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Warning for pet owners

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PFISA says it noted reports of pet food scooped out of skips at the roadside and sold on the informal market

Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

NON-COMPLIANT pet food sales are increasing, putting pets and their owners across the Northern Cape at risk.

That’s the warning from the Pet Food Industry Association of South Africa (PFISA), after noting a growing number of complaints about mixed and decanted pet foods on the market.

The association says that during tough times many pet owners are downgrading their animals’ food, but if the origin of that food is not known, it may put their animals’- and their own – health at risk.

PFISA says it noted reports of pet food scooped out of skips at the roadside and sold on the informal market.

“In some cases, it appears as though the mixed bags are made up of factory sweepings, which is effectively waste and dirt from the production process,” PFISA said.

It added that supporting sales of this nature was supporting sale of stolen goods, somehow acquired through manipulation of the pet food manufacturers’ waste management process.

The association warns that not only does decanting and repackaging expose the product to the elements, promote oxidation and increase the chance of mould and contamination but risks of mycotoxin infestation, listeria and salmonella are also increased. With raw food there have been instances of cats contracting tuberculosis, and their owners too.

Since pet foods are often stored and prepared in the same spaces as human meals, the entire family is put at risk.

Without the original packaging there’s no quality assurance, no traceability and no record of a best before date.

Dominique Kuhlmann, the general manager at PFISA, says there’s a common misconception that pet foods regulation is lax.

“Pet foods are regulated under the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act of 1947 by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,” she explained.

Kuhlmann added that they haven’t received complaints yet but have discovered on social media, such as Facebook’s Marketplace, and on roadsides that pet food was being sold from skips.

Bigger brand manufacturers are very compliant with the law, she says. Some hire suppliers to take their waste away to be incinerated and even hire third-party security companies to follow the destruction process.