Finding out your pet’s food may have been recalled can be a scary experience. Our experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) want you to know that it does not have to be. There are a few easy things you can do to monitor your pet’s food and what to do if you think there may be a problem.
Here are a few good websites that are kept up to date with the latest pet food recall information. Monitor these to make sure your pet’s food hasn’t been recalled:
- AVMA recalls and safety alerts: avma.org/news/recalls-alerts
- The FDA publishes a list of past and current food recalls, listing the date, manufacturer, food type, issue and whether the recall is ongoing or not: fda.gov/animal-veterinary/safety-health/recalls-withdrawals
How do I know if there is a problem?
Beside keeping an eye out on the above resources and news outlets to see if your pet food is subject to a recall, there are a few things you should always take into account when purchasing your pet’s food:
- If the product smells off or bad.
- If the packaging is damaged or appears tampered with.
- If the product is beyond its expiration date.
- If there are bugs, signs of mold or things that should not be present in the food.
- If the food was improperly stored.
- If your pet suddenly refuses to eat the food.
- If your pet show signs of illness or discomfort after eating, especially if you recently started a new container of food.
What to do if you suspect a problem
If you are concerned there may be an issue with your pet’s food, and you have not noted a recall on the food there are several things you should do. First, discontinue feeding your pet that food. Second, do not throw away the packaging or the food quite yet; you will need it for reporting issues. Often the company or the FDA will ask for a variety of information to help them determine if there is an issue and what that issue is. Being prepared to answer the questions below may help speed up the process:
- Exact name of the product and product description
- Type of container the food comes in
- If the product should be refrigerated, frozen or stored at room temperature
- Lot number (This can be hard to find, it will be stamped onto the packaging and will a combination of numbers and letters. It is typically found near the best by/before or expiration date.)
- Best by date or expiration date
- UPC code (barcode)
- Net weight of packaging
- Purchase date and location
- How food was stored, prepared and handled
- What issue was noted with the food
If your pet is currently having issues, they will also ask you some questions about your pet like the species, breed, health status, clinical signs and any tests that were done.
To help make things easier, the FDA’s website has a place where you can report pet food product complaints: fda.gov/animal-veterinary/report-problem/how-report-pet-food-complaint. You can also reach out to the pet food company directly.
If you notice your pet is not feeling well after consuming pet food, or if you believe your pet has ingested something potentially toxic, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.
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