National Love Your Pet Day highlights pet food safety

peachestext_blogWith the influx of cat videos on the Internet, family portraits featuring four-legged friends and luxury pet spas now becoming a viable business, it’s no secret that people love their pets. But if you needed an excuse to spend the day cuddled up with your furry friend or just another reason to pamper, play and primp your pets, then you’re in luck as today marks National Love Your Pet Day.

While this “unofficial” holiday is all about celebrating the bond people have with their pets and encouraging pet owners everywhere to take time and appreciate them in their lives, it also serve as a time to educate and remind animal owners about pet food safety.

According to a recent article, the FDA’s regulation of pet food is similar to that for other animal foods. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. In addition, canned pet foods must be processed in conformance with the low acid canned food regulations to ensure the pet food is free of viable microorganisms.

However, previous pet food recalls including those for food adulterations as well as for foodborne pathogens have been responsible for causing sickness and death in pets around the world. Handling pet food and treats that contain pathogens such as Salmonella can also cause illness in humans, especially in children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

The FDA offers consumers several tips to help prevent foodborne illness when handling pet food and treats.  These include:

Buying

  • Purchase products in good condition, without signs of damage to the packaging such as dents or tears.Dog&Cat_eating_resized

Preparation

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap before and after handling pet foods and treats.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes, and scooping utensils with soap and hot water after each use.
  • Do not use the pet’s feeding bowl as a scooping utensil—use a clean, dedicated scoop or spoon.
  • Dispose of old or spoiled pet food products in a safe manner, such as in a securely tied plastic bag in a covered trash receptacle.

Storage

  • Refrigerate promptly or discard any unused, leftover wet pet food. Refrigerators should be set at or below 40°F.
  • Dry products should be stored in a cool, dry place—under 80°F.
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed.
  • Keep pets away from food storage and preparation areas.
  • Keep pets away from garbage and household trash.

Pet owners are also encouraged to frequently read FDA advisories on recalled pet food and treats that can be found here.

Neogen offers the pet food industry the most comprehensive line of product safety solutions, including rapid test kits for pathogens, including tests for E. coli O157, Salmonella, and Listeria; mycotoxins, including tests for aflatoxin and DON; and sanitation monitoring, including the ATP testing system. For more information, click here.

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