kitten eating food
Recent recalls of pet treats highlight growing concerns about the foods consumers buy for their pets.

ROCKVILLE, Md. – A spate of recent pet product recalls, along with suspicions about pet treats manufactured in China that sickened some pets has consumers paying more attention to the pet food products they buy, Packaged Facts said in its Pet Treats and Chews in the US report.

The market intelligence firm found that 56 percent of dog owners and 44 percent of cat owners agree that fear of contamination/product safety is a key consideration when purchasing pet foods.

“Due to events such as the furor in 2014 over potential safety risks associated with Chinese-manufactured jerky treats, pet owners in the US have begun to scrutinize pet products they buy even more closely, and repercussions of this heightened focus on product safety have been felt in the treat market most of all,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.

More recently, three US-based companies recalled pet treats on concerns of contamination with foodborne pathogens. Green Bay, Wis.-based Carnivore Meat Company LLC recalled two batches of its Carnivore Vital Essentials raw pet treats after an independent laboratory detected Listeria monocytogenes in samples. NatPets LLC in Boulder, Colo. Recalled 1,299 cases of cow-boom! strips – beef gullet when routine sampling uncovered Salmonella contamination. And Stella & Chewy’s recalled its Chewy’s Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Patties for Dogs on concerns the products may be contaminated with Listeria. No illnesses were reported in connection with the affected products.

Packaged Facts found that pet food retailers also are scrutinizing ingredient sources while pet food manufacturers have adopted clean labels and locally sourced ingredients and manufacturing in an effort to allay consumer fears about pet product safety.

“Packaged Facts May/April 2014 Pet Owner Survey found that 41 percent of pet owners consider natural and organic pet foods to be safer than regular pet foods,” according to the report. “Combining the level of pet parent devotion and the level of concern over product safety, there is plenty of room for safety-based product positioning for premium pet products.”