Pet food recalls rise, but does that mean your dog is safe?

Pet food safetyDear Paws: I have five dogs, all of varying age from puppy to senior, and three parakeets, and because of their very different dietary needs I’m careful about what I buy and what they eat. Over the past couple of years I’ve seen many more product recalls of pet food than there used to be, even just a few years ago. What is going on? – Daniel, via email

Dear Daniel: What you’re seeing is the result of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2011. It gave the Food and Drug Administration more authority to improve food safety, including mandating pet food recalls. Before the law was passed, individual pet food companies could recall foods at their discretion.

Because of this — and because the regulations were finalized in September 2015 — we are seeing a lot more pet products being recalled.

For pet owners, this sudden increase in recalls is certainly alarming. However, it’s also an indication that some of the new regulations around pet food are beginning to work. Companies are complying with the recall mandate, and hopefully the same companies are also working to improve their pet food products so that they are safe to eat.

As a pet owner, you can help keep the new FDA regulations around pet food safety moving forward in a few ways. The FDA has detailed instructions on filing a complaint about a pet food here. You can also directly contact pet food manufacturers if you have concerns.

If you want to take more direct action, there are few prominent advocacy groups for pet food safety – yet. The Association for Truth in Pet Food, founded by Mollie Morrisette and Susan Thixton, is directly tackling product labeling and advocating for owners of pets sickened by manufactured food.

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