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Food safety applies to Fido too

August 29, 2014

Fast facts

  • Pet food included on agenda of Ark. Assoc. for Food Protection annual meeting
  • Meeting to be held Sept. 11-13 at Chancellor Hotel, Fayetteville
  • U.S. spending on pets grew from $17 billion in 1994 to $55.73 billion n 2013

(386 words)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Food safety isn’t just for people. It’s for Fido too.

There’s good reason to consider the kibble that’s poured into your pet’s bowl. This week, Mars Petcare U.S. instituted a voluntary recall of 22 bags of dog food sold in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. (See:

In 2007, Salmonella linked to dry pet food sickened 62 people in 18 states, according to the Food and Drug Administration. In 2008, a federal grand jury handed down indictments in a case that involved the 2007 deaths of 14 cats and dogs due to melamine contaminated pet food.

This year will be the first time that pet food safety is among the topics at the Arkansas Association for Food Protection annual conference Sept. 11-13 at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville. The Center for Food Safety at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an organizer of the conference, which this year is being held in conjunction with the meeting of the South Central Branch of the American Society for Microbiology.

The agenda includes Greg Aldrich of Kansas State University, who will be speaking about “Strategies for Eliminating Salmonella in Pet Foods and Animal Feeds: A Preliminary Report.”

Pet food made the agenda because of the “FDA’s increased scrutiny of foodborne pathogen association with pet foods,” said Steven C. Ricke, professor-food science and director for UA-Center for Food Safety, for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The FDA is the regulatory agency involved with pet foods that are often stored in the same places as human foods.

A second reason for the inclusion is the increased attention consumers are giving their pets.

According to the American Pet Products Association, spending on pets in the U.S. has grown from $17 billion in 1994 to $55.73 billion n 2013.

“Pet foods are big business for most food companies,” he said.

The conference will review current issues in food safety and includes other speakers from industry, government and academic institutions will review current issues in food safety.

The Arkansas Association for Food Protection is an affiliate of the International Association for Food Protection.

Registration fees for the conference are $40 for AAFP members and $65 for non-members. Details about the conference agenda and registration procedures are online at Corporate sponsors of the conference are International Paper, Jones-Hamilton Co., Roka Bioscience, FoodChek, Qiagen, Land O'Frost and World Bioproducts.    

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


By Mary Hightower
U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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