Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pet owners protest proposed petfood tax in Mexico

    Pet owners in Mexico are reportedly protesting after the country's Finance Ministry proposed tax changes that would include a 16 percent sales tax on petfood. The government's tax reform plan opted out of applying the sales tax to food, instead proposing the petfood tax.
    Owners argue that the tax increase will lead to increasing malnutrition in pets as well as an increase in the number of abandoned animals. Euromonitor estimates nearly 14 million out of 27 million cats and dogs in Mexico are homeless, which opponents to the tax reform plan say will only increase.
    Mexico's lower house approved the deal and the Senate must approve it by the end of October. 

Webinar presents mycotoxin strategies for 2013 corn harvest

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Royal Canin survey finds pet owners lack knowledge on cat health

    Royal Canin recently released the results of its nationwide US survey of cat owners to dispel myths and better understand the relationship between cats and their owners. The survey found that many pet owners lack knowledge on their cat's health, as nearly 50 percent said they think about their cat's health daily.
    In fact, nearly three-quarters of cat owners (72 percent) don't consider their cat's health when selecting food for their pet. The survey also found others don't factor their cat's breed (93 percent), weight (65 percent) or age (52 percent) into their petfood decision-making process.
    "Many cat owners don't consider about key health factors when selecting their cat's food, because they aren't sure which factors they should be considering," said Dr. Brent Mayabb, veterinarian and director of corporate affairs at Royal Canin. "Feeding cats a food suited to their age, lifestyle, specific sensitivities and breed contributes to the overall health and well-being of the cat."
    Tastes were found to play a big role in cat food selection. Nearly two in five cat owners believe that cats have a strong sense of taste (38 percent). Royal Canin says this is likely why so many consider flavor (42 percent) when choosing a cat food, and 15 percent of owners admit to taste testing their cat's food.
    "In truth, a cat's ability to taste isn't nearly as powerful as a human's ability, and aroma and texture play a much bigger role in how cats choose their food," said Dr. Mayabb. "It's important to consider the kibble texture, shape and size and especially food aromas when trying to pick a food your cat will like."
    Although nearly all cat owners (95 percent) said they are confident that they are doing the best they can for their pet, nearly half (49 percent) did not gather any information or research before they brought their cat home.
    "We understand the strong bond pet owners have with their cats, and one of the best ways to enhance that relationship is to learn more about them," said Dr. Mayabb. "Understanding a cat's physical and physiological traits is critical to not only finding the right fit for your family, but also in doing what's best for the cat's well-being once they are brought home."
    Nearly 61 percent of cat owners selected a cat because it easily adapts to the owner's lifestyle, 60 percent chose a cat because they don't have to be walked or taken outside to go the bathroom, and 55 percent because cats can be left alone for longer periods of time.
    However, the survey found many cat owners are uninformed of the typical cat lifestyle. A majority of cat owners were unaware that cats spend time each day marking their territory (73 percent), hunting (68 percent) and hiding (62 percent).
    "By understanding how cats spend their day, we can enrich our cat's environment," said Steve Dale, certified animal behavior consultant and host of Steve Dale's Pet World radio show. "Simple things like creating lots of places for your cat to climb and scratch, or hiding food in toys throughout the house, allow your cat to 'hunt'-all improving the overall health and happiness of your pet."

Vets Plus invests in production equipment for jerky pet treats

    Vets Plus Inc., a maker of pet supplements, invested US$0.5 million to add new production equipment for cold and heat-extruded jerky for pets. In addition, the company sent several research and production staff members for specialized training to create custom jerky and treats for its customers.
    According to the company's CEO and president, Raj Lall: "We can custom formulate any nutraceutical supplement, and now we are able to produce those supplements in another form: jerky for dogs. We are focusing on making dental treats and branching into that rapidly growing market, but a whole host of other natural compounds can be added to jerky to address other nutritional concerns."
    The new equipment is housed in a 30,000-square-foot space in western Wisconsin, USA. Lall said the product will be available for contract manufacturing. "Private labeling is our backbone," he said. "We look forward to developing unique jerky products manufactured and packaged to fit the needs of our partners." Full-scale production of jerky is expected to begin in November.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Registration opens for Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop 2014

    Registration is open for Petfood Forum 2014, scheduled for March 31-April 2, and Petfood Workshop: Marketing to Today’s Consumers, April 2-3. Participants who register by January 27 can save 15% on registration and even more on Petfood Workshop if they register for both events.
    The conference portion of Petfood Forum 2014 will start on April 1 with an opening keynote by Steve Dale, a leading pet journalist, on how he embarked on his career and what he has learned throughout it from pet owners, including their perceptions (and misperceptions) about petfood and pet nutrition.
    Further conference sessions will cover the latest research on pet nutrition and petfood ingredients, marketing, processing and safety. On April 2, new discussion sessions will focus on nutritional sustainability of petfoods, how distributor consolidation is affecting petfood retailing and new petfood guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration. Petfood Forum concludes with a closing keynote by America’s VetDogs, an organization that provides guide and service dogs to US veterans.
    Immediately following Petfood Forum, Petfood Workshop will feature industry experts delivering information and insights on how pet owners shop, their perspectives on petfood, how to build trust and credibility with them, connecting with them through social media, balancing marketing with science and regulatory requirement and much more.
    Both conferences take place at the Renaissance Schaumburg new Chicago, Illinois, USA, and offer numerous opportunities to network with other petfood professionals. Petfood Forum also includes a large exhibit hall featuring top industry suppliers.
    To register for Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop, click here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blackwood Pet Food, design firm Ideas that Kick to again repackage petfoods

    Idea's that Kick previously redesigned the packaging for the Adirondack brand.

