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FDA proposes rule to hold pet food manufacturers to higher standard

Proposal said to be part of new proactive stance on foodborne illness prevention.
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Oct 28, 2013
By dvm360.com staff

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposed rule that would, for the first time, require animal feed and pet food manufacturers to adhere to proposed “good manufacturing practices” aimed at preventing foodborne illness. The new rule, proposed as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, would also require manufacturers to develop a formal plan and put into place procedures to prevent foodborne illness. It would also require plans to correct problems if contamination occurs.

“The proposal is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s larger effort to modernize the food safety system for the 21st century and focus public and private efforts on preventing food safety problems, rather than relying primarily on responding to problems after the fact,” an FDA release states.

Through August 2013, FDA reports 30 Class 1 recalls—a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death—in pet foods. The majority of those recalls, 21 of them, were for positive tests for Salmonella.The remaining recalls were for aflatoxin, mold, elevated calcium, low thiamine and antibiotic residue. None of the recalled products were linked to reported illness.

The proposed rule aims to ensure the safety of food for animals and prevent the transmission of agents in animal food that could cause foodborne illness in either animals or people. Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, says the proposed rule complements rules proposed in January for produce safety and human food manufacturing processes—rules that were also issued as new prevention-based safety standards.

The FDA plans to host three public meetings on the Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food Facilities. The first meeting will be Nov. 21 at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Md. The second will be Nov. 25 at the Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago. The third will be Dec. 6 at the John E. Moss Federal Building in Sacramento, Calif. For more information, go to fda.gov.