The worst oil spill in US history has many pet owners wondering if oil contaminated fish will ultimately end up in pet foods. The Alabama Press-Register says yes Menhaden fish from the Gulf of Mexico do end up in pet food, however the fish has been tested safe.
I report this information to pet owners with a great deal of hesitation. Living in Florida, I can tell you the Gulf Oil Spill was a daily topic of conversation with friends and family during the spring and summer this year. This spill remains a serious concern for most who live in the Gulf states regardless if the spill has been capped and fallen out of reporting favor for mainstream media. Where did all that oil go?
While many have suspected that Gulf fish during and after the spill have been processed into pet food, a recent article found on Al.com confirms that Menhaden fish – sourced from the Gulf of Mexico – do indeed become pet food ingredients. Journalist Katherine Sayre interviewed several individuals that all claim the fish to be safe.
Some quotes from Sayre’s article:
“Federal scientists say fish and marine mammals are capable of metabolizing oils and getting rid of them, unlike a substance such as mercury, which accumulates throughout the food chain.”
“This was a deepwater spill,” said Steve Wilson, chief quality officer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seafood inspection program. “In general, the fish tended to avoid the area, or when they did swim through, they did not maintain that contamination for long at all — at most, two days.”
“Omega Protein uses spotter planes to locate schools in the water, and ships venture out with nets to scoop them up using what’s known as a purse seine. It lists among its customers Hill’s Science Diet, a pet food producer; Smart Balance, maker of butter blends; and agriculture industry giants Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, according to a June 2010 company presentation filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Spokesman for Omega Protein Ben Landry states “Nothing came back that would cause any concern either in our own testing or state or federal government testing,” Landry said. “The products we’re making are completely safe.” (Regarding testing of fish.)
I find the statements of fish from the Gulf being ‘completely safe’ hard to believe. Billions of gallons of oil, including tons of chemical disbursement was dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. The true extent of the damage won’t be learned for years, if ever. I am thankful the beautiful beaches near me have not seen tar balls, however I am confident the chain reaction of oil and chemicals will take its toll on all wildlife that resides in/or near the Gulf of Mexico.
Even though Federal scientists and Gulf fishing industries are telling the public the fish is perfectly safe, I continue to have doubts. If your pets food contains a Menhaden fish meal, as always, watch them closely. We must remain diligent in watching our pets behaviors, eating and elimination habits. They do give us signs that a pet food might be problematic; we need to listen.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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