I work for a nonprofit consumer education and protection organization. This means I spend my entire day learning about all of the ways food is going to kill me.
Blue Bell and Sabra Hummus might have been big recalls that have hit the news lately, but hardly a day goes by that I don’t get a recall notice from the federal government. Recalls for food, consumer goods and cars happen every single day, but few people really hear about them unless they are personally affected.
While finding myself in recall hell might make for a depressing day, it has helped me become a better and more conscious consumer.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or don’t have pets, no doubt you’ve heard about the thousands of dogs that got sick after eating chicken jerky treats. Beneful found itself in the middle of a class action lawsuit after dogs allegedly became sick after eating food made by the company. Nylabone recently recalled puppy treats due to possible salmonella contamination.
It can be pretty scary.
So, what can do you? Well, honestly, not too much. Keeping salmonella out of your dog’s food is up to the company and I could go on for another 10,000 words about how we should be doing more to keep our food supply safe.
But, you can do something that can help your pet should they get sick. Full disclosure, I can’t take credit for this tip. C told me and he heard it from Purina, of all places.
The next time you buy a bag of food, take a scoop and put it in a ziplock bag. If you’re like most pet owners, you transfer the food from the bag to a plastic container of some kind. Before tossing the packaging, cut out the production code, add it to the ziplock bag and toss it into the freezer.
If your pet gets sick and you think it may have been her food, the sample can be tested and the production code will help identify where and when it was manufactured.
There isn’t much you can do if contamination happens on the production line, but you can prevent your pet from getting sick by properly storing her food.
The Dog Food Advisor writes,
Air and moisture are the enemies of dry dog food. Be sure to store all kibbles in a cool, dry location. Squeeze out any excess air as you seal the open bag.
If you prefer to use a resealable container, try to leave the food in its original package inside that container. Or save the bag in a safe location.
Until recently, we kept a small bin of Bailey’s food in the house and the remainder in a larger bin in the shed. As I learned about more dog food recalls I started to rethink our storage situation. The heat and humidity in the shed suddenly seemed like a recipe for mold and bacteria.
I specifically needed a tall and narrow storage bin to fit a tight spot in our pantry. Since Target didn’t seem to have anything fitting this description in the storage aisle, I picked up a $20 garbage can that fit just right.
Sometimes, things are just out of our control. But our pets depend on us to keep them safe and it’s our job to make sure we do whatever we can to keep them healthy.