FDA Gives Pet Food a Loophole to By-Pass Law
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) is a set of laws passed by Congress in 1938 giving authority to the FDA to oversee and take legal action to protect the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics – there have been many revisions over the years. According to FFDCA the definition of ‘food’ is: “Food” means articles used for food or drink for man or other animals and components of such articles (section 201 (f)). That definition is very clear – FFDCA covers food for humans and animals; our pets would be considered ‘animals’ under the law.
Section 402 of FFDCA provides the definition of what would make a food adulterated and thus becoming a prohibited act subject to penalty. The simple definition states “a food shall be deemed to be adulterated if it contains “poisonous, insanitary, or deleterious ingredients” (402 a). Not wanting to leave any grey area to your understanding of this – specifically 402 (a) (5) states “if it is, in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter” – the food would be considered adulterated and is prohibited. Now, here is where it gets interesting.
The law specifically states no diseased animal or an animal which has died other than by slaughter is allowed for use in food. Enter the FDA looking out for the interest of some pet food manufacturers. Our FDA friends have provided an official loophole to allow pet food to by-pass the law. Section 690.300 of the compliance manual states: “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.” The law clearly states ‘food’ means human and animal food, the law clearly prohibits use of diseased animals in food or animals which have died other than by slaughter in food; yet millions of U.S. pets every single day are eating a pet food that contains diseased euthanized animals. Thanks a lot for that FDA.
Citing the ‘prohibited acts’ and ‘penalty’ section of FFDCA (section 331) to sell, deliver or receive any food, drug, device or cosmetic that is adulterated is prohibited and subject to penalty. Section 333 covers ‘penalties’…”(1) Any person who violates a provision of section 331 of this title shall be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000 or both.” It seems pretty cut and dried to me; guilty pet food manufacturers and pet food retailers should be fined for every bag or can of dog food and cat food that contains an adulterated ingredient. Just think…if the FDA actually enforced the law as it was written, funds received from penalties of selling dog food and cat food containing adulterated ingredients could refinance the entire FDA reform! Then maybe we wouldn’t hear the patented excuse of ‘we don’t have the manpower’ or ‘we don’t have the money’.
To top this mess off, the FDA itself has proof that many pet foods contain euthanized animals. Back in 2000 and 2002 the FDA tested dog foods (cat foods were not tested) purchased from grocery stores and pet shops for pentobarbital – the drug used to euthanize animals. A search on the FDA website for ‘pentobarbital’ will provide you the document “Report on the risk from pentobarbital in dog food”. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll find an ‘Appendix’ link listing all the dog foods tested and which ones showed positive results containing pentobarbital – which means they contain some type of euthanized animal. Once you recover from that shock, next realize that the FDA also determined from an eight week test that our pets consuming pentobarbital in dog food (effects of pentobarbital on cats was not tested) is ok with them. Eight weeks of FDA study determined it is safe for our pets to consume pentobarbital over a lifetime. And no study or risk analysis was ever done to consider the risk of consuming meat or meat by-products from a sick animal.
It seems everywhere you turn the FDA provides loopholes and special provisions to protect business – not the consumer. This is one of many loopholes provided to pet food manufacturers. Despite the special treatment, many pet food producers choose to use human grade/quality meat instead of the diseased, euthanized options. Learn who those companies are and please feed your pet those foods. It isn’t rocket science to realize the health benefits your pet will be provided by those choices. The high quality, human grade/quality ingredient pet foods don’t break the bank either; in most cases they cost less than the diseased, euthanized meat options (when you compare cost per serving). Learn what your pet is eating.
And should you feel ‘madder than a wet hen’ regarding the FDA’s kindness to some pet food manufacturers, I encourage you contact your State Representative in Washington and your State Agriculture Representative. The law is the law – if you and I have to follow it, then it is only fair that pet food has to follow it. Let’s get rid of the FDA loopholes in pet food.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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