Breaking News Bar
updated: 10/25/2013 10:04 AM

FDA proposes rules to make animal food safer

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Patricia Cassidy with her dog, Doodles, at the veterinarian in Chattanooga, Tenn., after doodles had been diagnosed with kidney failure. Doodles is believed to be one of 580 dogs in the U.S. that have died in the past six years from eating pet jerky from China. Amid incidents of pets dying from dog treats, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited rules to make pet food and animal feed safer.

      Patricia Cassidy with her dog, Doodles, at the veterinarian in Chattanooga, Tenn., after doodles had been diagnosed with kidney failure. Doodles is believed to be one of 580 dogs in the U.S. that have died in the past six years from eating pet jerky from China. Amid incidents of pets dying from dog treats, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited rules to make pet food and animal feed safer.
    Associated Press/Courtesy Patricia Cassidy

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Amid incidents of pets dying from dog treats, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited rules to make pet food and animal feed safer.

The rules stem from a sweeping food safety law passed by Congress almost three years ago. Like rules proposed earlier this year for human food, they would focus on preventing contamination before it begins.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The announcement comes as the FDA says it hasn't yet determined a cause of almost 600 dog deaths believed to be linked to pet jerky treats imported from China. The agency has been trying for six years to determine what exactly is causing those illnesses.

The proposed rules would require those who sell pet food and animal feed in the United States -- including importers -- to follow certain sanitation practices and have detailed food safety plans. All of the manufacturers would have to put individual procedures in place to prevent their food from becoming contaminated.

The rules would also help human health by aiming to prevent foodborne illnesses in pet food that can be transferred to humans. People can become sick by handling contaminated pet food or animal feed.

Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods, said the rules fit together with regulations proposed in July to create better oversight over imported food, including pet foods and animal feed. The idea behind all of the food safety rules is to make businesses more responsible for the safety of the food they are selling by proving they are using good food safety practices. They might do that by documenting basic information about their suppliers' cleanliness, testing foods or acquiring food safety audits. If they fail to verify the food is safe, the FDA could stop shipments of their food.

Currently, the government does little to ensure that companies are trying to prevent food safety problems but generally waits and responds to outbreaks after they happen.

Taylor said the new rules, once they are in place, could be helpful in investigating the jerky treat deaths if those illnesses are still happening. But they still may not be able to solve the mystery because the FDA has not yet been able to determine what ingredients are causing sickness. The rules generally ask manufacturers to focus on certain hazards and do their best to prevent them.

"We are really still trying to find out what the hazard is" in the jerky illnesses, Taylor said.

The FDA said the rule could cost industry $130 million annually to comply. Smaller businesses would have more time to put the rule in place.

The agency will take comments for four months before issuing a final rule and will hold a series of public meetings to explain the proposal.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.