Editorial May 2008 Issue

After the Recall

The pet food industry, a year after the recalls.

A year ago, I was invited to speak about “super premium pet foods” at Petfood Forum, an annual symposium presented by Petfood Industry, a trade and marketing organization. Exhibitors at the event include pet food ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, laboratories, and packaging suppliers. Attendees include pet food company employees and executives. And there I was, an industry critic, invited to talk about how Whole Dog Journal identified a top-quality dog food. The timing was odd, because the pet food recalls were still being discussed in the nightly news, and the list of affected products was still expanding daily. The overall mood at the event, unlike industry trade shows I’ve attended in the past, was somber. I heard gossip in the elevators at the event hotel each morning about products whose representatives were present at the event. “Oh my,” people would say to each other. “I just talked to those guys yesterday. I wonder if they will be here today.” There was a definite sense that almost any company present at the event could be implicated in the disaster at any time. “It could happen to any one of us,” I heard again and again.

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