Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chico chats about food safety for dogs and humans!

My mom is pretty picky about what she eats and what she feeds me. Nonetheless, I got a little nervous when I heard about the recent pet food recall, which affected more than 100 brands of pet food that contained contaminated wheat gluten imported from China. Mom and I went to the website of the company that makes my food and were reassured to find that the food I ate contains no gluten (that’s just filler, I don’t need filler!) and all of the good ingredients it does contain are sourced from here in the U.S. Still, mom keeps checking back to be sure what I’m eating is safe, as new discoveries have been found everyday and more and more brands are at risk for recall. And now I’m worried about what Mom eats too! I mostly eat the same thing each day, with treats like natural hot dogs and beef jerky thrown in for when I’m a real good boy. But Mom eats something different at every meal, every day! How does she keep track of what she’s putting in her body?

Turns out she’s worried too. And with all the bad news lately about food scares, things are not getting better—for us four-leggers and bipods alike. A recent article in the Washington Post points out a few of those scary news items. For one, the people who are supposed to be protecting us and ensuring that our food is safe don’t really have a way to do so because they can’t track many ingredients back from all over the world that they come from. And, it turns out that those same people who are supposed to be protecting us are not really doing a good job even when they can track our food. The word is now that they knew about the salmonella in peanut butter and the E. coli in spinach way before the recent outbreaks that caused some people to die and many others to get sick and they didn’t do a thing about it. Lastly, those who think they’re safe because they don’t eat pet food should be concerned if they eat bacon. The tainted pet food was fed to pigs destined to become human food. So, what’s a dog (and his person) to do?

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. Grow your own! Or, find a farmer you trust and buy from them! In our global and industrialized world, where one food product might be made of lots of ingredients (including chemicals and other scary things!) that come from lots of different countries, it’s great to know that you can eat something that came from your backyard or your hometown, straight from the dirt. Of course, most of us can’t source all of our food from a farmer, so it’s important to read your labels. When you actually take the time to know what you’re eating, you’ll feel more comfortable and you’ll probably enjoy your food even more. Be picky and be proud of your pickiness—it could save your life!

In the meantime, I wish good health to all of you.

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