jennifer Coates
 
 
Image: Thinkstock
 
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zivadaddy priorities and info 08/29/2013 11:09am So I decide to receive emails /articles from petmd because I see some value in them. So today the email 'headlines' are another pet food recall, another manufacturer recalling all its dried pet foods....etc. So I immediately click through to the article because I am a concerned dry food user. I am linked to Dr Coates article and I instantly get P**sed off.

I am tired of sensationalism / lure me in journalism. I say that because when a I see "headlines" about a dry food recall in this order I immediately want to know; What product, What company, What the concern is, What do I need to do etc.

what I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT NEED is a bland, vague, non informative article about pet food recalls in general. What I expected to see when I clicked through was Dr Coates article starting off with something like today xyz company recalled its abc products because of this concern etc.

Instead not one name of anything is mentioned leaving me to start frantically searching for recall links and news stories concerning pet food recalls

If I wanted sensationalist journalism that exists only for the purpose of raising the click count so you could collect the advertising money I would go to many other sites not concerned with the health of my pet

The article is ok and informative for what it is. I resent how I was "scared" into getting to it.

Reply to this comment Report abuse 34 Donlar 08/29/2013 11:46am They were most likely "Hills" products! Thus, no comment on the specific brand or product! (This site operated/sponsored by "Hills" pet products. Reply to this comment Report abuse 5 zivadaddy 08/29/2013 12:11pm so basically I should take everything on this site as nothing more than an advertisement for the sponsors. There will never be any "unbiased" opinions about anything. If there is concern that mentioning the exact recall and products involved would cause negative publicity for a site sponsor then the inverse would be everything on the site is to benefit the site sponsors only. To me that means patently biased which means I would never trust another thing as I would always be trying to figure out who is the beneficiary or I guess more accurately whose best interest is the article or information is trying to serve Reply to this comment Report abuse 3 BarnyardPunch 08/29/2013 01:10pm Take everything you read in any form of media with a grain of salt. This site is no exception. There's a lot of informative stuff on petmd, though it's pretty superficial if you're not brand new to thinking about pet health. It's a good jumping off point to go on learning more elsewhere.

It's near impossible to get any real information on pet food manufacturing and quality or how to create a well-balanced homemade food. Not a lot of research being published there either. Why? Cuz Purina and Hills and others sponsor and underwrite vet schools, horse shows, dog agility trials, shelters. It's super lame.

Anyway, I wouldn't write off this entire site, even if this post was supremely lame (Could have been three sentences long: "Recent pet food recalls illustrate how difficult it is to keep the pet food supply chain clean. Salmonella can contaminate at any point in the manufacturing process. Invest time in finding out how the food you feed your pet is made." -- As if you can get any meaningful information from the brands themselves. Ha.) Reply to this comment Report abuse 6 Lightbrigade 08/29/2013 01:56pm So true. This is old news, by the way. To keep up on what is happening receive emails from: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/
or from the USDA. Reply to this comment Report abuse 3 Lightbrigade 08/29/2013 01:58pm True. This is old news. To receive up to date information, receive emails from the Dog Food Advisory or the USDA. Fluff is fluff. Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 franthevet 08/29/2013 05:53pm as responsible pet owners - there is NO point writng this article unless you tell us which pet food company this is PLEASE Reply to this comment Report abuse Westcoastsyrinx Low Estimate? 08/29/2013 01:29pm In the past my regular reports that have come in have been showing as high as 80% for salmonella, (2009), http://abcnews.go.com/Health/consumer-reports-chicken-salmonella-campylobacter-bacteria/story?id=9210116, this URL also pulling numbers from Consumer Reports. I have seen far fewer reports regarding meat sourced pathogens within the last year or so and I guess we can say that this is a good sign. Or possibly the reduction in personnel at both the FDA and CFIA are starting to show degredation in quality control of our foods? I can't see where slaughter houses have suddenly developed better hygenic practices so I tend to think that the "14%" figure you found for 2011 was more an indication of reduction in meat inspectors than in reduction of disease carried around on our "human grade" meats.

This issue is not confined to North American markets: http://rt.com/news/prime-time/chicken-meat-salmonella-moscow/ Nor is it confined to human foods: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC339295/

This paper shows that when we are talking about these diseases, there is also going to be some difference in figures due to the fact that diseases have subtypes, (serotypes), and numbers can be shown to be either increasing or decreasing depending upon how the numbers are collected: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/lhmr/pubs/se_control_programs0910.pdf Reply to this comment Report abuse 2 zivadaddy 08/29/2013 06:02pm I can't help myself it is like a train wreck, the more I come back to this page the more I have to look at this article and the more I start picking it apart. Right now I was literally laughing as I read the last sentence"....call them and see what they have to say about their quality and safety standards."

Hello, xyz company?, Dan here. I have a question concerning your companies quality and safety standards of your dry dog food. Whats that?, oh you routinely ignore any and all standards and pretty much get all your meat from the game commission collecting road killed animals?...oh good to hear....how about those safety standards? Oh you use a lot of salt on the fresh kills to keep them from spoiling out in the hot sun where you store them?...and you try to keep the rats away..good thank you for your time.

seriously, call them and ask?....hahahhahahahahahah Like you are going to get any comment at all that has not been approved by what ever law firm that might be handling their business and you certainly will not hear anything like, well we are ok, but honestly so and so is better........

exactly how much do people get paid to write articles like this one...maybe I missed my calling, it is like reading a MSN homepage Reply to this comment Report abuse TheOldBroad FDA 08/29/2013 06:59pm I subscribe to the FDA's email alerts. It's worth it, believe me!

https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USFDA/subscriber/new?preferences=true Reply to this comment Report abuse
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