    Family owned, Ohio, USA-based Blackwood Pet Food has again enlisted the Minnesota, USA-based design consultancy Ideas that Kick for the repackaging of two of its petfood brands, in hopes of expanding the retail network and gaining new market traction.
    Kick's packaging system concepts designed for the Adirondack and Makin' Trax brands inspired Blackwood to rethink how it introduced all of its brands to retail partners. The concepts for both brands were designed to appeal to owners who value "outside" time with their pets and appreciate the quality of a food made in the USA.
    "The client's previous packaging for Adirondack and Makin' Trax lacked brand equity," explains Kick brand strategist, Mary Kemp. "We delivered lifestyle concepts that will stand out on shelves because they tell real, relevant stories that haven't been over-told in pet retail."
    "Pet owners know authentic when they see it," adds Kick creative director, Stefan Hartung. "Our creative concepts for Adirondack and Makin' Trax speak authentically about how many consumers spend time with their pets.. Most mass petfood packaging uses appetite appeal - targeting pet owners - to sell substandard product. Anybody who knows about dog food knows that human appetite appeal isn't what matters. But we all enjoy adventures with our pets. And American-made quality is key in the petfood category."
    "We knew that Kick would deliver great designs," says Matt Golladay, Blackwood Pet Food vice president. "We had no way of anticipating they would have us re-visioning how we looked at these brands that have been in our portfolio for years. Now we're able to approach retailers with a tiered offering of premium pet food brands - and we can already tell that retailers are just as excited as we are."

Merrick Pet Care petfood facility earns SQF Level 3 certification

    Merrick Pet Care's 195,000-square-foot petfood production facility in Hereford, Texas, USA, earned the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 certification, signifying Merrick completed a stringent food safety auditing process and verifies that their facilities are in compliance with Certified Hazard Analysis, Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety plans.
    The SQF Level 3 certification is administered by the Safe Quality Food Institute, a division of the Food Marketing Institute. It focuses on food safety and quality-management systems and is recognized as a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark.  
    "Receiving this certification validates our comprehensive food safety management system," said William Slaughter, director of quality and safety. "We believe being SQF Level 3 certified will continue to increase our customer's confidence in our food safety practices and increase market opportunities to further build our business and our portfolio of natural and organic petfood brands."
    In 2012, Merrick's facilities also became organic certified for manufacturing both dry and canned petfood for pets under the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Food & Water Watch responds to FDA update on jerky pet treat investigation

    Food & Water Watch, a group whose goal is to ensure sustainable and safe food for consumption, issued a statement following the October 22 release of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s update to its investigation into pet illnesses and jerky treats from China.
    According to Food & Water Watch: "[October 22], the Food and Drug Administration posted a long-awaited update on the agency's investigation into unsafe imported pet treats and illnesses in dogs linked to these treats. Food & Water Watch has urged the agency to update the public with more information about this situation for many months, and we appreciate the new information the agency posted today. But America's pets are still at risk from these potentially deadly treats.
    "Since 2007, thousands of American dogs have fallen ill or died after eating jerky treats made in China. Today's update from the FDA showed a drop in reported illnesses since the decision by Nestlé Purina and DelMonte in January to recall their chicken jerky dog treats produced in China. This drop in reported illnesses indicates that there is likely some connection between illnesses and jerky treats imported from China. A recent Australian study described in FDA's update also points to strong links between pet illnesses in Australia and consumption of imported pet treats from China.
    "But the source of the problem has still not been identified. And there are imported pet treats from China made by other companies still being sold in the United States. FDA should focus its inspection and laboratory activities on those imported pet treats and require more data from the companies to prove that the products are safe.
    "Finally, the Obama administration needs to release the proposed rule on preventive controls for animal feed, including pet food, under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. This proposed rule has been held up by the Office of Management and Budget for nearly two years."

Human food trends carry over to petfood packaging

    Petfood marketers have realized over the years that consumers are not just looking for cute pictures when shopping for food for their pets, but they are shopping for petfood just as they would food for themselves. As a result, a few key trends can be seen in marketing for human foods and marketing for petfoods. 
    An article from Packaging Digest points to five similarities that can be found in packaging and marketing of both human and petfoods: nutritional tables, photography and food styling, brand stories, on-packaging language and imagery.
    1. Nutritional tables/food pyramids
    Consumers are more educated now about their own food and petfood, as issues like obesity and allergies affect both humans and pets. Companies are featuring nutritional tables and food pyramids prominently on packaging to let consumers know what vitamins and nutrients are in the food. 
    2. Better photography/food styling
    Instead of photos of people and pets, food packaging is focused on the actual food. "Photography styling is less propped and more real, with food appearing the way you'd see it in real life-scattered across a table, as opposed to perfectly (and fakely) sitting in a bowl. The goal: for consumers to think, 'That looks good, that looks tasty, that looks healthy' in the same way they do when they see something appetizing for themselves," the article says.
    3. Brand story 
    The premium and human food trend is also carrying over into petfood. Consumers are more inclined to purchase something they feel is made by a small company, asking "Where does it come from? How is it made?" In response, petfood companies are putting their stories on the packaging to make their brand's purpose clear. 
    4. "No" language 
    Consumers are selecting foods that contain and don't contain ingredients similar to those in their own foods. So, companies are putting phrases like "no wheat" and "no artificial preservatives" on the packaging. 
    5. Animal nature 
    Petfood packaging illustrations are showing animals in the wild to convey the message that animals are eating what they instinctually would hunt in the wild. This trend of marketing "limited-ingredient diet" foods shows companies are recognizing the physiology of pets as animals and providing high-protein foods.
    The article also notes that pet treat packaging has changed over recent years, as well. Treat packaging is now emphasizing the ingredients and link to a specific health benefit, rather than just good taste. 

AFIA to host feed, ingredients export seminar on January 29, 2014

    On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) will host a seminar to provide insight to the complex process of exporting feed and feed ingredients into the United States. The "How to Export Feed and Feed Ingredients to the US" seminar will be held during the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
    "Over the years AFIA has seen an increased interest and curiosity by IPPE participants in exporting feed and feed ingredients to the US," said Gina Tumbarello, AFIA manager of international trade. "The seminar is designed to address this growing demand by providing a variety of information from a diverse panel of speakers. If you are currently exporting to the US or thinking about it, this seminar will serve as an excellent resource."
    The half-day seminar will include presentations from both the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Topics include: US Feed/Feed Ingredient Import Trends; APHIS: Exporting Animal and Plant Products to the US; and Customs Brokers: Representing Companies not Located in the US. Dr. Daniel McChesney from FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine will also present at the event, addressing the timely topic of the "Food Safety Modernization Act-What Exporters to the US Need to Know."
    The early bird registration fee is $40 before December 31. The registration fee will increase to $60 on January 1, 2014. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

FDA issues update on investigation of jerky pet treats from China, pet illnesses

    Getty Images
    FDA is warning consumers about the potential for illness associated with feeding pets jerky treats, mostly imported from China.

