The frequent posting of new product recalls may have you worried about your pet’s food, but the vast majority of products on the market are safe. If you stay on top of the American Veterinary Medical Association's list of product batches for which recalls have been issued, you can feel confident that the food you feed your pets should be safe.
Taken from reports and alerts received from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or the manufacturers involved, the AVMA site’s list goes back to 2011. Since my report of pet product recalls at the end of February 2013, new recalls have been issued for additional product lines. If you've bought any of these brands recently, you should go to the AVMA site or the FDA for details so you can check your purchase against listed UPC data and lot number.
The FDA has posted new pet food and treat recalls every few days this March. These all reflect voluntary recalls by US manufacturers who have found potential problems with the products reported. By the way, consumers who have problems with FDA-regulated pet food products can report complaints online at http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.
Cat and kitten food recalls
In a nutritional value recall, Diamond Pet Foods recalled the following cat and kitten food products as of March 11 not because of contamination risk, but for lower than listed levels of the essential nutrient thiamine (Vitamin B1):
- Diamond Naturals Kitten Formula dry cat food (6 oz samples, 6 lb. bags)
- Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat Formula (6, 18 lb. bags)
- Premium Edge Senior Cat Hairball Management Formula (6, 18 lb. bags)
- Premium Edge Kitten Formula (6 oz. samples, 6 and 18 lb. bags)
- 4health All Life Stages Cat Formula in 5 lb. and 18 lb. bags
Iams Shakeables possible mold recall
The Dog Food Advisor noted that Proctor and Gamble issued a voluntary market withdrawal for selected lot numbers of Iams Shakeables Turkey, 6oz, and Lamb, 6oz, products on March 22, 2013, citing potential for mold growth. According to the PetSmart bulletin the Dog Food Advisor website references, Proctor and Gamble has not received any reports of human or pet illnesses from the products but people should stop feeding the Iams Shakeables Treats affected by the voluntary withdrawal and to return any remaining products to the store where purchased for a full refund. The Proctor and Gamble (Iams) information phone number is 877-894-4458.
Pearl may look concerned, but neither she nor her puppies had any of the potentially moldy treats.
Natura recalls ferret, cat and dog foods brands
All other product lots reported as recalled in March 2013 are subject to potential for Salmonella contamination.
These two ferrets were surprised to hear of the recall on March 18 of ferret, cat and dog food products from four brands manufactured by Natura Pet Products Inc. (California Natural, Evo, Healthwise, and Innova), as this marks the company’s first safety recall in more than 21 years.
- Ferret Food Turkey & Chicken Formula in 6.6lb
- Cat & Kitten Turkey & Chicken Formula in 4oz, 2.2lb, 6.6lb and 15.4lb
- Cat Herring & Salmon Formula in 4oz, 2.2lb, 6.6lb, 15.4lb
- Dog Red Meat Formula Large Bite in 6.6lb, 13.2lb, 28.6lb
- Dog Turkey & Chicken Formula in 4oz
- Dog Turkey & Chicken Senior Formula in 6.6lb, 13.2lb, 28.6lb
- Dog Turkey & Chicken Weight Management Formula in 4oz, 6.6lb, 13.2lb, 28.6lb
- Cat Turkey & Chicken Formula in 4ox, 2.2lb, 6lb, 15lb;
- Cat Turkey & Chicken Senior 8 Plus Formula in 4oz, 2.2lb, 6lb, 15lb;
- Cat Turkey & Chicken Weight Management Formula in 4ox, 2.2lb, 6lb, 15lb;
- Puppy Turkey & Chicken Formula (in 4oz, 6lb, 15lb, 30lb);
- Dog Turkey & Chicken Large Bite Formula (in 4oz, 2.2lb, 6lb, 15lb, 30lb, and 30lb bilingual);
- Dog Turkey & Chicken Senior Plus 11 Formula (in 4oz, 6lb, 15lb, 30lb);
- Dog Prime Grain Free Beef and Lamb Meal Formula (in 5lb, 12lb, 25lb);
- Dog Prime Grain Free Herring and Salmon Formula (in 4oz, 5lb, 12lb, 25lb);
- Dog Salmon & Herring Formula (in 5lb, 12lb, 25lb);
- Dog Turkey & Chicken Large Breed Formula (in 4oz, 15lb, 30lb, 30lb bilingual);
- Puppy Turkey & Chicken Large Breed Formula (in 4oz, 6lb, 15lb, 30lb)
- Dog Kangaroo & Red Lentils Grain Free in 4oz, 5lb, 15lb, 30lb, 30lb bilingual
- Dog Chicken Meal & Oatmeal Weight Control Formula (in 4oz, 5lb, 17.5lb, 35lb);
- Dog Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Formula (in 4oz, 5lb, 17.5lb, 35lb);
- Puppy Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula (in 4oz, 5lb, 17.5lb, 35lb)
The other products recalled this month come from various manufacturers:
- Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers beef patties (bulk 50 count box; 2pack shrink-wrap, 25ct box; and 1 pack shrink-wrap, 50 count box);
- Bravo! Raw Food Diet Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats in 2 lb tubes;
- Steve’s Real Food Turducken Canine Diet – 8oz. Patties in 5lb bags;
- Diggin' Your Dog Strippin' Chicks Pet Treats in 5 oz Bag.
How safe is our pet food really?
According to an article written by Katie Burns (February 15, 2013, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association [JAVMA]), and cited by Liane Erich in her article discussing the safety of pet foods, the number of pet food recalls remain virtually unchanged from year to year.
Also, as noted for many products listed in recent recall notices, Salmonella in the food appears to pose a much higher risk for pet owners than pets. No cases of Salmonellosis in pets have been confirmed as associated with pet food recalls, although human illnesses have been reported. Indeed, according to research conducted by Dr. Kate KuKanich, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, at Kansas State University (JAVMA, June 1, 2011, Vol. 238, No. 11 , Pages 1430-1434), most reported cases of Salmonellosis in pets have been associated with homemade raw pet diets.
Check recall to be confident your pet's food is OK
The guidelines and enforcement efforts currently in place in the US help ensure pet food safety by giving procedures for both testing pet foods and publicizing recalls of potentially unsafe foods. Thus, the greater media reporting of pet food recalls in the US actually reflects growing pet food safety, rather than more risk.
So, yes, the list of recalled products can be long, but consider that these lists typically reflect many different packaging options (brands or package size) of a few product types manufactured during a specific period of a week to a month. Compared to the thousands of product brands and size options manufactured by just the manufacturers participating in the current recalls, a very limited number of product batches are affected.
So be thankful you live in a country where these recalls do get publicized, and check any of the recalled product brands you may have bought against the list of product batches recalled to be sure your pets don't eat any of the recalled foods.