Plastic, metal ‘found in pet food’
BELOVED pets are being forced to consume plastic and other rubbish as the pet food industry chases profits.
Former insider Dennis Peretti lifted the lid on the industry's careless practices, which can leave anything from the particles of plastic gloves to metal cans inside the stomachs of domestic animals.
Mr Peretti told ABC's 7.30 his time as a rendering plant operations manager at Australian Tallow Producers in Brooklyn, in Melbourne's west, caused him to question whether the industry cared at all about peoples' precious pets.
"Well, you have sheep heads come through, they have an ear tag. They go into the pit," Mr Pedretti told 7.30.
He said butchers and supermarkets would often overlook what went in with the carcasses and offal - parts of an animal inedible to humans - which are sent off to pet food producers.
These two products are then turned into protein meal, a dry product used to make stock and pet food.
"Butchers would be getting rid of their material and they don't care what they're putting in the bin - plastic, cans, all those sorts of things you would see," Mr Peretti told 7.30.
"It's probably the dollar that takes over.
"It's more necessary to push it out and make more money. Who gives a stuff about your dog at the end of the day?"
The whistleblower said a whopping number of 20-tonne containers went out each day from his former employer, who he worked for from 2010-2012.
But Mr Peretti was not aware which companies were serving up the contaminated food to pets across the country.
His big reveal comes as the Senate is pushed to put the $4 billion self-regulated pet food industry under the microscope.
Australian Tallow Producers refused to talk to 7.30 and instead had industry body the Australian Renderers Association speak on its behalf.
But The Association's executive officer Dennis King simply shifted the blame to employees.
"I think it's more a case of people just don't know because quite often it's a low-paid, low-skill job in that area," Mr King told 7.30.
"To a lot of people they think it's just another area that's going away that's waste.
"They don't even know it's pet food quite often."
Mr King told 7.30 it was an issue dogging the industry, and the Association was working to educate abattoir workers about what to remove.
He admitted he would be disappointed saw rubbish in his own pet's food, and said the rendering industry was looking at new technologies to reduce contamination.
Veterinarian Andrew Spanner told 7.30 pet food must be held in the same esteem as other foods, and called for the industry to be regulated.
"The industry can only be trusted when it is subjected to the same standards that other foods are subjected to," Mr Spanner said.
"If you do the wrong thing in the pet food industry at the moment it's unlikely anybody will know about it, and it would tend to create a condition of slackness, especially towards food safety."