Let’s Get the Facts Straight FDA
FDA is telling pet food consumers “germs have been found in raw pet foods that can make pets and people sick.” This warning is good, except FDA forgot to warn consumers to the germs found in kibble pet foods and pet treats. Let’s get the facts straight FDA.
Certainly Salmonella can be a dangerous germ. In the 2012 Diamond pet food plant Salmonella recall, 49 people in 20 states became ill linked to the contaminated (kibble) pet food. But, the problem is – FDA is telling pet food consumers that Salmonella is a risk ONLY with raw pet food. In a recent post on the FDA blog (yes, FDA has a blog), the agency stated “Can Raw Food make me sick? Yes. Handling raw pet food increases the risk you will come into contact with harmful germs. It also increases the risk of contaminating other surfaces like countertops and cutting boards with those germs.”
Where is the FDA consumer warning to risk of handling kibble pet foods or treats? No where to be found.
Just so pet food consumers can get the facts straight – in the past five years (June 2010 – June 2015) – just for Salmonella contamination, there have been 23 kibble recalls, 14 raw recalls, and 26 treat recalls.
The above is based on the actual number of FDA recall press releases over the past 5 years. But as we all know, sometimes one FDA recall press release includes more than one variety of pet food. Often, multiple pet foods are recalled in one press release. So…what is the total of individual pet foods recalled due to Salmonella contamination for the same time frame?
The above numbers are a little misleading. As example, in the 2013 Salmonella recall of Natura Pet Foods, the recall press release stated “All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes, All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014, EVO dry dog, cat and ferret food and biscuits/bars/treats – All Lot Codes, All UPC’s, All package sizes, All expiration dates prior to 6-10-2014, California Natural dry dog and cat foods and biscuits/bars/treats…” The 2012 Salmonella recall of Diamond Pet Food included all varieties with a particular number in the lot code. The kibble numbers listed above DO NOT include all the individual products recalled in the Natura Salmonella recall or all the individual products recalled in the Diamond Salmonella recall (which included numerous brands such as Diamond Naturals, Chicken Soup, Taste of the Wild, and more). So – the above total of 78 individual kibble pet foods recalled due to Salmonella contamination is low (very low). The total of 27 raw foods is accurate.
The FDA website provides “Enforcement Reports” for some recalls (Click Here for an example). These Enforcement Reports provide (some of them provide) “Product Distributed Quantity” information. This is significant information – how much/how many pounds of pet food has been distributed to the market that needs to be removed from store shelves. As example, below is a copy of the FDA Enforcement Report for the 2012 Taste of The Wild Pet Food Salmonella recall…
Please notice – second to last line – Product Distributed Quantity is “Approx. 10,275,000 lbs total (for all Taste of the Wild brand products).”
To put this into perspective, the most recent Salmonella raw pet food recall was for OC Raw Turkey and Produce Canine Formula – this recall stated “OC Raw Dog of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA is voluntarily recalling 2055 lbs. of Turkey & Produce Raw Frozen Canine Formulation, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.”
One brand of kibble pet food recalled for Salmonella – 10,275,000 lbs of pet food recalled.
One brand of raw pet food recalled for Salmonella – 2,055 lbs of pet food recalled.
In searching the FDA Enforcement Reports for the past five years, the following is all of the information the FDA provided for ‘Product Distributed Quantity’ of all Salmonella recalls…
Based only on the information FDA provided in a small percentage of Salmonella Enforcement Reports over the past five years, below is the comparison of pounds of raw pet food vs kibble pet food recalled…
The FDA recently announced the agency is now performing Salmonella testing of raw pet foods – and only raw pet foods. No testing of kibble pet foods or pet treats was mentioned.
Can anyone explain why tax dollars are being spent to test one style of pet food for bacteria that has a very small market share? Isn’t the risk of Salmonella far greater for kibble pet foods and pet treats because so many more pet food consumers use these products (than a raw pet food)?
Is the FDA worrying night and day for the safety of raw pet food consumers and the agency not worrying one little bit about kibble pet food or pet treat consumers?
Shouldn’t recall history guide the FDA in warning pet food consumers that all pet foods and treats can pose a risk of germs?
The FDA owes pet food consumers an explanation.
The following message was sent to FDA…
On behalf of pet food consumers, I am writing to share significant concern of FDA’s recent consumer warning to the risk of raw pet food. In a blog post the FDA stated: “Can Raw Food make me sick? Yes. Handling raw pet food increases the risk you will come into contact with harmful germs. It also increases the risk of contaminating other surfaces like countertops and cutting boards with those germs.”
As well, the agency recently announced “CVM Assignment to Collect Official Samples of Raw Foods for Cats and Dogs…” And the agency stated in a press release “Additionally, the dogs that tested positive for Salmonella were more likely to have eaten raw pet food, study results show” – which has been quoted all over the media.
We are concerned the FDA is not properly warning all pet food consumers to the risks of Salmonella contamination in all pet foods and treats. We are concerned that FDA is not testing all pet food/treat products for Salmonella contamination.
I would like to share with FDA some statistics taken from pet food recalls over the past five years.
From June 2010 through June 2015…
- There have been 23 kibble recalls, 14 raw recalls, and 26 treat recalls for Salmonella.
- Individual products recalled for Salmonella are 78 kibble foods, 27 raw foods, 26 treats.
- Pounds of pet food recalled for Salmonella (taken directly from FDA Enforcement Reports) are 19,407,827 pounds of kibble, 17,685 pounds of raw.
Statistically – based on recall history over the past five years – kibble pet foods pose a much greater risk to consumers of Salmonella contamination than raw pet foods. It is difficult to understand how raw pet food – with such a small market share – can be considered more of a risk to consumers than kibble pet foods which have a massive market share. So we ask the agency why is raw pet food being singled out as the greatest risk in press release information? Don’t millions of kibble pet food consumers deserve to be warned to the possible risk of Salmonella? Don’t millions of consumers buying pet treats deserve to be warned to the possible risk of Salmonella contamination in those treats? Just as FDA warns raw pet food consumers?
We ask why has FDA not given similar warnings via press release of potential risk to Salmonella in kibble pet foods and treats? And we ask why FDA is not testing kibble pet foods and treats for bacteria at the same rate as raw foods?
An explanation is requested. Thank you.
on behalf of Pet Food Consumer Members
Association for Truth in Pet Food
Should a response be provided by FDA, it will be posted.
It is my personal opinion that FDA has not forgotten about the risk to millions of pet food consumers of the Salmonella contamination potential in kibble pet food or pet treats. It is my personal opinion that FDA has little to no understanding of raw pet food or minimally processed pet food and the agency is attacking what they don’t understand.
Perhaps it is time for FDA to sit down with raw/minimally processed pet food manufacturers and learn from them; after all, the agency does sit down with Big Pet Feed on a regular basis. I suggest to raw/minimally processed pet food manufacturers to band together and take a trip to FDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Start your own raw/minimally processed pet food manufacturers trade association (do NOT join the PFI) – become an industry stakeholder – go to FDA and fight for your customers and your companies. Teach them some things they desperately need to learn about pet food.
As recall history above proves, there is no excuse for FDA to be singling out one style of pet food as the biggest risk to consumers. This is wrong FDA – very wrong.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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