Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Risks of the dog eat dog food world

Studies have shown that having a pet makes you healthier. The simple act of petting their furry forms lowers blood pressure. Sedentary people are more likely to exercise if their carpet demands it. If there's a bad guy around, I expect the ranch dogs will work together like acrobats in Cirque de Chien to quickly, and ideally comically, Culkinate them. Good dogs!

America loves its pets, but it's not all belly rubs and sunbaths. This week, pet owners are getting a wake up call about the risks of having a massive, centralized food processing and distribution system. Over 90 brands of dog and cat food have been recalled after contamination at the two U.S. plants that make and distribute the food. Turns out that Eukanuba, often considered a high-end product (and certainly priced like a high-end product), is made by the same plant that manufactures the scary Save-A-Lot brand. Guess now they're both kinda scary.

As human readers of this blog know, human food gets recalled, too--even something as unprocessed as spinach. But one of the most alarming aspects of this tragedy is the tremendous scope. I haven't found a statistic about what percentage of "cuts and gravy style" pet foods are generated by the two plants, but based on the number of recalled brands, I suspect at least half.

So, the word is: DIVERSITY. We're at risk when we put all our cuts-n-gravy in one or two baskets. It's easier to shut down one kibbleria if you can keep a few others running. The problem in this case is thought to be the wheat gluten used as filler, wheat that all came through one source. Food contamination happens, but by choosing local, minimally-processed foods, we reduce the risk, and when a problem happens, it's more manageable.

And, as George reminded us, it's in our best interest to pay attention to what we feed the dogs, lest they discover that we, too, are made out of meat.


amy said...

Thanks Queenie. I saw this in the paper this morning and was going to remember to look up what was actually recalled.. and of course I forgot... but you, wonderful you, reminded me. And good news! The boy's food isn't made by Menu Foods... at least the canned food we feed them isn't.

George said...

Dear Queen--

You are a winner who will never become the doggie's dinner.

Marty said...

Maybe a movement for locally grown foods for pets that could be sold at farmers' markets? You should start it.