Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Consumers Concerned About Iowa Eggs in Pet Food

The Food & Drug Administration has confirmed that Iowa eggs associated with the recent massive recall will be pasteurized and processed for use in other products, including pet food. The media is already hyping it up with headlines like "Iowa firms will pasteurize possibly tainted eggs for use in cookies, pet food".
You can bet that pet parents are going to be hyped too - the bloggers are screaming foul as we speak. Patricia Y. Hester, a professor of animal sciences at Purdue University, said "There's a possibility that consumers could overreact and consider them not safe when they really are. There could be a public perception problem. There usually is.
"Are you ready for their questions? This needs to be tackled quickly, thoroughly, and honestly, and it could actually work in your favor if it's done properly. I'll help you get started.The first order of the day - research. Find out everything you can about processed eggs and the pasteurization process. Start collecting studies - you'll need to refer pet parents to reputable, independent sources of information.
There are three possible scenarios here for those who use processed eggs in their products:
Scenario one: Your egg product supplier uses eggs from the farms in question.
Scenario two: You use egg products, but your egg product supplier doesn't source them from the farms in question.
Scenario three: You have no idea where your egg products come from.The easiest and safest resolution to scenario one would be to stop using egg products that originated with these Iowa farms - NOW.
Cut your losses and don't use your inventory. Quite often the effort involved in defending yourself is more costly and damaging than change (as many concluded when pet parents were concerned about ethoxyquin), even when you're right. Don't worry, the gains from the increased consumer trust will balance any losses, because you're immediately going to use it in your marketing. If you insist on continuing to use these eggs, put together a brilliant information package about why you are 100% certain that the pasteurization process makes them safe.
Of course, pet food is also reprocessed at high temperatures, but that could beget other concerns so you may want to be careful with that point. Don't make the mistake of thinking that scenario two will exempt you from suspicion - be ready to name the origins of your egg products, including the name of your supplier and what procedures they implement to ensure safety.
Scenario three is probably the worst scenario to be in. "I don't know" is going to drown you on so many levels that you may never surface. You'll need to contact your manufacturer and/or supplier to obtain this information, then proceed accordingly.In all scenarios, issue a statement on your website, link to it via social media, direct people to the information in your automatic phone recordings, arm your frontline customer support staff, etc. - get the word out there before you have egg on your face.
You may want to use the FDA page as a guideline when developing your own egg info. package.It doesn't matter if these eggs are pasteurized and safe, the farms have lost consumer trust and that is going to reflect upon you and your product if you don't act. Get cracking!

Sources:US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)MSNBC, 'Eggs from suspect farms will be processed, sold'. Accessed 8/25/2010

RECALL: P&G recalls Iams cat food in Colo.

P&G Sunday recalled a small number of Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care dry cat food bags, which were recently sold in one or two Loveland, Colorado, stores because of Salmonella concerns.
The recall currently is limited to Iams Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care cat food sold in blue 6.8-pound bags, with a code date of 02304173 (B1-B6), and a UPC number of 1901403921.
Pet owners who purchased the recalled cat food should discard it and contact P&G at 800-862-3332 for a replacement product.

FDA official to be keynote speaker at Feed, Pet Food Conference

Michael Taylor, the deputy commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be the keynote speaker at the Feed and Pet Food Joint Industries Conference.
Taylor will speak on FDA's plans to implement a preventative and risk-based approach to petfood and feed safety. The focus will specifically be on how such changes will affect manufacturers and their suppliers. Other speakers include Dan McChesney, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine and Kent Kitade, president of the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

Monday, August 30, 2010

2011 Victam International event combines three shows in one event

The 2011 Victam International event will feature three, co-located shows in one event. The exhibition includes the Victam International event for animal feed processing and biomass pelleting; FIAAP International event for animal feed ingredients, additives and formulation; and GRAPAS International event for flour milling, grain processing and pasta production.
The event will be held May 3-5, 2011 at the Cologne Exhibition Centre in Cologne, Germany. Event attendees will be able to visit all three exhibitions with one ticket.
Petfood Forum Europe 2011 will also take place during the event, on May 4. A series of other technical conferences and workshops will also be held, including the International Research Association of Feed Technology (IFF) Feed Processing Conference, organized by IFF; the Biomass Conference, organized by the European Biomass Association (AEBIOM); FIAAP Conference, organized by Linx Conferences; GRAPAS Conference, organized by Linx Conferences; Aquafeed Horizons, organized by Linx Conferences; and Feed Safety Assurance in a Globalizing Industry, organized by GMP+International.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Petfood part of a world 'going green'

