A Discussion Of FDA Disparity in Raw vs. Dry Pet Food Safety

This week we had to tell our customers about another voluntary recall of raw pet food. The Rad Cat Company was notified by the FDA and the Ohio Department of Agriculture after several tubs of multiple varieties of Rad Cat Raw Diet were purchased and tested. All samples tested negative for E. Coli and Salmonella but two tested positive for Listeria Monocytogenes.

Outdoor cats likely encounter Listeria frequently, as Listeria is a common presence in nature, found widely in such places as water and soil, leafy vegetables and animal products. It could however be a danger to some animals who eat it, and especially to the people that might handle the food without washing their hands or the surfaces exposed to it after feeding it.

We believe Rad Cat when they say that their third party inspections have come back clean. We’ve been in their kitchens and have never seen a facility so tightly controlled for cleanliness and safety. Their sourcing is impeccable. They use High Pressure Pasteurization to kill any bacteria that might be found on the poultry products before they are processed into their formulas, and they test the finished product with a third party lab, doing a full aerobic plate count. They then hold the food for a time before shipping it and it is tested again before releasing it to the distributor. The temperature is controlled through every step of its journey and even tested here at the store upon receipt to ensure that it was maintained as it traveled to us. More details here. If only our human foods were handled and controlled for safety as strictly as the foods made at Rad Cat! We feed it with confidence to Otis, our senior cat. If I were pressed to name my favorite of the more than 4,500 items we carry, Rad Cat would be in my top two.

It might be an opportune time to mention our frustration with the disparity between how the FDA treats raw foods vs. how they treat other pet foods like kibble.
Raw food is under intense scrutiny, but the facts point to a significant lack of scrutiny towards kibble based foods, despite the fact that in past years dry food recalls have far outpaced raw food recalls, and the most significant recalls, complaints of illnesses, and death have all resulted from contaminated dry pet foods.

A Few Examples:
Over 100 dogs died in 2005 from aflatoxin Poisoning (a very dangerous, carcinogenic grain mold, most commonly found in corn but is also possible in ingredients like peas). Surveys done in 2016 show that aflatoxin has been found in higher amounts than ever (A total of 387 corn samples and 79 distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) samples from across the U.S. were tested. Results revealed that 90 percent of corn samples and 100 percent of DDGS samples were contaminated by at least one mycotoxin, and 96 percent of the DDGS samples contained more than one), yet there have been no aflatoxin recalls since 2013. We must assume that FDA must not be testing regularly for aflatoxins.

Judging from the number of recalls for Salmonella in raw foods, it

would lead you to believe that there is a significant risk of salmonella in raw foods, and in fact the FDA even issued a warning about the risks of salmonella in raw pet food. However, from 2010 – 2015, 78 types of kibble pet food were recalled due to salmonella contamination, vs. 27 for raw foods. What this number doesn’t even capture is the sheer quantity of kibble that was recalled during this time, vs. raw foods with single lot numbers/single flavors. In the 2013 the Natura recall was massive – millions of pounds – and included all of its many formulas including treats (“All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes, All expiration dates”). The recall for salmonella in the Diamond foods that were produced at their South Carolina Plant in 2012 resulted in the recall of all of their brands and stopped ALL production for a time. The Taste of the Wild part of this recall alone resulted in over 10 million pounds of food being pulled from store shelves.

No Warnings About Dry Foods
Neither the FDA or the AVMA has ever issued a formal warning about the risk of salmonella in all pet foods. In fact, the same week that the AVMA issued a warning to consumers about the risk of salmonella in raw pet foods, there were (according to the CDC) a total of 49 individuals (47 individuals in 20 states and two individuals in Canada) infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis related to this salmonella recall at Diamond foods. This included at least 10 people hospitalized. The FDA has announced regular testing for raw foods, but not for dry pet foods. In fact, they have not appeared to test any dry pet foods recently, as there have been no salmonella recalls for dry pet food since 2015, which is in stark contrast to many years before this time.

A class action suit was dropped against Beneful in 2016 stating, “The Court rejects Plaintiffs’ position that a reasonable jury could find Beneful unsafe based on the mere fact that 1,400 dogs ate Beneful and got sick or died thereafter. This is insufficient evidence of causation.” So many complaints of illness and death had been reported by Beneful consumers to the FDA that they did do some testing. Some samples came back positive for Melamine (the same thing found in that terrible 2007 recall that resulted in hundreds, possibly thousands of deaths), and some samples came back positive for ethoxyquin, a euthanasia drug so recently implicated in that Evanger’s recall that killed a dog. Beneful also refused access to the FDA to records and didn’t allow them to photograph their manufacturing plant. Yet the FDA did not issue any warning nor was there any sort of a recall. Can you imagine a brand of raw food with 1,400 allegations of sickness and deaths without repercussions?

