Ignored, but Not Silent
A lot of things go on behind the scenes of TruthaboutPetFood.com that I can’t make public as they are happening. For one reason or another. Here’s one that has been in the works for more than seven weeks, that I can no longer be silent about…
For years I and many other pet food consumer advocates have asked for regular meetings with FDA. We have so many questions (frustrations) and wish to provide pet food consumers with a voice with authorities. And for years these meeting requests have been ignored by FDA.
We were provided an opportunity to finally make this happen in mid February 2013. Behind the scenes, prior to our official request to FDA, Mollie Morrissette and myself worked to gather together volunteer consumer advocates including several veterinarians that were willing to volunteer their time to meet with FDA on a regular basis.
Our letter of request was sent, listing our objectives…seven weeks later the FDA continues to ignore the pet food consumer. So…not being the silent type, the following letter was sent to FDA Director Margaret Hamburg and CVM Director Bernadatte Dunham…
Dear Dr. Hamburg and Dr. Dunham,
At a February 2013 consumer advocacy meeting with FDA, FDA initiated a conversation with a representative of a human food advocacy group asking ‘Is the FDA doing enough for pet food consumers.’ Taking action on this opportunity, Association for Truth in Pet Food – on February 25, 2013 sent a letter to Michael Taylor Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, copy to Sharon Natanblut, Communication and Public Engagement Staff requesting regular meetings with FDA regarding pet food safety. This letter introduced consumer advocacy representatives including numerous veterinarians wishing to meet with FDA regarding pet food safety.
On or around March 11, 2013 (two weeks after initial letter), a phone call was placed to Mr. Taylor’s office – message was left with secretary of our follow up request. No return call received. Following that call, another call was made to Sharon Natanblut. We spoke with Ms. Natanblut at length explaining our the need for a consumer voice with FDA and explaining at length our consumer stakeholder group Association for Truth in Pet Food. Ms. Natanblut asked us to give her 10 days to “work things out” on FDA’s side. Ms. Natanblut asked us to email her in 10 days as a reminder if we had not heard from her sooner.
On March 27, 2013 (16 days following phone conversation with Ms. Natanblut), another follow up attempt was made via email (and as directed by Ms. Natanblut in mid March 2013 phone conversation).
To date – more than seven weeks past our original letter – the FDA has not responded to our requests for regular meetings with pet food safety advocacy representatives. Further, similar requests have been made of FDA (from Susan Thixton) as far back as January 2011. We remain frustrated that FDA ignores pet food consumer advocacy efforts year after year.
Association for Truth in Pet Food – its consumer members, its veterinarian advocacy directors, its international advocacy directors, and its U.S. advocacy directors – urge FDA to begin regular meetings with pet food consumer advocates. Association for Truth in Pet Food is aware such meetings are provided to human food consumer advocates on a monthly basis, it is long past time the same is provided for pet food safety representatives/advocacy representatives.
We ask FDA/CVM to promptly begin monthly meetings with pet food consumer advocacy representatives. The consumer voice deserves to be heard by regulatory authorities.
Susan Thixton and Mollie Morrissette
Association for Truth in Pet Food
If FDA continues to ignore the pet food consumer voice, we will continue to NOT be silent about it.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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