Sustainability. Eco-friendly. Green. All buzzwords used -- though not consistently or backed by any common definitions or standards -- to describe products and practices that are supposedly kinder to the environment and, some believe, the health of humans and animals (including pets).
Yesterday AdAge.com
announced that the US Federal Trade Commission will likely be releasing new "Green Guides" very soon to at least direct, if not regulate, how companies use marketing and packaging claims related to sustainability and environmental impact.
These new guidelines
may help establish some standards and common definitions, at least in the US, which could go a long way in helping consumers sort through such green claims. Because if one thing is certain, it's that consumers (and probably most marketers) could really use some clarification.
In "World Gone Green," an
article in the August issue of Food Technology (published by the Institute of Food Technologists, or IFT), Krista Faron of Mintel breaks down the latest research on what US consumers think about sustainability. Much of this research applies to consumer packaged goods, including petfood.
Some highlights:
Self-reported "green" purchasing behavior has changed dramatically just since 2006 and through 2007, though it has plateaued since. Just four years ago, 12% of consumers surveyed by Mintel were labeled as "True Greens": people who regularly purchased green products. By end of 2007, that figure had more than doubled, to 27%.
Mintel forecasts sales of natural and organic foods and beverages in mass retailers excluding Walmart and natural channels to increase 4.8% this year and 6.1% in 2011. (For natural and organic petfood data, see the
latest research from Packaged Facts.)
That's the good news. The bad news, Faron says, is the high point for sustainability appears to have passed, at least in terms of spending patterns.
Much of the article discusses green marketing and labeling claims and just how confusing or even invisible these are to consumers. Faron argues that perhaps better visibility, awareness and definition of claims could have an influence on spending patterns and purchasing behavior.
The other point that stands out is that price is still a huge factor in whether consumers will respond to green claims and actually buy the products. This is especially true during tough economic times but appears to have always been the case: Like petfood, green products overall seem fairly recession-proof. Mintel's research shows green purchasing behavior has remained "remarkably similar in the boom times of late 2007, recessionary climate of October 2008 and January 2010 and, most recently, in June 2010," Faron writes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

US bipartisan committee reaches compromise on food safety

A US Senate bipartisan committee reached a compromise on the groundwork of a new food safety bill that sets the stage for the full Senate to fill in the details later this year.
The bill would give the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to order a food recall, as opposed to just requesting one. FDA is also looking to increase the frequency of inspections at processing plants and other facilities. And, in a move possibly linked to the 2007 melamine contamination of dog and cat food that sickened and killed thousands of pets, the bill includes the stipulation that importers must verify the safety of their foreign suppliers, and businesses that manufacture and process food must have plans in place to prevent adulteration.
No date for a full Senate vote has been set.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is the economy creating a black market for petfood?

A remarkable story out of northern Arizona--and unfortunately, I don't mean "remarkable" in a good way. Two men were reported stealing petfood from a charity: enough cat, dog and puppy food to have fed the pets of 1,000 needy families.
The food had been donated by
Nestle Purina to Angel's Corner, an organization in Williams, Arizona, USA, that delivers food boxes--including petfood--to battered woman and people who have lost their homes. The organization also has a shelter, and its director, Gail Dent, had let two homeless men stay there over the weekend of August 1 in exchange for watching the food and complex. Instead, they took off with all the petfood, worth US$39,000.
Beyond all the truly sad implications of this story, I can't help wondering what the men planned to do with that much petfood. It's difficult to believe they had their own altruistic intentions or know that many other homeless people with pets. Were they desperate enough to consider it sustenance for themselves?
Or, did they see this as a way to make money and support themselves--and if so, where would they sell that much petfood? Has a black market for petfood and similar products sprung up as so many people in the US continue to struggle to make ends meet?
Let's hope this is just one isolated, bizarre incident. And that petfood companies keep donating their products to animal organizations and pet owners who so desperately need them.

