FDA Warns Against Raw Pet Food (Again)
FDA “suggests consumers carefully consider the risks of feeding a raw pet food to their pets”. This is not only a bias against raw pet foods, it is a lack of understanding (on FDA’s part) of lightly processed pet foods. Here’s the story and what our consumer association asked FDA regarding this bias.
In a not so surprising FDA press release, the FDA again tells consumers that raw pet foods are a risk to not only your pet’s health but a risk to human health as well. In a very strong statement (strongest I have noticed yet) the latest press release from FDA says…
FDA does not believe feeding raw pet foods to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks.
The FDA’s Dr. Burkholder states “Feeding raw foods to pets increases the risk that both the pet and the people around the pet will encounter bacteria that cause foodborne illness, particularly if the products are not carefully handled and fed,” Burkholder says. “This is certainly one factor that should be considered when selecting diets for your pet.”
In the past twelve months…
- There have been five recalls for bacteria contamination of dry/kibble pet foods – in total 37 different varieties of kibble pet food recalled.
- There have been 3 recalls for bacteria contamination of various dried jerky treats, 5 varieties of pet treats recalled.
- There have been 2 recalls for bacteria contamination of raw foods – 9 varieties of raw foods recalled.
Statistically – based on number of products recalled during the past 12 months, a consumer has had a 400% higher chance of exposing their family to a bacteria from kibble than it has with raw pet food. Where is the FDA warning that ‘Consumers should carefully consider the risks of feeding a kibble food to their pet’ – ? There is no such warning against kibble pet food – the FDA did not issue a warning against kibble pet food.
Where is the FDA statement ‘FDA does not believe feeding jerky treats imported from China to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting pets from significant health risks’ – ? There is no such warning against jerky treats from China.
Jerky treats imported from China have killed and sickened thousands of pets for more than seven years – yet the FDA has never once warned consumers to ‘carefully consider the risks of feeding jerky treats from China to their pet’. The agency has issued “alerts” sharing that the agency continues to investigate the treats – but never a warning. The strongest FDA stance on jerky treats from China has been “Pet treats are not a necessary part of a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets.”
Clearly, the FDA has an unfounded bias against raw pet foods. Actually, I believe the agency is biased against any pet food that does not come in the form of kibble or can and that is not made with typical ‘feed grade’ ingredients. This is a significant problem for all educated pet food consumers (not only to raw pet food consumers). FDA’s bias hurts us all.
The following message was sent to FDA from Association for Truth in Pet Food…
Director Center for Veterinary Medicine
Director Office of Surveillance and Compliance
Center for Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Medical Officer
Center for Veterinary Medicine
The FDA just released another warning to consumers against the feeding of raw pet food. Portions of this statement are very concerning. FDA “suggests consumers carefully consider the risks of feeding a raw pet food to their pets”. And “Feeding raw foods to pets increases the risk that both the pet and the people around the pet will encounter bacteria that cause foodborne illness, particularly if the products are not carefully handled and fed,” Burkholder says.
Can FDA provide the evidence that this warning is based on? Per the recalls of pet food due to bacteria over the past 12 months, 37 varieties of kibble foods were recalled yet only 9 varieties of raw pet foods were recalled. Based on the number of products recalled over the past 12 months, consumers would have a 400% higher risk of bacteria contamination from kibble pet foods than raw. Thus, we would like an explanation to the evidence FDA used to base such a strong consumer warning on against raw pet food.
Can FDA explain how the statement FDA “suggests consumers carefully consider the risks of feeding a raw pet food to their pets” can be made yet FDA has issued no similar warning regarding Chinese jerky treats that are linked to thousands of pet deaths, illnesses and even human illness?
Consumers are concerned that the FDA holds a bias against raw food pet foods and even a bias against whole food pet foods using USDA inspected and approved for human consumption ingredients – raw or cooked. Consumers are concerned that FDA can issue strong warnings against one style of pet food yet issue no warning against a pet treat that for seven years has been linked to thousands of pet deaths and illnesses (the agency has only issued alerts – never a ‘warning’).
Association for Truth in Pet Food certainly agrees that no pet food should contain bacteria that puts pets or their people at risk, but we ask the agency to stop singling out one style of feeding. If the agency is issuing bacteria contamination warnings, it should be warnings against all styles of pet food – as all are susceptible to bacteria contamination. Association for Truth in Pet Food asks FDA to amend its recent bacteria warning to include all styles of pet food.
In growing numbers, consumers are seeking lightly processed pet foods made from quality ingredients – forgoing the former feed grades of pet foods. Association for Truth in Pet Food asks FDA to become more open minded and forward thinking regarding today’s world of pet food. We ask FDA to learn about these lightly processed – high quality ingredient pet foods by speaking with the many veterinarians that have formulated these foods, have studied these foods, and recommend these foods. We ask FDA to open a dialogue with the consumers that have used these pet foods for years. We suggest FDA develop a committee that meets with veterinarians, manufacturers, and consumers on a regular basis (as the agency does with kibble feed grade ingredient manufacturers).
We suggest beginning with an impromptu meeting with FDA representatives at the upcoming AAFCO meeting (Sacramento – end of July) as several veterinarians that recommend these foods will be present, two manufacturers of these lightly processed foods will be present, and at least one consumer will be present. If not at the AAFCO meeting, please advise us on how we can begin this very important dialogue.
Association for Truth in Pet Food
I believe we need to establish regular meetings with FDA with some of the veterinarian authorities of lightly processed, human grade ingredient pet foods. We need for the FDA to meet and see the science behind these pet foods. And we need for FDA to meet the consumers that have witnessed tremendous health benefits with the choice of a lightly processed pet food. I believe we can teach the FDA a great deal. I believe this FDA bias can be overcome with education. Let’s hope the FDA gives us a chance to do this.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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