April 24, 2018

FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rule For Animal Food

Days after it announced that as many as 600 pets have died and thousands of others have been sickened from jerky treats imported form China, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a rule to improve the safety of food for animals.  In keeping with thrust of the Food Safety Modernization Act, the proposal is aimed at preventing foodborne illness linked to animal food rather than responding to it.

Dog-and-Cat“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 in a statement.

For the first time, makers of livestock and pet food to be sold in the U.S. would be required to follow good manufacturing practices that address areas such as sanitation. They would also be required to develop a formal plan for prevention of  foodborne illness and be responsible for correcting any problems that arise.  Enforcement actions were not specified. Imported foods would be held to the same standards as those made in the U.S.

In addition to preventing illness in pets, the new rule could also prevent illness in humans who interact with them. There have been a number of food poisoning outbreaks associated with handling contaminated dog food.

“This proposed rule on animal food complements proposed rules published in January 2013 for produce safety and facilities that manufacture food for humans to set modern, prevention-based standards for food safety,” said Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael R. Taylor, in a statement. “They also work in concert with standards proposed in July 2013 to help ensure that imported foods are as safe as those produced domestically.”

The FDA will hold three public meetings on the proposed rule called the Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food Facilities. The  meetings will be held in November and December. For more information visit the website.

 

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