As 2009 winds down to a close you may be considering ridding yourself of some of the clutter that has built up over the year -- the better to begin the new year fresh and clean.
Along with the receipts you will never need for your tax returns, the gifts from last year that you never used -- that can now be "regifted" -- high on your list of de-cluttering priorities might be going through your pantry and throwing away (or returning) all of the pet foods that have either expired or were recalled during the year.
In some cases, the foods were recalled because of premature spoilage, in others because of tainted ingredients, and in one case, because a plastic hard hat had gotten into the manufacturing process. The early year peanut butter scare affected a number of pet food products, some of which could possibly have been overlooked in the back of a cabinet. With the peanut butter recalls so far from memory, it is not unthinkable that a package of peanut butter flavored dog treats found today would be a happy surprise, and without a second thought fed to the family dog.
In case you missed some of the pet food recalls of 2009, here is a brief list of the items you will want to look for:
- The year began with the frightful news that many peanut butter products may have been contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Hundreds of people were sickened, and the Food and Drug Administration put out a call for a halt in consumption until they were able to sort the contaminated products. The list of recalled pet products is listed at the FDA peanut butter recall page.
- Nutro Pet Foods had two pet food recalls in 2009. In May, Nutro recalled seven varieties of their cat foods due to excessive levels of zinc and deficient amounts of potassium, both important essential nutrients for cats. Both kitten and adult formulas were affected. At the end of September, Nutro had to recall a limited amount of puppy food that had gone out to five U.S. states, on suspicion of plastic being mixed into the food formula during the manufacturing process.
- Wysong Corporation issued a precautionary recall of dog foods that had been manufactured in the summer months of June, July, and August 2009. While none of the recalled foods had been proven to be affected, some foods from these lots had been found on inspection to have higher than acceptable levels of moisture in the the food bags, potentially leading to mold and premature spoilage.
- Diamond Pet Foods issued a voluntary recall of two varieties of their cat foods after finding them deficient in thiamine, an essential B1 vitamin for cats. Premium Edge Finicky Adult Cat, and Premium Edge Hairball were both found to have been affected. Distribution covered 18 states, mainly on the east coast.
- The salmonella scare returned in November, when a routine FDA inspection detected the presence of salmonella in the Pet Carousel manufacturing plant. The FDA issued a recall of Pet Carousel's Pig Ears and Beef Hooves treats. The treats are labeled under several different brand names.
If you feel that your pet has been made ill by a pet food, contact a veterinarian immediately, and report the incident to the FDA. There are consumer complaint coordinators throughout the U.S.