FDA Ignores Pet Food Safety Deadline
The FDA Amendments Act (FDAAA) was signed into law last year requiring the FDA to make improvements on food safety for people and pets. The first deadline required by the Amendments Act law, requiring an Early Warning and Notification System during a pet food recall, has come and gone seemingly ignored by the FDA. If the FDA can ignore the law, where does that leave 74 million US pet owners?
On September 27, 2007 President Bush signed into law the FDA Amendments Act, known as FDAAA. Section 1002(b) of FDAAA required the FDA to develop “Early Warning Surveillance Systems and Notification During Pet Food Recalls”. The deadline for these pet food safety measures was clearly stated; “Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish an early warning and surveillance system to identify adulteration of the pet food supply and outbreaks of illness associated with pet food.” The deadline for this to be completed was September 27, 2008. The FDA has not developed a pet food surveillance system or recall notification system; but they are working on it.
On May 14, 2008, four months before the deadline to complete the pet food surveillance and recall notification system, the FDA held the 5th Animal Feed Safety System Public Meeting in Gaithersburg, Maryland. One would think that during this meeting, the FDA would have been feverishly working out the final details of the mandated pet food recall notification system. However, quite the opposite happened. Eight months into the one year deadline, the FDA Animal Feed Safety System meeting merely re-stated what needed to be accomplished and highlighted existing gaps in existing programs. http://www.fda.gov/cvm/AFSS051408Welcome.htm
Still ‘working on’ the mandated pet food safety reform, the FDA provided pet owners with “Update #5” in August 2008 (one month before the deadline). This update from the FDA brags about a few speeches given by the FDA; a 50 state meeting on food protection held in August 2008; and a reminder of a formerly discussed FDA 3rd party certification program for Food and Feeds safety. There was no mention in the FDA update regarding the upcoming deadline for a pet food surveillance system or pet food recall notification system. http://www.fda.gov/cvm/AFSSprojplan5.htm
As of mid October 2008, there is no updated information on the FDA’s website regarding Section 1002(b) of FDAAA – the early warning system and notification system of a pet food recall.
The deadline – September 27, 2008 – has passed. The FDA has accomplished little to nothing in the year since Congress developed the Amendments Act and the President signed it into law. Please contact your Congressman and urge them to hold the FDA accountable for ignoring the FDAAA mandated deadline. Pet owners and all consumers cannot afford for the FDA to ignore the law.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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