PetAg creates Safety Education Program

PetAg created a Safety Education Program to inform and educate consumers about pet nutrition safety, as well as proper storage of its KMR and Esbilac powdered milk products for infant animals.
As part of the program, consumers can sign up on PetAg’s website to receive E-mail updates on product information and educational materials. PetAg also revised its product packaging to provide consumers with clearer instructions for handling, shelf life and storage. The company advises storing unopened or opened cans above the recommended temperature for best product quality.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Walmart, Landfill Diversions Program turn unwanted meat into petfood

The Landfill Diversions Program partnered with three Portland, Oregon, USA, Walmart stores in an effort to use unwanted grocery store food as petfood for rescued animals, according to an article from Fox News Oregon.
The program collects expired turkey, chicken, beef and pork from stores that would otherwise throw the meats out. The food is distributed from the northeast Portland home of Virginia Dunn, director of the group Northwest Working Dogs. According to Dunn, any pet owner who wants to feed animals raw food is eligible for the program.
"The US Department of Agriculture says literally billions of pounds of meat go in the landfill every year and it could be diverted and used for animal feed, which is obviously much healthier for dogs," Dunn said.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Evanger's launches 2011 calendar contest for best pet photos

Evanger's Dog and Cat Food Co. is now accepting photographs for its 2011 annual nationwide pets calendar contest.
The company will choose 12 winners as "pet of the month," with winners selected for featured spreads under the calendar themes of Evanger's sport exhibitors, service dogs, rescued pets and most creative pet photo. The 12 winners will receive Evanger's Super Premium canned and dry petfood and a 2011 calendar.
To submit photos for the contest, send a high-resolution image as an E-mail attachment to
contest@evangersdogfood.com by Monday, September 20 at 6 pm Eastern Standard Time (US). In the E-mail, write "2011 Contest" in the subject line and include the following information in the body: applicant's name, photographer's name, names of all pets in the photo, address, phone number and theme the entry is being submitted for.

Friday, August 20, 2010

US FDA commissioner says China is improving food, drug safety

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said China is improving oversight of its exporters after a number of a complaints about substandard or tainted food and drugs, including petfood ingredients.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said she spoke with Chinese officials on a recent visit who were pursuing a "common agenda" to improve manufacturing practices and regulation of complex supply chains for the food and drug industries.
"I leave feeling very encouraged by the partnership we've developed here," Hamburg said. "This is a priority for China as it is for the United States."
FDA set up offices in three Chinese cities and is cooperating with officials on training, joint inspections and improving accountability. Currently, less than 1% of the expected 20 million FDA-regulated products imported this year are inspected.

Purina publishes Facebook game for pet lovers

Pet lovers can now play the Purina Pet Resort game on the brand's Facebook page.
Players can become the manager of their own virtual pet-themed resort, allowing them to build and operate a place to pamper, care for and entertain virtual pets.
“Purina Pet Resort caters to pet lovers who enjoy online games and would like to create a virtual haven for their four-legged friends,” said Guy Fish, assistant brand manager, Purina brand.
“Resort” owners can purchase a variety of pet-themed stations where virtual pets can be groomed or fed with Purina brand pet foods and treats such as Purina Dog Chow brand dog food, Fancy Feast and Beggin’ Strips.
Purina also recently introduced an enhanced version of its
petcentric mobile application now available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and BlackBerry users. The application offers a location-based utility, videos, photos and pet information.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thieves steal donated Purina petfood from Arizona charity

Two men stole petfood from Angel's Corner charity that would have gone to feeding the pets of 1,000 needy families, according to an article from azdailysun.com.
The charity, located in Williams, Arizona, USA, serves battered women and those who have lost their homes in northern Arizona by delivering food boxes to residents and their pets. According to Gail Dent, charity director, she let two homeless men stay at her shelter, while they kept watch over the food and complex during the weekend of August 1. Dent arrived the following day to find US$39,000 worth of cat, dog and puppy food donated by Purina missing.
"What they took from me was at least four months of (pet) food for 1,000 families...People saw it, and it took time to do it, and nobody said anything," said Dent.

