Where will the almost 9 million pounds of recalled beef end up?  Will it become pet food?

In early February the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a massive beef recall – almost 9 million pounds.  The recall was due to the company – Rancho Feeding Corporation – processing “diseased and unsound animals” without federal inspection.  Much of the recalled beef were by-products, so my first thought was pet food…was any of this recalled beef sent to pet food manufacturers?

A call to the USDA led me to a very helpful young woman that was more than willing to answer my questions.  I was told that at this point, most of their investigation showed that all the recalled beef products was going for human consumption.   So my next question was, ‘What will happen to the recalled products? Will they be destroyed or will they be sold to pet food?’  She was surprised at my question – especially when I informed her that their fellow food safety agency FDA, allows recalled foods (expired foods, diseased animals, bird and rodent excreta contaminated foods) to become pet food ingredients.  She said she would investigate and get back to me about this recalled beef.

Low and behold…she did!  A follow up call from this (wonderful) USDA representative told me “it would depend” whether this recalled beef would ultimately end up in pet food.  That ‘depend’ – depends on if the USDA determines any diseased animals were processed by Rancho Feeding Corporation.  They are still investigating at this point.  But the USDA assured me if they determine any diseased animal was processed – none of that meat will become pet food ingredients.

And then I shocked this USDA representative again.  I told her FDA allows diseased animals to become pet food.  She was so shocked, she had me email her the page of FDA Compliance Policies.

So – we still don’t know if this recalled beef will end up in pet food.  If the USDA has their way, it won’t.  But don’t hold your breath.  Regardless to federal laws that clearly state diseased animals are NOT allowed in any food (human or pet), the FDA provides pet food/animal food manufacturing with free reign.  Just about any waste is welcome in pet food – and the consumer is never informed.

Ask your pet food manufacturer if all meats (including meat meals) are sourced from USDA inspected and approved meat.   Warning – many will tell you their meats are sourced from USDA inspected facilities.  This isn’t what you need to know.  You want (deserve) to know if the meat itself is USDA inspected and approved.  Be persistent.  The pet food and treat companies that have provided us their Pledge to Quality and Origin – have already given consumers this information.  Click Here to view those Pledges.

A few FDA Compliance Policies…

CPG Sec. 675.100 Diversion of Contaminated Food for Animal Use
“FDA does not object to the diversion to animal feed of human food adulterated with rodent, roach, or bird excreta.”

CPG Sec. 675.400 Rendered Animal Feed Ingredients
“No regulatory action will be considered for animal feed ingredients resulting from the ordinary rendering process of industry, including those using animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, provided they are not otherwise in violation of the law.
Compliance Policy Guide 7126.08 recognizes the AAFCO definitions as generally constituting the common or usual names for animal feed ingredients conforming in origin and content to these definitions. Included are such products as poultry by-product meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal and fish meal.”

CPG Sec. 690.300 Canned Pet Food
“Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.”


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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