There has been so much furry written about this Food Safety Bill. Some have said it will destroy small farmers, others have said it will greatly improve U.S. food safety. For those worried about the passing of the new bill, I say don’t sweat it. Federal laws, old or new laws, don’t mean much to the FDA – take pet food for example…
In a New York Times article, President Obama stated “With the Senate’s passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, we are one step closer to having critically important new tools to protect our nation’s food supply and keep consumers safe”. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) has worked on this food safety legislation, he told FoodSafetyNews.com “the Senate bill is still a giant leap forward toward ensuring the safety of the American food supply”.
On the flip side, Mike Adams, internationally known health advocate feels the Food Safety Bill is “one big lie”. His (fabulous) website NaturalNews.com has been fighting against the Food Safety Bill for some time, and recently he published the top ten lies list of the Bill (click here to read)
Now there is news that the Senate approved Food Safety Bill will be “blue slipped” by the House and sent back to the Senate. It seems the Senate added a tax to the bill; an error in procedure because “constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House.” http://www.rollcall.com/news/-201012-1.html
I’ve read so much about this bill, so many interpretations of it, I’m a bit confused. But then I remember…law doesn’t matter to the FDA. Why should I worry about the new Bill? Existing Federal laws aren’t enforced by FDA, why would they enforce this one?
The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, existing Federal food safety law, clearly states no food (human or animal) can contain any “filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance” or “in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter”. Section 402 (a). Click Here to read.
While the above Federal law should be followed with any food – human or animal (by the way, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines food as “articles used for food or drink for man or other animals” Sec. 201), it isn’t with animal food/pet food. The FDA has what they refer to as Compliance Policies…a nice FDA name to allow some industries (animal feed/pet food) to avoid (bypass, get around, violate) Federal law. And…the FDA is pretty blatant about it.
Examples of the blatant violations of Federal law with pet food…
FDA Compliance Policy CPG Sec. 690.300 Canned Pet Food
“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.” http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074710.htm
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.”
And there’s more…such as CPG Sec. 555.650 that allows food contaminated with rodent, roach or bird excreta to be diverted into animal food and CPG Sec. 675.200 that allows human food contaminated with pesticides, industrial chemicals and drug residues to be diverted to animal food. Some of the ‘animals’ that are eating foods sourced from diseased animal meat and meat from animals that have died other than by slaughter (example euthanized animals) are our pets; however, some of the animals eating foods contaminated with bird excreta and industrial chemicals are human food source animals (chicken, cattle, pigs). Do you really want to eat a hamburger made from a slaughtered cow that ate bird excreta and industrial chemicals? Do you want your pet to eat a food that contains lethal drugs and rendered euthanized animals?
Of course you don’t…but it happens thousands of time every single day even though there are Federal laws in place that should prevent it.
Millions of tax payer dollars are spent for our Representatives in Congress to develop laws with the goal of improving this country; in this case improving the safety of food in the United States. Yet if the government agency – the FDA – responsible for enforcing Federal food safety law, doesn’t enforce the law, why are all those millions spent in Washington in the first place?
So to me, why worry about this new Federal Food Safety Bill? Who knows what the FDA will do with the new laws? What new Compliance Policy will FDA Administration write to get around sections of the law that doesn’t fit with them? All the arguing in Congress, all the tax payer money paying for the tug of war between Democrats and Republicans, doesn’t really matter if the FDA doesn’t abide by Federal law in the first place.
I have for years made a simple analogy of the pet food related FDA Compliance Policies. My comparison is the local police writing a policy that everyone with the last name of Jones could rob a bank and they won’t be prosecuted. Even though robbing a bank is a Federal crime, as long as Ms. or Mr. Jones doesn’t shoot anyone or violate some other law, they could walk into their local branch and steal penalty free millions. Even though Mr. Smith or myself would go to prison if we robbed a bank, this police compliance policy would allow the Jones’ to rob a bank without penalty. It’s the same thing the FDA tells pet food; violate Federal food safety laws…we won’t prosecute.
Interestingly, I had the opportunity to share my ‘robbing the bank’ analogy with FDA Office of Surveillance. After I shared my story of the Jones’ having the opportunity to violate Federal law when all others could not, one of the FDA Representatives (two were on the phone with me) made a statement I’ll never forget. He said “we liken it to speeding”. I replied – “speeding is still a violation of law”. Speeding can kill.
As things stand now, Congress (at taxpayer expense) can argue all they want – back and forth – on food safety. Winners/supporters of the Senate Food Safety Modernization Act can brag how hard they fought for their constituents. But until they follow up with the FDA (or any other government agency responsible for enforcing law) to see exactly how these laws are being enforced, it’s futile.
If you’re infuriated about FDA Compliance policies allowing horrendous ingredients into animal food/pet food despite Federal laws…send an email to your Representatives in Congress. Simply quote the above FDA Compliance policies and ask for an explanation as to how this can happen? Ask them how the FDA can tell pet food to rob the bank and they won’t be prosecuted. If anyone gets a decent response, please forward it to me.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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