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Pet food has long been a source of worry for pet owners and health officials. Reports of salmonella contamination are frequent, and threaten not only animals eating the food but also the owners handling it. Nutritional deficiencies and toxins have been found in pet foods as well — including melamine, which caused a tragic loss of life in 2007.
The FDA’s new proposal includes safety requirements similar to those in place for manufacturers of human food, ensuring that manufacturers are proactive in their efforts to keep pet food safe. The current system is reactive; the government does not respond to pet food safety issues until after they are reported. In 2007 it took nearly a month of reports from consumers before the melamine was discovered and a recall was announced, and thousands of dogs and cats are believed to have died.
This long-awaited move by the FDA is likely to be opposed, and possibly diluted, by large pet food manufacturers and importers. The FDA announced the proposal on October 25, 2013, and will accept public comments for a period of 120 days. Make your voice heard now: It’s past time for the FDA to help ensure that the food we feed our pets is safe!
Dear FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D.:
As you know, the discovery and recall of contaminated pet food happens on far too frequent a basis. Recalls of pet food due to salmonella contamination are announced regularly. The melamine scandal of 2007, which caused the tragic loss of thousands of beloved pets and even made it into the human food supply via chicken feed, serves as a warning of how sweeping pet food contamination can be.
I am incredibly supportive of your proposal to enact stronger pet food manufacturing safety regulations similar to those in place for food for humans. No doubt you will receive many communications from organizations determined to dilute and weaken your proposal. I choose to support strong regulation to protect health and lives. Please continue to consider the health of our animals and our population, and enact these regulations faithfully and completely.