Experts say pet food ingredients can contain pet food allergies and are calling for stricter testing requirements for pet food manufacturers.
Pet food makers are currently free to use ingredients from any pet food or pet food ingredient catalog, including those sold in pet food stores.
However, pet food labels do not list the allergens, and pet food companies are not required to test their products for them.
A recent study published in the American Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that pet food products from three pet food brands contained levels of peanut, tree nut, and egg yolk that were twice the levels of pet food containing a high-risk pet food allergy, according to the study.
The study also showed a higher proportion of pet foods containing the pet food-specific protein was found in the “low-risk” category, which is generally considered the lowest level of allergy.
“We are in a phase of pet safety,” said Jessica Hickey, executive director of the Pet Food Alliance, which represents the industry’s largest trade group.
“We have a lot of data that shows the pet foods that are out there are not doing very well.
And we need to be vigilant.”
The pet food industry has come under increasing scrutiny for its food safety practices in recent years, following the deaths of two puppies and an infant in the U.S. and California, as well as the death of a 2-year-old in England in 2016.
In a statement on Tuesday, the American Pet Products Council (APPC), the trade group for the pet industry, said pet food makers should be held to the same standards as food manufacturers, noting that the industry has been “significantly improving” over the past five years.
The APPC said it “continues to be disappointed with the lack of regulatory enforcement and the lax food safety regime” in the United States, citing a lack of enforcement of pet product safety laws, as outlined in the Safe Feed Act, the law that was passed in 2016 by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.
“The APFC is committed to working with the federal government to pass the Safer Pets Act, which would strengthen consumer protections and improve pet food safety,” the statement read.
The association also called for a national testing program, which it said would cost “far less than the current cost of testing” pet food.
“Our pet food is tested and approved for our families every day, yet the cost to get there is more than triple what we are spending to do it,” Hickey said.
“If we’re going to make a difference in the health of our pets, we need more stringent testing.”