Pet Foods: Contamination, Mislabeling and Damages
Global sales of pet food products, mostly for dogs and cats, reached over US$70 billion last year and revenues are expected to keep growing insanely. But what about the quality of these products? Can we expect to find (truly) safe and healthy pet foods in stores?
In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that some commercial pet foods were contaminated with melamine, a toxic industrial chemical that ended up poisoning and killing thousands of dogs and cats around the world. This widespread food fraud became known as the Great Pet Food Recall. Since then, more than 150 brands of pet food — of all types including dry, wet/canned, and treats — have been recalled and removed from shelves by several companies, according to the FDA.
The causes of pet food recalls over the past 10 years varied but included contamination with salmonella, mold, foreign objects, illegal antibiotics, and even an euthanasia drug.
In most of the cases, a number of pets fell sick or died — before companies voluntarily issuing a recall and/or withdrawing their tainted products from the market — since current regulations keep pet food companies off-leash.
“As opposed to an animal drug, food for animals doesn’t need FDA’s pre-market review to be legally marketed” — FDA’s Regulation of Pet Food
For example, Nestlé, the giant human and pet food company — that owns brands such as Purina ProPlan, Friskies, and Beneful — was sued after “thousands of dogs have become ill or died as a result of eating Beneful dry kibble dog food”, which allegedly had mold contamination causing “mycotoxin poisoning” in pets, as reported by NBC News. The company simply denied the lawsuit allegations and barked in response: “there are no quality issues with Beneful.”