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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was browsing a natural food bulk store, and I stumbled across Natural Balance Pea and Duck cat food being sold in bulk. I've heard lots of good reviews about it, so I got a bit. It was 2.99 a pound, which seems like a good deal, especially since this way I can try a bit and see how it goes over with Beck without spending 30 on a huge bag that won't get used. I feel like Beck's diet is getting nicely rounded now. He gets Wellness Indoor (chicken), Performatrin Salmon and Olive Oil (salmon) and now Natural Balance (pea and duck) plus dried meal worms and crickets. It's probably good to have a variety of protein sources, right? :)
 

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Hello :)

It's really great that Beck has a great owner that wants him to have a well rounded diet. He's lucky to have you!
I wanted to share the following with you in regards to bulk foods. I used to buy a lot of bulk food products from my local health food store - until we had a moth infestation from some of the foods. I did some research and found out that there are other potential concerns buying bulk products as well. Also, you have no way of knowing how long it sat in that bin and how fresh it is.

Health Food Store Bulk Bins may be Safety Hazard
Storage Containers of Bulk Foods May Host Germs, Insects, Stale Ends

Aug 10, 2009 Victoria Anisman-Reiner

Bulk food bins are a great way to get nuts, seeds, beans, spices, cereal, chocolate chips, and more at discounted prices. But are the containers safe, clean, and healthy?

Bulk foods are a great way to buy staples like oats, flour, sugar, nuts, and raisins cheap. They save not only on the price of packaging but also by help the environment with less waste thrown into landfill. But bulk food bins have a definite downside, with some opponents considering them very risky in terms of food safety and cleanliness.

There aren't any federal food safety regulations when it comes to the sanitation of bulk food bins, reports food review website Chow.com, and every store has different guidelines for cleaning and emptying the containers. This can be a problem for a number of reasons - not least of which are germs, like the viruses and bacteria spread from hand to hand... or from hand to scoop. Bulk food storage containers can also be home to moths and other bugs, along with dust and debris from old, stale food.

Dangers of Bulk Food Bins
When bulk food bins are not cleaned regularly, they can accumulate all kinds of problems:

Many customers are less than careful when taking food from the bulk bins. Some will go as far as to use their hands directly on the food, depositing any viruses and bacteria on their hands inside the bins. Even people who use the scoops can be speading germs to the next person to pick up the same scoop. Some stores clean scoops daily; others don't clean them at all.
Although things like flour and dried beans don't go bad very quickly, if bins are imperfectly sealed exposure to air can eventually allow them to go stale. Other products, like cereals, prepared cookies, chocolate chips or nuts can easily go rancid or spoil if they are left in bins for too long.
Last but not least, insects can get inside bulk bins, sometimes leaving eggs and/or waste inside the bins. One of the most commonly reported problems with bulk bins involves moths moving into the bins or depositing their eggs and larvae in them.
How Often Are Bulk Bins Cleaned?
Although there are no federal standards within the U.S., there are guidelines for cleaning bulk bins which are set by state and city health departments. According to Chow.com reporter Roxanne Webber, San Francisco has no set regulations that govern the frequency of bulk bin cleaning, while bins in Chicago must be cleaned and sanitized every 12 hours according to the municipal health code.

Whole Foods, a national health food retailer, sets different standards for stores in each region - and a company-wide rule that bins must be emptied and cleaned at least once every 4 weeks. But whether or not these standards are being followed can depend on the individual store staff and how they prioritize the cleanliness of the bulk food bins.

Read more at Suite101: Health Food Store Bulk Bins may be Safety Hazard: Storage Containers of Bulk Foods May Host Germs, Insects, Stale Ends http://naturalmedicine.suite101.com/art ... z0eh7bvgqr
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ooh, that's a bit creepy, I buy a lot of food for myself from bulk :S

I don't know if this makes it better or not, but the food I bought for Beck was not in a bin, but in a sealed shut plastic bag. It -looked- fairly sanitary lol... do you think that would be ok? I don't think it would be stale or contaminated from sitting out/being touched at least.
 

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I know - it is creepy and gross. I loved the bulk foods section until I had moths in all my cupboards and all my food had to be thrown out.

I know that the store I was buying my stuff from was exceptionally clean (at least it appeared to be) and the bulk containers were the kind that you put a plastic bag underneath a container and pull down the handle. You are not required to touch the food and the opening is sealed off when not pouring into a bag. Obviously it was still a problem because the bugs found their way in. Also, the containers are not airtight (bugs got in), which means that the food is not being kept fresh. I don't know if the bugs are such a concern (except for the fact that they can take over your house!) because they are hedgies after all. They LIKE bugs, but where do these bugs come from, how old/stale is the food, are there any nutrients left in the food etc.

I can't comment on the food that you purchased because I didn't see how it was kept. That is a judgement call for you. If it was me and I was confident that the food was kept in a sanitary manner, then I would possibly feed what I had purchased and then switch to buying it in a sealed bag from a pet store if Beck liked it. It's unlikely to hurt him, but is it going to provide nutritional value? I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Alright. The bag was sealed (don't know the term for it) but like a pet food bad-- like, the plastic was melded together at the ends, not just tied. You had to "pop" it to open it lol
 
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