The FDA Responds
Though it’s not much. Here is what the FDA said regarding their recent solicitation of an independent lab to test for basic nutritional content in jerky treats. Did we strike a FDA nerve?
On May 1, 2012, information was provided to TruthaboutPetFood.com that the FDA had submitted for contract laboratory testing on chicken jerky treats. The testing the FDA was/is contracting for was little more than basic information provided on the treat label.
The very next day, May 2, 2012 (late in the day) the FDA posted an ‘update’ to it’s Questions and Answers Regarding Chicken Jerky Treats from China. The following information are the only updates…
* Is FDA contracting with private labs to conduct some of the testing of chicken jerky treats?
Yes, FDA recently issued a solicitation for private diagnostic labs to submit quotes on conducting analysis of the nutritional composition of 30 chicken jerky treat samples
What some might describe as “routine” analysis can often provide FDA with important leads. It is important to understand the composition of a product and its ingredients to determine where there might be a potential for problems to occur. For example, during the pet food contamination investigation, FDA looked carefully at all the ingredients and it was later discovered that melamine was being used to raise the level of the protein in the products. Without a clear understanding of all the ingredients in a product, FDA cannot conduct a thorough analysis or investigation. In addition, hiring private laboratories to conduct “routine” analyses allows FDA to focus it’s efforts on “non-routine” analyses. *
So…we catch them testing for basic nutritional information and then they come clean about it. But they didn’t come clean – in my opinion – as to why. Their ‘routine’ excuse doesn’t add up.
The FDA says this routine analysis contracted out to a private lab could provide FDA with important leads. They compare this ‘looking for leads’ with their investigation of the 2007 pet food recall. Since they brought it up…
In 2009, the Office of Inspector General has the following to say about the FDA’s handling of the 2007 pet food recall investigation…
“FDA has developed procedures for monitoring recalls and assessing a firm’s recall effectiveness. However, FDA did not always follow its procedures in overseeing three of the five recalls that we reviewed. Furthermore, FDA’s procedures were not always adequate for monitoring large recalls.”
This 2007 FDA investigation took months to uncover – to find melamine as the contaminant; we are five years into the investigation with jerky treats.
The Office of Inspector General’s report on FDA’s poor performance in the 2007 recall also states (bold added) “FDA does not have statutory authority to require manufacturers to initiate pet food recalls. Therefore, the initiation of such recalls on the part of manufacturers or importers is voluntary. Furthermore, FDA issued its regulations as nonbinding recall guidance. Even if FDA were to require firms to follow certain procedures, FDA has no statutory authority to assess penalties for recall violations. However, when FDA believes that an article of food presents a serious health threat, the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 provides additional authority to FDA to administratively detain food and obtain certain food records. Several bills proposed in the 110th session of Congress would have provided FDA with authority to mandate recalls and to dictate and enforce the terms of a recall.”
This tells us that if the FDA felt – as many veterinarians and pet owners do – the treats are a health risk, all along the FDA has had the authority to detain all treats imported from China in customs. They as well, have had the authority to obtain any and all records from the importers of these treats (for important leads). We certainly know they have not detained any treats, and they have not bothered to inform the public if they have obtained any records from the importers.
But, back to their reasoning as to why nutritional analysis will be done on the treats. Now?…Five years into an investigation, after hundreds of media reports of sick pets within the last year, and months and months of pressure from a few caring members of Congress…now they determine they should test for nutritional content for ‘important leads’? Isn’t this a bit late? Shouldn’t this step have been one of the very first steps in an investigation that has been on-going for five years? Even if this nutritional content testing needed to be repeated, when reports of sick pets escalated in 2011 – this should have been done then. Why now?
No, sorry FDA, this does not make any sense. Unless the FDA provides a better explanation, this continues to appear as a complete waste of public funds. We await a better explanation/excuse.
Although the FDA has yet to respond to my previous questions regarding this recently published request for contract lab testing, I have sent the following request to FDA…
On behalf of pet owners, I am requesting FDA to provide all results, including the agency or contractor performing the analysis, for any and all analyses of chicken jerky pet treats conducted using public funds for the purpose of identifying toxicity or potential toxicity in chicken jerky pet treats or chicken jerky.
If they do not respond and provide this information, perhaps we should seek Freedom of Information Act inquiry for it.
The only good thing I see from the updated FDA Answers Questions on Jerky Treats is that we seemed to have gotten their attention. All of us – did that! We – from the individual that forwarded me this FDA posting, to all the websites that wrote about this, to all of the pet owners that sent FDA questions – we got their attention this time. That’s good. Now, we need to get their attention again. We should be provided with all the results of analysis of these jerky treats thus far. If public funds have been used to test the jerky treats, then the public deserves the opportunity to view the results.
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 2500 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
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