Researchers use pyrosequencing to study canine intestinal bacteria

A dog’s indiscriminate taste is not always a positive trait. In fact, it can lead to gastrointestinal infections and consequent ailments such as diarrhea and vomiting that come from eating spoiled people food and petfood.
Other dogs develop gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, that are not directly attributed to the diet, but are influenced by intestinal bacteria.
Researchers at the
University of Illinois are working to devise dietary interventions to combat these infections through advanced DNA pyrosequencing technology.
This new method of DNA sequencing has helped researchers uncover the phylogeny in a healthy dog’s gut. The goal was to obtain a standard that could be used as a comparison to diseased states in the future.
“It’s a first step toward making progress in our understanding of how diet affects gastrointestinal infections,” said Kelly Swanson, PhD, University of Illinois associate professor of animal science. “Dogs do not rely heavily on microbial fermentation as it pertains to energy requirements, but a balanced and stable microbiota is critical for maintaining gastrointestinal health.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

AVMA offers answers about dry petfood and Salmonella

The American Veterinary Medical Association recently posted on its website an FAQ section related to dry petfood and Salmonella.
The content addresses questions the association has received given the recent petfood recalls due to possible or confirmed Salmonella contamination and a manuscript recently
published that reported 79 cases of human Salmonella infection from 2006-2008 associated with contaminated dry dog and cat food.

Sydney gets organic restaurant for pets

Sydney, Australia, has a new restaurant for cats and dogs called Chew Chew featuring organic menu offerings, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The restaurant is run by pet nutritionist Naoko Okamoto and opened in June. Home delivery is also available.
Okamoto began by selling small organic treats at markets and exploring customers' needs.
Dishes include chicken mince with coleslaw salad, beef steak with mushrooms and doggie-cinos. Treats and biscuits are also available for ordering online.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where is the reporting (especially online)?

I was glad to see that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has posted an online FAQ about the recent spate of Salmonella-related petfood recalls--and especially gratified that the very first entry attributes the rise in recent incidents to increased awareness, vigilance by petfood companies and regulatory authorities and the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reportable Food Registry.
As AVMA explains, the registry "requires and allows immediate reporting of safety problems with food and animal feed (including petfood), instead of relying on inspection to identify problems." The veterinary organization concludes the response by stressing that the recent increase does not mean petfoods are unsafe. "Considering that the majority of these recalls have been precautionary and no illnesses have been reported, these recalls may indicate that they are preventing illness by catching the problems earlier."
Unfortunately, not everyone is taking such a reasoned, informed approach. An
article on a site called Wallet Pop carries this headline: "Petfood recalls on the rise, which is bad for you, bad for your pet." Interestingly, the article itself presents a fairly balanced approach to the subject, with input from FDA, the Pet Food Institute and Kimberly May of AVMA, in addition to the founder of the Pet Food Products Safety Alliance, described as a "grass roots industry watchdog group."
Then consider these headlines screaming across the Internet earlier this week: "Fido's food could be making kids sick" and "Tainted petfood sickened children."
Those are just two examples from mainstream media about an article in the journal Pediatrics stemming from a
new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The report addressed Salmonella-related petfood recalls from 2006-2008 and how in some of those cases--especially a large recall in 2008 by Mars Petcare US--humans became ill from the Salmonella.
Now, a nasty bacterium like Salmonella contaminating petfood and spreading to humans is definitely cause for concern. And the CDC report essentially verifying the link between the tainted petfood and the human cases is newsworthy. But from the headlines posted everywhere on the Web, you would think these were new cases and that children all across the US were falling prey to their pets' food.
The media are an easy punching bag these days, but this type of situation makes it difficult to defend my fellow journalists. As Jon Benninger, a journalist who covers natural products for humans,
blogged recently, where is the reporting?

