Those pesky educated pet parents are in the news again. Actually, this time the news makers are those pesky websites that educate pet food consumers.
It seems Dr. David A. Dzanis, DVM, PhD, DACVN isn’t happy with the supposed “misunderstanding of petfood regulations rife on Web”. Dr. Dzanis has posted an article on PetFoodIndustry.com that offers alternative explanations for some pet food regulations that he feels are misinterpreted compliments of ‘some’ websites.
Dr. Dzanis takes on three issues he believes are often misinterpreted on the Internet; GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredients, AAFCO-defined animal feed ingredients in pet foods, and Unqualified claims – offering detailed explanations for each.
Dr. Dzanis’s discussion is valid (yet just an opinion), however something struck me as I read his (seeming) defense of AAFCO and the pet food industry. One of the biggest issues with pet food was NOT mentioned; FDA Compliance Policies that allow euthanized animals and diseased animals (or animal parts) to be processed into pet food. Dr. Dzanis condemns websites that misinterpret the FDA or AAFCO, yet there was this glaring omission (from his post).
How else can these FDA Compliance Policies be interpreted?
CPG Sec. 675.400 Rendered Animal Feed Ingredients
POLICY: No regulatory action will be considered for animal feed ingredients resulting from the ordinary rendering process of industry, including those using animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, provided they are not otherwise in violation of the law.
CPG Sec. 675.100 Diversion of Contaminated Food for Animal Use
BACKGROUND: FDA does not object to the diversion to animal feed of human food adulterated with rodent, roach, or bird excreta.
Not mentioned by Dr. Dzanis, is that AAFCO Members – specifically Feed Control Officials – have the authority to enforce the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as it is written (not as it is implemented by FDA) – but they don’t. State Feed Control Officials have the authority to test pet foods for pentobarbital (the clear sign a euthanized animal was processed into a pet food), but they don’t. State Feed Control Officials have the authority to test for heavy metal contamination (as proved by independent testing from Spex CertiPrep), but they don’t. In fact, no statement has ever been issued from AAFCO regarding the findings of this independent pet food testing. As well, in years and years of AAFCO’s control of pet food regulations, only now are they just beginning to set maximum levels of heavy metals in pet food (a grant provided by the FDA is supporting testing that is just beginning to determine maximum heavy metal levels for all animal feeds). State Feed Control Officials have the authority to inspect all records of ingredients used in pet foods to assure they abide by federal law (and AAFCO regulations), but yet everyone seems to turn a blind eye. Everyone that is except those pesky educated pet food consumers and those dang pet food safety websites.
Any pet parent is welcome to attend AAFCO meetings, but no consumer representative is on AAFCO’s pet food committee (Dr. Dzantis IS on this AAFCO pet food committee). Others organizations representing the pet food industry won’t allow a consumer representative in the door. And you blame us for our interpretations?
The gap between industry and consumers is widening; and it benefits no one. If the pet food industry wants the truth to be known, then I suggest opening your mind to the fact that we – pet parents – are becoming educated. Open your hearts to the fact that many of us have had our furry children stolen from us at the hands of pet food. Try to imagine how we feel. An industry, its regulators, and our legal system have betrayed us; trust is completely gone.
The ball is in the pet food industry’s court. If industry doesn’t like supposed misunderstandings of pet food regulations, then open your industry up to consumers. Invite us to sit on committees and invite us to industry events. Listen to us. Really listen to us.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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