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released on October 22 an update to its investigation into pet illnesses and deaths associated with jerky pet treats from China. The update includes a description of the extent of the agency's testing and current findings, as well as a "Dear Veterinarian" letter and "Fact Sheet" for pet owners.
    The "Dear Veterinarian" letter to veterinary professionals explains how they can provide assistance to FDA's investigation, requests that veterinarians report to FDA any cases of jerky pet treat-related illness that come to their attention and, when requested, that they also provide samples for diagnostic testing by the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a network of veterinary laboratories affiliated with FDA.
    The "Fact Sheet" for pet owners lists steps they can take to prevent or detect illness related to the treats. FDA continues to caution pet owners that jerky pet treats are not required for a balanced diet. The agency encourages pet owners to consult with their veterinarian prior to feeding treats and if they notice symptoms in their pets.
    As of September 24, FDA says it has received more than 3,000 complaints of illness related to consumption of chicken, duck or sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which were imported from China. The reports involve more than 3,600 dogs, 10 cats and include more than 580 deaths.
    According to FDA, the rate of complaints associated with jerky pet treats dropped sharply after several well-known brands were removed from the market in January, when a study conducted by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Marketing (NYSDAM) detected low levels of antibiotic residues in those products. FDA believes that the drop in complaints is linked to a decrease in the availability of jerky pet treats rather than the low levels of antibiotics found in January, which FDA believes are unlikely to be the cause of the illnesses. However, FDA is performing an evaluation to determine the possibility for low levels of the antibiotics to cause illness in dogs when fed over a length of time. This process involves review of the scientific literature, as well as any adverse event reports and consumer complaints sent to the FDA in connection with dogs and sulfonamide drugs, and may take many months to complete. In the meantime, FDA's investigation continues to evaluate all potential causes for illness from the jerky pet treats.
    While FDA has not yet identified a cause for the reported illnesses, the agency, together with its Vet-LIRN partners, continue to perform testing to help identify cases and examine both animal tissue and product samples associated with the cases. FDA also continues to work with the manufacturers and distributors of the treats and China's Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to investigate potential sources of contamination or causes of illness in pets. 

Nestlé Purina to donate cat food, pet supplies to domestic abuse victims in New York, USA

    In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, Urban Resource Institute (URI) and Nestlé Purina are teaming up in support of URIPALS, an initiative in New York, New York, USA, to allow victims of domestic violence to enter shelters with their pets. Purina will donate welcome kits and educational materials for families entering URI's domestic violence shelter.
    By working together, URI and Purina hope to raise awareness about the impact of abuse on the whole family, including pets, and reduce barriers to escape and recovery.
    "When victims of domestic violence flee abusive situations, they are often forced to uproot their entire lives, leaving behind key belongings and supplies," said Nathaniel Fields, president of URI. "Our goal at the Urban Resource Institute is to provide survivors-including pets-with the resources and services they need to rebuild stable, secure lives. We are grateful for Purina's support of URIPALS, which will provide critical supplies to ensure that families entering shelter with their pets have the resources they need to recover together after escaping abuse."
    Currently in its six-month pilot phase, URIPALS is accepting families with cats and smaller animals into its shelter, and hopes to expand the program to include dogs in December. As such, Purina's welcome kits during this phase of the program will be tailored to cats, including items such as food, toys, crates and other accessories. Purina is also donating a year's supply of food and litter to families upon leaving the shelter. In addition to these welcome kits, families will receive educational materials designed to guide them in best practices for caring for their pets.
    "We are proud to support the Urban Resource Institute in its mission to provide comfort to victims of domestic abuse and their pets," said Michael Kotick, senior brand manager, Purina. "At Purina, we believe people and pets are better together, and the strong bond between pet owners and their pets can prove to be beneficial no matter what the circumstances."

German petfood manufacturer to construct third production site

    Petfood manufacturer Markus-Mühle announced it's currently completing a third company complex in Germany.
    "We will now have the capacity to produce 50,000 (metric tons) of petfood per year on site," says managing director, Markus Olberts.
    The Lupo Group, comprising the companies Markus-Mühle and Luposan, exports to 19 countries and aims to open up additional sales regions. The company is based in Westerwald, Germany. 

New report on ‘Other Pet Food in the US’ by Euromonitor available now offers Euromonitor International's report on Other Pet Food in the US.
    According to the report, other petfood faced a challenging environment in 2012, with the bird and fish populations declining slightly as high upfront investment costs associated with exotic fish and birds dissuaded new pet owners from acquiring such pets. 
    The report offers a comprehensive guide to the size and shape of the market at a national level with retail sales data 2008-12. It identifies the leading companies, the leading brands and offers strategic analysis of key factors influencing the market, as well as provides forecasts to 2017 illustrate how the market is set to change. The report covers the market for bird food, fish food, and small mammal and reptile food. 

IPPE 2014 attendees can view two new animal exhibits

    Attendees of the upcoming 2014 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) will have an opportunity to explore two new interactive exhibits: The Smithsonian's Animal Connections: Our Journey Together mobile exhibit and the Drive to Feed Chew on This mobile exhibit. Both exhibits will be on the show floor in Hall B at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, throughout the show, January 28 - 30, 2014.  
    The Smithsonian's Animal Connections: Our Journey Together mobile exhibit was created to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and will introduce IPPE attendees to the complex bond between humans and animals. The exhibit uses a combination of interactive learning stations, films and touch-screen videos, and 3-D settings to explore topics about animals in the home, on the farm, in the wild, at the zoo and in the veterinary clinic. 
    The Drive to Feed Chew on This mobile exhibit was created to heighten awareness about one of the biggest problems facing our world today - hunger. The exhibit allows attendees to walk through and view information on hunger, sustainability and food facts.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pet Food Conference to be hosted January 28, 2014, at IPPE in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) in partnership with the Poultry Protein and Fat Council will sponsor the seventh annual Pet Food Conference on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, the first day of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The conference will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    The meeting's topics will range from updates on the Food Safety Modernization Act, third-party certification programs including AFIA's Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification Program, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), as well as a panel discussion on communication and industry best practices. The conference will feature several industry experts discussing topics impacting today's petfood and petfood ingredient manufacturers, including Svetlana Uduslivaia of Euromonitor International, speaking about domestic and global industry trends.
    New for 2014, the conference will include a luncheon with guest speakers from Nutra Blend LLC discussing the "Drive to Feed the World/Chew on This" tour as well as consumer-outreach messaging. 
    "We are excited to kick off IPPE with AFIA's annual Pet Food Conference, which attracts more than 200 participants each year." said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients, petfood and state affairs. "The seminar covers everything from product claims, marketing and nutrition to regulatory and technical aspects of production and is a great networking opportunity."
    The conference registration fee is US$60 through December 31. 

