Feeding my family is a big deal. We eat a vegetarian diet and make natural, organic food a priority. But for all my effort, I still worry about the safety of our food. Vegetables are susceptible to E. coli, too!
While there have long been national resources to protect humans, a 2007 melamine contamination of cat and dog foods was a tragic example of how powerless pet owners were. Within a month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received several thousand reports of cat and dog deaths from renal failure after eating contaminated food.
Companies began to voluntarily recall their products, but in a self-regulated industry, there was no way for owners to ensure their pets’ food was safe.
We didn’t have pets at the time, but we watched helplessly as friends lost their beloved cat. The media reported they weren’t alone, but deaths continued. It felt like a crime.
Four years have passed, and earlier this month, the U.S. government’s Partnership for Food Protection and FDA announced the launch of the Pet Event Tracking Network, or PETNet (clever, eh?).
The network will allow the FDA and Federal and State agencies to exchange information about pet-food related incidents. The result is a real-time means of sharing critical information about pet-food contamination or other defects. The hope is that many fewer pets will die before a problem is identified.
While PETNet is working in your favor, you can be proactive as a pet owner. The Humane Society posts a listing of recent recalls. If you find your pet has consumed a recalled product, call your vet—even if your pet isn’t exhibiting symptoms.
You also can protect your pets by cleaning their food dishes between meals, and water dishes every day or two.
We have fish, who we feed tropical fish flakes. Unfortunately, if the flakes were contaminated, I doubt their little bodies could survive poisoning. But it’s good to know that if a problem arises, a system is in place to help before it becomes a national or global problem.
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If you’ve been following our adoption of 11 fish, I don’t have much news to report. All are healthy and happy, but our new tank acquisition has stalled. Hopefully we’ll get our act together and I’ll have something exciting to share soon!