Don’t talk with your mouth full. Eat your veggies. Brush twice a day.
Save your pet food bag?!
We all ignore sage advice at times. That wise little voice in the back of our head gets ignored for any number of reasons. Even when “it’s for your own good”, there’s not enough time or it requires too much effort.
Doing “what’s right” often provides a bit of insurance when things don’t go quite as expected. Sure, it may take an extra moment or two, but consider the payoff. In the case of a pet food recall, the health of your pet can depend upon it.
Pet food recalls have become increasingly common in the past few years
Some believe that the frequency of recalls can be traced to improved manufacturing processes. Better testing procedures catch more problems, which lead to more frequent recalls. Others believe that the increase directly reflects the poor manufacturing practices and ingredients used in our pet foods. Still others credit or blame more scrutiny from government regulation and oversight.
Whichever side of the fence you inhabit, there’s no arguing that we’re seeing more of these recalls. Regardless of what led to the recall, it should always be taken seriously.
Sure, the chances of your pet being affected by the single bag of food you purchased is slim. But why run the risk? When there is enough evidence of a potential problem for a manufacturer to issue a recall, it’s time to pay attention.
Although recalls have become commonplace, they should not be dismissed
How we respond to a recall directly affects the health of our pets. As recalls become more common, there appears to be an increasing tendency to take them less seriously or ignore them completely. At the very least, a recall demands enough attention to determine whether your pet’s food is affected.
Perhaps you’ve already taken steps to ensure you’re feeding a quality food with a stellar track record. Sad to say, that’s not enough. No manufacturer is immune even when they control every ingredient from farm to finished product. Problems can arise in handling, transportation, storage or other circumstances beyond the manufacturer’s control.
There is one basic step that can be taken to ensure a minimal amount of protection from pet foods recalls. It comes from knowing what is on the bag, not what’s in it.
Every bag of pet food is marked with an expiration date and lot number
These numbers are often ignored, but can be a lifeline when a food is recalled. If you’re tempted to purchase a bag of food without a date or lot code, think again. Listen to that little voice screaming a warning to stay away. Without this information, there is no way to confirm if your food has been recalled.
Pet food recalls issued by a manufacturer will normally include the formula names, bag sizes and specific lot numbers &/ or date codes. The numbers are easily located on all bags of food. This is the first line of defense when a recall is issued. If you can’t find the numbers on your bag when a recall is announced, contact your retailer for guidance.
What happens if you no longer have your food bag?
Many pet owners use food storage containers which can be convenient and attractive alternatives to a bag of food. Unfortunately, the use of these containers often means the original bag gets discarded. That’s a habit which should be adjusted.
When your container allows, consider leaving pet food in the original bag when you place it in your container. This ensures the numbers will be readily available should they be needed. This has the added benefit of ensuring stale food does not get buried under a fresh batch of kibble. Your container should be cleaned before refilling, but many of us skip this step. Keeping food in its original bag helps with this as well.
The shape of your containers may not accommodate the original bag. An extra 10 seconds or less is all that’s needed to locate and remove those essential numbers from a bag of food. Consider attaching a clear plastic bag or envelope to the top or side of your container. This makes a handy storage place for that essential scrap with numbers removed from each bag of pet food. It’s easily referenced when needed, or replaced with the next bag of chow.
The few seconds of inconvenience that comes with being diligent about your food information can make a world of difference. At the very least, it will provide you with peace of mind. You’ll know exactly what batch of food resides in your container at any given time.
Sure, pet food recalls are inconvenient
Recalls are troublesome, frustrating and can make us feel as if our favorite manufacturer has let us down. Our course of action, or inaction, when a recall is announced depends on the information available to us. That information first has to reach our ears or eyes.
In an ideal world, a retailer would contact us immediately whenever a recall of our food is announced. In reality, many pet owners remain unaware of recalls unless they find out by accident. Once an owner becomes aware, there are a variety of ways to proceed.
The simplest and most dangerous choice is to ignore a recall, and hope everything works out for the best. Often it will. But do we really want to run that risk? It takes a mere moment to clip or rip a small scrap from a bag of food. This provides a basic insurance policy for our pets when recalls are announced.
Given everything our pets do for us, isn’t that the right thing to do for them? That little voice in the back of your head might just agree it is.