Each year, at least a few pet food formulas are recalled due to being contaminated with salmonella. According to current information, between 2006 - 2008, around 23,000 tons of dry pet food were recalled. This included pet food formulas from over 100 different brands, and made many pet owners begin to question the quality standards of the pet food industry. Since then, many companies have taken steps to improve their manufacturing processes. However, how much do you know about salmonella contamination in pet food? What are some of the potential ways that salmonella can be present in pet food formulas? Here's a quick guide to familiarize you with salmonella, as well as what you can do to ensure that your pet's food is safe.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a type of gram-negative bacteria that obtains energy from oxidation reactions using organic materials. Salmonella infection is actually zoonotic, which means that it can be transferred from animals to humans, and vice versa. The bacteria is extremely resilient, and has been reported to survive for years even when outside of a living body. Salmonella can't be killed by freezing, but is killed if exposed to temperatures of 131 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately one hour.
How Can Salmonella Get Into Pet Food?
There are many methods through which salmonella bacteria could potentially contaminate pet food. The first is through improper cooking, which isn't able to kill any of the bacteria that exists in the ingredients of the food. Salmonella can also be contained in poultry that wasn't thawed properly, since the “meltwater” often contains high concentrations of bacteria. Salmonella can also result from contaminated equipment being used to process large volumes of pet food. A contaminated water supply could also result in pet food contamination, which may occasionally occur during processing.
How Do I Know if my Pet's Food is Safe?
Unfortunately, salmonella contamination may occur in your pet's food. There is no definite way to ensure that your pet will not be subject to salmonella infection. However, you can take steps to reduce the risk of your pet becoming infected with salmonella through their food. Purchasing pet food from high-quality retailers with a good reputation is a great place to start. Also, you should check into the manufacturing procedures used by the company who makes your pet's food formulas. If you live nearby a manufacturing plant, you can even try to request a tour of the facilities.
Stay up to date on Pet Food Recalls here: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/newpetfoodrecalls/