The FDA website, on a page regarding pet foods, proudly cites the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). With reading just a few of the FD&C Act laws, and a little reading on the FDA website, there is absolute proof that the FDA ignores Federal Law. It’s time for pet owners to take this proof to the FDA’s boss – Congress.
The United States Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is a set of laws passed by Congress giving authority to the FDA to oversee the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics. Quoting the FDA webpage titled ‘Pet Food’: “The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that pet foods, like human foods, be pure and wholesome, safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.” http://www.fda.gov/cvm/petfoods.htm. Federal law requires it, but the FDA ignores it; choosing to protect the interests of business and industry instead of abiding by the law and protecting our pets.
Federal Law states that NO food should be adulterated; NO human or animal food can contain any part of a diseased animal or contain any part of an animal that has died other than by slaughter. The FDA website tells pet food manufacturers they will NOT enforce this law.
To give you a complete understanding, here are the applicable quotes from the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act laws. http://www.fda.gov/opacom/laws/fdcact/fdcact3.htm
- Section 201 (f) provides the definition of food: “The term ‘food’ means (1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, (2) chewing gum, and (3) articles used for components of any such article.”
- Section 301 Prohibited Acts and Penalties: (a) “The introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food, drug, device, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded.” (c) “The receipt in interstate commerce of any food, drug, device, or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded, and the delivery or proffered delivery thereof for pay or otherwise.”
- Section 402 Adulterated food: “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated – (a) Poisonous, insanitary, or deleterious ingredients.” (a)(5) “if it is, in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter;”
Now, here is what the FDA website states about Federal Law 402(a)(5):
“Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.”
The FDA, despite Federal law, decided that diseased animals or animals which have died other than by slaughter, is safe for your pet to eat. In other words, the FDA is telling pet owners: ‘Yes, we realize there is a law against this, but we’re not going to do anything about it.’
From the same FDA webpage:
“The pet food canning industry utilizes undecomposed animal and marine tissues from various sources. These include products of the rendering industry such as various meat, poultry, and bone meals; meat scraps and offal from packing house waste, freshly boned-out animals; and occasionally meat from animals that may have died otherwise than by slaughter. Before processing, many of these commodities may be considered in violation of *402(a)(5)*, however, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is aware of no instances of disease or other hazard occurring from canned packing house offal or the tissues of animals that may have died otherwise than by slaughter.”
Just to be clear, Federal law does NOT allow into ANY food, a diseased animal or animal that has died other than by slaughter – regardless if the food or food ingredient is processed or not. Some pet food ingredients are approved for use by GRAS – Generally Recognized as Safe – standards; animals that are diseased or that have died other than by slaughter are NOT GRAS! This is in complete violation of Federal law. There is NO scientific evidence provided by the FDA or the CVM to substantiate the claim they are ‘not aware of disease or other hazards’ occurring from animals that consume this material.
In contradiction to the above, another page from the FDA website admits the risk of pets consuming diseased animals or animals that have died other than by slaughter.
“CVM is aware of the sale of dead, dying, disabled, or diseased (4-D) animals to salvagers for use as animal food. Meat from these carcasses is boned and the meat is packaged or frozen without heat processing. The raw, frozen meat is shipped for use by several industries, including pet food manufacturers, zoos, greyhound kennels, and mink ranches. This meat may present a potential health hazard to the animals that consume it and to the people who handle it.”
The FDA’s stance on animals – Your Pet – consuming a pet food made from dead, dying, disabled, or diseased animals: ‘We know it’s a risk, we know it’s against the law, but we don’t care; we’ve got to protect industry.’
The FDA’s action to allow 4-D animals to be processed into pet food is not only against the law, it proves the FDA is looking out for the interests of big business instead of pet owners. Without pet food being the dumping ground for 4-D animals and other by-products, these waste ingredients would need to be destroyed by incineration; removing a profit source for industry and turning it into an expense.
Pet Food related industries have been protected by the FDA for years. The livestock and rendering industries have complained to the FDA for many years that the expense of disposing of BSE (mad cow disease) related animal parts (brain and spinal column only) would be too costly; these industries have successfully delayed the ban of BSE materials – also known as Specified Risk Materials – from pet food since 2001. http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/01/Mar01/031501/c004175.pdf. As it stands right now, in April 2009 Specified Risk Materials from BSE suspect animals will no longer be allowed in pet food. This is the brain and spinal column only. The rest of a suspect mad cow diseased animal, or any other diseased animal, or any animal that has died other than by slaughter, will continue to be allowed in pet foods.
4-D animals – approved by the FDA for use in pet food – also can contain drugs; again, despite Federal law against this. In 2000 and 2002 the FDA, under pressure from practicing veterinarians, tested dog foods purchased directly from store shelves. They found the drug pentobarbital in many of these dog foods. Pentobarbital is the drug used to euthanize animals; including dogs and cats. It has been rumored for many years that euthanized dogs and cats, along with other 4-D animals are rendered and become ingredients in pet food. The FDA attempted to scientifically disprove the rumor by testing for a species source of the pentobarbital euthanized animal in dog food. Their results showed NO conclusive proof of species source of the drug.
Pet food ingredients that could possibly contain a 4-D animal are: ‘Meat and Bone Meal’, ‘Meat Meal’ (not meals that are meat specific such as ‘chicken meal’), ‘By-Product Meal’, ‘Animal Digest’, and ‘Animal Fat’. The two most commonly used pet food ingredients from this list would be by-product meal and animal fat. Some of the most popular pet foods available use these ingredients. According to Federal Law – specifically section 402 (a)(5) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act – all pet foods and treats that contain the ingredients meat and bone meal, meat meal, by-product meal, animal digest, and/or animal fat, the companies that manufacture them, the companies that transport them, and the companies that sell them – are in violation of Federal law and subject to fines and penalties.
One more piece of evidence to prove the FDA ignores Federal law is under the category of misbranded food. Quoting the FD&C Act: Section 403 Misbranded food: “A food shall be deemed to be misbranded – “False or misleading label. If (1) its labeling is false or misleading in any particular, or (2) in the case of a food to which section 411 applies, its advertising is false or misleading in a material respect or its labeling is in violation of section 411(b)(2).” Pet food regulations are developed by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) and are completely accepted by the FDA. In complete defiance of Federal law, AAFCO regulations allow pet food manufacturers to misbrand pet foods. Regulation PF7 of the AAFCO manual, category Nutritional Adequacy: (a) “The label of a pet food or specialty pet food which is intended for all life stages of the pet or specialty pet may include an unqualified claim, directly or indirectly, such as ‘complete and balanced’, ‘perfect’, ‘scientific’ or ‘100% nutritious’…”
Federal Law states misbranding of a food is when the label provides misleading information; AAFCO and the FDA ignore the law and allow pet foods to make misleading claims. Every pet food label that has been allowed to make an “unqualified claim, directly or indirectly” is in direct violation of Federal Law.
This has to stop.
The FDA should not – Can Not – be allowed to ignore Federal law.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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