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Apr 12, 2007

BAHA: pet food recall had no impact on Belize

Story PictureIt made big headlines in the United States earlier this month: the deaths of a number of cats and dogs who had consumed contaminated pet food. Health officials immediately ordered a recall of the products, a move that included distributors in Belize. But this afternoon, local experts assured us that our four legged friends aren’t in any danger.

Dr. Michael DeShield, Food Safety Director, BAHA
“Continue buying your dog food comfortably and safely. You really need a good nutrition, I mean something, a complete diet so one of the commercial dog foods is very good, so I don’t think they really have to worry about this particular incident.”

Tonight pet owners in Belize are being assured that the dog and cat food on store shelves are safe for pets to consume. According to Dr. Michael DeShield, a veterinarian and the Food and Safety Director of Belize Agricultural Health Authority, since the recall, there have been no reported cases of contaminated food or sick animals, mostly due to the fact that only one brand involved was being sold on the local market.

Dr. Michael DeShield
“Some of the top brands like Iams Food or Eukanuba, Hills Products, they are some Wal-Mart private label brand that this company in Canada and Kansas were manufacturing that make it specific for those companies, and so those are the ones that are affected. But in Belize, I think we are pretty safe; we are not importing any of those brands.”

The contaminated can food that did pose a threat in Belize was Purina’s Alpo Prime Cuts.

Dr. Michael DeShield
“That is the one brand that we are looking at and we have BAHA actually looking in to see if and it was of a specific time period too and that is another thing that saves us, because it was December to March third from looking into the FDA websites and talking to people, our regulatory colleague saying that it’s about that time. So that gives us an idea so we could focus whether those things are on the market as such, but I think that is the only we found so far that could possibly be here in Belize.”

Jacqueline Godwin
“But doing the checks at the various stores, no food had to be taken off the shelves?”

Dr. Michael DeShield
“No food had to be really taken off. I think we were pretty safe. We knew about this from even before it actually hit the news because we get recalls, we are in contact with some of the regulatory agencies and we kind of monitor it.”

It is important to note that no dry pet foods were included in the recall. The affected batch of Alpo can food includes the thirteen point two ounce and twenty-two ounce prime cuts and the six, eight, twelve and twenty-four can Prime Cuts Variety Packs that have four digit code dates seven-zero-three-seven through seven-zero-five-three followed by the plant code one-one-five-nine and a best before February 2009 date. This information is printed on the bottom of the can or the sides of the multi-pack cartons.

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