We’re all guilty of it - we bring home a new bag of food, tear it open, and pour it into the plastic food bin. Of course we do! It’s convenient, easier, and it’s what everyone else does! But is this the best and healthiest way we can store our pet food? Maybe not…
There are several reasons we should reconsider how we are storing our kibble - and some quick tips to fix it!
I thought kibble was shelf-stable?
The great thing about kibble is that it’s shelf stable, right? Well, that’s true - until it’s exposed to air. The second you open the bag the expiration clock starts ticking. Pet food bags are designed to keep the food fresh for long periods of time, but once the fats come in contact with air they begin to oxidize and go rancid.
As a general rule, properly stored pet food (kept in the bag, top rolled closed & clipped) is safe for about 6 weeks once opened - some experts erring towards 30 days. Kibble left out in a bowl should be discarded after 24 hours.
What’s wrong with plastic?
Plastic is porous, so over time the oxidizing fats leach into the plastic. This essentially means your food is contaminated with the rancid fats from old bags as soon as you pour it in, even if you completely empty the bin and wash it between bags! Exposure to rancid fats increases the free radical activity associated with many health concerns - from hair loss and malnutrition to liver disease and cancer.
Most of us are guilty of pouring the new bag of food right on top of the old - increasing cross contamination and shortening the safe shelf life of the food. Other cross contamination issues include deadly molds like mycotoxins or storage mites - commonly associated with dry pet foods. You might not see them, but they can be the cause behind everything from ‘food allergy’ symptoms (like chronic GI upset & itching) to serious illness.
But they’re designed for pet food storage - aren’t they?
They are! But experts say you should leave the food in the bag, and place the whole bag into the container. This helps you lock out air and keep the kibble fresher - but prevents many of the issues associated with storage bins! It also ensures that you still have the bag if you need it.
Why should I keep the bag? I’m not returning it!
It is wise to keep your pet food bag because in the event of a recall, you will want to know if the food you have is affected. You’ll need certain bits of information from the bag - like lot code, best by date, and UPC.
Additionally, if your pet suddenly turns up their nose, develops an allergy, or otherwise has to switch, the LBC has a 100% guarantee on all foods we sell - you just need to return the unused portion in the original bag!
Here are our top tips for safe pet food storage!
- Buy a bag size that you can use up within a month to 6 weeks to prevent rancid fats and free radicals, and don’t leave food sitting out in a bowl for more than a day
- Wash your food storage container between bags to prevent cross contamination, mold, and mites
- Put the bag in the container; it’s designed to keep food fresh and prevents fats from leaching into the plastic
- Keep the bag for as long as you have the food so you have important information for potential recalls or returns
- Add fresh foods! Fresh foods (that require refrigeration), especially ones rich in antioxidants can help combat the free radicals from oxidized lipids. Try adding blueberries to your pet’s next meal!
- Any portion of kibble you replace with fresh will reduce the free radical load you feed your pet.
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