We certainly do not mean to minimize the risks of any pathogen in any form of pet food, especially to the humans that handle these foods and are not as well equipped as their carnivorous pets to stay healthy when exposed. We just wish the FDA, AVMA, and Big Pet Food would hold all pet foods to the same standards of safety.

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Holiday Food Drive Delivered to Pongo

Woo Hoo! What we do want to shout from the rooftops is how awesome our customers are for donating this food to the Pongo Fund, and what a fantastic job the Pongo Fund does to help people and pets in need all over Oregon, from food to lifesaving veterinary care. The most important thing they offer is dignity, recognizing the humanity in every person, understanding that asking for help is often difficult, and that life can deal unexpected blows. Most importantly, that a pet is so often a lifeline for people who have very little else. We want to keep people and pets that love and rely on each other together, and we couldn’t help to do that without the generosity of our wonderful customers. This year’s drive resulted in almost 3,000lb of food – that’s a ton and a half! Thanks y’all!

The Pongo Fund Posted this on their Facebook page yesterday:

Hint: It’s not the truck. This photo speaks volumes, Pongo volumes, that is. Your eye goes to the bright Ryder logo, right? But that’s not it. No, it’s the pallet of NutriSource Pet Foods coming up the ramp. That’s the big deal here. And that’s just one of dozens of pallets donated by Green Dog Pet Supply over the years, literally tens of thousands of lifesaving meals they’ve given, thanks to their pet food drives and their generous customers. With a big assist from Nutrisource and Animal Supply Company too.

Like the pallet, Green Dog doesn’t grab for attention. They make a difference quietly, respectfully; doing what they can without shouting that they did it. And that’s why we love them. Because The Pongo Fund does it like that too. Simply, respectfully, quietly, always focused on making a difference. Because doing it is more important than talking about it.

With our Pet Food Bank that’s provided more than 10 million high-quality meals or with our Emergency Kibble Response Team that hits the road near and far or with our Lifesaving Veterinary Care Team or with our Pop-Up Pongo Team, we do our best to save lives and keep animals safe in their homes and out of the shelters.

We’ve helped more than 100,000 animals since we began this effort a little more than eight years ago, Saving lives and keeping animals out of shelters; keeping pets and their people together, that’s our thing. And we thank you, because we couldn’t do it without you.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live. thepongofund.org
#greendogpetsupply #thepongofund #petfoodbank #freeveterinarycare #savinglives #rescue

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Some tips for Chronic Yeast Overgrowth

Chronic overgrowth of yeast can result in a bad smell from a dog’s skin and chronically infected ears causing terrible discomfort and hair loss, as well as digestive issues. Unfortunately it can be very challenging to treat. Healing from yeast takes time and a whole body approach. Two key parts of the solution are to remove what’s feeding the overgrowth of yeast and to heal and support the lining of the gut, as this is where 80% of their immune system lives. Antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs like prednisone, and anti inflammatory drugs can help some symptoms of itching temporarily, but can actually create chronic yeast overgrowth and start a vicious cycle by damaging the lining of the gut and the good flora normally found within it. Without beneficial bacteria and a healthy gut lining, the yeast can take hold and grow out of control quickly.  Here are some quick tips:

Diet Tips for Chronic Yeast

Eliminate as many carbs as possible
Yeast is fed by starchy sugars – a fresh raw diet is ideal as it doesn’t need the starchy binders that all kibbles use, and it will best support healing of the skin. Find a balanced raw food that focuses mainly on meat, bone and organs without a great deal of additional veggies and fruits (perhaps something like Vital Essentials or Answers brand) Get tips on making a safe balanced diet at home here. Starve that yeast!

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Holiday Recycling Tips & Why Some Items Can’t Go In Recycling:

We generate a lot of waste on Christmas morning, so here are some tips for ways to keep waste in check:

Ribbons Are Not Recyclable
Pro Tip: Keep a small bag of ribbons you’ve received in the place you store your wrapping paper – they can come in so handy when you need to wrap a quick present at other times of the year. If a friend is down in the dumps, cookies wrapped in foil with a reused ribbon or a Ball Jar filled with nuts with a reused ribbon around the neck of the jar makes a really quick thoughtful quick gesture of support!

Any paper or envelope with decorative foil has to go in the garbage (though all other wrapping paper, tissue paper, cards and envelopes can go in your blue recycle bin, minus the ribbons).