Wholistic Pet Organics adds Green Lipped Mussel to select dog supplements

    Wholistic Pet Organics announced the addition of Green Lipped Mussel (GLM) to select formulas of its all-natural supplements for canines. This ingredient will now be included in its Run Free and Canine Complete +Joint Mobility products.
    Green Lipped Mussel is sourced from the waters of New Zealand as a sustainable Omega-3 resource. It is a mussel species that contains a unique blend of nutrients to promote joint health and mobility, the company says. It is rich in glucosamine, glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid, all of which contribute to the viscosity of synovial fluid and enhance joint lubrication.
    Wholistic Pet Organics says its Green Lipped Mussels are cold-opened and freeze-dried at low temperatures, and each batch of products is made from whole, unprocessed foods. The products' packaging contains the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal.

Blue Dog Bakery launches second year of Pet Treat Pantry

    Blue Dog Bakery launched its second year of Pet Treat Pantry, a partnership between the Seattle, Washington, USA-based natural dog treat company and select food banks in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, North Carolina and New Jersey. The partnership provides healthy treats to the dogs of food bank clients.  
    Pet Treat Pantry invites consumers to purchase a specially marked box of Blue Dog Bakery dog treats and register their donation online using the code found on the box to select one of the participating food banks to direct their donation. For each code registered, Blue Dog Bakery will send a box of treats to the selected foodbank.
    "Developing and launching Pet Treat Pantry in 2012 was hugely rewarding for Blue Dog Bakery," said Kyle Polanski, CEO of Blue Dog Bakery. "With the help of consumers, we were able to donate over 2.5 tons of healthy dog treats to our food bank partners. We are excited to continue the program, and are hoping we can top last year's donation total!"
    To kick off the 2013 Pet Treat Pantry, Blue Dog Bakery has already donated 3,768 pounds of Blue Dog Bakery treats to five participating food banks across the country. Over the next four months, shoppers can help donate 20,000 more boxes to five organizations. Participating USA food banks include: 
    •    Rainier Valley Food Bank - Seattle, Washington
    •    The Pongo Fund - Portland, Oregon
    •    Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry - Phoenix, Arizona
    •    Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina - Charlotte, North Carolina
    •    The Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties - Neptune, New Jersey

    "Since Hurricane Sandy, our distribution has increased by 20 percent," said Linda Keenan, director of development for the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in Neptune. "We recognize that a family includes pets and many of these families struggle every day to provide for just their children. We want to make sure when we are assisting these families we are including their pets, and the partnership with Blue Dog Bakery and the Pet Treat Pantry program allows us to do just that - and make a difference."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hound and Gatos Pet Food Company offers info for October’s National Pet Wellness month

    October is National Pet Wellness month, an educational campaign sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Fort Dodge Animal Health, which encourages pet owners to learn more about the proper diet for their pet. 
    Annual checkups, exercise and training, and perhaps most importantly, petfood are critical for a pet's health, says Hound and Gatos Pet Food Corporation, which is offering five facts consumers may not know about petfood. According to the company:
    Allergies and sensitivities: Petfood that contains ingredients such as corn, soy, dyes, generic liver and preservatives can lead to irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
    China is the leading petfood exporter: China supplies half of all petfoods that are imported.
    Urinary Tract Problems: Many dogs experience urinary tract problems that can occur if a dog's food doesn't contain a high enough water content.  
    Fluoride in Water: Fluoride is added to our water and is reportedly ineffective. Recent reports, however, have found that fluoride can lead to the weakening of bones, bone less, osteosarcoma and even cognitive damage. To avoid this, use distilled water or installing a reverse-osmosis system.
    Obesity: Obesity is one of the most common health problems in dogs and cats. To avoid obesity, try feeding your pet a diet without carbohydrates such as corn and wheat, which are fattening.
    "Determining that what your pet is eating is probably the most significant area of wellness, it is imperative that an owner finds the best food with the best ingredients, and avoids the by-products and fillers that have a negative impact.  Soy, wheat, corn and artificial additives impact the health of your pet, as well as the digestion.  Let's use National Pet Wellness month as a reminder to focus on the year round care of our pets, and help them to live longer and happier lives," says Will Post, president of Hound and Gatos. "As members of the family, they deserve no less."

Whole Foods Markets launches Whole Paws petfood products line

    Whole Foods Market is introducing Whole Paws, a new line of premium-value petfood comprised of 24 products for dogs and cats. The Whole Paws line includes a range of items, such as grain-free adult dog food and training treats, indoor cat formula and litter with baking soda.
    Premium petfood is the fastest growing segment in the petfood category," said Mitch Madoff, global exclusive brands coordinator at Whole Foods Market. "We know how much our customers care about what they feed their pets, so we're glad to offer a new line of products with premium ingredients at a value price.
    Made with chicken, salmon and other wholesome ingredients, the Whole Paws products contain no corn or soy, no animal by-products, no artificial colors, no artificial preservatives and no added sugar.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Del Monte Foods to focus on Pet Products division, sell Consumer Products business

    Del Monte Foods has reached an agreement to sell its Consumer Products business to Del Monte Pacific Limited for $1.675 billion to focus on its Pet Products division and ensure both segments are positioned for growth in their markets. Upon closing on the deal, Del Monte Foods will change its name to better reflect its new focus on the pet market. 
    Del Monte will sell its Consumer Products business in order to focus its resources and efforts on continued growth opportunities in its Pet Products business through greater emphasis on pet snacks and the pet specialty channel. This agreement comes after a strategic review that determined a sale of the Consumer Products business provided the best opportunities for the growth and stewardship of the company's two differentiated business portfolios. The company anticipates that the continued heightened importance of pets as a part of the family and higher consumer spending on premium pet products will drive market expansion, building on Del Monte's recent acquisition of specialty petfood brand Natural Balance.
    "Over the last two years, we have made significant investments - operationally, strategically and organizationally - to build the Consumer Products and Pet Products segments into businesses capable of capturing the significant opportunity available to each," said Dave West, CEO of Del Monte Foods. "We believe DMPL is the right company to build on the Consumer Products segment's recent success and achieve its next phase of growth, and we look forward to focusing on expanding our Pet Products business, which operates in one of the most attractive categories across the U.S. consumer packaged goods industry."
    The transaction is expected to close by early calendar year 2014.