Procter & Gamble reports increase in fourth quarter sales

Procter & Gamble ended its fourth quarter of the fiscal year with net sales of US$18.9 billion, an increase of 5% over the previous year.
Overall sales for fiscal year 2010 grew by 3% to US$78.9 billion. Growth was recorded in the snacks and pet care segments, where net sales increased by 1% to US$3.1 billion. As a result of the higher net sales, increased margins and a lower tax rate, net earnings in the snacks and pet care segments also rose to US$326 million.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cranimals receives 'Editor's Choice' award

Cranimals Zendog Biscuits received the "Editor’s Choice" award by Pet Product News International.
The Zendog Biscuits debuted in March 2010, as a certified organic cranberry dog biscuit, according to the company.
"Cranimals: With its four organic certification labels, bright colors and statement saying that a percentage of the product’s proceeds are donated to pet rescue organizations, the packaging for Zendog Calming Biscuits drew us in. The dog treats inside were equally impressive. Made of organic pumpkin extract—a natural source of calm-inducing tryptophan—flax protein powder, cold-pressed cranberry seed oil and Cranimals Original supplement, the ring-shaped treats are formulated to contribute essential nutrients to a dog’s diet. One product tester also noted the Biscuits’pleasant aroma and that these treats seemed to be her roommate’s dog’s favorite out of the 10 it tried," said Pet Product News International.

Faerch Plast launches new petfood packaging products

Faerch Plast launched a range of products for packaging petfoods that are a low cost environmental alternative to tins, according to the company.
The containers are produced from Ampet, an ambient polyethylene material developed by Faerch Plast for the packaging of ambient products. The company claims its new containers allow more than 99% of the raw material to be reused with only 1% waste. The new packaging material is lightweight and does not taint the taste of the petfood, according to the manufacturer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

CDC reports on petfood link to 2008 human Salmonella outbreaks

Human Salmonellosis outbreaks in 2008 have been potentially traced to dry petfood, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the journal of Pediatrics.
The Salmonellosis outbreak took place between 2006 and 2008, involving 79 cases across 21 states, most among young children. The outbreak was blamed on Salmonella bacteria found in several brands of dry dog and cat food produced at a
Mars Petcare US plant in Everson, Pennsylvania USA. The human cases of Salmonellosis were the result of cross-contamination from feeding pets the dry petfood in the kitchen, according to the report's lead author, Casey Barton Behravesh, DVM, DrPH of CDC.
The discovery of the petfood link to human Salmonellosis led to recalls of several brands of petfood, as well as the closing of the Mars Petcare plant.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Menu Foods saga coming to an end?

This week started with the announcement that Menu Foods Income Fund, parent company of Menu Foods Ltd., has sold the private label manufacturer to Simmons Pet Food, another manufacturer of private label and co-branded wet petfoods.
The news is not really a surprise; reports that Menu might be for sale had circulated earlier in the year. And in fact, some people have seemingly been waiting for this "shoe to drop" ever since the 2007 petfood recalls that affected mainly products manufactured by Menu. An
article on the Calgary Herald website about the acquisition even said, "Menu Foods never recovered after it had to recall 60 million cans of petfood across North America in 2007."
It's true that the recall was a big hit to Menu's finances and reputation--but I'm not sure I agree that the company never recovered at all. It saw some financial rebounds within a year or so after the recalls, and its parent (and some clients) seemed to exercise plenty of patience in riding out the aftermath of the recalls.
I wonder if the lingering recession didn't have at least as much, if not more, impact on the parent company's decision to sell.
In any event, this appears to be a good outcome. Simmons, based in Arkansas, USA, has the capacity and reputation to take on the additional business and clients. And however much blame you believe Menu deserves for an external act of intentional contamination, the 2007 recalls at least had the effect of making every petfood manufacturer pay even greater attention to ingredient sourcing, safety and quality.