Pro Tip: On Christmas morning, set up two collection bags ahead of time when it’s time to unwrap gifts. One for wrapping paper, tissue and cards, and the other for ribbons and foil. It can be fun for kids to be in charge of things, so make one little elf in charge of bringing presents to people to unwrap, and another little elf that can be in charge of grabbing that wrapping paper and getting it into the right bag. You’ll be amazed at how much tidier the living room looks after present opening! Don’t forget: Those foil covered papers and ribbons are great for kids’ craft projects. Keep some pretty pieces for yourself for gift wrapping reuse throughout the year. A brown paper shopping bag used as wrapping paper can look beautiful with a decorative accent cut out of foil paper attached to the top.

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Jiminy Crickets!

As our world’s population grows, our demand for resources becomes more difficult to sustain. This especially goes for meat production, which requires significant land use, incredible amounts of water and food needed to raise the animals, creates conflict with wildlife concerns, and is responsible for so much pollution, especially surrounding large-scale Confined Animal Feeding Operations. Better known as Factory Farming, these CAFOs also force animals to live in inhumane conditions by anyone’s standards, and are also responsible for contributing to problems with antibiotic resistance for us humans.

 

Consider cutting back or eliminating meat in your own diet as “Carbon Credits for Owning Carnivores”.
We love the carnivores we’ve chosen as our cherished furry family members, and they need large quantities of high quality animal proteins to thrive, so what to do? One part of the solution, of course, is for all of us to eat less meat, and to choose to only eat meat raised in humane conditions by farms that use sustainable farming and ranching practices (especially those you might find at your local Farmer’s Market or Food Coop).

 

Another interesting part of this solution may be found in insect protein!
Before you saw EEEWWWWW! and close this page, realize that many insects such as crickets, termites and mealworms are already a staple protein in as many 80% of other countries.  (Don’t forget: Lobsters and Shrimp are some of our most cherished delicacies, but  it wasn’t until the 1880s that people thought of lobsters as anything but ugly cockroaches of the sea, good only for fertilizer and prison food.  In fact, both crickets and lobsters are from the same family, arthropods.)

Crickets are making their way into the U.S. as novelty treats. Did you catch Salt and Straw’s Halloween ice cream flavors? One of them was “Creepy Crawly Critters”, which featured chocolate covered crickets and coconut toffee-brittle covered mealworms blended into a matcha ice cream.

Funny stuff, but from both a sustainability and nutritional standpoint, insects actually make big sense! Check this out – Crickets have:

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Halloween Safety Tips

By Green Dog Pet Supply

Happy Halloween!10626878_10152327038381761_2622935969487730386_n

Halloween can be fun, but there are a few important things to keep in mind to help keep pets safe.

Beware of Toxic Things on Halloween

Don’t forget to be on guard for dogs getting into that Halloween Candy stash! Chocolate isn’t the only thing that’s toxic to dogs; macadamia nuts, raisins, and especially the sweetener xylitol are all on the list of things that can be very poisonous and sometimes deadly to dogs. Remember, the wrappers and other decorations can also cause problems when ingested. Check out this link to other common household items that are toxic to dogs, and what to do if your dog gets into them.

Behavioral Tips

Make sure that if your dog is stressed out by strangers to have him in a secure area of the house where he won’t be plagued by constant scary monsters ringing the doorbell. Conversely, if you’re up for it this is a great time to work on door manners with a dog that isn’t frightened, just excited. The doorbell rings, dog on leash sits, door opens, dog and costumed kid both get their own treats. Lots of repetitions available on Halloween equals lots of chances to practice how to act when people come to the door.

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Tips For Reducing Plastic Waste


Part Three of a three-part series – Part one was an announcement about the loss of many kinds of plastic recycling, and what plastics are still able to be recycled. Part Two focuses on why China has recently stopped importing recyclable plastic, and why attempting to force recyclers to take materials we wish they would recycle actually can ruin the chances of recyclable materials getting recycled. Read part two here.


We often focus on recycling as it feels like such a direct way to help curb the waste stream, yet it’s actually at the bottom of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle hierarchy.
If you want to save energy, water and resources, the best thing you can do is reduce the items you consume (products, packaging) and then reuse the items as many times as possible.

Ideas for reducing plastic waste: 
Some of them seem obvious but do you actually do them? Could you do a few more? It might be easier than you think.

Compare brands to look for alternatives:
If you are considering buying a product but it comes packaged in plastic, see if there’s another brand that doesn’t. Rice or pasta often comes with the choices of plastic bags or cardboard. Cardboard is at least recyclable or compostable. Some products these days are being purposefully designed to create less waste – Seventh Generation has a laundry detergent designed to reduce waste – the detergent is concentrated to provide 4X the number of loads, and the package is a thin plastic bag enclosed in a clever sturdy recyclable/compostable cardboard shell. It’s also lighter to transport so uses fewer fossil fuels than heavier containers. Keep your eyes open for options like these.

