This past week we heard from Mr. Larry Michael of the NC Department of Health and Human Services and Ms. Donna Wanucha or the regional office of the FDA. Their unexpectedly fascinating joint lecture was on the preparedness for NSSE—National Special Security Events, particularly food security. Their thorough description of the planning for the available food and food preparation of the democratic national convention was unexpected in that I would have never considered food to be a vulnerable point for national events. Yet, when they described calling back all 2,000 lunch boxes for the security teams due to potentially “bad” chicken, it was not difficult to see how easily an entire event could be compromised by a little salmonella.
While the talk opened my eyes to all the potential threats that well trained FDA and Public Health officials deal with daily, I found myself thinking of my pet cat, Chui. I have the choice to only frequent establishments with high safety grades and I trust the local and federal government have tracked the food sources sufficiently that I will not get ill from my food. However, my cat does not have this luxury. As recent as 2007, pet food was recalled from over 100 brands contaminated from imported vegetable proteins from China (Roth, Tsay, Pullman, & Gray, 2008). Though we stringently regulate “farm to fork” production of human food, animal nutrition has fallen by the wayside. This does not pose a direct health concern to humans. Any food-born illness is not transferable to human pet owners, unless they are consuming the pet food themselves. However, especially in America, we have great time, money, and emotional investment in our companion animals. It is estimated that Americans will spend over 22 billion USD on companion animal food in 2014 alone ("Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics,"). Despite this investment, comparatively poor consideration is given to the supply chain of pet food. Though this does not directly impede on human health, I believe it is a One Health issue as the emotional and financial burden on humans is great. We are becoming accustomed to thinking so carefully about our own food sources; it is time we give as much consideration to the food for our best friends.
Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics. from http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp
Roth, A. V., Tsay, A. A., Pullman, M. E., & Gray, J. V. (2008). UNRAVELING THE FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN: STRATEGIC INSIGHTS FROM CHINA AND THE 2007 RECALLS*. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 44(1), 22-39.
Authored by Chrissy Dideriksen