Mars Petcare US makes cat food donation to Gulf Coast

Mars Petcare US donated more than 15,000 pounds of cat food to southeastern Louisiana USA's Gulf Coast.
This was the second donation by Mars to aid the Gulf Coast outreach efforts of the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA/SPCA). The cat food will be distributed by LA/SPCA through Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans distribution sites and animal shelters. The outreach is focused on pet owners in the parishes of Tererbone, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines.
“Cats are often thought of as fiercely independent and self-sufficient so they’re sometimes overlooked in times of real need,” said Debra Fair, vice president of corporate affairs for Mars Petcare US. “In our second pet food donation, we felt it was important to focus on cats and their owners and try to bring them a little relief. We’re pleased the LA/SPCA will help us distribute the food directly to the cat owners who need it most.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

AVMA convention attendees give back to the community

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)'s annual convention expected an attendance of over 9,000 veterinary professionals looking to expand their knowledge and help local animals, at the event held July 31 through Aug. 3 in Atlanta.
The convention offered sessions on topics like animal welfare, food safety, trends in pet ownership and advances in veterinary medicine. Convention attendees also had access to over 250 companies and organizations in the exhibit hall, showcasing high-tech surgical instruments, the latest equipment for pets, petfood and educational materials, among other industry-related products.
AVMA convention also gave veterinarians and attendees a chance to give back by volunteering their time to the "Our Oath in Action" event, which helps to refurbish local animal facilities. Additionally, a "Trails for Tails" 5K run/walk event was held by AVMA to raise funds for animal welfare programs and the PAWS animal shelter in Atlanta.
“Making a difference in the lives of people and animals is the reason we chose the veterinary profession,” said Ron DeHaven, DVM, chief executive of AVMA. “Whether it is in practice, at home or even during a continuing education conference, improving animal and public health and welfare is essential to us. Knowing that Atlanta shares our passion for animals, we have expanded what used to be ‘AVMA’ 5K run into a community event.”

Government regulation in the petfood industry

Currently, natural petfoods and supplements are regulated at a federal level by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Center for Veterinary Medicine, but many pet parents and manufacturers feel a need for tighter oversight of the petfood industry, according to an article from Natural Products Marketplace.
For greater regulation than the government provides, the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) puts its seal on approved products. NASC is comprised of companies in the industry that have passed an on-site audit conducted every two years at random by NASC officials. Additionally, NASC performs independent product tests and reviews product claims for misleading statements, while maintaining an independent adverse event reporting (AER) system.
All NASC members are required to follow a written quality manual that meets good manufacturing practices (GMP) standards. This goes one step further than FDA, which requires natural human products to follow GMPs but not pet health products. Petfood GMPs are being developed by FDA's Animal Feed Safety System (AFSS) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trupanion releases obesity claims list as warning to pet owners

Trupanion pet insurance company released a list of obesity-related claims it received since 2008, warning that obesity in pets is equally as dangerous as obesity in humans.
According to WebMD, up to 40% of dogs in the US are overweight, resulting in many severe health issues. The number one obesity-related disease reported by Trupanion was pancreatitis, which had a 255% increase in claims since 2008. This was followed by diabetes and arthritis, with a 112% increase and 209% increase in claims respectively.
To prevent obesity, the pet insurance company advised pet owners to feed their pet a healthy diet, monitor the amount of treats given throughout the day and give the pet an appropriate amount of daily exercise. A healthy dog should generally have a bone structure that can be easily felt but not seen, with a well-defined waist and tight abdomen.

Monday, August 9, 2010

AVMF partners with Hill's, Merial for Gulf Coast pet relief program

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) partnered with Hill's Pet Nutrition and Merial for the Gulf Coast Pet Relief Program.
The effort is part of AVMF's Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund. It will offer aid to 90 veterinary clinics and five shelters in the Gulf region by providing US$145,000 in funding and petfood products between AVMF, Hill's Pet Nutrition and Merial's
Paws to Save Petsprogram. The donations will go toward reimbursing veterinary clinics that provided free services and goods to their clients whose livelihoods were impacted by the Gulf Coast oil spill.
"Pet-related issues in the Gulf continue to escalate, which is why we called upon our partners to come together to provide relief," said Michael Cathey, executive director of AVMF. "Our hope is to ease the pet care challenges families and shelters in the Gulf are facing by providing funding and resources for food and medical care."

