Recent pet food contaminations: what to expect in the future (Proceedings)
It is not uncommon for veterinarians working with companion animals to run into suspected intoxications, especially when multiple animals from the same household are affected. There is a seemingly natural inclination for people to think of pet food company negligence or post-manufacture contamination, possibly by dog- and/or cat-hating "terrorists", when apparently healthy animals become sick and/or die. Unfortunately, over the last five years, there have been multiple, well-publicized pet food contaminations and/or recalls, which have reinforceed pet owner distrust of manufactured diets.
As discussed previously, in 2008, the most common intoxications about which the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC) received inquiries included Human Medications (more than 50,000 calls), Insecticides (31,000 calls), People Food (15,000 calls), Rodenticides (8,000 calls), Veterinary Medications (8,000 calls), Plants (8,000 calls), Chemical Hazards (5,500 calls), Household Cleaners (3,200 calls), Heavy Metals (3000 calls), and Lawn Products (2,000 calls). However, in 2005 and 2007, thousands of calls to the NAPCC and companion animal veterinarians were from pet owners concerned about the possibility of their beloved pets being exposed to tainted pet foods or pet products. The purpose of this particular presentation is to provide pertinent information regarding potential pet food contaminants, especially those associated with past recalls, the circumstances suggesting pet food contamination, the timing of potential contaminations, and the appropriate roles of pet food manufacturers, pet food retailers, pet owners, veterinarians, diagnostic laboratories, and government regulatory agencies, as well as the media and general public, when pet food contaminations are suspected. The information outlined below will be presented in an interactive format, which will hopefully be helpful in the recognition, management, and prevention of future pet food contaminations.
Past and/or potential pet food contaminants• Melamine and Cyanuric Acid
• Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
• Human and Veterinary Medications
• Heavy Metals
• Miscellaneous Malicious and/or Negligent Intoxications
When pet food contaminations should be suspected
Multiple Affected Animals in a Single Household
When contamination might have occurred
Appropriate roles for the parties involved in contaminations
Pet Food Manufacturers
Appropriate roles for other parties involved in contaminations
Helpful sources of accurate information on pet food recalls