20 Aug 2014
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Pet Food Safety Guide: Recalls and Proper Storage

How can you be prepared in the event of a recall of your pet's food?

Pet Food Safety Guide: Recalls and Proper Storage
by Victoria Park

EAST ATLANTA — Reeling from Recalls?

If you're like most pet owners, the recent waves of pet food recalls have probably left you nervous and wondering which brands to trust. Food recalls happen for both pet and human products; unfortunately, this is a part of our world now. But before you go into panic mode, there are some little-known facts that you should be aware of. 

Salmonella contamination is not always an indication of an untrustworthy company. It is very hard for pet food plants to control salmonella, as it is airborne and can be present on the machinery, which can be difficult to keep clean. Most meat in general has traces of salmonella, as well as produce.

The good news is: most pets are actually immune to salmonella, unless they are elderly or have compromised immune systems, so that should ease your mind some when it comes to your pets' safety. People are more likely to get sick from salmonella contamination than animals. But when you take certain precautions, you can lower the risk to the rest of your family. Always wash your hands after handling pet food and treats. Avoid letting small children touch or eat pet food or handle meaty bones, bully sticks, or pig ears.

The FDA is more active in random testing now, so there will probably be a lot more recalls in the pet food industry in the future. So how can you be prepared in the event of a recall?

You should always save the bag or the lot code/date code and UPC from your recent purchase in case you need to return it. The lot code/date code and UPC are usually found on the back of the bag or on the bottom front part of the bag.

When recalls happen, this is the information that is used to identify which batches of food might be affected with salmonella. Saving the information on your pet food will give you peace of mind and entitle you to a credit from the manufacturer. 

Smart Food Storage
Ideally, you want to keep dry food in the original bag and place the bag in a container instead of pouring the pet food into a container. The food will stay fresher longer, and less air will get to the kibble.  Even airtight containers can expose kibble to air when the lid is opened. Storing the bag this way will also give you easy access to the information you might need in case of a recall.

Using canned pet food is a healthy addition to any pet's diet. There is a lot of moisture and actual meat in the canned diet that our meat-eating animal friends crave. If you are not using the entire can in one feeding, it is advisable to transfer the canned food from the can into a reusable food container, such as glass or Tupperware, for food storage (with the lid) before placing in the refrigerator. The linings of cans can contain BPA or toxic metals that leach into the food once it is exposed to air and while stored in the refrigerator. Some pets can be sensitive to these toxins, especially cats. It is also easier to spoon canned food out of a container. Canned food actually lasts longer in a food container as well, up to three days. It is recommended that you do not store an open can with food in it for more than a day. 

How We Can Help
Park Pet Supply is on constant alert for new recalls and immediately pulls any affected products. Our staff is exceptionally well-trained to help you choose an alternative brand of pet food or treats if the need should arise, as well as if your pet has a sensitivity, a finicky palate, or special needs. The smaller size of our store means we've already done all the research for you and narrowed down to the healthiest brands to choose from. Just ask one of our helpful employees if you need any recommendations or information.

If you purchased an affected item from us, bring it back to the store, and we will take care of returning it to the manufacturer and giving you a credit.

To stay up-to-date on recall information as we hear about it, make sure to like Park Pet Supply on Facebook!

Ms. Park is the owner of Park Pet Supply in East Atlanta Village.

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