A Veterinarian’s Perspective on Pet Food Recalls

    Pet food recalls seem to be in the news quite often these days.  The melamine toxicity scandal killed many animals and made us all more aware of what we feed our beloved pets.  Many people have traded commercial diets for home cooked ones but sometimes end up hurting the animals because the diets are not balanced and complete.  So, what do the recalls really mean?  Here are my thoughts on pet food recalls.
    As a veterinarian, I receive e-mail alerts regarding pet food recalls.  The first thing I want to know is whether the recall is voluntary or mandatory?  If the recall is mandatory, I know that the product actually sickened animals who consumed the product and/or people who came into contact with the product.  This leads me to question the company behind the product because their own in-house testing to insure product safety should have caught this.  Is their testing flawed or did they decide to sell it anyway to make a quick buck?  Either way, I stop using products from companies under mandatory recalls until there is a management change.
    In contrast, a voluntary recall occurs when a company finds a problem through their own testing.  They recall the product immediately to prevent sickening pets and/or people even though it will harm them financially.  I applaud companies who voluntarily recall their products and feel good about their ethics and commitment to good science and safety.  I continue to utilize their products once reintroduced.  
    To receive more information on pet food recalls, I recommend signing up for alerts from the FDA.  Here is the link http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls/.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.