The FDA has delivered another ‘hit’ to the raw pet food industry, this time right in the middle of the the longest government shutdown in history.
The FDA has taken aim at Answers Pet Food. Issued today – January 14, 2019 – the 24th day of U.S. government shutdown – “FDA Cautions Pet Owners Not to Feed One Lot of A+ Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs Due to Salmonella.”
Right on the FDA website is a statement regarding the limited activities of the agency due to the government shutdown; (bold added) “agency operations continue to the extent permitted by law, such as activities necessary to address imminent threats to the safety of human life.”
But…with NO reports of sick pets and NO reports of human illness linked to Answers Pet Food (in other words NO ‘imminent threat to the safety of human life’), the agency felt compelled to “caution” pet owners about the pet food. (And TruthaboutPetFood.com or anyone else cannot ask questions of FDA regarding this warning because of the government shutdown – perfect timing by FDA.)
The FDA states they issued the warning “because it (Answers Straight Beef Formula for Dogs, lot 2018 20/08 20) represents a serious threat to human and animal health and is adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.”
Adulterated? Maybe not (probably not) per the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Section 342 Adulterated Food states (in part, bold added) “If it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health; but in case the substance is not an added substance such food shall not be considered adulterated under this clause if the quantity of such substance in such food does not ordinarily render it injurious to health.“
Salmonella is NOT “an added substance”. There is no pet food manufacturer (or human food) on the planet that “adds” Salmonella to their products. Thus, federal law provides the provision for ‘not added substances’ that they would NOT be considered adulterated “if the quantity of such substance in such food does not ordinarily render it injurious to health.”
In other words, per the legal requirements established by federal law – the Salmonella FDA states was found in Answers Pet Food would have to be in a “quantity” that would make a human or pet sick.
Answers Pet Food is a fermented pet food.
Fermentation is an ancient process used to preserve food. A human food example is sauerkraut. On open jar of sauerkraut will be safe to eat for at least six months because the fermentation process prevents pathogenic bacterial growth (such as Salmonella). There has never been a Salmonella recall for a fermented sauerkraut product.
The same bacterial growth prevention is true for any fermented product, including Answers Pet Food.
It could be true that as the FDA warning states Nebraska Department of Agriculture found Salmonella in Answers pet food. But we have no idea IF the quantity of Salmonella in the Answers fermented product is of a level that would cause harm to a pet or human. The FDA warning (issued in the middle of a government shutdown) didn’t bother to inform pet owners of this (and we have no means to ask them). So is the pet food adulterated as FDA claims? It is highly unlikely that a fermented product would allow the growth of Salmonella to a ‘injurious to health level’ as evidenced by only one recorded recall of a fermented food (Cashew Cheese in 2014) in history.
So why did FDA issue this raw pet food warning during the middle of a government shutdown when no pet owner or consumer advocate can contact the agency with questions?
Opinion: This FDA warning leaves no doubt in my mind that FDA will go to any extreme, violate any law to destroy the raw pet food category. It is almost frightening to consider.
Reminder to all reading this – the FDA openly allows all other styles of pet food to violate federal law allowing “diseased animals and animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter” to be processed into pet food with no warning or disclosure to the pet owner. A Citizen Petition was submitted to FDA in October of 2016 asking the agency stop allowing illegal pet food ingredients and at the very least to disclose these inferior and dangerous ingredients to pet owners on labels. Almost 2 1/2 years later, the agency has never responded.
While FDA allows all other styles of pet food to openly violate federal law – the raw pet food category experiences violations of law by FDA (and other regulatory authorities) against them.
Again – we are in the longest running government shutdown in history. With a limited budget specified ONLY for “imminent threats to the safety of human life” – the FDA issues a public warning with NO reports of either human or animal illness. Why?
Because the regulatory system over pet food consists of extreme biases in favor of Big Pet Feed.
How can pet owners trust that any pet food is safe with such a bias system of regulation? We can’t.
Before this madness continues even one more day – I urge every pet owner to send the FDA an email/letter. AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov Write a post on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere in social media and tag the FDA.
Tell the FDA you demand uniform regulation of pet food. Tell them you demand agency officials abide by federal law – and demand that the FDA enforce all federal laws regulating pet food. Tell the FDA to immediately stop allowing illegal ingredients (diseased animals and animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter) in pet food.
We deserve the opportunity to purchase safe pet food. Unfortunately, we must demand FDA abide by law and enforce existing laws to have that opportunity of safe pet food.
Please send FDA your message. Pet owners CAN force this change when we speak up. With an estimated 84 million homes in the US with pets, here’s hoping the FDA comes back to work after the shutdown to millions of emails demanding safe pet food.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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