Six Steps for Reducing the Incidence of Pet Food Recalls

By Jaan Koel

Human food and pet food are becoming increasingly aligned in terms of how and where ingredients are sourced, how and where the foods are processed, how they’re packaged; and how they’re distributed, regulated and, if need be, recalled. Pet “parents” tend to have high standards for the safety and nutritional content of food for their furry friends, and a pet food recall can cause just as much distress as a human food recall. The causes are often the same—they include bacterial infections (i.e., Salmonella, listeria, e-coli, etc.), material contamination (flakes of steel, aluminum, plastic or other materials in the packaged food), improper formulation (wrong nutrient levels), undeclared allergens, and misleading labels, among others.

A big difference, however, is the frequency of recalls. “Compared to human food recalls, pet food on a per capita basis is a small fraction,” says Martha Wilder, Executive Director of the Pet Food Association of Canada. “Most recalls that happen in North America are from imported foods from Asia. About 50% of the product sold in Canada is imported from the USA, and Canadian companies have a strong export market. We have a very high safety record and few recall issues to speak of from domestic or foreign manufacturers.”

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