Dear Pet Food Institute
It seems the Pet Food Institute – the lobby organization for Big Pet Food – didn’t like my video response to the FDA pet food video. Kurt Gallagher of PFI told Marc Selinger of The Examiner my comments were “rife with inaccuracies and misrepresentations”. The following is my inquiry for explanation to the PFI…
First, here is the full quote from Kurt Gallagher of Pet Food Institute (PFI) taken from Marc Selinger’s Examiner article titled Pet food debate erupts in online videos. “The CVM declined to comment on Thixton’s video, but Kurt Gallagher, spokesman for the Pet Food Institute, an industry group in Washington, D.C., called her comments “rife with inaccuracies and misrepresentations.” He told Examiner.com March 22 that federal law requires pet food to be “wholesome,” “free of harmful or deleterious substances” and “truthfully labeled.”
My email to Kurt Gallagher, Pet Food Institute…
Dear Mr. Gallagher,
I’m writing to request information. In a recent interview, you were quoted by Marc Selinger of Examiner.com – in reference to a video I produced as a response to the recent FDA pet food safety video. You were quoted stating my comments were “rife with inaccuracies and misrepresentations”. I would appreciate if you could explain what was inaccurate and what was misrepresented? Being an advocate for pet food safety, I would never intentionally provide pet owners with misrepresented information or inaccurate information. If I have misinterpreted something, please inform me.
In the same article, you also shared that federal law requires pet food to be wholesome, free of harmful or deleterious substances, and truthfully labeled. You are correct with this statement. The law does require that pet food be wholesome, free of harmful or deleterious substances and truthfully labeled. But…you neglected to mention that the FDA does not enforce those laws with pet food. Perhaps you have never read any FDA Compliance Policies. Allow me to provide you with a bit of information…
I won’t quote you all of the compliance policies that concern pet owners, this one is explanation enough…
CPG Sec. 690.300 Canned Pet Food
Policy: Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.
As explanation, 402 (a)(5) quoted in the FDA policy above, is part of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This particular section states that a food would be deemed adulterated – and thus prohibited – if it is made from or contains a part of an animal that is diseased or has died other than by slaughter. And by the way, ‘food’ is defined in The Act as anything consumed by man or animals. This is the law – what should be enforced. However, this FDA policy states if a pet food consisting of diseased animals or perhaps euthanized animals are processed into – in this case – a canned pet food, the FDA would not act – diseased animals and/or euthanized animals will be considered fit for pet consumption.
As you can see, law does require pet foods to be wholesome, free of harmful or deleterious substances, and truthfully labeled, however compliments of FDA compliance policies it can be just the opposite, and of course there is no mention on the label that unwholesome diseased animals or deleterious substances sourced from animals that have died other than by slaughter is in that pet food.
Do any pet food companies utilize the FDA Compliance Policies allowing them opportunity to violate federal food safety laws? No company bothers to prove whether they do or not, that is no pet food company that is a member of PFI bothers to provide proof their pet foods are made with USDA inspected and approved ingredients. Images and text on the pet food bag or can display the illusion of human quality food, but there is no proof what is inside the bag or can matches the descriptive text and images. They talk the talk, but do they walk the walk?
If you reply, and I certainly hope you explain what PFI perceives as misinterpretations and inaccuracies, please don’t try to assure me and countless pet food consumers with useless words that all PFI member pet foods use only the finest of ingredients. We have been betrayed many times and now we will settle for nothing less than proof. Bring us the proof and we will listen.
One last thing, last year I requested a press pass to an industry event and was denied admission. This was for the Pet Food Forum and Workshop held in Chicago in April. I was told reporting on the event to pet owners would be a conflict of interest to members. I have sent two requests again this year for a press pass to both events – both have been ignored. Perhaps you can pull some strings and provide me with a press pass to both of these events. Don’t you believe that pet owners should be provided with an understanding of the industry? AAFCO welcomes me with open arms, in fact this past January myself and Dr. Jean Hofve were invited to sit at the table for the Pet Food Committee and the Ingredient Definitions Committee. Why doesn’t this event – your industry event – have the same openness and transparency as AAFCO? Does the industry have something to hide? I certainly hope not.
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Should I receive a response from Mr. Gallagher of PFI, his complete response will be posted.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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