FDA seeks comment on compliance policies regarding Salmonella in petfood

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a draft of its Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) on Salmonella in the Federal Register.
CPG provides directions to FDA staff, defining enforcement and compliance policies regarding Salmonella contamination in petfood and animal feed. In the guide, FDA deemed Salmonella in petfood to be "adulterated," because it is handled in the home and can be pathogenic to those handling it. For feed, only those feeds containing pathogenic Salmonellae for animals are considered adulterants. FDA offers a 90-day comment period on this CPG draft, which is being distributed only for comment purposes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Natura donates petfood to Best Friends Animal Society

Natura Pet Products has teamed up with Best Friends Animal Society by donating its petfood to help feed needy pets.
Best Friends Animal Society is a non-profit, animal welfare organization located in Kanab, Utah USA, which operates the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless pets. The Innova brand petfood donated to the shelter will go toward feeding these animals.
“We are proud to have been able to share more than 40,000 pounds of our healthful Innova dog and cat food cans with Best Friends Animal Society. This exceptional animal welfare organization has shown unsurpassed dedication to the care of thousands of animals, and its mission provides an extension of Natura’s philosophy for animal health and well-being,” said Don Scott, president of Natura.

Pet Store Pro adds nutrition chapter to online training

Pet Store Pro has added a nutrition segment to its free, online training center for US pet industry retailers.
The nutrition module was designed to be brand-neutral. Its purpose is to educate retailers and their employees about the different nutritional aspects addressed by various petfoods.
The nutritional module prepares employees to be able to read and understand petfood labels, including ingredients and major nutrients; answer questions from customers about different types of diets like grain-free, breed-specific or all-natural; and help customers choose the best food for their specific pets, based on factors such as lifestage and size.
Pet Store Pro website's home page was redesigned in conjunction with the nutrition module addition, making it easier to access separate resources for store owners, training managers and employees.

FDA seeks comment on system to track petfood-related illnesses

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comment on a proposal to implement a new web-based system to track pet illnesses associated with petfood.
The proposed Pet Event Tracking Network (PETNet) would be a secure, Internet-based network of FDA officials, as well as other federal and state agencies that have authority over petfood. Network members would be able to receive and create alerts about petfood incidents, including information such as species involved, clinical signs, number of animals exposed, manufacturer name and type of petfood involved. It would also include a system for reporting disease outbreaks, supported by diagnostic laboratory facilities.Comments can be submitted
online or by mail to the Division of Dockets Management 9HFA-305, Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1060, Rockville, Maryland USA 20852. All comments should be identified with the docket number 2010–N–0368 and the deadline to comment is Monday, September 27.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

RECALL: Merrick Pet Care recalls 'Beef Filet Squares' for dogs

Merrick Pet Care recalled 83 cases of its "Beef Filet Squares" for dogs after a sample tested positive for Salmonella contamination.
The dogt treats are sold in 10-ounce packages, and are marked with the lot number 10127 and item number 60116. All have a "Best By" date of May 6, 2012. No illnesses have been reported yet.
If consumers purchased these treats, they may be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information, contact Merrick at +1.800.664.7387 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CDT.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PMI Nutrition offers new Exclusive, Infinia petfood lines

PMI Nutrition LLC redesigned its Exclusive brand petfood formulas, and now offers a new Infinia holistic dog food line.
The Exclusive and Infinia lines offer 14 healthy options for consumers to feed to their pets, according to the company. The Infinia line features four recipes: chicken & brown rice, turkey & sweet potato, bison & potato, and grain-free, ZenFood salmon & sweet potato.

