Friday, February 22, 2013

Peanut Butter, Parsley, Dog Food and Salmonella

The emails come in as predictable as swallows to Capistrano and buzzards to Hinkley, Ohio:

Right.  Salmonella.  One of the most common health problems and the bain of low-life restaurants everywhere.  In this morning's Washington Post, a headline:  Feds indict 4 over 2009 salmonella outbreak linked to Georgia peanut plant.
Which brings me back to dogs and dog food. 
Remember my earlier post about Honest Kitchen?   They are the the second company named in the FDA press release dump last night -- right after a "lick and stick" dog food maker called Kasel Associates, and just before the Kaytee bird seed company, which ALSO says that its parsley was tainted with Salmonella (the same claim as Honest Kitchen). 
Hmmmm.  Same supplier for a bird seed company as for the dog food company?  Right.  So the "sources" for Honest Kitchen's food stock might not be quite as special as we are led to believe. 
Which is not to say Honest Kitchen is bad dog food. 
It is to say, however, that they have NO idea what they are putting into their dog food because they have sourced the ingredients from dozens of suppliers on five continents and make it in a "secret" factory in Illinois several time zones away from where Honest Kitchen is actually headquartered. 
Read my longer analysis of Honest Kitchen's marketing machinations and ask yourself if this "lick and stick" dog food maker is doing anything appreciably better or more honestly than Kasel Associates Industries, which is the no-name contract dog food maker named in the first FDA press release this morning. 
How are they set up any differently from Menu Foods or Diamond? 
That said, salmonella will always be with us so long as we serve food. 
And yet, rather predictably, the companies that have managed to wrap their hands around the Salmonella problem the best are those companies that make their own foods rather than contract out, those that have long-term domestic suppliers, those that have massive brands that have been in business for decades, those which fully fire-cook their foods, and those which are not secretive about where their foods are actually made.  On every one of these points, Honest Kitchen falls down.  Did we learn nothing from the Menu and Diamond dog food fiascoes? 

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