Answer: $758,000.00. What do you think? It’s your money, was the money well spent?
In June 2015 the FDA announced they would begin a testing project of raw pet foods for dangerous bacteria. The start date of this raw pet food testing project (and only raw pet food) began on June 1, 2015 and concluded on August 31, 2015. The taxpayer cost for this raw pet food testing project: $758,000.00.
Fact: To date, there has been no human illness linked to bacteria contamination of a raw pet food.
Fact: To date, there have been 111 confirmed cases of human illness linked to bacteria contamination of dry pet foods (49 illnesses in 2012 linked to pet foods manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, 62 illnesses in 2007 linked to pet food manufactured by Mars Petcare).
Despite the fact that no human illness has ever been confirmed linked to bacteria contamination of a raw pet food, the FDA insists raw pet food is dangerous for consumers. In fact, the FDA has numerous pages on their website warning consumers to the ‘risks’ of raw pet food; “Get the Facts! Raw Pet Food Diets can be Dangerous to You and Your Pet”, “Avoid the Dangers of Raw Pet Food”, “FDA’s Advice: Know the Risks of Feeding Raw Foods to Your Pets”.
Despite the fact that dry pet food has been confirmed to have caused 111 human illnesses, there are no warning pages to consumers to the known risks of bacterial contamination of dry pet food on the FDA website.
What did consumers get from their $758,000.00 FDA testing of raw pet food? The raw pet food testing project resulted in four recalls.
Note: one additional raw pet food recall was announced in September 2015, however the testing of this pet food was not part of the FDA testing project. OC Raw Pet Food (640 pounds) recalled on September 27, 2015 due to random testing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
The FDA has not provided information to how many pounds of raw pet food were recalled due to this $758,000.00 testing project, we can estimate the total pounds of raw pet food to be less than 50,000 pounds (very high estimate).
In the past five years, more than 20 million pounds of dry pet food have been recalled due to Salmonella contamination.
So…were your tax dollars well spent?
Disclosure of information received: Questions were sent to FDA asking what the budget was for the raw pet food testing. FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs was over the top helpful and provided a detailed account of the budget for this raw pet food testing project. Cost of raw pet food sample collection totaled $217,000.00, cost of raw pet food sample analysis totaled $541,000.00. A total of 100 samples were tested (10 products purchased for each sample). Sincere thanks to FDA for providing this information.
Personal opinion: there is no doubt that Salmonella or E.coli can be dangerous – I am not arguing this with FDA. What I am arguing is FDA’s approach. $758,000.00 is a lot of money to spend in two months time just testing one very small segment of pet food. The raw pet food segment is estimated to be less than 5% of total sales of all pet foods (5% market share). My question is why doesn’t FDA test equally according to market share? This method would result in protecting more consumers and more pets. FDA has stated they previously tested only dry pet foods thus this project was fair to test only raw foods. Perhaps. But again, dry pet foods have a huge consumer and pet reach (largest market share) and have a history of known contamination and human/pet illness. Perhaps if FDA would ‘play’ fair – unbiased in their testing and warnings – consumers wouldn’t be so suspicious of their motives.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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