Forbes.com recently reported on “China’s Elusive Pet Food Regulation” and it seems the country that sells the US jerky treats and supplements (found in more than 85% of US pet foods) has “no pet food law” – “no pet food manufacturing regulation” – and no “measures for supervising pet food safety or punishing wrongdoers.”
In one month (February 2011) US pet food manufacturers imported over $21 million dollars of pet food ingredients (this dollar amount is assumed to include all pet foods, treats, chews and ingredients) from China. Twenty one million dollars of exports in one month from a country that has no pet food regulations?
China has several administrative agencies dedicated to implementing human food laws, as well as a high-level Food Safety Commission dedicated to macro-policy advice. It has also announced new enforcement initiatives for food safety and is seeking to use the police as a means of breaking up underground operations that produce adulterated food.
By comparison, no laws or regulations establish as comprehensive a structure for pet food. There is no pet food law, there is no pet food manufacturing regulation, and there is no set of specific measures for supervising pet food safety or punishing wrongdoers. A recommended standard for dog treats exists, and a few recommended standards administered by the General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine related to the export of animal food and feed also come up after several broad searches online and in databases. The Ministry of Agriculture also administers regulations on the safety of animal feed and feed additives.
Local regulation on the issue is similarly sparse. Oftentimes when there is a lack of central regulation on an issue, the provinces will enact their own regulations to compensate or as an experiment before central government regulations emerge. However, there is no apparent evidence of comprehensive local regulations concerning pet food in the provinces.
A frequent complaint about Chinese law is that despite the growing body of law and regulation on the books it is selectively enforced, if enforced at all. Whether you think that is true or not, if no law exists, or it is extremely difficult to locate, there is barely a fighting chance for compliance and enforcement.
How can US manufacturers continue to purchase pet foods, treats and pet food ingredients from a country that has no laws assuring the safety of those treats and ingredients? It’s about as irresponsible as it gets.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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