FDA Proposes New Pet Food Regulations

    October 25, 2013
    Sean Patterson
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Though many people see their pets as members of the family, the U.S. does not regulate pet food as strictly as it does people food. Recent pet food recalls have demonstrated just how Regulations could be tightened, however, if a newly proposed rule by the FDA is put into place.

The FDA today issued a proposed rule to improve the safety of food for animals by preventing foodborne illness from spreading through such products. The rule would require animal food manufacturers to write up a “formal plan” and develop procedures to prevent foodborne illnesses in their products, as well as come up with a plan for dealing with any such situations that arise. In addition, animal food manufacturers would have to follow the FDA’s good manufacturing practices at its facilities. Manufacturers are are not currently required to follow such guidelines, which include facility sanitation provisions.

“The FDA continues to take steps to meet the challenge of ensuring a safe food supply,” said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the FDA. “Today’s announcement addresses a critical part of the food system, and we will continue to work with our national and international industry, consumer and government partners as we work to prevent foodborne illness.”

The new rule will be open for public comment for four months. The rule was issued under the Food Safety Modernization act to protect not only pets but humans as well, who are susceptible to foodbourne illnesses through the handling of food for animals.

  • http://ecostarhealth.com Jean-Pierre Ruiz

    The FDA’s focus is misplaced and should be placed to ensure that healthy, organic ingredients are used in pet food (and in human food, for that matter).

    It is undeniable, despite the industry’s best efforts to muddle the conversation, that the vast majority of commercial pet foods are detrimental to our 4-legged companions. The use of: 4-D meats, euthanized pets, Genetically Modified grains, sugars, toxic chemicals, all of it rendered (i.e., basically over-heating 4-D meats), which denatures the little value that the ingredients have, make our pets obese, diabetic, cancerous, and a slew of other deadly conditions. To add insult to injury, the industry then sells us “prescription” pet food which kills them even faster.

    For those who are unaware, “4-D” meat is stand for animals, primarily cattle, that are dead, dying, diseased or down (known as “disabled” in the industry) at slaughter. Cattle that are sick and near death are pumped full of drugs like penicillin, procaine, and trimethoprim in a desperate attempt to save them (animals that cannot be slaughtered for meat are a drain on the company’s financial bottom line). These drugs, as well as the infectious or contagious pathogens that killed the food-source animals, remain in their systems after slaughter. The meat rendered from them can also carry anthrax, botulism, lockjaw, tuberculosis, salmonella, and other diseases. 4-D is produced by animal rendering plants. Many of the larger companies such as Qual-Pet, a subsidiary of National By-Products (parent company: Holly Farms Corp.), provide perks including freezers and jackets displaying the company name free of charge to kennels that continue to purchase their product.

    Let’s not forget that this is an industry that has been “warning” us of the Salmonella danger of feeding our pets a raw diet. Yet it is an industry that has hundreds of foods recalled because their product was contaminated with Salmonella. Let’s also not forget the tens of thousands of pets who died in 2007 when the industry imported food from China contaminated with melamine.

    The industry – in general – maximizes its bottom line by purchasing low quality ingredients at the least expensive price possible. They are cognizant of the fact that Chinese products, and Chinese processors, contaminate their products. Still they keep using them. As an example, during the week of September 19, 2013, Chinese authorities reported they had discovered and seized more than 44,000 pounds of fake beef at a local factory. According to an article published by Shanghaiist, the bogus beef was made from pork that had been treated with paraffin and other industrial chemicals. The idea was to take considerably cheaper pork (which makes one wonder what exactly is “cheaper pork” if it is pork at all) and make it look more like it came from more costly beef cattle. Apparently, selling fake meat in China is a fairly common practice. Medical Daily reported that over a a three-month period earlier this year, there were 904 people arrested for “meat-related offenses.” This is also an industry where a very proud CEO of a very large pet food manufacturing company proudly proclaimed that the company had increased its profit margin when they “discovered” how to hydrolyze chicken feathers into proteins for pet foods.

    Even the latest crisis had no doubt its roots in China where FDA inspectors were denied the opportunity to obtain samples from 4 processors who supply chicken jerky products to Nestle, Purina, and others.

    Add to this the slew of toxic chemicals added to prolong the shelf life of the “food.” Ever wonder why you can leave your bag of dog/cat food open for months without it spoiling? Doesn’t food spoil? And doesn’t it spoil quicker the closer it is to its pure state (e.g., an organic apple will rot in a matter of hours or days depending on environmental conditions when cut open, and in a matter of weeks if left whole).

    If you want your pet to live a long, healthy life, consider a raw food diet. We feed our dogs a diet of 100% grass fed beef neck bones and organs, pureed organic vegetables, organic berries, some garlic (no garlic for cats, please, and no onions for either), organic chicken broth, organic free-range chicken (from a local farmer as 80% of “free range” chickens are produced by mega-ranches housing up to 100,000 hens in tight quarters with outside access through a 2′X2′ door letting out to a covered concrete pad!). We make our own snacks: cookies baked with hemp and coconut flour, hemp seeds, organic pureed pumpkin or yam, peanut butter, or dehydrated organic free-range chicken strips.)