Mars Poland invests in expansion of animal feed mill

    Petfood maker Mars Poland will invest more than 250 million zł (US$80 million) in the expansion of its animal feed factory in Kożuszki Parcel, Poland. The decision to expand the animal feed mill was made to meet growing demand for prepared animal feeds in Poland and abroad. 
    "We still see great potential for both short-and long-term growth in this market, which will make it becomes one of the largest FMCG categories in Poland," said general director of Mars Poland Petcare, Aku Vikström.
    Mars Poland sells petfood in Poland and Europe in a number of brands including Pedigree, Whiskas, Kitecat and Cesar. The money invested in the animal feed mill expansion will also be partly used to establish a new chocolate factory in Janaszówek, Poland. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Greenies Brand partners to provide grants for dental care for service dogs

      The Greenies Brand has pledged a US$20,000 grant to support dental care for service dogs and will, through the remainder of October, encourage pet owners and bloggers online to spread news about pet oral health as a means to realize the full donation amount:
      • Each new like on The Greenies Brand's Facebook page will activate a US$1 donation to the Oral Care for Service Dogs program
      • Each tweet that uses #greeniesgives on Twitter will activate a US$1 donation to the Oral Care for Service Dogs program
      • For every blog post written about the importance of pet oral health and how Greenies dental chews and treats help to keep pets healthy and happy, The Greenies Brand will donate US$100 to the Oral Care for Service Dogs program
    • Because dental health issues continue to be one of the leading health risks for pets, The Greenies Brand is partnering with the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) to provide grants that help fund the cost of vital dental care procedures for service dogs.
    • Through the Oral Care for Service Dogs program, board-certified veterinary dentists perform oral health procedures for registered service dogs that have displayed oral and dental diseases that can cause pain or discomfort, compromising the dogs' health and preventing them from performing their essential duties effectively.
    • "The Greenies Brand is proud to help provide dental care services for dogs that selflessly give so much for the individuals they serve," said Monica Glass, senior corporate affairs manager for The Nutro Company. "We hope the program will reinforce the importance of pet oral health to the entire pet community as we invite them to join the brand in its support."

Waltham nutrition symposium addresses health concerns shared by humans, pets

    Attendees of the Waltham International Nutritional Sciences Symposium, held October 1-4 in Portland, Ore., learned about about the "link" between issues relating to what humans eat and concerns over what pets eat from Dr. Karyl Hurley, director of Global Scientific Affairs for Mars Petcare, which helped organize the event. The symposium drew food scientists from academia on both the human and animal side, veterinary nutritionists, representatives from petfood companies and leaders in veterinary medicine from 24 countries.
    According to Theresa Nicklas, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, USA, one example of a dietary issue that affects both people and pets is obesity, which is called an "epidemic in many nations around the world, especially among children." Nicklas described various parental styles, some now thought to be significant factors in explaining the rise in overweight and obese children.
    Dr. Alex German, of the University of Liverpool in England, suggested that while lifestyle, such as a lack of exercise, has been examined as an explanation for weight gain in pets, "parental" style may also play a important roll. As in people, indulgent or authoritative pet "parents" may unintentionally encourage weight gain in their animals. "If veterinarians can predict (pet owner) parental style, perhaps they can more effectively prevent obesity," German said.
    Another topic discussed at symposium relating to people and pets is the diminishing of traditional protein sources, such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkey. "In short, the issue is sustainability," said Dr. Kelly Swanson, an associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois.
    Increasingly, less land is available for raising animals for food production, while simultaneously human populations are rising around the world, she said. Many speakers suggested that the future for people and pets may include alternative protein sources. 
    One solution may be insects, according to Dr. Guido Bosch, a researcher at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. Comparing various bugs, he said mealworms are the highest in fat (among insects tested) and protein.

Pack Expo 2013 sets attendance, exhibitor records

    Preliminary data from the recent PACK EXPO, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, show an increase in attendance, number of exhibiting companies and net square footage for the packaging and processing technologies trade show, setting records for 2013. Attendance to the 2013 show, held September 23-25, increased 7.4 percent with 27,759 attendees; the number of exhibiting companies increased by 15.5 percent with 1,788; and net square footage went up 14.7 percent with 722,437 net square feet compared to the 2011 show.
    "Our goal at any PACK EXPO show is to give the attendees an experience that feels personalized. We do that with market-specific exhibitor pavilions and lounges for networking, by providing tools, like My PACK EXPO and the PACK EXPO app, that allow them to plan their time on the floor and get down to business as soon as they get to the show," Yuska says. "Customer-centric means focusing on the attendees' goals and needs."
    The newest addition to the customer-centric approach was education on the show floor, Yuska said.
    "The idea to move educational sessions from conference rooms to the exhibit hall came from a post-show attendee survey we conducted in 2012," he said. "Attendees said they value education, and want to maximize their time on the show floor as well."
    Other highlights included an Innovation Stage, Food Safety Summit Resource Center, Center for Trends & Technology and Reusable Packaging Association's Reusables Learning Center.
    Additionally, singer Kenny Loggins sang for the inaugural Pack gives Back benefit event. The event raised more than US$62,000 for K9s for Warriors, a nonprofit organization that trains and provides service dogs to servicemen and servicewomen who suffer from post-traumatic stress stemming from military service since 9/11.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Petco launches new marketing campaign driven by pet humanization trend

