The pet food industry needs to have a “bigger conversation about pet food safety,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart. “There are no silver bullets or easy answers.”
Yiannas delivered the opening session, “21st century pet food safety,” at Petfood Forum Asia 2016 on March 30 at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Thailand. Held in conjunction with Victam Asia 2016, the fifth edition of the exclusive conference drew more than 120 pet food professionals from throughout Southeast Asia and other regions of the world. Yiannas gave them perspective on the current state of pet food safety with reasons for significant changes in the global food system, including:
Other reasons Yiannas gave for the pressure on pet food safety included social media, humanization and consumer expectations. He issued a call to action to pet food manufacturers: avoid complacency (“easy to say, difficult to do”); learn from the mistakes of others; invest in prevention, which costs far less than handling recalls; adhere to globally recognized standards, such as those backed by the Global Food Safety Initiative; and create a pet food safety culture, not just a program.
Yiannas’ presentation at Petfood Forum Asia was followed by several others throughout the day-long conference, including an update on the global and Asia pet care markets, new research on gut microbiota in dogs and cats, a look at the fish-based ingredient supply chain, results of a study on what Thai consumers like in dry dog food, ways to ensure safety and palatability in pet food, innovations in automation of critical pet food production tasks and optimum vitamin nutrition for dogs and cats.
Petfood Forum Asia also featured several networking opportunities, including with sponsoring suppliers. The next edition of the conference will take place in 2018, again in Bangkok.
By Lindsay Beaton
This country is straddling the line between developing and developed as more of its citizens see the value in pet ownership.
By Lindsay Beaton