FDA Proposes Rules to Regulate Pet Food

November 2, 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed rules to regulate the manufacture of pet food and animal feed. This is the first time that the FDA has proposed regulating these industries. The proposed regulations for pet food are designed to help prevent food-borne illness in animals as well as people since, according to the FDA, people can become sick after touching contaminated animal food or even from touching pets that might have eaten contaminated food.

Pet parents may remember that, about six years ago, the largest pet food recall ever was underway after a Chinese pet food producer added melamine, a material added to plastics, to dog and cat food in an attempt to increase protein levels.  There were a number of confirmed and suspected pet deaths across the country. In response to the outrage expressed by pet parents, animal food was added to the 2010 “Food Safety and Modernization Act” – the first major revisions to the nation’s food safety laws since the 1930s. In addition to giving the FDA more control over imported food, it gives new authority to set standards to prevent contamination in produce and processed foods.

Would the proposed rules have prevented the rash of pet deaths attributable to jerky treats imported from China? Sadly, since the FDA has not attributed the deaths to a specific cause, it is not clear if the proposed regulations will address the actual problem associated with jerky treats.

The proposed regulation is open to public comment for 120 days.   At Pet Camp, we remember keeping up with the massive pet food recall and removing potentially contaminated food that pet parents had brought in for the campers (thankfully, none of the Pet Camp house brands were recalled) and wondering when the recall would ever end.  Of course, the proof of effectiveness of this action will be increased safety of both our food and our pets, and in many ways it seems sad that it has taken 6 years to get even this far.

Thanks for reading!

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