The Food and Drug Administration is moving towards keeping tabs on what we feed our beloved pets. For the first time, the FDA is aiming to prevent animal foods from disease-causing bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants.
In a consumer update, the FDA says this includes the food pet owners give cats, dogs and other companions, as well as what farmers feed their livestock. It’s all part of the food-safety framework in the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act which hopes to prevent foodborne illnesses.
“Unlike safeguards already in place to protect human foods, there are currently no regulations governing the safe production of most animal foods. There is no type of hazard analysis. This rule would change all that,” said Daniel McChesney, Ph.D., director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Contaminated pet food can hurt humans who handle that food. If contaminated pet food is on the kitchen counter, bacteria can spread to foods that pet owners eat.
The FDA plan would create regulations that address the manufacturing, processing, packing and holding of animal food. Facilities would need to have a food safety plan, analyze potential hazards and find ways to minimize those risks. They’d also be monitored.
The proposed rule would also ensure that foods exported to the United States are held to the same FDA food safety standards applied to foods produced here.
The proposal comes at a time when jerky treats made in China are blamed for sickening 3,600 pets and killing 600.
The public will have a chance to comment on the proposed rule for 120 days.