As the pet food market reels from a recent massive recall, it’s important for pet owners to understand why companies are recalling specific products.
While companies maintain that no dangerous contaminants have been found in their products, this is the result of an extensive supply chain problem.
The current shortage is part of a larger trend that began when China tightened its regulations on the production and exporting of vegetable protein.
These new restrictions caused many manufacturers to halt all production until they can find alternatives to their primary ingredient.
Because these plants take between three and six months to grow, manufacturers will face a lengthy closure until they can get them back into full production.
With that said, not all plant-based pet foods are affected by this change as manufacturers can utilize other sources to meet demand while they wait for new crops to grow.
For example, some companies have access to animal by-products from other brands that aren’t included in the recall because these brands don’t use any non-animal ingredients in their products.
Additionally, some companies have started manufacturing plant-based alternatives like kibble and canned dog food,
allowing them to continue selling those items during the closure period. It’s also important for pet owners to understand what options may be available at local retailers if they want to feed their pets during this period despite being unable to purchase online or from retail chains such as Wal-Mart or Target.
What’s Causing the Pet Food Shortage?
The sudden outbreak of the pet food shortage is due to the recent changes made by China to its food production and distribution system.
Manufacturing companies were unable to find available crops that matched the quality and quantity needed to produce enough pet food to meet demand.
This led to the temporary shutdown of many of these farms until a more stable production schedule was confirmed. China’s severe restrictions on the production of plant-based ingredients are one of the main drivers of the current pet food shortage.
China Tightens Regulations on Production and Exports
Due to the recent changes in China’s food production system, more and more companies are seeing a shortage of their primary ingredients.
One of these companies is Evangers, the company behind the recent pet food recall. To make up for the shortage, other companies are importing ingredients from countries without the same restrictions.
While this is providing a temporary solution, some companies are now having trouble importing the raw ingredients they need to continue producing fresh pet food.
U.S. Bans Imports of Chinese Dry Dog Food and Cat Treats
As the pet food shortage gets worse, the U.S. government is taking additional steps to help alleviate the issue. In late April, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would be banning all imports of Chinese dry dog and cat food used in pet treats.
This action came after the FDA tested samples of these products for salmonella and other potential contaminants. The FDA found that nearly all of the dry dog and cat treats tested positive for salmonella.
This is concerning because the treats do not appear to be contaminated with any other contaminants. Salmonella is only present in the dry ingredient of the treats.
Canada Prohibits Import of Chinese Dry Dog Food and Cat Treats
Although the U.S. has taken steps to ban the import of Chinese dry pet food and cat treats, Canada has taken the opposite approach. Canada has prohibited the import of any Chinese dry pet foods or cat treats due to the pet food shortage.
Thailand Stops Import of Uncooked Poultry From China
As the pet food shortage continues to get worse, several countries are committing to long-term solutions to help alleviate the issue. One of these countries is Thailand. Thailand has agreed to limit the amount of wild bird feed that it imports from China.
Europe Imposes Restrictions on Import of Chinese Dry Dog Food and Cat Treats
Due to the large number of potentially contaminated products found in China, many countries are taking steps to limit or prevent the import of Chinese dry pet food and treats.
One of these countries is the European Union. In mid-May, the European Union announced that it would be limiting the amount of Chinese dry pet food and treats that can enter the European Union from China.
This new restriction will take effect in early June as new inspection and testing procedures are put in place.
With such a severe shortage of ingredients affecting the manufacture of pet food, the question becomes “what should I feed my pets?” There are a few things that pet owners can do to ease their pets’ transition to a vegetarian diet.
It’s important to adjust feeding times based on how much each pet consumes every day. It may be helpful to feed smaller portions in the morning and evening.
And, finally, while it’s best to avoid feeding your pets expired foods or treats, it’s also important to be mindful that they may not be getting the complete diet they need.