Similar to Hollywood’s Worst Dressed List or (if you’re old enough to remember) Laugh In’s Fickle Finger of Fate Award, Truth about Pet Food announces the first annual Biggest Stupid Act in Pet food Award. The Award will be given to the organization or manufacturer that during the year showed the most disgusting display of stupidity in the manufacturing of pet foods and treats, or in the regulations of pet foods and treats. After many stupid acts were considered, the 2008 Biggest Stupid Act in Pet Food award winner has been decided.
Mars Petcare was a 2008 Stupid Act in Pet Food contender for numerous pet food recalls this year due to salmonella contamination. The Mars Petcare plant in Pennsylvania ended up being permanently closed in 2008. While no reports provided an exact number of effected pets and people due to Mars’ salmonella contamination, it was serious enough to close the plant for three months earlier in the year, and permanently close the plant late in 2008. Failure to properly clean pet food manufacturing equipment and causing a salmonella outbreak was certainly stupid, but not an award winning stupid act.
The FDA’s pet food safety meeting held in May 2008 was another contender for top stupid act in pet food. Congress told the FDA after the horrific 2007 pet food recall, to develop some serious changes in pet food regulations and safety. The May 2008 pet food safety meeting was held seeking stakeholder input for improvement of pet food safety. After months and months of waiting by concerned pet owners all across the country, the anticipated pet food safety meeting began…and ended ninety minutes later. Nothing resolved, nothing new developed to protect pets; a complete waste of time and tax payer money. With the exception of Mike Floyd’s (DefendourPets.org) speech, the entire meeting was definitely a stupid act in pet food for 2008.
The Members of Congress are another contender for the top stupid act in pet food for 2008. After the 2007 pet food recall, members of Congress did seem to be concerned about the safety of pet food in the US. Congress required the FDA to develop an early warning system for pet food recalls and an improved surveillance system to prevent future recalls. The deadline Congress mandated for the FDA to complete these tasks was September 2008. The deadline passed, the FDA did Not develop an early warning system or improved pet food surveillance system, and Congress didn’t care. Congress did a great job (ok, fair job) at jumping on the FDA’s case and requiring improved regulations for the safety of pet food, however they did nothing to follow up. Developing new laws and regulations to protect pets is helpful, but if you don’t make sure someone actually does the work you developed, it’s just a waste of time and money. Stupid.
Congress actually gets two votes for stupid pet food act of the year; this one has to do existing Federal laws being ignored. In early November, pet owners all across the United States wrote letters and emails to their respective Representatives in Congress specifically explaining that the FDA is allowing the laws of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to be violated with some pet foods. Every pet owner sent the same letter, and every letter left no question of doubt. However, every Congressional Representative that bothered to respond (only about half did) completely ignored the subject of the letters sent to them. Very stupid; elected officials not even bothering to read the letters sent to them from concerned voting pet owners. The FDA gets a bigger vote for stupidity than Congress with this issue; the FDA is the one actually allowing Federal law to be violated even though they are not legally empowered to pick and choose what laws they enforce.
China has had their contributions to stupid pet food acts this year too, although in 2008 China seems to be stupid-er with people food than pet food; 2007 was China’s stupid year for pet food. Hiding the tainted baby formula warnings until after the Olympics is far more than stupid, it should be criminal. Furthermore, recent news of melamine only being the tip of the iceberg of contaminants in Chinese food imports, unless immediate changes are made, China will more than likely be in the running for the 2009 Biggest Stupid Act in pet food. Another vote needs to go to the FDA for continuing to Not inform US consumers of Chinese imported foods or ingredients in foods – pet or people. Not providing consumers and petsumers with this information is not only stupid, it’s incredibly risky. And by the way, any pet food manufacturer that continues to purchase ingredients from China, the odds are in their favor to be included in 2009’s SAP list.
Dr. Sally Perea, a veterinarian who consults with the pet food industry, had a stupid move this year. When speaking to the American Veterinary Medical Association annual meeting, she stated that Congress’s “knee jerk” reaction to the pet food recall of 2007 was not a well thought out reaction; she stated to AVMA members “adding pending legislation provisions directed at pet food” was not the right move. I guess Dr. Perea feels pet food manufacturers are better left regulating themselves. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
And then there is Dr. Greg Aldrich, consultant to the pet food industry. His stupid act this year was stating that pet food manufacturers are missing the boat by not using the leftovers from the production of ethanol as a pet food ingredient. More leftover garbage to be used in pet food? Stupid!
Clearly the above stupid acts are not a complete list, 2008 has been a year full of stupidity for many involved in pet food. However the winner this year has to go to…drum roll please…the FDA. Their stupid list is extra long and far more ridiculous than all the others combined; headliners include BPA, melamine, ignoring Congressional deadlines, and ignoring Federal law.
Unfortunately, the FDA ‘winning’ the 2008 Biggest Stupid Act in Pet food Award means losing for pets and their owners. Hopefully, 2009 will be a year of few to no stupid acts in pet food; we’ll have to wait and see. Here’s hoping that a new chief of the FDA will actually care about pets and pet food safety (and have a strong respect of the law). Here’s hoping that pet food manufacturers will stop using Chinese imports until China proves they can be trusted. Here’s hoping that AAFCO and the FDA get their act together and label pet foods honestly. Here’s hoping that not one pet becomes sick or dies in 2009 due to pet food stupidity.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients? Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
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