Senators criticize FDA for inadequate pet protections.

  • FDA oversees the safety of animal feed and pet food in the U.S.  Due to some idiosyncrasies in the animal food regulatory framework, FDA shares its pet food oversight responsibilities with state regulatory officials and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).  FDA has been tasked with implementing specific pet protection measures under the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA).  Enacted in response to the largest pet food recall in U.S. history (linked to melamine-contaminated ingredients from China), Title X of the FDAAA required FDA to establish standards for pet food ingredients and processing, to create an early warning and surveillance system to track outbreaks of illness associated with pet food, and to provide for better communications during pet food recalls.  Thus far, FDA has largely failed to implement these requirements.
  • Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) recently sent a letter to FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, criticizing the Agency’s failure to take enforcement action related to recent reports alleging toxicity of a major pet food manufacturer’s product line,  The Senators also criticized FDA’s failure to implement its FDAAA pet protection mandates more generally.
  • The Senators’ letter is dated March 11, 2015.  On March 27, 2015, FDA announced its new strategy to standardize animal food ingredients in accordance with its FDAAA mandate.  Although FDA’s strategy likely has been under development for some time, the timing of the Agency’s announcement relative to the Senators’ letter raises questions about whether political pressure will finally spur FDA to act on its other long-overdue pet protection mandates.