Dog Treats Recall
Would you be ready?

Something for you to think about – dog treats recall. As a food scientist in the people food industry understanding quality assurance and in particular how to handle things in case of a recall is part of my training. And as I have been working now in the dog treat business, it has occurred to me that perhaps as a bake at home baker, you guys might not be thinking about recalls of your products. Let me explain. This is an example only!!

What if there was a recall for Hodgson Mills rice flour, and this was a flour that you were using to make your homemade dog treats. What if on the Hodgson Mills website they listed Lot A057468 was affected (I made up the number so don’t get excited!) What would you do? Would you know if the particular bags of flour that you used were from that lot code and contaminated? Would you know which treats you baked with that flour? I guess at this point (and I hope that I am wrong) that you probably wouldn’t. So what would you do? Would you contact every customer you ever had to let them know that the treats they bought from you might be contaminated? Think about that for a minute. Contaminated ingredients could potentially affect you, your customers, your customers dogs, your customer’s friend’s dogs, and most definitely your business. In order for you to be able to conduct and effective dog treats recall of your products you will need to begin doing a few things:

• Keeping track of the ingredients that you use including:

• Vender / Supplier of each ingredient

• Product name / description of each ingredient

• The lot code for each new bag you use of each ingredient

• Come up with a way to document which lot codes for each item are going into each batch that you make (more on this shortly)

• A lot coding system for your product

• A means of documenting which lot codes go to which customers so that you can communicate with your customers (should you ever have to) which lot codes of yours might be affected by an ingredient recall.

Here is an example. Let’s say that you use the following ingredients in your dog treats:

Rice flour - Hodgson Mill’s
Wheat flour – Hodgson Mill’s
Eggs – Farmer Joe’s Brown Eggs
Honey – Bee’s R Us Orange Blossom Honey

And let’s say that on April 1, 2010 you were making your treats and you recorded the following lot information from the bags:

Rice flour - Hodgson Mill’s - Lot A12345
Wheat flour – Hodgson Mill’s - Lot B5555
Eggs – Farmer Joe’s Brown Eggs - Lot C22552
Honey – Bee’s R Us Orange Blossom Honey – Lot D12

You would then assign your product a lot code of Lot04-2010A (you can pick any lot coding system that works for you).

For this example, I used the number of the month (04) and the year (2010) and assigned it the letter A because it was the first formula of the month.

Let’s say you baked from April 1 until April 8 using the above ingredients with the same lot numbers listed above. But on April 8th you ran out of honey. So you bought some more honey and noticed that the Honey lot code changed from Lot D12 to Lot E44. On April 9th, you start baking your treats with the honey that has the lot code of E44. This will mean that all of the treats you bake with this new honey have a different honey. It would be advisable to start assigning a new lot code for your products . You would then document your new lot code of Honey along with the other lot codes like this:

Rice flour - Hodgson Mill’s - Lot A12345
Wheat flour – Hodgson Mill’s - Lot B5555
Eggs – Farmer Joe’s Brown Eggs - Lot C22552
Honey – Bee’s R Us Orange Blossom Honey – Lot E44

Assign your products a new lot code such as this: Lot04-2010B

In our example let’s say that you are watching the news and you see that Bee’s R Us has recalled their Orange Blossom Honey because some ant poison accidentally got into the honey. You would want to let your customers know that their treats might be affected. But would this mean that every treat that you ever baked with Bee’s R Us honey should be subject to a dog treat recall? On the news you see that only lot codes D12 and C15 are affected. All other lot codes are 100% fine and have no issues. You could then go back through your records. When you did this, you would see that the treats you baked on April 1st through April 8th were affected because they have the contaminated honey Lot code D12. Your dog treats that would be affected would be the treats you baked from April 1 through April 8 or Lot04-2010A.

Your treats with Lot code 04-2010B are totally fine and not affected by the contaminated honey – they were baked using Lot E44 honey which is 100% fine.

You would then need to contact your customers who had bought your dog treats with the lot code 04-2010A and let them know about the affected honey. You would need to have them either resend the product to you or destroy the product. You would probably need to compensate them for their loss. But you can see that this could save you from having to contact every customer you ever had regarding this issue.

Our pets are like family and their health and well being is very important. As a dog treat baker it is vitally important to recognize the impact you may have on your customer’s dog.

Being able to effectively document your ingredients and communicate with your customers about possible recall situations is very important. Especially in light of recent dog food recalls – it could be a real selling point for you to talk to your customers about how you keep track of all ingredients lot numbers and assign your own products a lot number. You can commuincate that are concerned about their dog’s safety and back it up by showing your lot number. You could let your customers know that you are fully prepared to act in a dog treats recall.

We have realized the potential impact that this type of article may have on you as a small dog treat baker – many of you may be hesitate to start baking dog treats because you are worried you won’t be able to keep track of everything, especially in the hectic start up of a small business. As a result of this thought, in order to help you with a dog treats recall potential, we have developed a one step dog treat mix. The benefits of this would be that you would then just need to purchase 1 product and record 1 lot number. We would take care of tracking all of the lot codes for the individual ingredients in your mix. You would simply add water, make your dough and treats, and bake! Should there be any issue with any ingredients, we would be keeping track of the lot codes and would notify you so that you could notify your customers. If you have multiple customers – you may want to sign up for our 1 step dog treat mix to help you better be able to manage your dog treat quality assurance program. Put our food industry expertise to work for you! Whether you choose to do it yourself, or use a single step mix please consider how important having the proper documentation in place could potentially save your customers dog's life (as well as keep your business from suffering a major crisis). As always - we want to help provide solutions that make baking dog treats easy. Instead of having to track all of your ingredient lot numbers, you can use our one step dog treat mix. Simply keep track of the dog treat mix lot number and any other ingredients besides water that you may add and you are prepared.

Baking treats safely is critical. Our pets are not just pets, they're family.

Happy baking!