Greensboro North Carolina police say someone stole a tractor trailer that had more than $28,000 worth of dog food stored inside. While this is a crime, the real crime is that $28,000 worth of dog food WAS BEING STORED IN A TRAILER; in the sun, in the heat. One of the many things pet owners aren’t told about their pet’s food, how it is warehoused or stored.
I’ve heard these types of stories for many years; pet food being stored in truck trailers for who knows how long. Rarely is there any type of evidence to prove that some who wholesale pet food could care less if the pet food sits in a hot trailer in the sun for a couple of months (or many months). Perhaps even the trailer leaks causing mold to grow inside. Some pet food wholesalers would not think twice about sending that pet food right on to a retailer regardless how damaged the food might be.
This June 4th notice proves this remains common practice with some pet food wholesalers.
“GREENSBORO — Police say somebody stole a tractor trailer that had more than $28,000 in dog food stored inside.
The theft occurred at Summit Pet Product Distributors at 420 N. Chimney Rock Road between May 29 and June 1, according to Greensboro police.
The suspects took a tan Freightliner with North Carolina license plate LX-3299 and a white Great Dane trailer a black “O” on it and with Maine license plate A-995871. The trailer had Iams dog food inside.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $2,000 for information leading to the suspect. Summit Pet Product Distributors is offering an additional $1,000 reward.
Anybody with information should contact Crime Stoppers at 373-1000.”
And how do we pet owners know if the pet food we purchase was stored safely or if it’s been sitting in a hot, moldy trailer? How do we know if our pet food purchase has been sitting in a filthy warehouse infested with bugs, rodents, and birds?
We don’t have any guarantees that the pet foods and treats we purchase have been handled and stored properly after it left the manufacturer.
In 2008 Federal Marshalls seized pet food at a Petco distribution center in Illinois because of “active bird and rodent infestation”. The FDA stated “We simply will not allow a company to store foods under filthy and unsanitary conditions that occur as a direct result of the company’s failure to adequately control and prevent pests in its facility.” http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/if-you-buy-pet-food-at-petco-%E2%80%93-read-this-just-released-fda-warning%E2%80%A6.html
In January of 2009, TruthaboutPetFood.com shared the frightening story of Duece, a young dog extremely ill from what was believed to be mold discovered at the bottom of his pet food bag (Pedigree). Another story (shared on the same post as Duece’s story) was a pet owners experience with maggot infested cat food purchased at a local grocery. Were these foods contaminated during manufacturing or was improper warehousing the culprit? http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/manufacturing-error-or-warehousing-contamination.html
Just a few months ago a pet owner follower of this site contacted me; both of her dogs suddenly became ill, one seriously. Her veterinarian ran a stool sample and found the seriously ill dogs’ stool to be severely contaminated with grain mites. The veterinarian had never seen anything this bad. The two foods she had been feeding her dogs contained no grain and were/are believed to be of the highest quality. Did the grain mite contamination occur in warehousing?
We study and fret over our pet food and pet treat decisions; closely reading every ingredient, learning where ingredients are sourced, and learning who and where the food/treat is made. The sad reality is, ingredients and manufacturer quality control is only part of the concern. Once the pet food has left the manufacturers control, there is little control guaranteed to pet owners. In 2008 Consumerist.com reported a story of a Beneful Dog Food infested with maggots. Purina told the pet owner “As soon as our food leaves our factory, it is no longer our responsibility.” Petsmart, where the food was purchased, also told the pet owner it was not their responsibility. http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/whose-responsibility-is-it.html
So…what can a pet owner do? Because there is no real guarantee for us, the only thing we can do is become ever more diligent in examining the pet food packaging before we bring it home.
Look at the Best By date. Know the manufacturer shelf life of the pet food. Shelf life varies from 1 year to 3 years for dry foods, 18 months to 3 years for canned foods. If the Best By date on the packaging is six months in the future, the food is six months old IF the manufacturer shelf life is 1 year. However, if the Best By date on the package is six months in the future, the food would be 2 1/2 years old if the manufacturer shelf life is 3 years. It is very possible that food has been sitting in some bad conditions over the past 2 1/2 years (yes, perhaps in a trailer over two summers of sun and heat); plus the nutritional value could be greatly lessened.
Closely examine the bag or can. Don’t purchase dented canned pet food; don’t purchase swollen canned or pouch pet food. Don’t purchase bags of pet food with stains or tears.
Closely examine the pet food. Does it look and smell the same as the last bag or can? If it doesn’t, return it. Stare at the kibble for a few moments; does anything move? If it does, return it. Carefully store the food in your home; air tight containers are best. But DO KEEP the packaging in case of a need to report a food problem to the FDA (without it, the FDA will not investigate).
Purchase foods from small independent retailers. Most independent retailers have personally visited the warehouse they buy food from (ask them). They have a personal relationship with the wholesaler and frequently send back any food that is beyond their preferred Best By date limit or if products are torn or dented.
A note to independent retailers and conscientious manufacturers out there. Visit and inspect – at the very least annually – the warehouses you purchase foods from or sell your foods to. Pet owners are relying on your recommendations and your products. Because of lax oversight by regulatory authorities (yes, the FDA), your eyes closely watching those that store your pet food and treats could save lives and your reputation. Report any concerns to FDA authorities and State Department of Agriculture authorities. And by the way, if you do inspections of warehouses that you purchase from or sell to – share this information with pet owners. We want to know who has our back.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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