This problem is really multifaceted. Once pet food is exposed to oxygen it oxidizes, or becomes rancid. Yuck! The nutritional value after just 3 weeks of being open, even in a storage bin, is substantially lower than when the bag was opened.
One of the most dangerous, and unfortunately most common practices is for pet owners to purchase high quality and often times expensive dog food in fancy packaging made to keep the food fresh only to go home, tear open the bag and pour it directly into a plastic pet food bin.
This practice is one of the worst health hazards to our beloved pets.
The animal fats, vegetable fats and marine oils in pet food actually settle into the bottom and sides of that bin and become rancid. These oils can be very difficult to remove from the bin, despite washing and can contaminate new pet food. Sometimes these oils can be removed with harsh cleaning products, however these products accelerate degradation the plastic even further. On the other hand, leaving the oils in contact with the plastic over time can also degrade the plastic which leads us to our next problem.
Plastic bins are generally made of polycarbonate plastics, which make up most containers that store many food and beverages that we have become so accustomed to. Additionally, many of these plastic pet food bins come from China, and unfortunately it is not always clear what other toxins may be lurking in those bins. The BPA’s that are found in polycarbonate plastics, in addition to other harmful chemicals seep into the pet food and become harmful and very toxic over time. Ever wonder why sometimes your pet may not want to eat the food as you begin to get toward the bottom of the bin?
- Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in nearly all plastics. BPA is a endocrine disruptor, which is a chemical that can cause serious developmental, neurological and reproductive health effects. BPA is known to mimic estrogens, which bind to the exact same receptors as female hormones do. Researchers are split on the health hazards to humans, however they do all agree that even short periods of BPA exposure to animals can have permanent effects. Interestingly, BPA does not need to remain in an animals’ body to have an effect. Further health problems for pets can include breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, hyperactivity, impaired immune function, increased aggression etc.
- In the case of BPA Free products, these have actually been shown to release synthetic estrogens that are even more potent than BPA. The belief used to be that BPA and other estrogenlike chemicals had to be heated in a dishwasher or microwave or exposed to ultraviolet light to leach the chemicals, however research now shows that these chemicals are released even when plastics are not exposed to these harsh conditions.
If this was not concerning enough, plastic storage bins also increase the risk of storage mites, mold growth, bacterial contamination which leads to food poisoning, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Store ALL dry pet food in their original bags. Many manufactures spend an incredible amount of time and money into the technology of their bags. Many packages have zipping mechanisms to close and seal the food bags as well as keep oxygen out and food more fresh.
When using storage containers always, ALWAYS keep the food in the original packaging and sealed before placing into a plastic bin. This gives you immediate access to lot numbers and dates in case of a recall, or if your pet becomes ill. Between each bag always wash the bin with warm, not hot water, a high quality dishwashing detergent and rinse well. Ensure the bin is completely dry before placing any pet food bags in the bin.