Thursday, August 5, 2010


The latest scare of Salmonella has emanated not from food industry but from the pet food industry which supply frozen mice and baby chickens to pet owners in the US through on-line orders. While food industry is constantly being monitored for many safety compliance procedures, pet food industry hardly receives any attention from the regulators. This is all the more discernible when it comes to on-line supplies. The manufacturing facilities where pet foods are manufactured are not as vigorously scrutinized as being done in the case of food processing industry, probably under the illusion that pets are more resistant to infections through their foods. Hard pressed as they are in monitoring the food industry, many regulators just do not have the necessary facilities for checking pet foods for safety. While segregating pet foods in the freezers or earmarking separate freezers for pet foods and thorough washing after handling these foods can prevent spread of food borne infections.

"That is the message from public health officials in the wake of salmonellaoutbreaks that have sickened more than 400 people, many of them snake owners or their children, in the United States and Britain. The illnesses have been traced to frozen mice sold over the Internet as food for exotic pets by a small Georgia company called MiceDirect. The company announced this week a recall involving millions of frozen mice and said that it would begin irradiating future shipments to kill infectious bacteria. MiceDirect also recalled frozen rats and baby chickens used as pet food by reptile fanciers, although those products had not been linked to the salmonella outbreaks. The recall drew back the curtain on a world of exotic pet enthusiasts for whom there is nothing unusual about keeping a dozen snakes in the living room and a few zippered bags of mice in the freezer".

It is a strange world where people practice dichotomy when pets are showered with all kinds of physical comfort while other animals like cows, pigs, chicken etc are mercilessly slaughtered in millions for enjoying many food preparations based on their meat! Dogs and cats are the most favored pets amongst urban dwellers but it is some what surprising that snakes are also domesticated by a number of people for whom on-line supply of frozen mice is a life line!


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