Being the Caped Crusader for Safe Pet Food can present some…challenging moments. Some of the most challenging is dealing with attitudes; the attitude of some pet food manufacturers and some regulatory authorities. Here is the summary of a few conversations I’ve had recently with those in the pet food/pet food regulatory business. It’s not pretty.
No – I’m not sharing the names. It’s the general attitude that is so concerning, not who said what. The attitude that it is the pet food consumer’s fault, that pet food just doesn’t matter – that’s the real concern. Some of the conversations below didn’t end well, but some conversations I or we have with regulatory authorities or pet food manufacturers (myself and fellow advocate Mollie Morrissette) do end better than where we started. Which tells me some of those in the pet food business can open their minds to the consumer point of view. Here’s a review from some of the most recent conversations…
A conversation with a pet food manufacturer turned to another request for them to provide consumers with their Pledge to Quality and Origin. I was told no. This company didn’t feel the Pledge was necessary. When I tried to explain that consumers want that assurance – that ‘pledge’ assuring us that ingredients are human grade. This pet food representative stated ‘pet foods aren’t required to be human grade’. And that’s when the argument started.
Me: Yes, actually the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires all food – and the legal definition of food includes pet food – to be of the same quality – human grade. There is no separation within the law to grade of human food and grade of pet food.
Them: Yes, there is.
Me: No, the FDA allows a separation between human food and pet food with Compliance Policies, but the law does not.
Them: But the law doesn’t require pet food to be human grade.
Me: Yes, it does. The law says a food is adulterated if it contains any part of a diseased animal or an animal that has died other than by slaughter – yet pet foods are allowed through Compliance Policies to use those very ingredients. The law is there, but it is not enforced.
Them: But it doesn’t mean pet foods are required to be human grade.
And this went on and on until we just agreed to disagree.
When I reported a couple of pet foods that were mislabeled (misleading labels) to a state regulatory authority (and this was after reporting the same foods to several other state authorities) the complaint fell on deaf ears. When I shared that I’ve reported these foods to other regulatory authorities and to the pet food manufacturers but no one has done anything about it – this particular State Department of Agriculture person said ‘Well then stop buying it’.
Me: I don’t buy the product, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that the pet foods have misleading labels and that’s illegal.
Them: Well, if people wouldn’t buy the foods, then there wouldn’t be a problem would there?
Me: That isn’t the pet food consumers responsibility – that is a regulatory responsibility.
Them: Well then you need to go to the legislature of all the states and ask them to give us more money. Some of the states only have one or two people doing everything. They just can’t do it all.
Me: Well, the state needs to stop selling the foods then. Pet foods shouldn’t be sold if the state can’t oversee the safety of them or assure the consumer they are legally labeled.
(This would be one of those conversations that didn’t end well.)
And then there is the conversation with a regulatory authority that got side tracked to my age old complaint of FDA Compliance Policies allowing diseased animals and euthanized animals to become rendered pet food ingredients. When I mentioned these Compliance Policies are FDA’s way to allow pet food to violate federal law, this person said…
Them: No, they aren’t illegal because the ingredients are safe.
I bit my lip. Safe? This conversation ended with that statement. Anyone that would consider rendered diseased animals to be “safe” food…well, there is just no sense in continuing this conversation. Next time however, I’m going to ask them to try feeding their family this “safe” meat meal sourced from rendered, diseased animals. If they survive a month, we can talk about it again.
I’ve also recently had two different regulatory authorities give me guidance on how I should write my posts on TruthaboutPetFood.com, one even asked me to go back and change a past article.
That said, I can tell you with certainty that not all regulatory authorities and not all pet food manufacturers turn such a blind eye to the ‘truth’. Some have told me they think the consumer voice needs to be heard and one regulatory authority specifically told me to ‘not give up’. They shared they felt ‘we’ (and this we was the regulatory association) needed to be reminded of the consumer point of view.
Some are listening, and we are grateful for those few.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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