While many might not find it a big deal, I think it is surprising (crazy? scary??) that there are currently no laws that hold pet food manufacturers to any kind of safety or quality standard. The FDA is currently trying to change all that. A new rule (proposed just last Friday) would require manufacturing facilities to uphold proper sanitation when producing pet food.
The regulations would work at keeping harmful bacteria and “other contaminants” (not exactly sure what those contaminants are…but it’s safe to say that currently there are a whole lot of them!) out of pet food and animal feed. They also would outline requirements to prevent food-borne illness and ensure basic overall cleanliness.
Of course, this seems to be the result of the incredible outbreak of illness due to tainted jerky treats. (For those of you who haven’t heard, read about it here. For the official FDA Fact Sheet click here.) With close to 4,000 dogs sickened – and 600 dead – it seems the government can no longer ignore the issue of who exactly is to be held responsible for what we feed our animals, To me, the most insane part of this story is the fact that NO ONE KNOWS why these pets are becoming so ill and what specifically is to blame. Really? How is it even possible that we can’t figure it out FOR SIX YEARS. I must assume that literally no one even knows what the heck is going on inside these facilities. Wow.
Not only are our pets affected when we serve them bacteria laden edibles, things like Salmonella and dioxin (which have both been tied to massive pet food recalls) can make us humans sick as well. I honestly don’t even want to think about this in terms of animal feed…what the heck has what we eat been eating.
Considering to what degree Americans consider their dogs and cats part of the family…I’m surprised this is just becoming an issue now. I’m embarrassed to say that just assumed (and you know what they say about assuming!) that someone was checking in on these pet food companies from time to time. (Although when the FDA estimates it will cost the industry $130 million to get this going…I understand why.)
A final formal ruling on the issue is still four months away.