In 2011, South African pet owners were struck with fear when at least 12 dogs died of aflatoxicosis after eating contaminated pet food. Serious incidents like these raise questions about the safety of pet food and how companies test their products.
Why testing is important
The choice of pet food is a personal one. You want to feel confident that the food is nutritionally balanced and safe for your pets. Manufacturers have a duty to provide their customers with a safe and healthy product. Regular testing throughout the manufacturing process ensures the safety of the product and prevents food contaminated with mycotoxins, melamine or bacteria from reaching your pet’s dinner bowl.
Executive director of the Pet Food Industry (PFI) Association of South Africa, Barry Hundley, says that safety is both a need for the animals who eat the food and the humans who handle the food.
We transport it home alongside our own groceries and often store it in our kitchens, handling it where we handle our own food. Pet food must be safe, not only for the dogs and cats it feeds, but for humans too
Tests conducted before registration
All pet food for sale in South Africa must be registered with Act 36 of 1947. The Act stipulates how food must be made up so that the formulation delivers a nutritionally balanced meal for the pet. Before pet food can be registered, the applicant is required to have a sample of the food analysed according to specific requirements.
Once the Registrar has assessed the new food and is satisfied with the formation and manufacturing process, the food will be registered. Upon registration, the manufacturer receives a V-number which he is required by law to place on the pet food label.
Reputable manufacturers are committed to their products and customers and conduct rigorous testing to ensure that quality standards are upheld. Nutritional analysis is done to ensure the pet food meets all the guaranteed nutritional values. Tests include those for the levels of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, fat, moisture and ash content of the product. Ingredients must be listed on the pet food label.
Text: Nina Hartoog
The full article appears in the May issue of AnimalTalk.