Senator Rand Paul Destroyed Pet Food Safety
Senator Paul deliberately introduced legislation deleting pet food safety law and denying pet owners the right to know what’s in their pet food.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a physician that should understand the necessity of food safety, recently submitted an addendum to Congress that resulted in the complete destruction of pet food safety promised pet owners for nine years. Senator Paul’s bill, Section 306 of H.R. 5554 – completely ignored safety laws promised pet owners after the deadliest pet food recall in history and assured a Kentucky-linked private corporation would continue to be allowed to write and profit from law making.
Senator Paul explained away the devastating addendum as conflict of interest telling constituents the 2007 pet food safety laws “has called into question FDA’s longstanding relationship with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a voluntary membership association that maintains a published list of animal food ingredient definitions.”
There it is. Senator Rand Paul took intentional action to protect the profits of AAFCO while ignoring the safety of pet food and ignoring the needs of millions of pet food consumers.
On March 16, 2007 a pet food recall announced by Menu Foods turned into the deadliest recall in history. The FDA reported more than 8,500 pets died in 2007, but actual pet death counts are far higher. Some estimate hundreds of thousands of pets died due to the melamine poisoned pet food in 2007.
In response to the massive number of pet deaths, Congress wrote “Ensuring the Safety of Pet Food“ laws included in the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007. These laws were written in an effort to prevent another pet food disaster. The laws – Section 1002 (a) of the Act stated:
“Not later than 2 years after September 27, 2007, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in this chapter as the “Secretary”), in consultation with the Association of American Feed Control Officials and other relevant stakeholder groups, including veterinary medical associations, animal health organizations, and pet food manufacturers, shall by regulation establish-
- ingredient standards and definitions with respect to pet food;
- processing standards for pet food; and
- updated standards for the labeling of pet food that include nutritional and ingredient information.”
To emphasize the significance of these pet food laws we were given back in 2007…thousands of pets died due to unscrupulous Chinese suppliers that added a plastic component melamine to common pet food ingredients such as wheat gluten. The added melamine resulted in kidney blockage and death of the pets consuming the tainted ingredient pet foods. In 2007 Congress recognized that pet food ingredients had no ‘standard’ of quality and wrote laws requiring FDA to establish the needed quality standards (required to be completed by September 2009). Using the same wheat gluten example – a standard would require pet food wheat gluten to be 100% pure wheat gluten instead of part wheat gluten and part melamine as what happened in 2007. A pet food ingredient standard would also require meat ingredients to be sourced from slaughtered, healthy animals instead of diseased and non-slaughtered animals that are allowed by FDA now.
But…because of the actions by Senator Rand Paul, pet owners lost what we were promised in 2007.
In 2007 Congress also recognized pet food labels do not give consumers adequate information to make their purchasing decisions on. Law passed by Congress required FDA to provide consumers more information on the pet food label; “nutritional and ingredient information”. And, in 2007 Congress recognized that pet owners have no public access to pet food ingredient definitions. Congress required FDA to update pet food definitions – which would have finally taken ownership of pet food ingredient definitions away from AAFCO providing public access to pet owners.
And now we’ve reached the bottom line. Now we know why Senator Paul of Kentucky single-handedly submitted an addendum to destroy pet food safety. It’s all about money. AAFCO’s money.
The University of Kentucky is the regulatory body over pet food – not the State Department of Agriculture as in most other states. In Kentucky, a public university that openly accepts financial donations from the pet food industry is who writes pet food law through AAFCO and enforces law in the state. And it just so happens that a University of Kentucky employee – Kristen Green – is the chair of the AAFCO pet food committee.
Senator Rand Paul actions protected the financial interests of the private corporation AAFCO – assumed at the request of the University of Kentucky Regulatory Services – instead of protecting pet food safety and the Freedom of Information rights of every pet owner in the US.
