Ruff Recall: Dry pet food yanked off store shelves in light of Salmonella concerns

Several dog and cat dry pet foods under the Iams or Eukanuba brands are being voluntarily recalled by The Procter & Gamble Company "as a precautionary measure because it has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. No salmonella-related illnesses have been reported," say company representatives, "but some products made at a single, specialized facility have the potential for salmonella contamination and as a precautionary measure, P&G is recalling all products made at this facility."

The following dry pet food products in all sizes, formulas and varieties, with a "best by" date between July 1, 2010, and December 1, 2011 are included:

Iams Veterinary Dry

Eukanuba Naturally Wild

Eukanuba Pure

Eukanuba Custom Care Sensitive Skin

A casual check at local PetCo pet stores demonstrated a quick response by local retailers that were notified of the recall on Saturday, and had pulled the products from their shelves, and they've also pulled them from their website.

P&G advises consumers who have purchased the specific dry pet foods listed to discard them. Pets with Salmonella infections may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For further information or a product replacement or refund call P&G toll-free at 877-340-8823.

Finding the right, healthy foods to feed your dog is an increasingly challenging proposition. The Petco On-line story carries 49 different pet food products under the Eukanuba Brand - and a total of 428 different types of dog food.

Aside from the occasional serious problem leading to a recall, they all sound and look healthy. But they are not all equally healthy.

Pet food labeling is regulated at two levels. Federal regulations, enforced by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), establish standards for all animal feeds that include proper identification of product, a net quantity statement, the manufacturer's name and address, and proper listing of ingredients. Some states also enforce their own labeling regulations. Many states have adopted the model pet food regulations established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These regulations are more specific in nature, covering aspects of labeling such as the product name, the guaranteed analysis, the nutritional adequacy statement, feeding directions, and calorie statements. The basic goal of AAFCO is ensure uniform and equitable laws, regulations, standards and enforcement policies for regulating animal feeds so that they are safe, effective, and useful.

Because it is potentially unsafe for an animal if its owner relies on any claim that a product is "complete," "balanced," or "100% nutritious," when it is not, an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement is one of the most important aspects of a dog or cat food label. A "complete and balanced" pet food must be substantiated for nutritional adequacy by one of two means.

Either the manufacturer has to certify on the product label that the pet food meets the AAFCO Dog or Cat Food standards for the proper amount of all recognized essential nutrients needed to meet the needs of the healthy animal - their Nutrient Profiles -- or it has to complete a dog or cat feeding test of the product using AAFCO procedures to substantiate that it provides complete and balanced nutrition."

There are numerous factors that dictate what constitutes healthy feeding for an individual dog - including weight, age, and level of activity, and prices vary by retailer and by special sales, but in general here's a quick snapshot of how several top notch dry dog foods compare to AAFCO standards:

Protein                 Fat                  Moisture          Calcium min/max   $  Pound

AFFCO Standard    Minimum 18%    Minimum 5%                                  0.6-2.5%

Blue Buffalo             Minimum 24%    Minimum 14%    10% max          1%                             $1.39

Avoderm                   Minimum 23%    Minimum 13%    10% max          1%                             $1.33

ProPlan                    Minimum 27%    Minimum 17%     12% min          1%                             $1.48

Beneful                     Minimum 25%    Minimum 10%    14% min           1.1%                          $0.99

Eukanuba                Minimum 27%    Minimum 12%     10%                  ?                               $1.51