Buy in Bulk: Better yet, look for stores that have bulk bins – you can bring a reusable container and buy your rice or pasta (or granola, or nuts, or flour, etc) in bulk. It saves you money as well! Some places even have bulk shampoos, olive oil, peanut butter, etc.

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No More Wishful Recycling!

Part Two in this three-part series:

Have you heard that we can no longer recycle many kinds of plastic in the US that we’ve gotten used to being able to recycle?
We were so disappointed when we heard the news that China has stopped importing post consumer plastic waste. We try hard as a Green store to find creative ways to reduce the amount of waste that we generate and to find ways to re use everything we can, but for some materials, mostly soft clear plastics like plastic bags, we relied heavily on recycling. This recent import ban crates an enormous challenge for us and for all consumers, as the amount we are forced to send to landfill will increase quite a bit.

The Chinese recycling industry is a $5 billion annual business, and scrap and waste is the sixth largest U.S. export to China. When shipping containers come into the U.S. from China they are laden with products, but those empty containers must return to China. Due to the trade deficit, this resulted in heavily discounted shipping rates that allowed huge volumes of mixed paper and plastics to be delivered inexpensively to China for recycling. Last year China imported 7.3 million tons of waste plastics, primarily from the U.S. and Japan. Non-curbside plastic has almost no other place to go if it can’t go to China (except our landfills).

Economic Impact for Recycling Industry and their U.S. workers:
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) quickly condemned the ban, stating it would have a “devastating impact” on recycling on a global scale and in the U.S. Robin Wiener, ISRI’s president says, “More than 155,000 direct jobs are supported by the U.S. industry’s export activities, earning an average wage of almost $76,000 and contributing more than $3 billion to federal, state, and local taxes. A ban on imports of scrap commodities into China would be catastrophic to the recycling industry.”

So Why Did China stop taking plastics for recycling?

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Unfortunate Changes to Plastic Recycling in Portland

Part one of a 3-part series

By Guest Blogger Barbara Bailleul, Master Recycler, class of Feb. 1997

China has been the buyer of our post-consumer plastics and other used commodities. They have just announced to the World Health Organization adoption of new environmental regulations, under which they are no longer allowing importation of recycled plastics, etc. from the United States and Europe.

With no buyer, recyclers here will no longer be collecting these items.

No need to go from one recycler to another, or one grocery store to another — recyclers will stop collecting plastics. They have no one to sell them to.

The exception, right now, is Curbside Recycling. Refresh your memory at Metro’s web page on plastics accepted curbside In short,

” Sort plastic by SHAPE, not by number:
• Ignore the numbers. Ignore the arrows. Sort by shape.
• See IMAGE.

These items are OK in your recycling container – rinse thoroughly:

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Dr. Ian Billinghurst’s Targeted Nutritional Therapy, Which Includes a Ketogenic Diet, Can Kill Your Dog’s Cancer

 This is an important article from Dr. Karen Becker DVM

Story at-a-glance

  • World-renowned veterinarian, author and the father of raw pet food, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, has written a new book about treating cancer with nutrition
  • Dr. B’s book, “Pointing the Bone at Cancer,” lays out the science behind the use of a ketogenic diet in treating cancer in dogs, cats and humans
  • Dr. B has successfully treated dogs with many different cancers, including aggressive lymphomas and mammary tumors, and seen them live years longer, with an excellent quality of life

By Dr. Becker

I’m very excited today to be interviewing the father of raw pet food, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, or Dr. B, as he is often called. Dr. Billinghurst is a very well-known veterinarian and author who wrote the first books on raw feeding. For that, we are forever indebted to him. Today Dr. B is here to discuss his latest book, “Pointing the Bone at Cancer.” I asked him to talk about what inspired him to write a book about cancer in dogs, cats and humans.

‘Cancer Is a Problem That Has a Lot to Do With Nutrition’

“This was a book I most definitely had to write,” says Dr. B. “I had no choice. We, as veterinarians and as medical doctors, are losing this war against cancer. This is a war that we’ve been fighting for hundreds of years, but very specifically, since Richard Nixon began that first battle against cancer in the 1970s, when he initiated all that research. That research, unfortunately, has done very little to defeat cancer.”

“This whole problem became very personal to me when members of my own family developed cancer,” he continued. “I watched them pass away under the current standard of care. I knew this didn’t have to be.

As a veterinary practitioner for many years, and as someone who advocates raw feeding and evolutionary nutrition, I also watched my own patients who had developed cancer. I watched them become free of cancer. I watched my patients who didn’t eat processed food not develop cancer. If they did develop cancer, it happened later in life. I knew this was a problem that had a lot to do with nutrition.”
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