After 11 months and 13 email requests, FDA won’t agree to meet with pet owners. Why is that?
I (Susan Thixton) have met with FDA face to face many times. I deal with them face to face twice a year at AAFCO meetings, we’ve had special meetings arranged at AAFCO sessions, we’ve met with the Agency in Washington D.C. But you (pet owners) don’t get that opportunity. You – the people that trust their pet’s lives with pet food, the people that depend on the regulations that FDA enforces (or should enforce) – deserve the opportunity to meet face to face with FDA.
In October of 2018 – almost 1 year ago – our consumer association asked FDA to meet with pet owners. As FDA had just met with industry in the same month (October 2018), we felt our request was more than fair. This was our email request – sent to FDA on October 18, 2018:
Association for Truth in Pet Food – the association representing Pet Food Consumers, the largest stakeholder group in pet food – would like to arrange a question and answer public meeting with FDA/CVM. We would prefer to meet with FDA in Washington DC or during any AAFCO meeting. We are requesting a minimum of 3 hours for consumers to ask FDA questions. We will provide the venue.
Washington DC television station WJLA will be participating in this meeting, video recording the entire meeting. We will also make arrangements to provide the meeting to pet owners unable to attend as a Facebook Live event on the Truth about Pet Food page. Please provide us three possible dates over the next six months and three more possible dates within the next 12 months (1 year from receipt of this email).
For two months – and through 7 follow up emails (to multiple FDA employees) – the FDA ignored our request. But finally, on December 14, 2018, the FDA responded (bold added):
Dear Ms. Thixton,
Thank you for your email requesting a question and answer public meeting with FDA/CVM. Over the past few months, we have received several similar requests for meetings. We are currently considering how best to accommodate all the requests we have received. We appreciate your patience while we look at various options for hearing from stakeholders on pet food safety issues. We intend to get back to you early in the New Year with more information and potential dates.
But FDA did not “get back” to us as they promised. In fact, for 9 more months (since FDA response) and 6 more follow up email requests (to multiple individuals) – the FDA has completely ignored our request for a public meeting.
The FDA has a policy on these types of meetings – which states (bold added):
Public meetings may provide an ideal forum for stimulating questions and debate. Speeches before various industry and consumer organizations provide an excellent opportunity for the Center to discuss regulatory requirements and expectations.
If public meetings are part of FDA policy, why won’t the agency meet with pet owners? We MORE than deserve an opportunity to ask FDA “stimulating questions” – face to face. We are stakeholders of pet food/stakeholders of pet food regulation, we are the largest pet food stakeholder segment. Pet owners deserve the opportunity for FDA to hear our concerns, hear the real life challenges we face on a day to day basis feeding our pets.
Clearly, FDA isn’t very willing to give us that opportunity. It’s time to go to FDA’s boss to ask for help to get our meeting.
If you want your opportunity to meet face to face with FDA to tell them your pet food concerns, please send an email to your Representatives in Congress. You can find your Congressional Representatives by clicking here. And here is another link with information to locate and contact your Representatives in Congress. The following is an example email:
The pet owner association – Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF) – requested a public meeting for pet owners with FDA in October 2018. FDA told us in December 2018 “We intend to get back to you early in the New Year with more information and potential dates.” We are 8 months past the date FDA promised to respond; FDA has never ‘gotten back to us’ and has never provided “potential dates”. ATPF followed up on this request for a public meeting a total of 13 times, FDA has continued to ignore us month after month.
I need your help as my Representative in Congress to facilitate this public meeting for myself and for other pet owners with FDA. I would ask you to require that FDA host a yearly event to publicly meet with and respond to pet owner questions regarding the regulation of pet food (preferably twice a year). Please contact Dr. Steven Solomon, Director FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine and urge him to provide us with a meeting date promptly. Pet owners have waited long enough for FDA/Dr. Solomon to directly answer our questions. Thank you.
Just maybe, someone in Congress will help us get the meeting FDA doesn’t want to happen, but all of you deserve.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Become a member of our pet food consumer Association. Association for Truth in Pet Food is a a stakeholder organization representing the voice of pet food consumers at AAFCO and with FDA. Your membership helps representatives attend meetings and voice consumer concerns with regulatory authorities. Click Here to learn more.
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