The Difference Between a Human Food Recall and a Pet Food Recall
Two food recalls, same year – one month apart. Recall #1 resulted in 700 illnesses, company responsible was fined $1l.2 million by government. Recall #2 resulted in 8,500 deaths, company responsible was fined $35,000. Guess which one was pet food.
ConAgra Grocery Products – manufacturer of Peter Pan Peanut Butter – just announced a “plea agreement with U.S. attorneys” pleading guilty to a “single misdemeanor violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.” The plea agreement between government and the peanut butter manufacturer is a fine of $11.2 million dollars (paid to the government).
What did ConAgra/Peter Pan do to result in such a large fine/large plea agreement? The company pled guilty to allowing into interstate commerce a food product contaminated with an adulterant (Salmonella). This happened in February 2007 (recall announced).
For clarification, the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) are federal laws that govern food (drugs, and cosmetics). The very same laws of the FD&C Act also govern pet food. The laws of the FD&C Act clearly define when a food is adulterated and clearly define penalties for violations.
So…a human food was penalized (plea agreement) $11.2 million dollars for one violation of the FD&C Act, what happens to a pet food that violates the exact same laws?
One month after the above Peter Pan peanut butter recall was announced (February 2007), the largest and deadliest pet food recall was announced (March 2007 – Menu Pet Food). ChemNutra – the company that plead guilty to knowingly importing (from China) tainted vegetable proteins – was fined a mere $35,000 for violation of the exact same FD&C Act law – allowing into interstate commerce an adulterated food product. Not one pet food company was penalized by government – only ChemNutra and only fined a total of $35,000.00.
Just to compare…
[one_half]Peter Pan Peanut Butter
Recall Announced February 2007[/one_half][one_half_last]Menu Foods Pet Food
Recall Announced March 2007[/one_half_last]
[one_half]Recall resulted in illness of 700 people, approximately 140 hospitalizations. No deaths.[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Recall resulted in 12,000 complaints to FDA within first three weeks. 8,500 pet deaths.[/one_half_last]
[one_half]Fined by government (plea agreement) $11.2 Million for violation of introducing an adulterated product into interstate commerce.[/one_half][one_half_last]Ingredient supplier fined by government $35,000.00 for violation of introducing an adulterated product into interstate commerce (and violation of selling a misbranded food).[/one_half_last]
Two exact same violations of the FD&C Act – two very different regulatory outcomes.
The FD&C Act violation for both companies: “The introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded.”
Human food gets fined $11.2 million dollars by government – pet food gets fined $35,000.00 by government.
Experience and history tell human food manufacturers they will be highly penalized by government authorities should they sell an adulterated product. On the other hand, experience and history tell pet food manufacturers they will receive a slight slap on the wrist (at best) should they sell an adulterated product.
Sickening and infuriating.
Government authorities (state and federal) allow pet food to openly violate the FD&C Act without warning to any pet food consumer (FDA Compliance Policies). Pet food is allowed to be called ‘food’ when it meets not one legal requirement of food (most pet food). Pet food is allowed by authorities to contain hideous waste (diseased animal tissue, euthanized animals, more) with not one warning to the consumer purchasing the food. Beautiful images of food are allowed to be slathered all over pet food labels when nothing inside the bag or can even closely resembles those images.
I am asking everyone to say they’ve had enough of this regulatory bias in pet food. I’m asking you to tell your government officials “I’ve had enough of this”. Example letter below –
In early 2007 there were two significant food recalls. One was peanut butter (Peter Pan – February 2007), the other was pet food (Menu Foods – March 2007). Both foods violated the exact same law of the FD&C Act (introducing an adulterated product into interstate commerce). The peanut butter recall resulted in 700 illnesses – no deaths. The pet food recall resulted in 8,500 pet deaths and countless serious illnesses. The peanut butter recall resulted in a plea arrangement fine of $11.2 million dollars to government; the pet food recall resulted in a plea arrangement fine of $35,000 to government. Something is very wrong.
I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of regulatory bias with pet food. Two companies – recalls one month apart – each pleaded guilty to the exact same violation of the FD&C Act. One was held accountable, the other received a slap on the wrist.
I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough worry and stress over feeding my pet. I’ve had enough detective work to determine if my pet food of choice is actual food and quality for my pet to consume. Are you aware that pet food is not regulated as food? It’s regulated as feed – such as livestock feed. Are you aware that each State Department of Agriculture and FDA openly allows pet food to violate the FD&C Act allowing diseased animal tissues (and much more) to become pet food ingredients? Please become aware. Read the FDA’s Compliance Policies on animal feed. Unknowing consumers purchase this ‘food’ without the slightest knowledge of what hideous quality of ingredients it could be made from.
I’ve had enough of misleading pet food labels. Pet food is openly allowed to mislead consumers through images of food on labels when nothing inside the bag or can even closely resembles those images by each State Department of Agriculture and FDA.
I’ve waited long enough for FDA to find the reason behind thousands of pet deaths linked to Chinese jerky treats.
Experience and history tell human food manufacturers they will be highly penalized by government authorities should they sell an adulterated product. On the other hand, experience and history tell pet food manufacturers they will receive a slight slap on the wrist should they sell an adulterated product. I’ve had enough of this. I am asking you – as my elected official to put an immediate end to the regulatory bias surrounding pet food.
If it is named food – pet food – it should be held to the regulations of food. If the FD&C Act defines pet food as food, and clearly explains what is considered adulterated and prohibited, those laws should be enforced. I am asking you to make this happen. I want to trust that the pet food I purchase is abiding by law and is not misleading me. Laws are there, no one is enforcing them with pet food.
I await your response to this very serious issue.
To find your representatives in Washington D.C. – Click Here.
To find your state government representatives, please visit your state’s website.
My sincere sympathies goes out to all whose lives were devastated by the 2007 pet food recall. I cannot imagine what this peanut butter penalty does to you – how betrayed (once again) you must feel. All pet food consumers should be very concerned that human food and pet food are held to two very different standards. Please write your representatives in government – tell them you’ve #HadEnough.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients? Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 3000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
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