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Sunlight Damaged Pet Food

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  1. Claudia Loomis

    I am certain this location is temperature controlled and the food looks to be set back from the window with aisle space and room for air circulation. If the bags are not warm to the touch, then there should be very little risk that the food is being exposed to the negative effects of the sunlight. The bags are sealed and the packaging is UV protected. I would certainly be concerned if the food was being stored outside.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I’m not so sure there would be “very little risk” to those pet foods. Of course the store is temperature controlled – but direct sunlight coming in through those windows directly on those pet foods is a concern to me.

    2. Jan

      Whether or not it is in a temperature controlled setting based on the photos provided, the shadow of the pole structure reflecting against the food means the food is in the sun’s direct rays. Even in controlled temperature settings, the likelihood of the food heating increases dramatically. Just sit in the sun for a time in air conditioning setting. Soon you will feel the heat on your own body. Why does a cat or dog like to sit in the window when the sun is out even in air conditioning? They feel the warmth. Logic dictates this. While it may not get as ‘hot’ it still heats up. As one who lives in a cold climate I know that any time the sun hits an object even in subzero weather, that item heats up. In all due respect, the food really should not be in the sun. Am very glad Susan posted this because it ends up being an educational piece and something we would do well to be aware of with how we store our own pet food in our homes. Thank you Susan for this.

  2. Edwina Gren

    Petsmart isn’t the only culprit, Trader Joes in Escondido CA has it’s pet food in the window at the front of the store too. Glad I feed raw.

  3. Popcicle

    Why isn’t the entire article about the pet food included in this posting? I get it that this is particularly related to the sunlight issue but all of the info would have been appreciated.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I don’t understand your comment…What other information were you wanting?

      1. b

        Pop wanted “all 5” dog food storage mistakes, not just #3.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          The link to that article is above – just click on the PetMD article name.

  4. Tryniti

    Hey Susan, love your stuff. You always raise important questions. I did want to bring up though, you be fair to the majority of PetSmart staff, they are NOT trained in pet food. When you start working at PetSmart, you watch a couple ten minute long videos on basic care for small pets and birds. That’s your training. At least they get something – Petco employees don’t even get that! If an employee knows much else, its because they have done researching outside of work. It’s the small pet chains and boutiques that often have far more knowledge on pet food. Another thing to keep in mind is that even if a PetSmart employee was aware and brought it up, nothing would be changed. The staff don’t have any say in how the stores are arranged.

    1. Tryniti

      I meant to* be fair, not you be fair. Stupid phone 😣

    2. Sandra Murphey

      The only pet food store I’ve been in that actually “trains” employees on a regular basis is Pet Food Express. I had a long conversation with one of the very knowledgable staff members, and learned a lot from her. One very important thing was that they don’t carry “junk” pet food, or Hills/Royal Canin. Although they are a small chain, they don’t have a lot of stores, but fortunately one in my area in Petaluma, not far from PetSmart.

      I’ll have to ask about storing pet food in sunny windows.

  5. T Allen

    Since these are not refrigerated items they are shipped in non-climate controlled semi-tractor trailers. You want to talk about heat damage… That would be a great project. Test nutrient levels in bags/cans coming straight off the truck, on the opposite side of the country from the plant. Choose trucks traveling IH 5 in the summer!

    1. Gloria

      I agree with the heat issues in shipping containers/trailers. They have no refrigeration for dry food and it would get extremely hot in the trucks, especially in the summer.

  6. landsharkinnc

    I would think that these would be thermalpane windows, not single pane that would indeed impart heat as well as light –we have thermal pane windows in our home and I sit in direct sunlight most of the mid-afternoon at my desk –and there is no sensation of ‘heat’ from the sun coming thru the windows – most large buildings have gone to double pane/thermal pane to reduce energy costs of AC/Heat; they also prevent furniture / carpet etc. fading as single pane does not.

    1. Barbara Johnson

      I seriusly doubt that a store would go to the huge expense to make that window glass thermalpane. I am in Florida and we don’t get extremes of temp. We DO get heat and anything that sits in the sunlight shows damage. I hope they were told about this. If I see it at any of my stores I WILL say something to the manager and then corporate.

  7. Nora

    I always store dry cat food in refrigerator due to salmonella. Also those extra large bags of dry cat and dog food never get used up fast enough unless u own a boarding kennel and or have 10 cats. Those sizes should b stored in the freezer until ready to replenish a small refrigerator sized container.

  8. Sandra Murphey

    Thanks for posting this, Susan. I wonder how PetSmart will respond to an inquiry about this. I may have to visit the store in the heat of the day, and see how it feels behind those windows that have a Western exposure.

  9. Iva Kimmelman

    This is very good information. I own 6 stores in Massachusetts and we have just one store with a light in window issue. NO pet foods are EVER stored there. In the least the packaging would become sun bleached, but the reason we DON’T do it, is because we don’t want the food to heat up! PetSmart is stupid to allow this. Asking for trouble.

  10. Iva Kimmelman

    For what it is worth, there is an aisle in front of the food. But the sun is still hitting it, which is too much in my opinion

  11. Sherrie Ashenbremer

    I wouldn’t be willing to chance feeding this food to my dogs. No way, my dog’s health is too important.

  12. Chris

    Has petsmart been made aware of this? I’m not sure if storing the product in sunlight inside a climate controlled area comfortable enough to shop is unsafe. For energy costs though, it seems they’d have a sunshade or tint on those windows.

  13. Darlene

    another concern about foods: how are they transported? we assume most are transported via refrigerated, temp-controlled trucking but his is not always the case. while now retired my husband was a truck driver & had transported manufactured pet foods both ways, refrigerated & non-refrigerated, either of which may be dictated by the shipper. even the currently well-sealed bag contents can be degraded by prolonged high temps that occur inside a sealed/locked transport truck that is not temp controlled. i now raw-feed.

    1. Chris

      From the article “Storage at temperatures of 120°F (48°C) for more than 48 hours can accelerate the normal degradation or destruction of the vitamins.”
      A good question to ask the company is how they make sure this limit is not encountered during the transit. Having plenty of time before the label best by date is reached definitely seems beneficial. My local pet store has some marked down Honest Kitchen due to it having a January date. Think I’ll ask them about shipping conditions since a package could have little potency in the vitamins while still being sellable.

  14. Chris

    I contacted Honest Kitchen about transit conditions. The reply:
    “The delivery trucks can get warm, but since the food is only in there for a short amount of time, and it is sealed during time, it is not concern. Dehydration is a natural form of preserving food, used in ancient times to keep food fresh in all kinds of temperatures. Our foods are shipped using human food guidelines for food safety and our foods are shelf stable at ambient temperatures.”

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