A product recall, when a pet food or treat product is removed from the marketplace, is an important part of the food safety system. Should a company require a product recall – whether after a test result that is out of specification with the company’s food safety plan, a mislabeled product, the improper balance of ingredients, or another situation – PFI members rapidly work internally and with regulators to remove a product from the shelf as quickly as possible. The vast majority of product recalls are conducted by the company’s own initiative after they identified an issue of concern or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has brought a request forward.

Whereas recalls of human food products occur almost daily, recalls of pet food products are far less frequent. A list of all FDA-regulated human food and animal feed/pet food recalls is available online. Pet food products have been recalled voluntarily by the company in all instances.

If a product you have purchased is recalled, review the label code and contact the product manufacturer. In addition, take the food or treat back to the place of purchase.

With the FDA’s statutory authority under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the agency can now issue a mandatory recall on products. FDA was granted this authority for all food types, both human and animal. The agency has never had to use this authority for a pet food product. The tragic 2007 recall involving melamine occurred when wheat gluten (used in pet food) and rice protein concentrate were intentionally adulterated with melamine by ingredient manufacturers in China. Pet food makers recalled products even before the cause of illness, melamine, was identified. FDA took criminal action against the companies involved in importing the adulterated food ingredients.

Pet food makers and government regulators recognize the need for stringent oversight of ingredient suppliers, both foreign and domestic. FSMA requirements strengthen the pet food makers’ ability to ensure ingredient and finished product safety. Click here to learn more about how these will requirements impact foreign suppliers.