Dog Food Recall: Are Pet Foods Made in Thailand Safe?
Are Pet Foods Made in Thailand Safe?
As those who deal in high-quality natural pet foods may know, a number of the respected natural cat and dog food brands are produced in Thailand.
Among them are:
- Best Feline Friend (by the makers of Weruva)
- Fussie Cat
- Petite Cuisine
- Weruva dog food
These are excellent pet food brands that I happen to feed to Omar, and he loves them.
However, retailers who specialize in natural pet foods may have had to contend with one particular obstacle.
Consumers are Leery of Pet Foods Made in Thailand
I have encountered this repeatedly, and the Internet is teeming with consumer concerns about pet foods made in Thailand.
I even addressed this in one of my cat food reviews.
So I spoke with David Forman, owner of Massachusetts-based Weruva, one of the most respected natural pet food brands on the market, which happens to be produced in Thailand.
Forman and his wife, Stacie, were inspired by their three cats to come up with the idea for Weruva (which exclusively produces canned pet foods) in 2005. (They have since added a pooch to their furry brood.)
Not only did they want to include the most high-quality ingredients in the company’s pet foods, but they also wanted to produce the safest products.
They found that Thailand has some of the highest standards for the production of pet and people food in the world.
Many Pet Foods Made in Thailand are of Very High Quality
“From a quality control standpoint, the pet food has to pass the same as human food,” he said. “Thailand is not huge in producing food for themselves, but they produce a lot of food for other countries. So the standards have to be very high. It’s a great place for manufacturing foods, which a lot of consumers don’t know.”
Weruva, which was launched in 2006, adheres to the standards set by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), considered to be one of the strictest, if not the strictest, human food processing standards on the planet.
“Our factory earned an ‘A’ grading from the BRC,” Forman said.
So contrary to popular belief, Thailand is home to some of the safest foods for pets, as well as people.
Why So Many Natural Pet Foods are Being Made in Thailand
Although he obviously couldn’t speak for the other brands, Forman said that Weruva natural pet foods (with the exception of some the brand’s dog foods, which are made in the U.S.) are made in Thailand for a unique, personal reason.
“My dad is in the tuna fish business, Jana Brands, Inc., with a great supplier in Thailand. The company’s biggest item is tuna fish at the food service level. We have a relationship with the owners that go back to the ’70s.
The owners of the factory were at Forman’s wedding; one was also a house guest of the Forman’s.
“Even the big pet food corporations don’t have that kind of relationship with their (manufacturing) company,” Forman said. “So we are not just another number in the production line.”
The Myth that Pet Foods Made in Thailand are Less Expensive to Produce
Forman set the record straight about this.
“It certainly is not cheaper. The labor is cheaper. But the cost of making and running equipment is the same.”
Some Other Interesting Facts about Pet Foods Made in Thailand
- The USFDA recognizes the Thai FDA
- The plant where Weruva is made is USFDA certified
- While 100 brands of U.S. pet foods were recalled in 2010, none from Thailand were recalled
- Thailand provides a large portion of the fish consumed in the U.S.
- Pet foods produced in Thailand are subject to greater scrutiny than in the U.S.
Another interesting factor is that Thailand has a government agency called the Department of Livestock Development (DLD), which is similar to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The difference is, the DLD is stricter than the USDA because (unlike the U.S.) food exportation is very important to Thailand’s economy. So it’s within the country’s best interest to maintain the highest standards – and an overall stellar world reputation – at all times.
“On top of being antibiotic free, hormone free and free range, our chicken, for instance, is also DLD certified,” Forman said.
Why Foods Produced in Thailand May Get a Bad Rap
One reason why consumers may be leery of pet foods produced in Thailand is because of suspicions regarding anything produced in Asia, particularly China.
Indeed, pet parents became especially leery of pet foods containing ingredients produced in China following the massive 2007 pet food recalls, as the melamine-contaminated wheat gluten contained in the recalled pet foods was from China.
As a result, a great many pet parents began shopping at independent pet stores that specialize in natural pet foods, specifically in search of those with ingredients exclusively from the U.S.
However, after speaking with David Forman and conducting extensive research, I can attest that the majority of commercial American pet foods manufacturers can learn a heck of a lot from their counterparts in Thailand.
All I can say is, ever since I began feeding my cat these foods, he has become a keen, lean, supremely healthy kitty machine!