The state of New Jersey is illegally regulating one pet product under human food law while all others are regulated under feed law. This is a significant issue that could change the future of pet food in New Jersey.
TruthaboutPetFood.com was alerted to the pet food regulation problem from Dr. Laurie Coger via Gregori Lukas of the New Jersey Independent Pet Store Lukas & Berube Healthy Pet Markets. The problem…the state of New Jersey was confiscating and destroying raw milk pet products. New Jersey was double-dipping in state law and applying human food law to pet products that are regulated solely by the state’s Commercial Feed laws.
Gregori Lukas had been in touch with fellow independent pet store owners in New Jersey. He learned that the New Jersey Department of Health was going into pet food stores (not their jurisdiction) and confiscating all raw milk pet products. In one instance, the New Jersey Department of Health representative – in the independent pet food store – cut the bottoms out of all of the frozen raw milk pet products and ran hot water on the frozen chunks of pet products until they thawed and went down the drain. No pet food store was paid for the products confiscated or destroyed.
Gregori reached out to me, since that moment multiple individuals began investigating the laws regulating pet products in his state.
Notice in the above New Jersey “Public Health Advisory” the New Jersey statutes that were cited; “N.J.S.A. 24:10-57-17 and N.J.S.A. 24:10-57-18“. As FYI – Title “24” of New Jersey law is “Food and Drugs“. Title 24 of New Jersey law regulates human food products and ONLY human food products (not pet food products).
As evidenced above, New Jersey law defines a pet food as “any commercial feed prepared and distributed for consumption by pets.” The significant word to note is “any“. Any product distributed for consumption by pets is – by New Jersey law – considered a commercial feed product and is solely regulated under Title 4, Section 4 in the state.
And, as evidenced by New Jersey law, the sole authority over ‘any commercial feed product’ in New Jersey is the state’s Department of Agriculture.
As further evidence that New Jersey Department of Agriculture is the sole authority over pet food products in the state, in order to sell any pet food product in New Jersey – each pet food product in the state is required by law to register with New Jersey Dept of Agriculture, and pay a minimum fee of $250.00.
For years, New Jersey Department of Agriculture has accepted payment (cashed their check) from each raw milk pet product manufacturer sold in the state without question. NEVER, in the history of raw milk pet products sold in New Jersey, has a manufacturer been questioned or registration payment for these products refunded.
Without doubt – ALL products prepared and distributed for consumption by pets are regulated ONLY by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
Ignoring their jurisdiction ONLY over human raw milk products, the New Jersey Department of Health went into an unknown number of pet stores and confiscated or destroyed on-site raw milk pet products. As well, the New Jersey Department of Health issued a stop-distribution order on all raw milk pet products to distributors in the state. In other words, no raw milk pet products can be sent to pet food stores in the state. The New Jersey Department of Health is controlling a pet food product, regulating it as human food.
Human food law in New Jersey forbids the sale of raw milk products to humans.
Note the above legal requirement to pasteurize milk is under “Title 24 – Food and Drugs” (human food laws), not “Title 4 Agriculture and Domestic Animals” (pet food laws). There are NO regulations in Title 4 (pet product regulations) forbidding the sale of raw milk products to pets.
By New Jersey Health Department stepping into the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and regulating a licensed commercial feed product as human food…a BIG UGLY can of worms has been opened.
New Jersey has to decide…is pet food regulated as food? or is it regulated as feed?
Due to the action of the New Jersey Health Department, the state has established a solid precedent regulating pet food products as human food. The state has to decide which side of the fence they want to stand on and it cannot be both sides. This is a one or the other decision. (And we are determined to make them pick a side).
What would happen in New Jersey if all pet food products were regulated as human food? Only a small number of human grade pet foods would be allowed to be sold in the state – only pet foods that meet every requirement of human food (human edible ingredients and supplements, ingredients and final products are transported and stored per human food safety law, and manufactured in a licensed human food manufacturing facility) would meet New Jersey Title 24 standards. If New Jersey regulated pet food under Title 24 of state law (as they are with raw milk pet products), there would be no Purina, no Pedigree, no Hill’s Science Diet sold in the state. All of these pet foods – most all pet foods – are feed grade products that would not meet human food standards of New Jersey (or any other state’s) laws.
Personally, I hope New Jersey Department of Health continues to enforce human food law with pet food products. New Jersey would then be the first state to sell true pet ‘food’ products. All other consumable pet products could be truthfully labeled as ‘feed’ products (what they actually are).
Gregori Lukas, Dr. Cathy Alinovi of Next Generation Pet Food Manufacturers Association (representing some of the pet raw milk product manufacturers), and myself continue to work together on this significant issue. We have spoken with multiple pet store owners, a couple of distributors, the Department of Agriculture in New Jersey and the Health Department. We were told by the Health Department we would receive an update to our argument of proper jurisdiction over pet food products – but the agency has continued to confiscate and/or destroy raw milk pet products with no update provided.
For any pet owner in New Jersey or any pet store in New Jersey, please write your Governor. Tell Governor Phil Murphy to pick a side. Pet food is either regulated as commercial feed or human food – New Jersey must decide. And tell Governor Murphy to require the NJ Department of Agriculture to fully enforce Title 4 Section 4-20.7 (2) which would prevent the use of “in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter” in any pet food (as it should be prevented by federal law).
Selective enforcement of law must STOP – in New Jersey and every other state. Rest assured, we will continue to battle the state of New Jersey until raw milk is allowed to be sold for pet consumption (and all pet stores are fully reimbursed for seized or destroyed products) OR all pet food products in New Jersey are regulated as human food.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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