If you think pet food manufactured in Canada is any safer than that manufactured in the US or other countries…think again. A serious concern shared by a former Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarian.
Statement provided by Dr. Harper, retired from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)…
“As a former CFIA veterinarian, it concerns me that, to date, there are still no federal regulations governing the production of pet food in Canada. While working for the CFIA, I became aware that one company was using condemned material in the production of their pet food. As a result, I stopped signing all pet food export certificates, that had been signed solely based on notarized documents provided to us by the pet food companies. Subsequent to that, I worked tirelessly to try and have the federal government introduce regulations to oversee the production of pet food in Canada, to no avail. It is my belief that federal regulations are long overdue in this country. “
The regulatory system of pet food in Canada is mostly based on trust. When a pet food is made in Canada, sold in Canada – government simply trusts the pet food manufacturer. End of story. There is no inspection, no verification, no nothing. When a pet food is made in Canada but exported outside of Canada – regulatory authorities ask manufacturers to provide documentation declaring the food is ‘complete and balanced’, declaring ingredients included, declaring everything is abiding by law. As long as all the paperwork is received, the stamp of approval is given and off the pet food goes to unknowing consumers. The Canadian regulatory system of pet food simply trusts the manufacturer’s paperwork; there is no inspection, no verification of the documentation provided, and no penalty for submitting false documentation. (Canada also has no system in place for consumers to report a pet illness or death to.)
Dr. Harper discovered that trust system was failing consumers; condemned animal material was being included in pet food. She tried again, and again, and again to wake up the Canadian authorities. No one would listen.
(In the US, FDA has moved beyond the ‘trust the paperwork’ system. Not to be bothered with additional paperwork, the FDA simply issued an illegal Compliance Policy telling pet food/animal feed manufacturers -basically – ‘Don’t bother sending us notarized affidavits, just go ahead and use all the condemned material you want. We don’t care.’)
It is beyond absurd that CFIA dismissed one of their own who brought serious concerns of pet food to light. It is beyond absurd that pet food is openly allowed to violate law by tax dollar supported government agencies (Canada and US). Canadian pet food consumers and US pet food consumers pay sales tax on each pet food purchases yet we are getting little in return.
CFIA is typically in attendance at AAFCO meetings. Though I’ve tried in the past to open this discussion up with CFIA (and the president of the Canadian Veterinary Association), I will try again at the upcoming AAFCO meeting (starting 1/16/17). Should any information be gained, it will be shared.
My sincere thank you to Dr. Harper for sharing her statement with readers – we thank you for speaking out now and when you were with CFIA. If there were more regulatory authorities like you, we’d have a safer pet food world.
Note: I sincerely believe there are quality pet foods manufactured in Canada. The problem is how a consumer can find them and know with certainty they are quality. The trust system isn’t working. Pet food consumers deserve much better from their regulatory authorities (Canada and US consumers).
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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