Besides the ‘events’ from yesterday, here are some brief notes of the AAFCO meeting from Sunday January 15, 2017.
Sunday’s event was titled “Feed Emergency Response Tabletop Exercise”. In essence this event was a what happens when a pet food is suspect of causing an illness and/or needs to be recalled. We broke up into groups – each group had several regulatory representatives (both FDA and State Department of Agriculture), each group had several representatives from industry (manufacturers and ingredient suppliers), and two groups had a consumer representative (myself and BC Henchen who is also an independent pet store owner – Platinum Paws Carmel, Indiana).
Each group was presented with a pet food related adverse event – a pretend sick pet – and throughout the day the sick pet scenario turned into a more detailed pretend recall situation. Through each step of the pretend recall, each group would discuss what their role would be to facilitate an investigation into the illnesses and facilitate a recall as the (pretend) situation progressed.
What was concerning from the day was the many holes in the system. As example, regulatory authorities are left helpless if the pet owner reporting the problem doesn’t have the lot number of the suspect pet food. Often times bags or packaging is tossed. No lot number – in almost all situations – means no investigation. Something shocking we learned was that lot numbers are often not even on a pet food package or treat (or they are close to impossible to read – smeared). Our group was told this happens VERY frequently.
It was mentioned numerous times the importance of input from a veterinarian. Regulatory has the ability to investigate an issue – more of an ability – when a veterinarian reports the issue stating the sick pet might be linked to a pet food. And significantly important to an investigation of a suspect pet food is should a pet die – a necropsy needs to be performed. If the pet owner cannot afford the necropsy, in many cases the State will perform this for you as part of an investigation.
This was a great event to attend. And it is my hope that the information the group as a whole gained from this was to close some of those holes in the system. For our part (consumers) – always save the packaging of your pet food, before you bring the product home make sure you find lot numbers on the bag or can, should your pet get sick – enlist the help of your veterinarian to report the illness to your State Department of Agriculture and FDA. Your state authority can be found here: http://www.aafco.org/Regulatory. You can contact FDA here: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm
I have plans to make a sharable graphic of the above after these meetings are over (soon).
Regarding the information I shared yesterday – the texts I received…I also shared the details of this incident with a State Department of Agriculture representative and today shared with FDA. I feel regulatory should be made aware of the dark side of things.
I have several here with me that have my back – good people that are with me. Dr. Cathy Alinovi, Roxanne Stone, BC Henchen, and Nina Wolf. We are all together, and will stay close throughout the entire meeting.
I want to thank everyone for your comments and your messages of support. I admit I was unsettled at first, but I’m not now. Precautions have been put in place. Should I hear from the bully again – it will be shared again. Anything that happens, you all will know shortly after.
Another meeting to attend this afternoon. Full day tomorrow.
Again – thanks to all for your support.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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