What changes have pet food companies made in processing foods since the pet food recall?

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Increased communication, particularly on ingredient and source issues, from supplier to manufacturer and manufacturer to retailer, certainly seems to play a starring role in the pet industry since the major pet food recall of 2007. In addition, extra testing from companies, whether they were involved in the incident or not, have been implemented for stricter quality control—with some of those results being posted online to promote the companies’ new, or old, safety measure.

It began in March 2007 when a handful of cats and dogs became sick after eating their usual bowls of pet food in 2007. Many of those incidents involved fatalities, probably the most well known being “Pebbles,” the Yorkshire terrier who was believed to be the first to be diagnosed.

At that time, very few could have predicted that it would lead to an overhaul of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or a safety import agreement with China, but too many pets became ill and/or died, owners got mad and consumer confidence plummeted. Lawsuits were filed and pet food representatives as well as veterinarians and FDA officials were called to Capitol Hill for hearings.

Melamine and cyanuric acid were discovered as the contaminants, but molds and salmonella other molds, salmonella were also found.

Some specific examples of the additional checks and balances in the pet food industry:

• Product safety program that allow consumers to view test results of the pet food by simply typing in the “best by” date on the package into an online database. Results from laboratories, both independent and company, are returned on seven tests, including the additives involved in the recall, cyanuric acid and melamine, as well as aflatoxin, DON (Vomitoxin), Ochratoxin, Zearalone (ZEA) and Fumonisin.

• Guarantee logos affixed to pet food cans and postings as well as signed affidavits from manufacturers, guaranteeing the ingredient list of each batch.

• Clearer and more specific and detailed information on some pet food websites.

• Independent websites such as: The Truth About Pet Foods.Com and Poisoned Pets.Com that give information about the pet food industry.

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