Why so may pet food recalls?
Is it just me or does it seem like there are an unusually large number of pet food recalls this year.
The American Veterinary Medical Association keeps track of them and I am astonished at how many are on the 2018 list—already.
As I look at the list, the 2018 recalls are due to three causes: Listeria, Salmonella, and Pentobarbital.
Dry pet food is not sterile and easily contaminated by pathogens (these can make pets or owners sick). Pet food manufacturers know this and are supposed to take precautions.
Food Safety News often writes about Salmonella problems in pet foods; it obtains inspection records that nearly always reveal sloppy production practices.
Pentobarbital is another matter entirely. This is a euthanasia drug. Euthanized animals are not supposed to be included in rendered meals used in pet foods. If pentobarbital is present, the manufacturer is not paying attention to the quality of its ingredients (and whoever is doing the rendering is not excluding euthanized animals).
I have a special interest in pet foods, having written two books about it.
- Feed Your Pet Right (with Malden Nesheim) has a misleading title; it is actually a book about the pet food industry.
- Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine is about the melamine-in-pet-food recalls of 2006—a catastrophic failure in food safety oversight.
Pet foods are a profitable business and lots of companies make them. It’s a good idea to keep track of the recalls and avoid recalled products. Stores do not always remove recalled products immediately.