It’s no secret, we love our pets.
More than three in five Americans have at least one pet in their household. According to a 2015 Harris poll, 95% of pet owners consider their pets to be a member of the family. And the American Pet Products Association estimates that in 2015, Americans spent over $23 billion on pet food for their animal companions.
Obviously, the pet food industry is a big one, and so making sure pet food is safe and of high quality is of utmost importance to pet food makers. There are more factors at play than solely our love for our furry friends, however, that has led to such stringent quality control of pet food.
Pet food is tested more thoroughly than human food for three main reasons:
1. Pets eat the same food repeatedly.
A pet’s diet is very often the same each day. In fact, many pet owners will purchase the same pet food for multiple generations of pets — meaning they could be purchasing the same product for decades. Additionally, pets are generally provided meals from the same bulk container for long periods of time. As a result, contaminated pet food poses a significant risk to the animal’s health due to the repetitive consumption.
2. Consumer loyalty is king in the pet food industry.
If a consumer has a bad experience with a brand of pet food, they are likely to switch and never return. Pets may reject a brand too — some pets can smell contaminants such as deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin found in grains, and will refuse to eat contaminated food, another reason producer should test their products thoroughly.
3. Children can find their way into a pet’s bowl.
A nightmare for any pet food provider is the prospect of a child finding their way to contaminated pet food. This is a significant concern, as children are often exploring the floors and may not hesitate to try some of their furry companion’s food.
With so much hanging in the balance regarding food safety, you can see why pet food companies use stringent quality control procedures and test their products to ensure that their food is safe for pets and humans.