The FDA is planning to implement an initiative called “The Pet Event Tracking Network” that will allow FDA and State partners to exchange information about outbreaks of illness associated with pet food. Comments are welcome until September 27, 2010 on the proposed PETNet (Pet Event Tracking Network).
PETNet will primarily be a system for States and FDA to communicate. The Federal document announcing request for comments on PETNet states it was “developed in response to the 2007 outbreak that occurred in companion animals that was associated with the deliberate adulteration of pet food components, such as wheat gluten, with melamine. …PETNet would include a system for reporting outbreaks and would be supported by adequate diagnostic laboratory facilities and an established mechanism for conducting national epidemiological investigations.”
Further excerpts from the PETNet announcement “PETNet will be a secure, internet-based network comprised of the FDA, other Federal agencies, and State regulatory agencies/officials that have authority over pet food. The Network will provide timely and relevant information about pet food-related incidents to FDA, the States, and other Federal Government agencies charged with protecting animal and public health.”
PETNet is a beginning to change. But…I see some problems.
PETNet will be “entirely voluntary”. The FDA will invite all U.S. States to participate, but they don’t have to. This is a problem. State and Federal government on different pages regarding pet food (or human food) adverse event reporting doesn’t benefit anyone.
Pet owners will not have access to this pertinent information. While I understand that much/some of the PETNet reporting would be speculative – not confirmed pet food adulteration or contamination – I also understand that pet owner access to this information could save lives. Existing conditions of pet food has forced pet owners into becoming their own researchers and detectives protecting the lives of their pets. Federal and State agencies have shown us (pet owners) time and time again a lack of concern for our pets. Withholding this information from pet owners furthers an already great divide between pet owners and regulatory agencies; it furthers a lack of trust that desperately needs to be addressed.
As example, several weeks ago I shared a story of seven puppies that died due to a suspect pet food. Their little bodies were studied at the University of Oklahoma vet school; the FDA and the State Department of Agriculture got involved. The pet food was tested; tissue samples were closely examined. The pet owner has signed a release providing her permission for the University to speak publically on the test results. Yet, the veterinarian won’t return calls. The investigation by the FDA provides us no information; the investigation of the State Ag Department provides us no information. This could be a serious issue with the pet food, or it could be some other concern that killed these puppies. But no one is providing us with answers. (Seven of eight puppies died, one survived. To read the original story, visit http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com/articles/seven-puppies-die-suspicion-of-pet-food-contamination.html)
No information is not a good thing. I appreciate this beginning from the FDA. I suggest to them this reporting portal needs to be accessible to pet owners. It is too late for pet owners to turn back to unconditional trust of pet food and regulatory agencies; those days are gone. As well, I suggest to FDA to require all State agency participation; we don’t need more pet food mass confusion.
To read about PETNet visit http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480b21d8c
To post a comment, Click Here; click ‘Submit a Comment’ enter docket number 2010–N–0368.