    Petco recently launched a US$10 million marketing campaign, as part of which the company changed its slogan to "The Power of Together" from "Where the Healthy Pets Go," in hopes of capitalizing on the trend of pet humanization.
    "As a company, we were at a place where we really wanted to continue to evolve our brand beyond just products and services, to connect emotionally with our customers and their pets," said Elisabeth Charles, chief marketing officer for Petco Animal Supplies.
    To attract consumers, the company expanded its selection of products, which now includes things like treats by the pound, grain-free petfood and veterinary care. Petco's expanded offerings for pets and focus on pet humanization is expected to earn the company more than US$4 billion in sales in 2014.
    CEO Jim Myers said consumers' purchases are more-closely reflecting their own interests, which means a strong interest in natural, organic and other specialty foods. 
    "Pet owners are very concerned these days with ingredient panels and ensuring that the best quality of items are in their foods," Myers said. "There's a lot more awareness of pet allergies and things that can help improve the skin and coat of your animal."
    He said that consumers are more educated now on their pets' nutritional needs, so whereas they used to come in asking, "What's good?" he said, now they come into stores looking to learn about protein levels and grain types.
    "I think it's just a natural progression, when we all want to do the very best for the people in our lives, and the animal is becoming part of the family and so is treated like another family member," Myers said.
    Along with the new branding campaign, Petco is putting more focus on training its employees so they are knowledgeable to help customers who come in looking for these specialty petfoods.
    "Even during tougher times, people are going to feed and clothe their animals," Myers said. "They may cut back on toys for a period of time, but people are very loyal to their pets."

Confusion on petfood coverage in proposal to label genetically modified foods

    Advertisements for a proposal to label genetically modified foods in Washington, USA, are causing confusion over whether or not the initiative would cover petfood and meats for human consumption. The fight over the wording of the proposal comes after a measure known as Proposition 37 was defeated in California, USA, in 2012, which had similar wording and major companies funding both sides of the proposal. 
    "Petfood would be covered but meat for human consumption would be exempt," said Dan Newhouse, a former state agriculture secretary, in recent commercials against I-522.
    However, the I-522 measure reportedly does not mention petfood in the 2,448-word text. Though it exempts meat that has been fed or injected with genetically modified products from the labeling requirements, I-522 would require meat from a genetically modified animal to be labeled if sold in a supermarket.
    The key point is that the initiative fails to define "food," said Rob Maguire, an attorney for the "No" campaign. According to Maguire, courts would look at the definition in Article 69 of state statutes, which deals with food labeling, along with the federal law and the common dictionary definition, all of which include petfood. 
    "That's just false," said Knoll Lowney, attorney for the "Yes" campaign, which argues petfood is not covered. The initiative would fall under Article 70, not Article 69, so the definition would not apply, according to Lowney. Courts would look first at the initiative, which says in the introductory section that its purpose is "to ensure people are fully informed about whether the food they purchase and eat was produced through genetic engineering," Lowney said.
    Lowney and Maguire agree that petfood would only be required to be labeled if the state Health Department includes it in rules the agency must write if the initiative passes.
    According to Lowney, a key difference is that California supporters of Proposition 37 wanted the law to cover petfood, whereas supporters of I-522 in Washington are only concerned with human food. I-522 supporters could not add specific language to exempt petfood because it cannot be changed once an initiative begins gathering signatures.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

British Veterinary Association speaks out against new pet obesity research

    New research recently reported in the Telegraph claims that many cats and dogs are becoming obese because of "comfort eating" to cope with "emotional distress." However, the British Veterinary Association is speaking out against the research, claiming it reinforces the "mistaken view" that "giving extra food to your pets is a way of showing that you love them."
    The study by Dr. Franklin McMillan, a veterinarian and former clinical professor of medicine at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, in California, USA, suggested that owners should try to understand the causes of the emotional distress, rather than simply cutting down on the amount of food pets' eat, which could make them even more unhappy and hungrier, the research said. McMillian's research suggested a number of factors that could trigger "emotional eating" in pets, including boredom, anxiety and depression. 
    But, Robin Hargreaves, president-elect of the British Veterinary Association, disagreed, saying: "The research may have merit, but the concluding advice makes me worry.
    "Animals do have emotional needs. You can't get away from that. But the biggest problem relating to pet obesity, is human behavior, rather than animal behavior. This advice gives an excuse to people who do not want to stop feeding their pets. My fear is that owners will latch onto this and say 'my animal needs this amount of food because of his emotional needs.' People clutch at straws because they would rather do anything than stop feeding their pet and this advice is manna to them.
    "It can be hard to resist that hungry look from your dog and too easy to substitute real attention and interaction for treats, but it's in the pet's best interests to get it right," Hargreaves said. 

New pet nutrition research shows overweight dogs have shorter lives

    Being overweight shortens a dog's life expectancy, according to new research by Mars Petcare and Banfield Pet Hospital's Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. The new research shows the consequences for dogs being overweight and highlights the importance of pet owners maintaining their dog at a healthy weight. 
    Data on a range of popular dog breeds from across the US showed that dogs that are overweight in middle age have a shorter life expectancy than ideal-weight dogs. Specifically, overweight dogs were found to suffer a reduction in life expectancy of up to 10 months compared to ideal-weight dogs. 
    "We examined a broad range of popular breeds of all shapes and sizes and found that overweight dogs tend to have a shorter life expectancy. This was particularly pronounced in five breeds - Labrador, Shih Tzu, American Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever and Beagle," said lead scientist at the Waltham Centre, Carina Salt. "In order to ensure the findings were representative of dogs in the family home, we used data from a large number of pet dogs collected during visits to their veterinarian. The research highlights the very real consequences of being overweight for dogs in the family home. Key tips for combating excess weight and keeping your dog fit and healthy include carefully controlling food portions in line with the pack feeding guidelines, regular exercise appropriate for your dog's needs and regular weighing sessions. Owners concerned about their dog's weight should speak to a veterinarian."
    Data were collected on normal and overweight dogs from 10 popular breeds, ranging in age from 6.5 to 8.5 year. The data were collected by veterinarians during consultations across the network of more than 830 Banfield Pet Hospital locations in the US.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

AAFCO opens registration for 2014 Midyear Meeting

    The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has opened registration for its 2014 Midyear Meeting, planned for January 8-10, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. 
    The meeting will provide an opportunity for one-on-one conversations and networking with Control Officials, industry representatives and others interested in working together on animal feed and petfood issues. 
    More information on how to register and book hotel reservations is available at Hotel reservations are due by December 4. Early registration is due by December 8. Please contact Jennifer Roland with questions at +1.217.356.4221 or email 

