A recent survey of Federal Food Safety employees found startling interference reports. Employees say FDA and USDA administration and even members of Congress are preventing food safety concerns from being properly handled.
The Union of Concerned Scientists along with researchers at Iowa State University sent a survey to nearly 8,000 food safety employees at the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). The survey results show “a food safety system where special interests and public officials all too often inhibit the ability of government scientists and inspectors to protect the food supply.”
The survey of FDA and USDA employees found:
- 27 percent of employees “had personally experienced, either frequently or occasionally, instances where the public health has been harmed by businesses withholding food safety information from agency investigators.”
- 25 percent of employees “had personally experienced, either frequently or occasionally, situations where corporate interests have forced the withdrawal or significant modification of [an agency] policy or action designed to protect consumers or public health.”
- 24 percent of employees “had personally experienced, either frequently or occasionally, situations where members of Congress have forced the withdrawal or significant modification of [an agency] policy or action designed to protect consumers or public health.”
- 34 percent of employees “had personally experienced one or more incidents of political interference.”
Now, with the power of Big Pet Food, along with the powerful lobby organization The Pet Food Institute, imagine the instances of pet health being harmed by pet food safety officials being told to look the other way.
An example of possible ‘special interests’ interference is the deaths of seven puppies believed to be linked to Nutro Puppy Food. Reported on TruthaboutPetFood.com in June 2010, pet owner Judy V. was certain her eight week old puppies deaths were directly related to Nutro. When attempts to save the puppies failed, Judy took remaining barely alive puppies to Dr. Greg Campbell DVM of Oklahoma State University Vet School. Necropsies were performed, along with testing of the pet food. Judy personally signed release papers for Dr. Campbell to disclose all findings to myself and to Lisa McCormick of ConsumerAffairs.com. Three months later Dr. Campbell has yet to release one test result or even return calls.
Was the Nutro Puppy Food the cause of the seven puppy deaths? We don’t know. Interference from somewhere – someone – has stopped the investigation in its tracks.
This exact scenario is undoubtedly repeated everyday – probably multiple times everyday across the U.S. Unresolved pet illness and/or death. The FDA encourages pet owners to report ‘adverse events’ related to pet food, however when time after time each incident goes unresolved, many pet owners feel why bother.
While I still believe Pet Owners should report all incidents of food/treat related incidents to the FDA, the State Department of Agriculture, and to the pet food manufacturer, I am certain ‘interference from Special Interests’ shuts down investigations. If the FDA is serious about rebuilding their image, they need to begin with enforcing food safety law as it is written. No Special Interests allowed.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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