On March 16, 2007 the most deadly food recall in history began. 10 years later, the FDA and Washington DC has forgotten about the pets that died and suffered in 2007. But we cannot forget them.
On March 15, 2007 Menu Foods notified FDA that pets were dying. One day later, March 16, 2007, the first recall was announced. Less than 3 weeks later – April 5, 2007 – the FDA had “12,000 consumer complaints” – pets were dying and suffering permanent kidney damage in shocking numbers (in the first 3 weeks of the 2007 pet food recall the FDA received double the number of consumer complaints than was typical of an entire year). Over the next several weeks recall after recall after recall was announced until more than 150 different pet foods – 5,500 specific products (considering product sizes and manufacturing dates) were recalled.
Thousands of pets died, hundreds of thousands more suffered permanent kidney disease for years to come.
Promises were made, promises were broken.
Just after the recall, the 2007 Congress jumped into action (though probably more of a concern for human health, that a ‘2007 recall’ could happen in human food) and developed new laws to assure consumers food and pet food would be safe. Congress wrote the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) which was signed into law by President George Bush in September 2007. Specific to pet food – specific to preventing another deadly pet food disaster – FDAAA required FDA to…
- Establish an early warning surveillance system.
- Regulation for (1) Ingredient Standards and Definitions; (2) Processing Standards; and (3) Labeling Standards Including nutritional and ingredient information
- Ensuring efficient and effective communication during a recall. Create searchable public database for recalled human and pet foods.
All three of these FDAAA requirements were to be completed within 2 years – were required by law to be completed by September 2009.
But only 1 has been completed. FDA has established an early warning surveillance system for pet food – the Safety Reporting Portal (an online system where consumers can digitally report a safety concern with a pet food).
The FDA has NOT completed regulations for ingredient standards and definitions, has NOT completed pet food processing standards, has NOT completed pet food labeling standards, and has NOT completed a searchable public database for recalled pet foods.
Yes…elected officials – just after the recall – took swift action to write laws hoping to prevent another deadly pet food disaster. But…not one elected official since has bothered to assure those laws were ever implemented. They all just forgot about all those pets that died, forgot about deadlines, forgot about pet food safety. Every single elected official in Washington DC from September 2009 to present day – has ignored the legal deadline law required of FDA to protect pet food.
Today is a significant anniversary. 10 years. Today – let us not allow them to forget those pets that died and suffered.
Please take a moment today and remember those pets by sending an email or two – making a phone call or two – to remind those in charge promises were broken. Pet food consumers were promised safer pet food, were promised pet food ingredient standards, processing standards, and improved label information. We want what thousands of pets paid with their lives for. Now.
Remember those pets.
Write an email to your representatives in Washington DC. Example email:
Ten years ago today was day one of the deadliest pet food recall in history. Thousands of pets died, hundreds of thousands of pets suffered permanent kidney damage. Based on that recall, founded on the many lives that were lost in 2007 – Congress promised consumers safety standards would improve through laws of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA).
We were promised regulations for pet food ingredient standards (Section 1002) – to date we do not have pet food ingredient standards.
We were promised regulations for pet food processing standards (Section 1002) – to date we do not have pet food processing standards.
We were promised regulations for updated standards of pet food labels (Section 1002) – to date we do not have updated pet food labels.
Has Congress, has FDA forgotten those pets that died and suffered in 2007? I haven’t. As my elected representative in Washington DC, I would like your response to why none of this significant pet food safety work has been completed by FDA. We are 7 1/2 years past the deadline.
The requirements of FDAAA need to be completed. Now. Please assure me you will take an active role is pressuring FDA to complete these pet food safety tasks. I await your response.
Pick up the phone and call your representatives in Washington DC. Phone call example script:
My name is ___________ and I would like to register a complaint with the [Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman] regarding FDA not completing requirements of pet food safety. Ten years ago we experienced the deadliest pet food recall in history – thousands of pets died, hundreds of thousands of pets suffered permanent kidney damage. In 2007 Congress wrote the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act requiring FDA to establish pet food ingredient standards, improve pet food ingredient definitions, and update pet food label requirements to give consumers more information. This work was required to be completed by September 2009. But none of it has been completed. In section 1002 of FDAAA, item (a) – tasks 1, 2, and 3 have been ignored. Pets died for those laws. Pets suffered permanent kidney damage for those laws. I expect them to be completed. I am asking your office to personally address this issue with FDA. I would like a response back from your office as to what you have done to assure me these laws – which again, pets died for – will be implemented. Thank you.
[end of example phone script]
The top section on this page provides you with information on how to contact your elected officials in Washington, DC: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
And tell the FDA that those pets that died and suffered in 2007 will not be forgotten.
Example email to FDA:
Dr. Marcia K. Larkins –
FDA was required to complete by September 2009 several significant updates to pet food – including (but not limited to) establishing pet food ingredient standards and updated pet food labeling laws. This work was required of FDA based on the 2007 pet food recall – the deadliest recall in pet food history. Thousands of pets gave their lives for these laws, these pet food safety updates. Hundreds of thousands more paid for them through permanent kidney damage they suffered with for years.
FDA has NOT established pet food ingredient standards, has NOT updated pet food ingredient definitions, has NOT updated pet food labeling laws giving consumers the information they need to purchase a safe and quality pet food. FDA seems to have forgotten those pets that died in 2007, forgotten the 2009 deadline of FDAAA.
I have not forgotten those pets that died and suffered in 2007. I have not forgotten your deadline. There is no excuse you can give me, give those families that will suffice. I respectfully ask FDA to accomplish what FDAAA required you to accomplish 7 1/2 years ago. Get it done.
Below is the contact information for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine Ombudsman (individual that handles complaints about the agency).
Marcia K. Larkins, D.V.M. (CVM)
FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine
Remember them. Remember all of those pets that died and suffered 10 years ago. Send your emails – make a few phone calls. Those pets need us to fight.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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