When consumers think about food safety, large food recalls like the recall of 1.8 million pound of ground beef we heard about this week often come to mind.
But pet foods are subject to many of the same regulations and inspections that human foods are, and lately, consumers have been asking important questions about pet food origins and safety.
A 2007 nationwide recall of pet food contaminated by melamine sparked consumer outcry, and the Pet Food Early Warning Surveillance System was created as part of the 2007 Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act to head off future problems. The goal of the System is to use data from the FDA’s Consumer Complaint Reporting System and the Safety Reporting Portal to coordinate and publicize news about pet food-related problems.
Like human food, the market for pet food is becoming more specialized, globalized, and differentiated. Some consumers focus on wellness for the humans and the pets in their family – thus the growth of health-focused pet foods. Organic food consumers want organic foods for their pets as well. Concerns about country of origin (China-made pet treats, for example) are growing in pet foods as they are for human foods.
What can food producers do to prepare themselves for greater market opportunities as well as greater scrutiny and risk around pet food safety?
- Be aware of how pet food is regulated by the FDA and laws such as FSMA. Processing and labeling are subject to similar controls as human food.
- Stay on top of the trends. Industry periodicals like Petfoodindustry.com and The Pet Food Institute can keep you aware of where the market is going and help you identify new opportunities for your business.
- Prepare for regulation and market change by automating your processes. Watch a short video of how a specialized ERP solution can effectively handle a recall when it occurs, and help reduce your future risk.