Three of the most dreaded words among the animal loving community are pet food recall. No one wants to be the last to know about a recall, but we’re all busy. It’s hard to know how to keep up with recalls, especially when they seem to pop up on Friday evenings at 5pm when we’re occupied with other things, making them slide under our radar until a cat is sick.
Ways to Get Pet Food Recall News Early
Notifications on your Phone from the AVMA
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) maintains the @AVMARecallWatch Twitter account, which is usually among the earliest sources to report recalls. You can follow them on Twitter and read their updates there. For faster notification, you can set up Twitter to send an SMS message to your account every time there is a tweet posting a recall to that Twitter account. Make sure your phone is set up with Twitter (while logged into Twitter, under the gear menu at the top right of the Twitter site, choose Settings > Mobile). Then, on the @AVMARecallWatch Twitter page, click the gear above their timeline and select Turn on notifications. That’s it. Recall news sent straight to your phone.
Email updates from the FDA
Many people consider the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to include a complete list of all recalls, but that isn’t true. When questioned about a recall missing from their list last year, they explained via email, “We don’t post all recalls. As our main FDA Recalls page states: ‘FDA works with industry and our state partners to publish press releases and other public notices about recalls that may potentially present a significant or serious risk to the consumer or user of the product. Not all recalls have press releases or are posted on this page.'”
Still, the FDA is a valuable resource for recall information, and you can get notices of new updates to their site via email by visiting the FDA CVM page and clicking the Get e-mail updates when this information changes hyperlink. You will receive emails about recalls posted to the FDA CVM site, as well as other related information, such as drug approvals, policy changes, and grant program requests.
Email Updates from Talkwalker Alerts from around the Web
You can also set up a Talkwalker alert to send you news content related to a topic. this delivers information directly to your email inbox, either daily or as it finds new instances of your search term. One downside of this is that news organizations and others in their haste to get the word out about a recall tend to copy basic recall information and paste it without adding much, if any, content, resulting in getting alerts for the exact same information multiple times from different sources.
What Not to Do
As much as we all love the convenience of the big-box pet food stores, don’t count on them to know the latest on pet food recalls. It isn’t their fault. Notification goes from manufacturers to the corporation and then filters down to the individual stores. This is why you may have heard stories of people going into the stores and finding recalled product still on the shelves the day or two after a recall is announced, especially when the recall happens on a Friday or weekend. That process takes time. Small, specialty pet food retailers tend to get the news faster, if only because the word doesn’t have to filter through extra intermediaries at a corporate level.
Also, don’t rely on a news source on Facebook to bring the news to your attention. Even if a Facebook page posts every recall promptly, the algorithms that determine what displays in your news feed currently penalize pages on Facebook so that it’s not safe to rely on all of their posts showing up in your news feed. Unless you plan to visit a page daily to check for new news, you are probably better off finding another way to bring recall news to your attention so that you don’t miss it.
Finally, don’t panic! Being a knowledgeable consumer is your best defense against learning about a pet food recall the hard way. Using some of the tools available to you to make sure you hear about recalls promptly can help keep your pet healthy.