Food Safety Applies to Our Furry Friends Too

Written by Danielle Cullen on May 14, 2018

Food safety for pets has been in the news recently after 74 dogs across Australia were struck down with an incurable illness called megaesophogus.

Megaesophogus is an incurable and sometimes fatal condition that causes the oesophagus to become enlarged and restricts the ability of food to move through the animals stomach. Whilst no definitive link has been proven as yet, all of the dogs are thought to have consumed pet food called Advance Dermocare, made by global food and confectionary company Mars. Of the 74 dogs identified as falling ill with the disease, at least 8 have been euthanised as a result.

The pet food alert was first raised by Victoria Police after nine of it’s dogs were diagnosed with the disease after eating the Advance Dermocare product. The police enlisted the help of Melbourne University who, through the Australian Veterinary Association, last month called for vets across Australia to come forward with cases. They did and a voluntary recall alert was issued for the pet food.

Should Pet Food Be Regulated?

In Australia, the pet food industry is self-regulated and not subject to the same food safety standards as human food. Despite the outbreak, the federal government has indicated that it’s not willing to get involved.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said that “The cause of the dog deaths is still under investigation and Advance Dermocare has been voluntarily recalled from the shelves. The Pet Food Industry Association manages compliance with Australia’s pet food safety standards in close consultation with the Australian Veterinary Association to track potential health problems linked to pet food.”

Does Pete Evans Have the Answer?

Well-known paleo enthusiast Pete Evans doesn’t believe that pets should be served sub-standard food.

“If you look at what’s out there on the market, so many [pet foods] are filled with these really dodgy fillers, such as grains and legumes and other things, it’s completely crazy,” he said.

As a result he’s launched a pet food rangle called ‘Healthy Everyday Pets with Pete Evans’. The range includes raw meat patties, dry food, treats and a bone broth. Food safety has been top of mind when producing the products with Mr Evans even taste testing the products himself.

“The ingredients are all natural, they are human grade. They are tested on humans, I have tested them all,” he said.

Is Pet Food Safety The Only Issue?

Poor food safety standards in pet food isn’t the only issue that pet owners need to be aware of. Many cases of animals getting sick can be linked back to animals consuming human foods that cause a bad reaction. As advised by Safe Food Queensland, foods that you should never feed your pets include:

  • Alcohol
  • Fermented foods
  • Avocados
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions and garlic
  • Turkey skin, pork crackling, sausages and other fatty meats

For more information on how to keep your pet safe and to learn more about any recent pet food recalls, contact your local veterinary services.