Can Frozen Pet Food Be Stored With Human Food Products?

Question: A potential client would like to store packaged frozen dog food. Is there an issue storing this next to boxed poultry, beef or frozen fruits and vegetables?

Answer: For frozen pet food make sure they are separated from  the human food products.  Store them in separate aisles and make sure that they are not stored above, below or comingled with human food.

The following excerpt from the Commodity Storage Manual also presents guidance:

"Finished pet food can be handled the same way and stored in the same warehouse as human food. However, there are US federal regulations covering the handling of inedible meat. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a Sanitation Directive, effective January 25, 2000, to replace Regulation 3142, Warehouse Handling and Storage of Inedible Meat. The new directive states that meat for pet food must be separated by time and space from food for human consumption. For example, inedible meat must be handled to avoid cross contamination and separated by sufficient space to avoid contamination. These regulations apply to all federally inspected establishments, but some regulations may be waived by the federal inspector in certain circumstances. From the Good Manufacturing Practices and public relations standpoint, it would be wise to adhere to these regulations in a non-federally inspected establishment, such as a warehouse, for sanitary and health reasons.

All meat to be used for pet food must be denatured, that is, treated with charcoal or USDA approved dyes to prevent it from getting into the human food chain. Of course, if the pet food is giving off any odors, consider the risk of odor transfer to other products in the warehouse."

Answered by WFLO Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) Chairman Dr. Michael Jahncke, Virginia Tech University.

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