New law addresses food safety after contaminated food injured thousands of cats and dogs
In 2007, the FDA announced the recall of more than 150 brands of melamine-contaminated pet food that killed 14 cats and dogs. Investigators later determined that the lethal ingredients were imported from China.
In October of last year, the FDA reported that jerky treats had sickened more than 3600 dogs and 10 cats and caused 580 deaths. The illnesses were linked to numerous brands and occurred throughout the United States over a span of years. The one common factor? The ingredients were sourced from China.
Sadly, these two devastating episodes represent mere morsels in the food bowl. The FDA reported almost three-dozen animal food recalls and safety alerts in 2013 and close to four-dozen in 2012. And, already this year, Red Flannel® Cat Food was recalled due to possible Salmonella contamination.
A logical precautionary measure would be for pet guardians to avoid products from China. However, current laws do not require pet food manufacturers to list the origin of each ingredient, so pet foods that boost “made in America” on the package might nonetheless contain ingredients imported from China.
Preventive Controls for Animal Food regulations
The FDA is taking action to protect our pets. To set the foundation for building an effective animal food safety system, the FDA has proposed the Preventive Controls for Animal Food regulations as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The legislation governs both domestic and foreign facilities and applies to pet food, feed, raw materials and ingredients fed to pets and farm animals. Highlights of the law include:
- Establishing current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) regarding the manufacturing, processing, packing and storage of animal foods
- Setting standards for facility design, cleaning, maintenance, pest control and personal hygiene
- Requiring animal food facilities to create and implement food safety systems that evaluate hazards and introduce preventative measures
Be the voice for your cat or dog — Public comment period closes on February 26th
The FDA invites comments on Preventive Controls for Animal Food until February 26th. You can view the text and analysis at regulations.gov. To comment, click on the blue “Comment Now!” button at the top left of the regulations.gov page or you can reach the FDA proposed rule comments page here.
For many of us who think of our pets as our family members, protecting their health is a priority. Legislation is necessary to prevent the tragic consequences of lax animal food safety measures that have exposed our pets to harm in the past. Let the FDA know you approve of the regulations.