FDA proposes animal food safety measures

Oct. 26, 2013 at 2:04 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledged thousands of dogs sickened from pet jerky, the FDA is proposing animal food safety measures.

For the first time, the FDA is proposing preventive measures to protect all animal food from disease-causing bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants. This includes the food that pet owners give their dogs, cats and other companion animals, and the feed that farmers give their livestock, FDA officials said.

Preventive Controls for Food for Animals is the fifth rule that FDA has proposed this year as part of the food-safety framework envisioned by the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that focuses on preventing foodborne illnesses.

Daniel McChesney, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, explained this rule proposed establishing a whole new set of protections for animal food. Currently, the agency primarily gets involved when there is evidence of contaminated animal food on the market.

"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," McChesney said in a statement

McChesney noted human and animal health are intertwined. People can get sick when pet food is contaminated by disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella. When such food is handled by pet owners and placed on kitchen surfaces, the bacteria can spread to foods consumed by their family, McChesney said.

By helping to prevent the contamination of animal food, the proposed rule protects pets and people alike, McChesney said.

The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register, with a 120-day public-comment period. The rule is filed in FDA's official docket at www.regulations.gov and can also be accessed at www.fda.gov/fsma.

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