Pet food recalls; as pet owners we dread those three words. So what is a recall? It is an action taken by a company to remove a specific batch of products, produced at a particular time, either from a distributor’s inventory, the marketplace or directly from a consumer’s kitchen.
Types of Pet Food Recalls
There are three types of recalls:
- The company does so voluntarily
- FDA (Food & Drug Administration) request
- FDA order under statutory authority (which is very rare)
Why is Pet Food Recalled?
Pet food can be recalled for some reasons, some more serious than others. The more frequent offenders include products that have been contaminated with mold, bacteria (like Salmonella), a toxic substance (like aflatoxin and melamine), or those with deficient levels of required vitamins. Most companies strive to produce safe, quality food by having Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) in check to ensure quality throughout the manufacturing process, while other companies conduct testing on every batch (either by an in-house lab or by sending samples to contracted labs) for testing of foreign body contaminants, pathogen contaminants or nutrient imbalances.
However, these efforts are not always successful, and when not properly monitored a variety of problems can occur when pet food pathogens are found and ingested by our pets. One example is when dogs or cats contract Salmonellosis they can show symptoms of severe vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and sepsis. Another case is when Aflatoxicosis occurs after a pet has been exposed to food contaminated by fungus, the side effects of this range from lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea, and in severe cases, liver failure, blood clotting disorders and possibly death. During the manufacturing process sometimes mistakes occur that can lead to an imbalance of nutrients in your pet’s food. Feeding a pet a diet over an extended period that contains inadequate levels of vitamins has the potential to lead deficiencies.
So, one might think that if too little is not so good, a little extra would be ok right? That’s not necessarily the case. Vitamin toxicosis can develop when a manufacturing mistake results in a higher level of vitamins than intended and, depending on the vitamin; it could have fatal consequences.
Causes of Eating Recalled Pet Food
There are a variety of causes that could account for vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy and a sudden change in behavior in our pets, but if a new bag or can of food has recently been purchased and you see these symptoms, an issue with the food may very well be the reason! If you suspect or see something wrong with your pet’s food, then you should contact the company immediately to inform them of your findings.
Make sure to have the packaging in front of you so you can give them the batch number and the specific information they require to determine when the food was produced at their facility. Since I have a storage container for my dog’s food, what I have done is take a picture of the bag that shows the company and what food it is as well as the lot number located on the bottom of the bag. If you find that you are feeding your pets a recalled food, stop immediately and contact your veterinarian!
Always be conscious of what you allow your pets to eat and stay up to date on pet food recalls (you can follow us on Twitter @PetYen4Pets for important recall announcements), it’s essential and could save your pet’s life.