FDA Responses to Blue’s By-Products Issue
After Blue Buffalo made the announcement they were sold chicken meal that was actually by-product meal, questions were sent to FDA. (For more information Click Here to read Blue Buffalo’s announcement.) Here are those questions and FDA’s response…(my questions sent to FDA are in bold)…
Can the FDA provide the names of the other companies that received by-product meal from Wilbur-Ellis?
A company’s clientele or receivers are considered company confidential information, and the FDA is legally prohibited from sharing such information. We recommend you reach out to Wilbur-Ellis for this information.
Note: I did reach out to Wilbur-Ellis – they did not return my phone calls.
And does the FDA have intentions of recalling any of these mislabeled products?
I think it might be helpful to explain the three different classifications for recalls and their different requirements when answering this question.
The FDA classifies recalls based on the health hazard of the issue. Class I recalls apply to situations where there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death. Class II is a situation where a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote. Class III is a situation in which the use of, or exposure to, a violative product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.
For animal feeds, including pet foods, voluntary Class I recalls require public notification through a press release. In these cases, frequently both the company and the FDA will issue a press release. Companies are also required to notify their customers of the recall (in the case of pet food, this is generally the point of sale or distribution). The company should also file a Reportable Food Registry report. The FDA’s Regulatory Procedures Manual does not require that a company notify the FDA or issue a press release for Class II or III recalls, although we encourage companies to do so. All voluntary recalls that the FDA is aware of are listed on the FDA website and we post any recall press releases provided to us by the company.
In certain situations, companies may also elect to perform a market withdrawal. Similarly to Class II or III recalls, the company notifies its customers to remove the product from the shelves and is not required to issue a press release. The FDA generally does not post market withdrawal notices.
We agree the mislabeling of pet food is a concern, and consumers should be able to trust that what is on the label is in the product. While we are unable to issue a recall in this situation because there is not a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious adverse health consequences, we are taking steps to help ensure that ingredient labels represent what is truly in the product. As mandated by the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA), the agency is working to establish ingredient definitions and standards for all animal foods, including pet foods. This will help ensure consistency and transparency for both manufacturers and consumers. In addition to currently available regulatory surveillance efforts, the FDA scientists are working on DNA barcoding methods to be used for research surveillance of pet food. Once the science is accurate these methods could potentially be used, to screen pet food and ensure they are not mislabeled.
Note: Mislabeling of pet food is more than a concern. A major lawsuit between Purina and Blue Buffalo is based on mislabeling (basically). Consumers deserve pet foods that include ingredients stated on the label. Considering this issue and considering the recent study performed by Chapman University that found 38% of pet foods tested to be mislabeled – many consumers aren’t getting what they are paying for. Someone of regulatory authority needs to take action on behalf of consumers.
Can the FDA provide explanation as to how this was discovered?
We recommend you reach out to Blue Buffalo to learn how they discovered this issue.
Note: Questions will be sent to Blue Buffalo asking how this was discovered. Should a response be received, it will be posted.
This is very disappointing. It is one thing when there is speculation that a product is mislabeled, it is quite another when a manufacturer publicly admits to mislabeling, when a supplier is named that sold a mislabeled ingredient to numerous other manufacturers, and when studies continue to be published proving more mislabeling concerns. When regulatory authorities ignore the facts…we have a problem.
Consumer confidence in the pet food industry and regulatory authorities that are supposed to oversee the industry continues to spiral downward. What a pity. Mislabeling of pet food products is a serious issue that needs serious attention from federal (FDA) and state (each State Department of Agriculture) authorities. What is it going to take for regulators to wake up?
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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