Kansas Secretary of Agriculture unknowingly gave away the last piece of the puzzle as to why States and FDA does not enforce law with pet food. It’s all about money. Toto, you better get out of Kansas!
We know the laws governing pet food, we know FDA and State Department of Agriculture ignores those laws, we know risky ingredients recycled from sick or dead non-slaughtered animals goes into pet food, and now we know exactly why.
At the industry trade event Pet Food Forum, held in Kansas City (mid April 2016), the Kansas Secretary of Agriculture gave a presentation to the pet food manufacturing crowd in attendance. What she said during her presentation puts the last piece of the puzzle in place.
Kansas Department of Agriculture was asked: ‘What kind of tools does Kansas or other states have for start up pet food companies?’ Through her response we learn that Kansas Department of Agriculture (and presumably every other state) has an ‘Agriculture Marketing Team’. A ‘marketing team’ within the tax dollar supported Department of Agriculture, that works to help agriculture businesses, such as pet food, to grow. In other words, Agriculture Marketing Teams are the revenue producing division of State Department of Agriculture. As pet food businesses prosper, so does the tax revenue for the state that helps them.
A government division helping businesses grow is all fine and good until you realize that the very same Kansas Department of Agriculture is responsible for enforcing agriculture law within the state. How can Kansas Department of Agriculture separate themselves from their state revenue producing responsibilities – growth of pet food businesses in Kansas – from their enforcement responsibilities?
As it turns out, Kansas doesn’t separate themselves from their revenue producing responsibilities; it turns out that Kansas – like every other state – neglects their enforcement responsibilities with pet food.
Kansas state law is just like federal law. Kansas law defines food as “articles used for food or drink for humans or other animals”. Kansas law, just like federal law, defines an adulterated food (in part) as (bold added) “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated: (a) (5) it is the product of a diseased animal or an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter”.
Numerous pet food ingredients – which are sold in pet food in Kansas (and every other state) – are allowed to be sourced from legally defined adulterated sources such as “an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter”. Just a few of those common pet food ingredients are Animal Fat, Animal Digest, Meat and Bone Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, and Chicken By-Products. Just a few of the popular pet foods sold in Kansas that include these ingredients are Beneful, Pedigree, and Meow Mix.
Why isn’t Kansas enforcing law?
Why is Kansas allowing many pet foods to include illegal, adulterated ingredients?
It could be that by enforcing law in Kansas, those pesky laws would hinder prominent pet food businesses in the state – such as Nestle Purina, Mars Petcare, and Smucker’s Big Heart Brands. Thus hinder the revenue provided to the state of Kansas (less profits = less tax revenue). Purina, Mars, and Big Heart just happen to have manufacturing operations in Kansas and all of these pet food brands just happen to use ingredients that can be sourced from ‘an animal that has died otherwise than by slaughter’ (Purina – Beneful, Mars Petcare – Pedigree, Big Heart Brands – Meow Mix).
Kansas doesn’t stop with just lack of enforcement of law, Kansas went above and beyond to help the local pet food industry. At taxpayer expense, Kansas Department of Agriculture took “a delegation of Kansas pet food industry company representatives” on a free trip to Bangkok, Thailand. At taxpayer expense, Kansas gave two pet food companies (ingredient provider and a pet food manufacturing equipment provider) the opportunity to makes business connections in Asia.
Kansas Department of Agriculture all but said it. It’s all about money. Money for federal government and money for state government. It’s not about law, it’s about protecting the largest business stakeholders of pet food for the sake of providing money to government.
Did Kansas take ‘a delegation’ of local pet food consumers on a free trip to Thailand? No.
Does Kansas allow any other industry the opportunity to sell illegal, adulterated, recycled dead, diseased, bacteria filled, dangerous to consume animal material as food? No. Just the animal food industry is given this special permission.
Florida (my home state) has laws exactly like Kansas. Over the past five weeks I have emailed and phoned Florida Department of Agriculture more than a dozen times. I’ve had to ask for assistance from my state Representative to get Florida to even begin a conversation as to why my state is not enforcing law with pet food. Florida’s response: cricket…cricket…cricket… Florida won’t respond. Florida is a HUGE agriculture state; and it seems Florida cares more about protecting its agriculture interests (tax revenue to Florida Department of Agriculture) instead of protecting the lives of millions of pets that reside in the state.
Missouri is another state with the same laws as Kansas. Missouri Department of Agriculture is home to the co-chair of the AAFCO Pet Food Committee (AAFCO is who wrote the definitions of the pet food ingredients that are allowed to be sourced from ‘an animal that has died other than by slaughter’ – all of which are illegal in Missouri and every other state.) Missouri Department of Agriculture told pet food consumer advocates ‘dead animal material isn’t illegal because (dangerous) endotoxins are not added to the pet food’. (No kidding, that’s what they said.)
