After the 2007 pet food recalls (the deadliest in history), Congress demanded FDA protect pets in the U.S. Congress told FDA they must develop and implement…
“(b) Early warning surveillance systems and notification during pet food recalls
Not later than 1 year after September 27, 2007, the Secretary shall establish an early warning and surveillance system to identify adulteration of the pet food supply and outbreaks of illness associated with pet food. In establishing such system, the Secretary shall -
(1) consider using surveillance and monitoring mechanisms similar to, or in coordination with, those used to monitor human or animal health, such as the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) and PulseNet of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, …”
Some 3 years after the September 2008 deadline, the FDA announced PETNet, “an information exchange for pet food related incidents. PETNET is a secure, web based network that allows information to be exchanged more freely and efficiently between FDA, and other Federal and State regulatory agencies.” In other words, it appeared that the FDA had done as Congress had demanded and developed the long awaited and needed pet food illness tracking system. However…
In a recent statement provided to Veterinary Information Network, Laura Alvey, FDA spokesperson said “when it comes to pet food, there’s no surveillance network tracking cases. The agency doesn’t have resources to conclusively link adverse events in animal health to food products in question.”
Human food related illnesses are tracked by the Centers for Disease Control; their efforts undoubtedly save countless lives pinpointing the food source of related deaths and illnesses resulting in recalled products. Our pets, unfortunately, do not have the same support system.
Ask your state and federal representatives to require FDA to develop a pet food related illness tracking system similar to that of human foods. It could be your pet whose life is saved.