PET FOOD RECALLS- Why are they still happening and what can you do?

Its been 10 years since the huge pet food recall that sickened thousands of dogs and cats. How has pet food safety improved—or not—since then?

I had a breeder friend who personally lost 11 dogs that year. It was devastating. So dog food recalls are something I monitor daily.

From Salmonella contamination to high sodium levels to traces of mold, they are everywhere. Our first reaction is to blame the manufacturer, and many have taken more safety steps to prevent food born illnesses. SO WHY DO PET FOOD RECALLS KEEP OCCURRING?

Most dogs during the huge 2007 recall died from kidney failure due to contaminated products by Menu Foods. The culprit ended up being a chemical called melamine, found in wheat gluten from China. When this ingredient is combined with cyanuric acid (commonly used in pet food) it created the harmful compound that killed many pets.

Those who pleaded guilty to adding melamine had discovered that adding melamine-containing wheat gluten to food products was a way to boost protein levels and had been going on in China for years. There were no safety precautions set up to ensure ingredients shipped from foreign distributors didn’t contain unsafe substances. To avoid this disaster from happening again, Congress unveiled the Human and Pet Food Safety Act. It required the FDA to:

  1. Write quality standards for all pet food ingredients
  2. Strengthen labeling rules
  3. Establish an early warning system and post searchable online recall lists.


So we are basically in the same spot we were 9 years ago. Many commercial pet foods still turn to grain additives from China in an effort to lower costs. As poor quality foods are processed, the ingredients lose a lot of their nutritional value, necessitating the addition of vitamins and minerals (I call it “spray on” nutrients) as well as cheap protein “fillers” such as corn, wheat, soy and rice. EVEN IF A PET FOOD IS LABELED “MADE IN THE USA” IT CAN STILL CONTAIN INGREDIENTS FROM A FOREIGN PRODUCER. Labeling laws don’t require foods to list where ingredients are sourced. No matter what the package says, there is no way to know. And the dog recall complaints keep rolling in…

But Chinese ingredients are not the only thing pet owners need to worry about. 4-D MEATS in pet food are from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals. The FDA is totally fine with this. And remember, if a dead or diseased animal is in the food, it cannot say its ‘human grade.’ In fact, its wrong for ANY dog food to claim it is “human grade” because as soon as it hits the pet food manufacturing floor, it is technically considered non-human grade.


Steer clear from cheap, commercial pet foods , and instead, feed your dog a food that is of high quality, developed by holistic veterinarians, and it should be a food you can find out facts about its manufacturing if you ask. Look for foods that are domestically sourced, and contact the manufacturer if you have any questions at all about their safety precautions, manufacturing process or certifications.

Education is key. Keep abreast of what is going on. Subscribe to our newsletter for dog food recalls, and check our facebook page often for these. Websites like can help you stay current on recent news, and you can read articles by holistic vets. The FDA website also posts all pet-food recalls on their site.

FEED A FOOD THAT EXCEEDS QUALITY REQUIREMENTS, AND HAS NEVER HAD A RECALL! Life’s Abundance is one of the only foods that can claim this and they have been in business almost 20 years! They make their food in small batches to have better quality control, and your food will never be older than 56 days when you receive it from their temperature-controlled warehouse.

If you prefer raw diet, feed a food like BARF World that has been around for over 30 years and deep freezes their food for safety and to prevent parasites or bacteria…don’t fall for the freeze-dried variety.


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