What a Pet Food Recall Tells Us
Given its zero-tolerance policy for pathogens in pet food, viable infectious bacteria need not be present in a pet food (nor any adverse effects documented from feeding the food) for the FDA to initiate a pet food recall for Salmonella or Listeria; the mere presence of bacterial DNA is sufficient for a recall. Consequently, a single isolated pet food recall for Salmonella or Listeria should not necessarily be taken as damning for a pet food manufacturer, but a history of repeated recalls, or an indication of a lack of cooperation with FDA inspection processes, or any FDA citations for unsanitary conditions should most certainly raise serious questions about the trustworthiness of a pet food manufacturer.
A recall for aflatoxins is, however, another story. Unlike Salmonella and Listeria which are commonly found in the environment, and to which our ground-sniffing pets are routinely exposed with the appearance of no ill effects, aflatoxins are highly toxic compounds which are produced by molds that grow on improperly managed and/or improperly stored grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. When aflatoxins are found to be present in pet food, it is invariably through the use of moldy raw ingredients, and any recall for aflatoxins should raise serious questions with regard to deficiencies in a pet food manufacturer’s sourcing and quality control testing of the raw ingredients they use.
Regardless of the reasons for a pet food recall, any contaminated lots of foods should not be fed and must be properly disposed of, but keep in mind that not all recalls are created equal when it comes to judging the trustworthiness of a pet food manufacturer.
Tune in during the coming weeks for a series of columns for parrot-lovers! Cheers to you and your pets!!