Merrick Pet Care contests asks pet owners to create new summer dog food recipe

    Merrick Pet Care is challenging dog owners to create the recipe for its next summer seasonal dog food with the chance to win a year's supply of dog food with its "Name the 'CAN'-Test."
    Facebook users can submit an idea for a summer seasonal recipe along with suggested petfood ingredients that will be used for a new Merrick flavor that will be released in summer 2014.
    "Merrick has long been known in the natural pet food category for its high quality, innovative canned dog food recipes and their playful names - Merrick'an Pie, Ballpark Bonanza, Honolulu Luau and many more," said Mark Sapir, vice president of marketing for Merrick.
    To enter, pet owners should visit Merrick on Facebook to submit a recipe name along with suggested recipe ingredients before October 21. Merrick will select four finalists based on the creativity and originality of their entries, and these will be put up for community vote on Facebook from October 28-November 8, and a grand-prize winner will be announced on or around November 15.
    The grand-prize winner will receive a year's supply of dog food, and their winning recipe will launch in time for the 2014 summer season with cans to arrive in stores in May 2014. Three first-prize winners will each win a 25-lb. bag of Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef dry dog food. 

PetSmart increases quarterly dividend by 18 percent

    Petfood and supplies retailer PetSmart Inc. announced its board of directors approved an increase in its quarterly dividend by 18 percent from US$0.165 to US$0.195 per share beginning in the third quarter of fiscal 2013. The dividend of US$0.195 will be paid on November 15 to stockholders of record at the close of business on November 1. This is equivalent to an annual rate of US$0.78 per share.
    The board of directors also authorized a new US$535 million share purchase authorization that expires on January 31, 2015. This new share purchase authorization will commence on October 1 and will be in addition to any unused amount remaining under the June 2012 share purchase authorization as of that date.
    "We believe the stability and predictability of our cash flow demonstrates the continued strength of our business," said David Lenhardt, CEO, "and today's announcement reaffirms our commitment to returning excess cash to our shareholders through a combination of dividends and share repurchases."

Three Dog Bakery announces relaunch of We Pity the Kitties cat treats

    Three Dog Bakery is relaunching We Pity the Kitty treats for cats.

    Three Dog Bakery, which makes oven-baked treats and food for dogs, announced it is relaunching its all-natural cat treats, We Pity the Kitties.
    We Pity the Kitties treats are made with one ingredient and are available in two flavors: Wild Alaskan Salmon and Chicken Breast. Salmon treats come in a 1.4-ounce resealable pouch and chicken treats come in a 2-ounce resealable pouch.
    "We know that at least one-third of our dog parents have a minimum of one cat and that they want to feed them the same high-quality treats we have offered to dogs for years," said Brian Wietharn, president, Three Dog Bakery. "For almost 25 years, we have provided an all-natural, delicious way for dog parents to love their dogs - it just seems right to provide the same for our cat parents."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pets Choice completes buyout deal with German petfood company

    UK petfood manufacturer Pets Choice recently completed a buyout deal with German petfood company Tiernahrung Deuerer, which had was previously a supplier to Pets Choice.
    The deal between the petfood companies promises "significant investment," according to a report. Some Pets Choice shareholders, including Joseph Davies and Anthony Oppenheimer, who held shares in the company of 22 percent and 17 percent respectively, left the business.
    "This buyout will allow us to further build on this growth and success by drawing on the vast experience of both myself and Hans Jurgen Deuerer in the petfood market," said Tony Raeburn, Pets Choice CEO. 

Phillips Pet Food & Supplies reportedly seeking buyers

    Phillips Pet Food & Supplies is reportedly in talks with potential buyers to sell the distribution company in a deal that could be worth nearly US$600 million
    The family owned company recently hired Harris Williams to seek out buyers, according to sources. The company, based in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA, has nearly US$60 million in annual earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization, and may be looking to sell the company for an amount 10 times its annual earnings.

Friday, October 11, 2013

FDA guidance document on new regulations for color additives in petfood available

    The US Food and Drug Administration made available a document to help small businesses comply with regulations on declaring color additives in food for animals.
    The Guidance for Industry #223, Small Entity Compliance Guide - Declaring Color Additives in Animal Foods, provides background information plus answers to questions on the 2011 regulation, which requires all color additives subject to FDA's certification process be listed on product labels for petfood and animal feed. All manufacturers of petfood and animal feed must comply with the regulation by November 18.
    FDA published a rule in the Federal Register (76 FR 29701) on November 17, 2011, which amended its regulations concerning the declaration of certified color additives on labels of petfoods and animal feed.

Zuke's donates more than US$175,000 to fight canine cancer to date

    Zuke's announced that as of September 27, the pet treat maker has donated more than US$175,000 to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund (DCCFund), a nonprofit organization dedicated to understanding, treating and preventing canine and feline cancer.
    The DCCFund was created by Zuke's founder, Patrick Meiering, and his brother, Chris, in 2007 after their childhood dog and, more recently, Zuke, the company's namesake, died of canine cancer. 
    Since the inception of the DCCFund, Zuke's has contributed a portion of all sales to the organization. With Zuke's support, the DCCFund has increased the annual grant amount per pet from US$700 in 2007, to  US$1200 in 2011, and most recently to US$1500 in 2013. The DCCFund estimates it will be able to help a record 100 pets in 2013, up from 42 in 2011 and 69 in 2012.
    "Zuke's donates a portion of all product sales to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund," said Chris Meiering, Zuke's director of marketing and co-founder of the DCCFund. "We invest in this organization because we passionately believe that the ability to pay one's vet bills shouldn't be a factor in giving pets a fighting chance against this terrible disease."

