Heavy Metals in Pet Food: Changes in toxin levels over the past decade

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Hosted by: Patricia Atkins – R&D and NPD Chemist  |   Alan H. Katz, PhD – Vice President of Chemical Manufacturing  |   Eric Smith - Applications Scientist

Time: 35-mins presentation, 25-mins Q&A: 60-mins total show time

In this webinar you will:

  • Learn about the business and processes involved in commercial pet food manufacturing and how it can lead to mass contamination issues
  • Understand the history and content of US food safety regulations as they have pertained to pet food in the past and under current guidelines
  • Discover the meaning of ingredients in pet food & the level of contamination found in 2009 and in 2019
  • Learn about research practices and protocols used to accurately detect and analyse toxin levels in pet food

Over the years, pets have evolved to an integral part of families all over the world and therefore, it is no surprise that pet food has become a multi-billion-dollar business, with dynamic growth. However, the industry is not free of controversy; after the melamine scare of 2007, the potential for contaminants in pet food came to public attention.

Ten years ago, in 2009, SPEX CertiPrep, conducted a study on commercially available pet food, including popular brands sold across a range of retail prices; investigating the levels of heavy metals and other potentially toxic elements. Many of the samples showed significant concentrations of various toxic metals. In several cases, the concentrations exceeded the extrapolated human limit values calculated to pet-size dosages.

Heavy metals are a threat to human and animal health as well as the environment. Testing for regulatory limits for toxic compounds is an established practice in many consumer industries; testing for toxic and heavy metals is a common process in quality control, analytical and consumer safety labs. In the world of food safety, the control of harmful substances is now governed under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

In 2011, when the FSMA was enacted, pet food was included under its umbrella. In 2019, SPEX CertiPrep revisited toxin levels in pet food in a new study, looking at existing and new brands that had emerged over the last decade, to see if heavy metal contamination had changed over the past decade or since the enactment of the law.

Pets are an integral part of millions of families across the world and unlike many other types of animal feed, pet food is stored within our homes and handled by all members of our families. Whether you are involved in quality control, safety testing, research, or you are simply a concerned pet owner, you understand the importance of ensuring safe pet food for all.

Meet the scientific expert presenters from SPEX:

Your hosts for this webinar

Patricia Atkins – Senior Applications Scientist at SPEX® CertiPrep
Patricia graduated from Rutgers University in NJ and started her career as a laboratory supervisor for Ciba Specialty Chemicals. In 2008, Patricia joined SPEX® CertiPrep within their Certified Reference Material’s division. As a senior application scientist, she spends much of her time researching industry trends and developing new reference materials.  She is an experienced speaker and has presented at numerous conferences, including NACRW, NEMC, Pittcon and AOAC. She is also a published author and her work has appeared in various journals and trade publications, including Spectroscopy, LCGC and Cannabis Science and Technology, where she is a columnist for analytical issues in cannabis testing.

Dr. Alan H. Katz, Ph.D. - Vice President of Chemical Manufacturing at SPEX® CertiPrep
Alan holds a B.A. in Chemistry from the University at Buffalo and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. His specialties include organic, computational, heterocyclic, and synthetic chemistry, drug discovery, biological assay design, structure-based molecular modeling, and lab automation. He has enjoyed combining his expertise with his interest in computer programming to develop a system to assist in drug discovery. At SPEX® CertiPrep, he oversees the manufacturing and quality control of certified chemical reference materials, including inorganic and organic chemical standards, NPD and R&D.

Eric Smith - Applications Scientist at SPEX® SamplePrep
Eric holds a B.S. in chemistry from Kean University. His current role at SPEX® SamplePrep involves managing all phases of application development including specifications, data collection, literature research, reporting and presentations. He serves as product manager and an internal ISO 9001 auditor; a technical expert, traveling domestically and internationally for customer visits and tradeshows. Prior to joining SPEX®, Eric worked as a R&D and QA chemist and currently also serves as an instructor at the International Center for Diffraction Data and the London X-ray Consulting Group.

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