RECALL: Mice Direct recalls frozen rats, mice and chicks

Reptile food manufacturer Mice Direct recalled its frozen rats, mice and chicks due to possible Salmonella contamination.
According to the company, the recall is based on Food and Drug Administration sampling of the frozen mice. The products were shipped to all states except Hawaii and were available for purchase through pet stores, mail order and direct delivery. So far, the company reported 30 human illnesses in 17 states that may be related to the frozen reptile feed.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Butcher's Pet Care offers dog meals at England pubs

Brakspear pub company has teamed up with Butcher's Pet Care to offer meals for dogs alongside its regular food menu.
The program is a month-long trial that offers owners and pets the option to dine together. Customers have the choice of six meals for their pets, including "Liver & Garden Veg" chunks in gravy and "Chicken & Beef" chunks in jelly. Two Brakspear pub locations currently offer the dog meal options: the Five Alls pub in Lechlade, Gloucestershire, England and the Catherine Wheel pub in Goring-on-Thames, Berkshire, England.
“For many dog-owners, being able to source a meal in the pub for their pet as well as for themselves will be an attractive option and we're pleased to be offering the Butcher's meals, which we hope will be a further boost to the dog-friendly reputation of our pubs," said Tom Davies, commercial director for Brakspear.

PetfoodIndustry.com launches new site

In August, PetfoodIndustry.com launches its new website as the most comprehensive information source for petfood professionals worldwide.
The new site was redesigned to be easier to navigate, with an all-new search function making it more convenient to find products and past articles. The site features more web-exclusive and latest industry news, as well as a categorization of articles on key topic pages such as market information, nutrition, safety and regulatory, and more. Columns and updated blogs by editor-in-chief Debbie Phillips-Donaldson and industry professionals will also be included on the new site. Links are provided to the most recent edition of the e-newsletters, Pet e-News and Nutrition News.
There are also a number of interactive features for users, including the option to comment on any article or product on the site; view Petfood TV and Radio with more videos and podcasts; be linked directly to the most recent discussions on our online community,
Petfood-Connection.com; and stay in touch with a calendar of industry-related events.

Monday, August 2, 2010

RECALL: Iams dry food recall expanded

Proctor & Gamble is voluntarily expanding its recall to include veterinary and some specialized dry pet food as a precautionary measure because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. No salmonella-related illnesses have been reported.

The following products are recalled:

*Iams Veterinary Dry Formulas
All dry sizes and varieties
01Jul10 - 01Dec11
All UPC Codes

*Eukanuba Naturally Wild
All dry sizes and varieties
01Jul10 - 01Dec11
All UPC Codes

*Eukanuba Pure
All dry sizes and varieties
01Jul10 - 01Dec11
All UPC Codes

*Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin
All dry sizes
01Jul10 - 01Dec11
All UPC Codes

The affected products are sold in veterinary clinics and specialty pet retailers throughout the United States and Canada. No canned food, biscuits/treats or supplements are affected by this announcement. A full listing of UPC codes can be found at

These products are made in a single, specialized facility. In cooperation with FDA, P&G determined that some products made at this facility have the potential for salmonella contamination. As a precautionary measure, P&G is recalling all products made at this facility.

Click here to see the Iams press release on the recall.

New research shows diet changes may prevent cancer in dogs

New research shows that certain cancer in dogs may be preventable with diet changes, according to an article on naturalnews.com.
The research was presented by Demian Dressler, DVM, at the 2010 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago. Dr. Dressler said the key to preventing cancer is to limit the amount of omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause blood clotting and cell proliferation, in a dog's diet. These omega-6 fatty acids are often found in dog treats and many commercial dog foods, according to the naturalnews.com article. It is important to monitor a dog's weight too, as Dr. Dressler cited studies showing obesity limits the production of the adiponectin hormone that inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

Zuke's sponsors dog athletes

In March, Zuke's shared its corporate social responsibility report containing details of the company's environmental stewardship and community involvement, including its initiative to sponsor dog athletes.
Zuke's sponsors nearly one dozen dog athletes and teams, from search and rescue dogs like the
LaPlata county, Colorado USA search and rescue team to entertainers like the Flying Houndz frisbee team.
"Our company's roots lie within the outdoors and around the concept of dog athletes, " said Patrick Meiering, founder of Zuke's. "We got our start in my garage in 1995 when I started creating my own version of today's power bones with a hand mixer. I was inspired to create all-natural, performance-driven treats that would support my dog's energy and body function on the trails after a long day of hiking."