Grants for 2014 pet industry trade shows to be given by UK government

    Government funding has been secured for two major international pet industry trade shows to be held in 2014, as a result of successful bids by the PetQuip association.
    Exhibitors at both Interzoo and Global Pet Expo will be funded with grants thanks to PetQuip, the nonprofit UK organization that works to help UK pet care firms grow business internationally. For 2014, grants of £2,000 (US$3,222.56) for eligible Global Pet Expo exhibitors and £1,500 (US$2,416.92) for eligible Interzoo exhibitors are available. 
    Global Pet Expo will be held in Florida, USA, in March 2014 and Interzoo in Nuremberg, Germany, in June 2014. For more information, please email or

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Joint petfood, feed meeting addresses upcoming FSMA preventive control rule

     Petfood and feed industry experts speaking at the 2013 Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference September 24-26 discussed elements and challenges of the preventive control rule for feed soon to be released under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Participants in the conference, presented in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, by the Pet Food Institute and National Grain & Feed Association, also heard from a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the rule.
    While the rule is one of seven dictated by FSMA, it is one of the last to be released by FDA. A recent court order has mandated that the agency release it for industry comment by November 30. Dan McChesney, PhD, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance for FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said he expected the rule to be out before that deadline and that it will be similar to one already released for preventive controls in human food.
    A panel of petfood and feed industry experts also addressed the upcoming rule and expressed concerns that it might be too prescriptive and restrictive, especially in its establishment of good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for feed and petfood. Human food has already been operating under GMPs for some time now, while that mandate will be entirely new for animal food products (except in the case of medicated feed).
    McChesney said the feed preventive control GMPs will cover personnel, plants and grounds, sanitary operations, sanitary facilities and controls, processes and controls, equipment and utensils, warehousing and distribution. He also encouraged industry comment on the proposed GMPs once the rule is released. "We probably made them too stringent and need to back off some; we're looking for feedback from you for justification to back off,” he said during the conference, adding that FDA understands there is a wide spectrum of types of manufacturing facilities in the petfood and feed industries and, therefore, hazards and risks can vary greatly.
    Industry professionals and organizations will have at least six months to comment on the proposed rule after its release date.

Wellness announces dog, cat food formulas now GMO-free

    Wellness Natural Pet Food announced that its dry dog and dry cat food formulas are now free of genetically modified organisms.
    GMOs are defined as organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. With recent increased consumer awareness about GMOs, National Non-GMO Month was created in 2010 to be celebrated in October.
    "Providing GMO-free recipes makes it possible for consumers to make the same nutrition choices for their pets as they do for themselves," said Chanda Leary-Coutu, Wellness marketing communications manager. "We constantly strive to source the highest-quality ingredients available and we will continue to seek out and use GMO-free ingredients across a growing number of our products."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Watch cat videos to donate petfood to shelters in 9Lives brand, ASPCA promotion

    9Lives cat food brand and its spokescat, Morris, are supporting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to help cats most in need. The cat food brand will donate up to 1 million meals to shelters for the 9Lives Morris' Rescue WatchSM campaign.
    The campaign encourages people to participate by watching cat videos on For each view, the campaign will donate one meal to a shelter up to 1 million meals. Additionally, through October 18, fans can submit their own cat videos for a chance to be one of three winners who will each receive a year's supply of 9Lives cat food and a US$3,000 donation to a shelter of their choice.
    "9Lives Morris' Rescue Watch is a fun, easy, and interactive way for cat lovers to help feed and care for cats in need across the country," said Carrie Schliemann, director of cat food marketing at Del Monte Foods. "With the increased popularity of watching and sharing funny cat videos, we know fans will help make a big impact on the lives of shelter cats. We're thrilled to partner with the ASPCA in a continued effort to ensure that every cat lives well."

US government shutdown delays release of FSMA Preventative Controls for Animal Food proposed rule

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) furloughed 68 percent of its staff as a result of the US government shutdown, which impacts the monitoring of foodborne illnesses and contaminants and delays indefinitely the release of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Animal Food proposed rule.
    CDC had to furlough 8,754 workers, according to a tweet from agency director, Tom Frieden. Although more than 4,000 people remain at the agency during the shutdown to protect stocks of deadly viruses, like smallpox and Ebola, and run CDC's emergency operations, the agency will not be able to conduct routine inspections of high-security labs that work with "select agent" pathogens that pose severe threats to human and animal health. Most of CDC's own lab work has also been stopped.
    Just one CDC staffer is tracking reports of only the most dangerous foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella, E. coli and listeria, compared to the six staffers who usually do the work.
    "We're not looking at campylobacter or shigella unless we get word from the states saying to look at this," said Christopher Braden, director of the CDC's division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases.
    Additionally, only seven epidemiologists are monitoring and responding to outbreaks or clusters of foodborne disease, rather than the 18 who usually handle this work, Dr. Braden said. "What we're able to do at this point is monitor and continue the investigations where we know that people are at risk. What we don't have the staff to do is address those things we normally would where there's some potential risk out there."
    The US government shutdown also delays indefinitely the anticipated release of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s FSMA Preventative Controls for Animal Food proposed rule. According to an update from FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM):
    "In the absence of either an FY 2014 appropriation or a Continuing Resolution for FDA, agency operations will be limited to the following:
    • Emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property;
    • Criminal law enforcement work; and
    • Activities funded by carryover user fee balances, including user fee balances under the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA), Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA), Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA), Animal Generic Drug User Fee Act (AGDUFA), and Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Carryover user fee balances will only be spent on activities for which the fees are authorized under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

    "With respect to medical product user fees, during the lapse period, FDA will not have legal authority to accept user fees assessed for FY 2014 until an FY 2014 appropriation for FDA is enacted. This will mean that FDA will not be able to accept any regulatory submissions for FY 2014 that require a fee payment and that are submitted during the lapse period."

Interzoo organizers report more international visitors for 2014

    Organizers of Interzoo 2014 report that the show is becoming more international each year as it grows, with pet product exhibitors booking larger display areas and nearly 100 companies registered for the first time.
    Compared to 2012, the number of registered German exhibitors at Interzoo has remained constant while the number of international registrants has grown. As a result, the 2014 show will occupy the new hall 3A and parts of 3 instead of 10. Interzoo is also focusing on added value for the pet market, such as a seminar for German veterinarians and a program for the international pet supplies trade.
    In 2012, the show was visited mainly by trading companies from Germany and Europe, as European visitors accounted for 82 percent of all trade visitors. For the past three Interzoo events, the share of trade visitors from the pet supplies trade has grown steadily in absolute figures to above 50 percent in relative terms, organizers say.