As we continue to see recalls on pet food and treats, the FDAAA would appear to be ineffective.
There is much discussion among groups in the pet care industry regarding the safety of pet food and the measures in place to ensure healthy food. Eleven years ago, in March of 2007, the largest pet food recall in American history took place. The recall was due to Melamine-contaminated wheat gluten in over 100 brands of pet food manufactured in China. Wheat gluten is a grain by-product which is commonly used in the production of pet food as it provides a cheaper alternative to muscle meat protein or whole grain carbohydrates. Melamine is an industrial chemical that when ingested causes kidney failure. A few of the top pet food companies whose brands were affected by the contamination were Hills Pet Nutrition, Nestle Purina Pet Care, Del Monte Pet Products, Iams Company, and Procter and Gamble. The recall was a result of public outcry over the estimated tens of thousands of pets becoming sick and several thousand of them dying. The big question is, “How does something like this happen and is it likely to happen again?”. In an effort to create a less expensive product by using inferior quality ingredients, our pets are suffering the potential for health problems including arthritis, periodontal disease, diabetes, and cancer. Most pet food companies outsource the making of their food and are only involved in the distribution of it.
The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act was put in place by Congress after the 2007 recall to improve the safety of pet food. The FDA was required to establish a pet food adverse-event reporting system, improved definitions of pet food ingredients and standards, and improved pet food labeling. The only improvement to date is the reporting system in the event there is a suspected contamination. As we continue to see recalls on pet food and treats, the FDAAA would appear to be ineffective.
As a pet parent, there are steps you can take when choosing your pet’s diet, whether it be kibble, canned food, or raw when being committed to the health of your pet over their lifetime.
Make sure the brand of food you are feeding is made by the same company selling it.
Read the ingredient label and know what each ingredient is. Marketing is great at producing healthy-looking food photos on their packaging and in their commercials, but that is not necessarily what you are buying. Check online periodically for recalls on pet food and snacks.
Look for natural preservatives Vitamin C and E or no preservatives at all. Check for human-grade ingredients instead of feed-grade ingredients.
Ingredients to avoid are:
Corn and wheat gluten
Meat and grain meals and by-products
BHA – Butylated Hydroxyanisole
BHT – Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Food Dyes: Blue 2, Red 40, and Yellow 5 and 6
Buy the best food you can afford. Raw and fresh cooked diets can be expensive, so an alternative is to use real unprocessed pet food as a topper or mixed with a superior quality kibble a couple of times a week.
Something else to consider when purchasing pet food - is your pet enjoying their food?
Author Laurinda Flaks is the co-owner of BamPaws Stay & Play (www.BamPaws.com) located at 815 S Sierra Madre St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. For more information they may be reached at 719-471-2275