Some significant progress (I hope) was made this morning to give pet parents a voice. Below are some quick updates…
AAFCO Committee Current Issues & Outreach Committee – Dr. Hofve and I both are going to ask to participate on this committee. Currently three members of The Pet Food Institute sit on this committee. I have high hopes we will be allowed to participate.
AAFCO Pet Food Committee – Thanks to Dr. Hofve – we are both now on AAFCO’s Pet Food Committee. Dr. Jean and I will both be sitting at the table tomorrow during the Pet Food Committee meeting.
A Dr. Ferrah (not sure if I have that spelling correct) of FDA spoke; many of his presentation was how FDA is seeking input from industry and AAFCO. Towards the very end, he mentioned that the FDA is working with consumers and industry. I raised my hand and asked how/when are they working with consumers. I believe the name he gave me was Pet Food Products Safety Alliance – he told me the FDA meets with this group of pet owners several times a year. Well, Pet Food Products Safety Alliance is Don Earl – who has for years been a strong advocate for pet food safety. I didn’t remember – ever – of hearing Don speak of having several meetings with the FDA each year – but just to confirm I emailed him. Nope – he’s never had such meetings with the FDA. So…I will track down Dr. Ferrah again over the next several days to see if I have the name wrong (of the pet food consumer group he was referencing) or if perhaps Dr. Ferrah was misinformed.
After this segment, I went up to the stage and spoke personally with Dr. Ferrah. I shared with him that in general – pet owners don’t have much confidence in the FDA. I shared that even reporting a pet food incident to FDA doesn’t happen often because pet parents don’t have much faith the FDA will do anything about it. I gave him the recent example of the Iams/Price Chopper pet food pull. I explained the concern that even though this product was pulled because of elevated aflatoxin levels, there was no recall. I asked what about the pet owners that didn’t get that notice – the pets that were still eating that food? Basically he agreed this would be a concern, that the FDA is trying, and that they would be willing to hear more pet owner concerns. I plan to stay in touch with Dr. Ferrah.
At about this point Eric Nelson of FDA (used to be with AAFCO) walked up and introduced himself. I shared with Eric Nelson the same example of the Iams/Price Chopper product pull. Though I did not get any solid response, I felt he was compassionate to the problem. Then he made the statement – FDA is a science based organization. Trying not to be too assertive – I joked with him I was just about to call his hand on the ‘science based’ claim. I said…”ok, then could you provide me with the science that proves pet food ingredients sourced from 4D animals provides nutrition?” He smiled and again made the statement he understood my concern. I don’t know that Eric Nelson is someone at FDA who could help us, but at least he listened. I will stay in touch with him as well.
A real puzzler…Sharon Krebs who has been the secretary (person that did everything in the office) for 20 something years was ‘let go’ effective end of March. AAFCO is hiring a management firm to handle ‘things’. Sharon has always been very nice and helpful to me – I can’t imagine that a management firm will be as nice and helpful.
I’ll share more tonight on Google Plus Hangout – talk to you later! I’m trying for 7 PM PT – but it might be a bit earlier – I’ll post a notice on Facebook and Google Plus ten to fifteen minutes prior.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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