Whether it’s cat food or people’s food, everyone wants to know how to keep their food fresh for the longest time possible. Dry cat food, primarily, is meant to be stored and used over a long period. However, it often comes in bags that aren’t resealable, which leaves pet parents in a difficult position to keep the food fresh.
Here are some tips for keeping your cat food fresh for mealtime!
4 Tips for Storing Dry Cat Food to Keep it Fresh
1. Utilize Reusable Containers
Since dry cat food usually comes in non-resealable bags, the onus is on pet parents to find a container that they can use to keep the food fresh. It’s not very fair, admittedly, but we’ve compiled a list of some good options for storing your cat food.
The FDA recommends storing pet food in the original containers rather than dumping the food directly into the container. This is so the UPC and lot of the food you purchased is available if you need to make a health complaint.
While this practice can help if you need to make a complaint, there isn’t an inherent health benefit to storing the food in the original container. So, don’t feel too stressed if you don’t have the space for a container that can hold the whole bag.
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Plastic Airtight Containers
Plastic airtight containers have become a trendy way to store pet food. They provide a simple, user-friendly solution to the age-old problem of storing dry pet food. The airtight seal allows the food to stay fresh longer, and you can drop the opened bag directly into an airtight container, so you still have the UPC and lot number!
The airtight seal does more than keep the food fresh. The seal also protects the food against pests like ants, worms, or grain moths that might want to snack on your cat’s food.
Reusable Plastic Bags
Reusable plastic bags are great space savers for people who don’t have room for jars or a large airtight container. Reusable bags allow you to store your food in bags that you can condense into smaller or unusually shaped spaces more quickly than a jar or a plastic box.
The biggest roadblock one will find when using glass jars is that they are too small. However, if you like to buy your food in smaller quantities, glass jars can help you separate the food and label it with the expiration date or the date of purchase.
2. Store Your Cat Food in a Cool, Dry, Place
Air isn’t the only thing that causes cat food to age. Cat food will also experience degradation of its quality if exposed to heat or moisture. The FDA recommends that cat food be stored at a temperature of fewer than 80 degrees Fahrenheit in a dry place. This will prevent the food from becoming moldy or experiencing any degradation of the nutrients in the food.
3. Label Everything
Labeling your food is good practice, whether it’s for humans or pets. The FDA recommends that you take the UPC, lot number, brand, and best-by date from the bag and tape it to the container you’re using to store the food.
Even if you don’t want to go through all that trouble, writing down the best-by date of your cat’s food can help you when it comes to serving your cat healthy food.
If you can keep the whole bag, you won’t need to do this, but it presents a solution for people who cannot control the entire bag due to space concerns.
4. Thoroughly Wash Food Containers Between Bags of Food
While most people will wash the containers if something goes wrong, people often forget to wash containers between bags of food even if nothing was wrong with the previous load.
Even if nothing were wrong with the food, there would be fat residue and crumbs leftover from the previous bag. These old food particles can spoil your pets’ food quality if left in with the new food and could even be infested with pests or pathogens that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
Thoroughly washing all food containers when switching out bags of food can help keep the food fresh and safe for your pets to consume. The FDA also recommends that you wash and food scooping or serving implements in between uses as well as the containers.
What to Do if You Have a Food-Safety Complaint
If you have any complaints about the safety of the food you purchased for your pets, all complaints should be brought to the FDA’s attention. Whether the food made your pets sick even after being stored properly, had clear signs of improper handling, or even was infested with bugs before you even opened it, the FDA will handle any food safety complaints.
Pet parents can use the FDA’s online reporting portal to make anonymous complaints about the food they’ve purchased. Remember to provide the UPC, lot number, brand, best-by date, and all details and information about the situation. That way, the FDA can adequately assess and investigate the case.
Pet parents can also call their state’s chapter of the FDA Consumer Complaints division. The coordinators in your state will help you gather all the necessary information and advise you on each step of filing a formal complaint if necessary.
When it comes to our pets, we must take every possible step to ensure their safety and well-being. We can minimize the risk that pathogens get passed to our pets by properly storing and serving their food implements. Just like you wouldn’t want to eat food stored in a dirty container, neither would your cats.
We hope to help you find some new information to help you and your pets stay happy and healthy every day.
Featured Image Credit: Patrick Foto, Shutterstock