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Shocking Recalls On Pet Food


In the year 2017, many cases of pet food recall where a drug called pentobarbital was found in canned dog food manufactured by two different companies. This drug is common for euthanasia in horses and other pets. So, it’s very natural to read about such cases and worry about your pet and the food you feed them. But unfortunately, it is the pet food brand involved in such recalls. 

But, before you get all worked up and decide on feeding your pet only home-cooked meals, which have their disadvantages, remember that pet food recall cases are rare. In addition, fruits, vegetables, meat, and baked goods for humans have higher chances of being recalled than pet food. 

Does A Recall Case Mean A Pet Food Company Manufactures Bad Food? 

Some of the highly trusted pet food organizations and websites have included the recall cases of those brands and companies in their criteria of diet ranking. However, a recall case alone doesn’t conclude that the company manufactures harmful pet food. Similarly, there is no proof that the companies with no recall cases manufacture good quality food. 

For example, a pet food manufacturing company involved in the contaminated phenobarbital food recall case had no previous recall case reported against it. Still, the company did have several quality control cases reported by the FDA. Unfortunately, many popular pet-food rating websites and organizations rated the brand highly despite quality control cases reported against it.  

Types Of Recalls

The United States Food and Drug Administration is responsible not only for human food safety but also for pet food. Therefore, there are three recall types for both human and pet food – at the FDA’s request, at the manufacturer’s request, or by order of FDA.  


    • There are times when the manufacturer avoids testing or identifying problems in their food. Still, with the help of random testing sessions at the state and federal levels, such problems are detected. Or in the worse scenario, many pets can get sick or die from consuming harmful food items, leading to legal testing. 

Suppose the FDA receives any evidence against the food that can cause significant health concerns to the pets, and the manufacturer does not voluntarily report the recall. In that case, FDA can strongly encourage recall testing. 


    • Manufacturers can also call for recall testing when they have identified an issue regarding their testing process – or maybe when their nutrient level didn’t meet the desired goal after the shipment, a defect, or possible contamination.


    • The most dangerous situation is when the product had detected condemnation after it had reached the shelves of food shops and homes or when pets started getting sick. In such scenarios, the FDA can force the manufacturing company to conduct a recall.  

Common Reasons For Pet Food Recall 

    • Contaminants – Pentobarbital (2017) and Melamine (2007) 


    • Bacterial Contamination – Widespread in treats or raw diets


    • Excessive Or Fewer Nutrients – such as excessive vitamin D and less Vitamin B1 


    • Foreign Materials – such as pieces of plastic or any metal equipment 

What Happened With These Recall Cases? 

Recall cases like pentobarbital and melamine contamination lead to measures in quality control, especially at the manufacturing level. For example, for many years, pentobarbital was considered a threat in pet food raw materials. Still, companies hid its presence by editing the ingredients list, auditing suppliers, and testing plants after or during the food is manufactured.  

How Do Companies Handle Recall Cases? 

Recalls will always occur, but the important part is how the company handles the recall. Some companies have taken immediate responsibility and presented a clear statement regarding what happened and how it will not happen again in the future. In comparison, some companies have denied such allegations and blamed their work or supply chain for causing such problems. As a result, many black marks were added to their company name, such as an FDA warning letter and failed inspection notice.  


Be more proactive – rather than purchasing canned food as per the pet rating, diet-based, and label information, consider contacting the manufacturer and clearing all the specific doubts and questions regarding the quality control procedure and the ingredients list. There are many reviews online for pet food you should review before purchasing something new.                 


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