Louisiana Department of Agriculture – home to the President of AAFCO – told us the law stating a food is adulterated if it contains ‘an animal that has died other than by slaughter’ cannot be enforced because there is no definition of slaughter. (Again, no kidding, that’s what they said.)
The FDA openly stated in a recent meeting they will continue to allow pet food to use illegal, ‘animals that have died other than by slaughter’ ingredients – a direct violation of the very laws FDA is charged with enforcing.
Regardless to the multitude of responses or lack of responses we’ve received, now we know the REAL reason to why government does not enforce law. Enforcement of law would hinder profits of pet food (selling cheap, dangerous, illegal ingredients in a pet food) thus enforcement of law would hinder the revenue provided to government. The last piece of the puzzle.
When you put all of the pieces of the puzzle together, this is what happens….
While FDA, Kansas, and every other state actively supports businesses that provide revenue to government, pets are dying linked to consuming rendered dead animal carcasses. This is just one example of what an illegal/adulterated ingredient pet food can cause…
This is Maggie. She died about 1 year ago from consuming a pet food that contained four illegal ingredients. Her symptoms identically matched the symptoms of endotoxemia. Even though her illness progressed rapidly, she suffered before she died. Her family continues to suffer because they have learned that FDA and every single U.S. State allows illegal, adulterated, recycled dead, diseased, bacteria filled – endotoxin producing dangerous ingredients into pet food. They had no clue, who would? Who would ever think that state and federal government would be so corrupt to openly allow pet food to violate food safety law all for the sake of money?
Rendered dead animal material is illegal because it is seriously dangerous for a pet to consume. The USDA states “The cooking step of the rendering process kills most bacteria, but does not eliminate endotoxins produced by some bacteria during the decay of carcass tissue. These toxins can cause disease, and pet food manufacturers do not test their products for endotoxins.” Unfortunately for pets and pet food consumers, the USDA has no jurisdiction over pet food.
The FDA and each State Department of Agriculture refuses to acknowledge the FACT that endotoxins are killing pets. And now we understand why.
FDA and State Department of Agriculture are tax dollar supported government agencies. In other words, it our money being used to support these agencies. It is our money they are using to allow pet food to violate law, send pet food on free trips to Thailand, and kill pets. Because our money is involved, we have a say in this issue.
Pet food consumers are the LARGEST stakeholder of pet food, and pet food consumers are the LARGEST provider of revenue to government.
If it is unacceptable to you – for government agencies to spend your money helping some pet food companies make billions in profits while pets die – then we need to do something about this. We need to do something now – before one more pet dies.
The following letter is an example of what pet food consumers can send to their state and federal lawmakers. Your Governor, State Representatives, and Congressional Representatives…
As a pet food consumer resident of _______, I am appalled that my state ignores law with pet food. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act defines food as “articles used for food or drink for humans or other animals”. The same Act defines an adulterated food (in part) as “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated if: it is the product of a diseased animal or an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter”.
The legal definition of many commonly used pet food ingredients allow the use of non-slaughtered animal sources (“animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter”) – these pet food ingredients are a direct violation of the Act quoted above. Yet, in every grocery across the state are pet foods that include these illegal ingredients.
I understand it is necessary for our state to support agricultural businesses. But I do not understand how or why my state can support agricultural businesses by ignoring pet food law. This is unacceptable.
Animals that have died other than by slaughter allowed into pet food is a certain risk to pet health. Quoting the USDA “The cooking step of the rendering process kills most bacteria, but does not eliminate endotoxins produced by some bacteria during the decay of carcass tissue. These toxins can cause disease, and pet food manufacturers do not test their products for endotoxins.”
Which is more important to (your state), revenue or pet health? I expect the laws that govern pet food to be enforced in my state. Tax revenue provided by industry selling illegal adulterated pet food should not be priority for my state, pet health should be priority.
And I will not stop asking for law to be enforced with pet food, no matter how long it takes.
I assure everyone, I will not stop pushing for law to be enforced with pet food. Pets are dying – we know it for fact. We have every piece of the puzzle now.
Please – send your letters, emails or call. We are the biggest stakeholder in pet food and our voices together will change the future of pet food. Ten minutes of your time will make a difference. Please email your Governor, State Representatives, and Congressional Representatives in Washington DC. If they have any questions – send them to me or Mollie Morrissette or Dr. Jean Hofve. We have answers.
My thanks to Maggie’s family for allowing me to share her picture and her story. We will never forget you Maggie. This fight is for you and all the pets that illegal pet foods have sickened or killed.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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