As the mysterious jerky treat epidemic continues to sicken dogs and elude the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some good news has surfaced when it comes to safety for animal food. The FDA recently announced in a press release the proposal to improve the safety of food for animals under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with the new rule called, “Preventive Controls for Animal Food Facilities.” It is a part of the FDA’s new approach to preventing food safety problems, rather than just responding to them.
The FDA explains, “The proposed rule would help ensure the safety of food for animals and prevent the transmission of agents in food for animals that could cause food-borne illness in both animals and people.”
Specifically, the new rule would require any producer of animal feed that would be sold in the United States to develop a formal plan to prevent food-borne illness. It would also require producers to have a contingency plan to correct problems if they are to arise. Furthermore, the rule would ensure that animal feed facilities follow current good manufacturing practices.
The New York Times reports that this new rule is the FDA’s first attempt at regulating pet food and farm animal feed.
In a blog post by Daniel McChesney, the Director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, he explains the reasoning behind the rule as well as why it was proposed separately. He says that the rule had to be proposed separately because animal foods and human foods are made differently. Also, it helps address the nutritional aspect of the animal food, explaining that animals don’t have a choice to eat more nutritional food therefore the feed they do receive should be regulated to provide that nutrition.
McChesney states, “The bottom line is that we want the foods that animals eat to be safe. We want you to be safe if you’re handling pet food or eating food derived from animals. This rule will help us do that.”
The proposed rule is open to public comments for 120 days and there will also be three public meetings across the country held about it:
- November 21st at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Md.
- November 25th at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago, Ill.
- December 6th at the John E. Moss Federal Building in Sacramento, Calif.
If you would like to make your voice heard on this issue, now is the time!
Image Source: Michael Ruiz/Flickr