When you ask the tough questions to regulatory authorities…questions they don’t want to answer…my experience has been they do one of two things: ignore your questions or give you a very lame excuse. Here’s the latest lame excuse.
Federal and State law is crystal clear – a pet food is considered adulterated/illegal if it contains the tiniest portion of a non-slaughtered animal. But pet food regulatory authorities refuse to enforce law. Their lame excuse…there is no legal definition for what a slaughtered animal is.
Last week, AAFCO President and the AAFCO Animal Ingredients Investigator told consumer advocates they cannot enforce law because there is no legal definition to “slaughter”. This week FDA told us a similar response.
My question sent to FDA…
The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act – Title 21, Chapter 9, Subchapter IV, Section 342 (adulterated food) states “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated-
(a) Poisonous, insanitary, etc., ingredients
(5) if it is, in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter;”
So – my question is – what does ‘otherwise than by slaughter’ mean? How does FDA define ‘otherwise than by slaughter’ in regards to food? How does FDA determine a food would be adulterated due to containing an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter? How does FDA define a slaughtered animal and how does FDA define an animal that has died otherwise than by slaughter?
FDA responded with…
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. Processed pet food goes through a kill step, such as rendering, which is designed to kill harmful bacteria. In addition, canned foods, whether intended for animals or humans, must be processed in conformance with the low acid canned food regulations to ensure the food is free of viable microorganisms.
Let me stop here with FDA’s response. For the FDA to say that “all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled” is very wrong. ‘Animal foods’ such as cattle feed are allowed to contain chicken poop. ‘Animal foods’ such as cat and dog food are allowed to contain 4D animals (dead, diseased, dying and disabled). Chicken poop and 4D animals are not in the least ‘like human foods’. Chicken poop and 4D animals are breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria that when “goes through a kill step, such as rendering” produces dangerous endotoxins that can sicken or kill pets. And ‘truthfully labeled’? No again. There is not one pet food that ‘truthfully’ informs the consumer the pet food could contain diseased animals or non-slaughtered animal material.
The FDA continued…
The Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act does not define “animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter.” The United States Department of Agriculture regulates meat and poultry products intended for human food, and you may wish to contact them as well with this question.
My response to FDA: No, you can’t pass this off to USDA. FDA is responsible for enforcing the laws of the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. I am confident FDA would swiftly take action against a human food that contained a non-slaughtered animal. Why are they not enforcing the same law with pet food?
Plus – FDA has written Compliance Policies that use the very same terminology as law. FDA’s Compliance Policy 690.300 Canned Pet Food states: “POLICY: Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.”
FDA cannot claim the agency has no definition for a term they have written further policy on. Wrong.
And lastly FDA stated…
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) maintains the most complete list of animal food ingredients with their definitions to ensure consistency across all states. We recommend you contact AAFCO for examples and more information about how common this practice may be.
FDA works in cooperation with AAFCO. There is little done at AAFCO without FDA approval. Also, AAFCO is not charged with enforcement of the FD&C Act – FDA is. To further pass the buck to AAFCO is wrong.
FDA – accept your legal responsibility. Enforce the FD&C Act with pet food.
And by the way…Pet food regulatory authorities claim they don’t have a legal definition to what a slaughtered animal is, but Wikipedia provides details that slaughter facilities began to include “good standards of hygiene” as early as 1852. So for more than 150 years, the slaughter of animals for food has been an industrialized method.
Pet food regulatory authorities claim they don’t have a legal definition to what a slaughtered animal is, but there are detailed laws that govern the humane methods of slaughter – the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
The (lame) excuse there is no definition to slaughter is no excuse. It’s time to clean up pet food. Non-slaughtered animals recycled into pet food are a violation of state and federal law. Animals should NOT become living landfills to dispose of waste. Who is pet food regulatory authorities protecting? Pets or the Pet Food Industry?
We have a meeting this afternoon with FDA regarding endotoxins ignored in pet food – will share details of this meeting as soon as I can.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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