Do you know what the ingredients listed on your pet’s food label mean? Do you know the legal definition of “chicken” in your pet’s food? It is NOT the same as the legal definition of ‘chicken’ in human food. Do you know the difference between human food chicken and pet food chicken? Do you know the legal definition of “chicken meal” or “pea protein” or “animal fat” or “animal digest” or any other ingredient stated on your pet food label? You probably don’t. Because the private corporation Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) owns all pet food regulations including definitions of ingredients and charges $120.00 a year for access.
AAFCO owns the regulations governing pet food labels too. AAFCO – a private company that is heavily influenced by industry – determines what information pet owners are given on a pet food label. And pet owners are not provided with those legal details either.
In human food – consumers have public access to detailed information on every single food ingredient. In human food, consumers can provide input to food regulation through notices published in the Federal Register. But not in pet food. In pet food, everything is decided on and owned by the private corporation AAFCO.
Significant: Pet food is the only U.S. product where laws governing that product are written by a private corporation.
Senator Rand Paul’s addendum to H.R. 5554 was deliberate action to assure AAFCO will continue to control and profit from writing pet food law.
Think about that…an elected official – an elected law maker intentionally ignored a principal foundation of U.S. government; in this case the pet owner right to public access and comment on pet food rule making. An elected law maker purposely took basic rights away from ‘the People’ and gave them to a private corporation.
How do we know that Senator Rand Paul is the sole reason these pet food safety laws and Freedom of Information rights were deleted? The FDA told us.
Back in October when I first reported on this crime to pet owners, I sent questions to FDA asking who wrote the amendment that deleted the pet food safety laws. The FDA responded late Friday Novenber 23, 2018 with (bold added):
“Dear Ms. Thixton,
In response to your request for “…. who at FDA submitted Sec. 306….,” we are providing the legislative history of the language.
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced S. 2434, the “Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2018” on February 15, 2018. That legislation can be found here.
On February 28, 2018, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions marked up, amended, and reported S. 2434. During this mark-up, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered an amendment concerning animal food additives which, among other things, struck 21 U.S.C. § 2102(a)(1). All other provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 2102 remain in force and can be viewed here. A video of the markup can be viewed on the Committee’s website here. This amendment was adopted in Committee by voice vote. The amendment became Section 306 of S. 2434 as reported by the Committee. You can view the amended version of S. 2434 reported out of the Committee and to the full Senate on March 7, 2018, here. This markup is noted in the Congressional Record daily digest for February 28, 2018, here. The March 7, 2018 digest notes the bill being reported to the full Senate; the digest can be viewed here.
The House bill to reauthorize the animal drug and generic drug user fee programs, H.R. 5554, included similar language in Section 306 of the version passed by the House on July 16, 2018. That legislation can be viewed here. More information on this can be found in the Congressional daily digest for July 16, 2018, here; and in the Congressional record for July 16, 2018, here. H.R. 5554 then passed the Senate on July 31, 2018. More information on its consideration by the full Senate can be found in the Congressional record for July 31, 2018, here. H.R. 5554 (now Public Law no. 115-234) was signed into law by the President on August 14, 2018.
I spoke with Senator Paul’s office yesterday morning (11/26/2018). I explained to a not so enthusiastic staffer the devastation Senator Paul’s action caused. I asked for an explanation which the staffer could not immediately provide, so I asked that the explanation be provided by end of business (11/26/2018). Senator Paul’s office did not provide a statement.
I think it is time for Senator Paul to hear from us. He needs to hear pet owner stories of sick pets, pet deaths, your struggles to find a safe pet food. He needs to hear about the misleading pet food labels, the illegal ingredients such as euthanized animal meat allowed in pet food. He needs to hear your frustration about FDA’s lack of enforcement of law and the absurdity of a private corporation writing and owning pet food laws.
Email Senator Paul here: https://www.paul.senate.gov/connect/email-rand
Phone number for his Washington DC office: 202-224-4343
And one more step – sign the petition to demand that Senator Rand Paul reintroduce the pet food safety laws Ensuring the Safety of Pet Food requiring FDA to complete the task in 6 months or less. Click Here to sign.
This unforgivable action by Senator Paul must be turned around. Please share this post and the petition. Senator Paul needs to hear from all of us.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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